12-06-15 2:51  •  God Dividing America

NerdyPants: In response to the aftermath of the San Bernardino shootings, here's an article called "America's Dividing Line: Thoughts, prayers and belief in a transcendent God." It talks about "the transcendence line" and says this:

The transcendence line is not the difference between "belief" and "unbelief." Each of us lives according to strongly held commitments and values-infused beliefs. The liberal atheist who stands up for "equality" and "dignity" relies on foundational and tradition-dependent assumptions in much the same way as the religious conservative who defends "morality" and "truth."

Wow, no. It is really disingenuous to conflate belief in the supernatural with commitment to human values like equality and morality. It is a trick of words, used to suggest that everyone is irrational about something, so who cares?

The problematic ideas of religion are not "belief" in morality and truth, indistinguishable from "belief" in equality and dignity. The problematic ideas in religion are the beliefs that magic is real, and that ancient folktales are true, against every indicator that can be observed showing that there is no reason to think so.

The actual line is between reason and unreason, between a system that works and can be shown to produce accurate understanding, and a system that is the not the least concerned with accurate understanding, and is very obviously not producing accurate understanding.

In a massive environment of our own construction, only accurate understanding can produce behavior that works. The rest is just spinning wheels.

12-06-15 1:51  •  Gun Culture 2.0

Deela: We don't have a gun problem in this country, we have a people problem.

We need to figure WHY people are doing this. Rage, anger, poverty, guns have all been around for a long time without things like this happening.

What is new is gun culture.

Deela: Ha, try again! Americans have always had a "gun culture".

The formerly dominant Gun Culture 1.0 — based in hunting, military, and law enforcement — has given way to a new group of individuals (including an increasing number of women) who have gotten into shooting through concealed carry/self-defense and the shooting sports. This has been referred to as Gun Culture 2.0.

Some significant features of Gun Culture 2.0 that are relatively new are the advent of gun niche media such as Guns & Ammo magazine, which was begun in 1958, and political advocacy by the NRA which began in 1975. Also significant was the Firearm Owners Protection act of 1986, which relaxed gun restrictions in the U.S., most significantly by opening up the Gun Show Loophole which allows sales without background checks.

Gun shows, gun magazines and gun political advocacy are now major factors in gun culture. They also serve as a demagogic circle for stoking fear of threats. For example, right now Guns & Ammo is featuring helpful articles like "Executive Protection Tactics: Like it or not, we're surrounded by deadly threats every day," and "Why We Don't Trust Research."

Modern gun culture is far more paranoid, insular and hyper than any since the the Old West, maybe worse. Gun Culture 2.0 is making sure that every problem looks like a nail and as many people as possible have the worst possible hammers.

Princilla: Guns don't make people into killers. It is their own CHOICES what to do with those guns!

TurtleDove: Everyone is capable of killing. We all have that ability as part of our human makeup.

Princilla: You are correct.....everyone has the *ability* to be capable of killing.....its the CHOICE to kill that makes the difference.

No human brain is immune to malfunction.

Sensational shootings aside, most homicide deaths in the U.S. the victim personally knows the killer, and at least half of them arise from fights over property disputes, domestic arguments, insults or feuds. Thirty percent of female victims were killed by their husbands.

In other words, most gun homicides are crimes of passion, where people lose control of themselves, and do things they don't even understand themselves later. And as I said, no human brain is immune to malfunction - and meltdown.

Massive numbers of guns just ensure that meltdowns result in bloody deaths a whole lot more often.

Princilla: If someone wants to kill a bunch of people: Gun regulations aren't going to stop them. That's reality.

Lax gun regulation and hyper gun culture have an effect on the numbers of people who want to kill a bunch of people and are able to. In our country they combine for maximum numbers of people who want to and are able to. In some other countries, firmer regs and laxer gun culture combine to result in fewer numbers of people who want to kill a bunch of people and are able to.

Regulation is a leverage point. It makes no sense to ignore it.

Princilla: Until we figure a way to combat the issues and the DECISIONS that humans make to kill, then they will always find a way to do it.

No, most killings are spur of the moment, in the heat of passion, and the killer regrets it the rest of his life. Planned killings, where they will find a way to do it no matter what, are rare.

If there weren't so many guns laying around, it would be much harder to commit the 50% of murders which arise from fights, and the 61% of gun deaths which are suicides. Without a gun to hand, there is a chance the hysteria will pass without killing anyone.

Princilla: Even without guns, they find a way. Planes being flown into buildings is a good example.

Yes, everyone who wants to kill someone else should have to resort to using a plane, or something else almost impossible and extemely difficult to accomplish. The difficulty of it will slow some people down.

Why not make killing others harder? Why make it easier?

Princilla: Simplifying the issues to be a GUN only issue, is not the answer.

Nobody thinks it's "GUN only," but less gun deaths can be achieved with less guns, and less gun death would be good.

Princilla: It makes no difference if its planned or spur of the moment.....there is a REASON people kill. Until we work on the reasons......gun control will not change that fact.

You don't have to change that fact to make life a whole lot better for everyone. Even if we never figured out "the REASON," if it was harder to do, that would be much better. When something is very hard, only the most determined succeed at it and everyone else washes out. When killing is really hard, some killers won't bother, or try and fail. Viola, less killing.

Princilla: Why not find the reasons people feel the need to kill, and why in today's society its happening.

We already know the reasons. Up until a scant 10,000 years ago people lived on the edge of survival as kill-or-be-killed tribal hunters and warriors. Millions of years of evolution selected us biologically for killing. Not everyone in the tribe had to be into killing, but a significant subset had to be or none would have survived. Killing is very strongly selected for.

Since the introduction of agriculture, writing, and eventually civilization, we have been able to learn ways to curtail killing, but we have also learned ways to ramp it up with industrialized warfare. Killing is deeply embedded into most human cultures as a glorious triumph - so long as the victim is out-group to the culture, ie. an enemy of one kind or another.

Most societies throughout history, up until very recently, have had a lot of killing built right into the system. Warrior cultures like the Vikings and the Teutonic peoples routinely raided neighboring villages or the coasts of England, burning and pillaging and killing as they went. Vast civilizations ground each other to dust on the battlefields.

And, murder between individuals has been a common occurrence almost every single society has had to make rules to deal with.

We only invented NOT killing about five minutes ago, historically speaking. It takes a long time to figure out all the different ways the killing has to stop. We were still grinding each other to dust in world wars only a couple of generations ago, and have maybe not even figured out how to do stop doing that yet. Time will tell.

However - sensational killings aside, the numbers on gun violence - in fact all crime - in the U.S. are going down. Overall crime rates fell an incredible 45% between 1990 and 2012, largely because technology has made it much more difficult to get away with.

So, it takes a lot of error correction to overcome biologically dictated behaviors, but the great advantage of behavior is that it can be changed. We have already learned a lot of great tools for living without killing, like democracy and facial recognition software. We have to keep working on it. One additional tool, which other countries use to great success, is firmer gun regulation.

12-04-15 8:51  •  Truth for One

PvtRene: I was raised a Christian, but in college I started to have my doubts.

I tried to maintian my belief in God. I really did. I went to Church, talked to pastors, prayed...but one day, it just didn't click anymore. So now my family thinks I'm going to Hell.

Obviously I'm not too worried about it. But, even if it were true, how is that fair? I did my best. Why should I burn in Hell for what I think now, if I just honestly don't believe anyone?

It is a mind fuck.

SevenofTen: It's okay Rene. You may not be able to see it, but GOD is patiently waiting for you to return to Him. He can wait for all Eternity.

I don't even believe in Hell, or any of that scare talk. The GOD of LOVE has not need of such.

Yes, I have doubted. But, I just KNOW that there were times that GOD saved me and not myself.

This is just as offensive to reason as the whole hell thing.

SevenofTen: It could only have been the hand of GOD. I do not believe in coincidences. I do not believe in luck.

An uncaused omnipotent sentient invisible intercessory being is actually far less likely than coincidences.

SevenofTen: I believe that everything happens for a reason.

This belief is creating a tremendous amount of suffering.

SevenofTen: That being said, I believe there is a reason you have come to this conclusion in your own beliefs.

Your beliefs are a bit nicer than hell, but they are just as patronizing.

SevenofTen: For myself, I KNOW THERE IS A GOD. For you, you have come to KNOW there isn't.

Wow, even Richard Dawkins doesn't claim to KNOW there isn't. Capital letters KNOW is not the typical atheist position.

SevenofTen: We all have our own individuality.

Yet, there seems to be just one actual reality which we all are in.

SevenofTen: I really don't understand how God saving me is offensive. To who?

Not to a person. "Offensive to reason" means that it does not stand to reason. In other words, it does not seem to be true.

There is no evidence of an intercessory deity, and all attempts to produce verifiable evidence of divine intervention have failed. People seem to be using confirmation bias and the placebo effect and wishful thinking and a great human tendancy to attribute agency to create the appearance of an intentional will at work where there is no actual evidence of one.

SevenofTen: Ok...coincidence is real...to you, maybe.

It's not personal. Coincidences can be observed to occur.

SevenofTen: You said that these beliefs cause suffering. Actually, it has not caused me ANY suffering.

You are not the only person in the world.

SevenofTen: How could it cause suffering?

The idea that cause and effect are ordered by a moral sentient being is one, devaluing reason, and two, causing untold amounts of agonizing over "why God did this."

SevenofTen: I know what I KNOW.

Captal letter KNOW is not supportable by reason. You could be incorrect.

SevenofTen: It's great that everyone has their own individual ideas.

Yeah. So, obviously, not everyone is correct.

SevenofTen: You say there is no evidence, but you don't understand. TO ME, there is evidence.

Evidence that only works for one person does not stand up to reason. Individuals believe whatever they want of course, but as a society we should be striving to understand what is real and what isn't, and acknowledge that intercessory deities are not supportable by reason, and that the claim that they are are at work in human lives does not seem to be true.

SevenofTen: It is not important for it to be proven to the unbeliever or even another, period.

Unfortunately, everybody just believing whatever they want is causing a lot of error.

SevenofTen: Meaning, if YOU believe in coincidences, then great.

Belief has nothing to do with it. It is empirical. Coincidences can be observed. Intercessory deities managing reality so that coincidences are intentional or have moral purpose cannot be observed. That is why coincidence stands to reason and intercessory deities don't.

SevenofTen: It doesn't cause suffering. I don't worry about why God does His Will; I don't seek to question GOD.

You are not the only person. There is no question that in tragic circumstances many people agonize over "why God allowed this to happen." Attributing agency and agenda to tragedy just increases the suffering, and fails to recognize the observable cause and effect at work.

SevenofTen: Just like if I am a child who has no idea what my parent's reasoning is behind an action to do what is best for me.

One of the unfortunate side effects of unreason is infantilizing humans.

SevenofTen: Yes...I could be incorrect.

This is why it is so important to act with reason - to attempt to avoid being incorrect to the greatest degree possible. Using reason allows humans to analyze the real cause and effect at work and apply solutions that actually produce predictable outcomes.

It a pleasure speaking with you, thanks again!

SevenofTen: My theories make sense to me, as yours do to you.

Once again, it is not personal. It doesn't matter how much you like a theory inside your head, or what you personally think "makes sense." What matters is which claims can be supported by evidence.

SevenofTen: You said just one person can't have evidence, but of course they can. Only one person came up with the theory of reletivity.

The theory of relativity was borne out in 1919 by evidence that the perihelion of Mercury's orbit precesses around the Sun at an excess of 43 arcseconds per century. This was verified by scientists around the world during a total eclipse of the sun. Additional evidence has poured in for decades, from observations of all kinds of astronomical phenomena, and confirmed by thousands of scientists. This is why the theory of relativity is considered to be very accurate.

SevenofTen: Belief for one CAN be right.

We were not talking about belief, we were talking about evidence. If there was no evidence to support relativity, or evidence that only made sense TO ME, it would not be considered accurate.

Your claim that there is evidence TO YOU is meaningless. For all we know, you would accept any old stupid thing as evidence. You could be relying on confirmation bias and the placebo effect and agency attribution as evidence, and if that is the case, then you are simply wrong about God "doing" things for you.

You may not care if you are wrong, but it matters.

As I said, individuals will think whatever they want, but there is no reason for our society to act like this might be true when there is no evidence at all to show that it is true. Acting like claims of an intercessory deity, and other unsupported claims, are true, is causing a lot of problems.

Why is it acceptable to pronounce things as true when they don't seem to be? When people do this, it is important for for society to denounce it for what it is - apparently wrong. The claim that this universe is designed and managed by some kind of being is about a million miles from what it looks like.

And to have these totally unsupported claims presented as if they are just as valid as truth is a crime against humanity.

SevenofTen: I know GOD seems unfair at times. But, the existence of a greater good, grand plan, reward, etc...makes the pain worth while (the juice worth the squeeze...lol).

Juice that might not be real is worthless. Longing for it only serves to distract you from appreciating the juice you are in.

SevenofTen: I don't want to be put in a box to be like everyone else and have everyone believe all the same things.

You are in a box with everyone else. There is one reality.

SevenofTen: To me, that would make life a bit boring.

2 + 2 = 4 is pretty boring. Should we accept claims that 2 + 2 = 5 to liven things up?

PvtRene: Why does there have to be a meaning? What is wrong with life being a series of random events that have lead to where we are?

I do not really think the term "random" applies, or not much. "Random" in this context is a misnomer applied by theists, used to suggest that the only alternative to "God doing it" is that everything which occurs is totally spontaneous and happening for no reason at all.

However the shape and configuration of our universe - at least at the macro level, at every moment since the big bang - has arisen from a direct chain of cause and effect because of the forces at work and the properties of matter. If there is one thing that a physical chain of cause and effect between forces and matter isn't, it's random. Things transpire as a result of how they were caused.

I would say the same applies to life. Everything that lives is a direct link in a chain of descent circumscribed for the most part by what worked and what didn't. If there is anything the direct result of trial and error isn't, it's random.

PvtRene: Why does any of it need to MEAN anything?

I would say it means that matter can become amazing. How much more meaningful could anything be?

12-04-15 8:51  •  Disrupting Gun Culture

SaraB: From the article:

Missouri Democratic state Rep. Stacey Newman decided to take aim of what conservative males like to stroke the most: their guns.

House Bill 1397 is designed to keep gun owners and the public safe. According to the Columbia Tribune, the measure would force gun buyers to “wait 72 hours to obtain a firearm and require purchasers to hear about gun violence and “alternatives to purchasing a firearm” including “peaceful and non-violent conflict resolution.”

“It is apples and oranges,” state Senator Brian Munzlinger whined. “There is no correlation between them. Criminals don’t obey laws, and that is why they will always have the ability to have guns.”

Nobody is a criminal before they do the crime. Maybe this would result in fewer proto-criminals, sitting around polishing their guns while furiously fuming about how much they need guns because of the horrible threat of (X). They aren't criminals yet, but they are ticking time bombs.

The one thing shooters all have in common is gun culture. It's time to start disrupting it.

12-01-15 9:15  •  Good and Evil

Samantha: How does your religion or belief system explain why there is evil in the world?

In Buddhism, the "three mind poisons" are greed, fear and ignorance. What we perceive as "evil" actions by humans often seem to arise from these. I would add that human actions which harm others can also arise from a pathology - malfunctions in the ability of the human brain to properly process empathy or social obligation.

There are also causes of harm which are not "evil," like natural disasters, which happen each for their own particular reasons of physical cause and effect.

For the most part, things happen and it is our human propensity to label which results in "evil."

Fisherland: Good and Evil exist because there must be balance. If there was only good in the world, then you would not know what good or evil is.

I don't see why that would be a problem. For millions of years before humans there were just animals on the earth, and none are known to have possessed the cognitive abilities to assign labels like "good" or "evil" to what occurred. Yet, they thrived, generation after generation, feeling good or feeling bad as dictated by circumstance and stimulus response, without any need for knowing what good or evil is. Obviously that kind of understanding is not required.

What we call "evil" can be a great teacher, but there is no reason to think evil things are made to happen for the purpose of our edification, or because without them we would be unbalanced or unappreciative. The fact is that all kinds of things happen, for their own specific reasons. As we developed higher levels of cognitive ability, we needed concepts to understand happenings and distinguish adaptive behavior from non-adaptive behaviors. The distinction was invented for our benefit, but by us.

12-01-15 9:12  •  Casting Spells

Samantha: In Wicca, we understand that everything is energy. I believe that when casting a spell, we are directing that energy. If our desire is strong enough, we can create changes. But if we aren't sincere, or if the change would upset the balance of things, it won't work.

There is plenty that can be understood about the effectiveness of "spells" simply by examining human cognitive function. I love casting spells - who doesn't? - but I understand that the placebo effect, confirmation bias, agency assignment and serendipity can be shown to be responsible for my perception of their effectiveness.

Knowing this doesn't diminish the fun or success at all.

Samantha:My beliefs are all over the place, and one thought leads me to another, and pretty soon it makes no sense at all lol.

That seems like a really good reason to not bother with belief. It is possible to simply know, or not know, and avoid the muddle of unsubstantiated conjecture all together.

Samantha: I agree on both points. Prayer, spells, miracles, etc, are all based on the viewpoint of the person trying to prove or deny them.

If I was starting a new religion, I would require that it be true. But I would also want it to be full of magic and wonder, and speak to the human need to peer into the mystery.

So, in my religion we could fully utilize the ability of the brain to see magic in every day life, and divine benevolence at work in our lives, to create working spells and prayers. What could be understood as placebo and confirmation bias would be acknowledged and even celebrated as exactly such. What could not be understood would be reverently marked with a question mark, and then investigation could continue.

Samantha: Where do I sign up, lol!

11-29-15 8:02  •  Logic and Sources and Still Wrong

Clara: Belief in God has nothing to do with logic or evidence.

LisaMay: I disagree! It is because of logic and proof that I believe that God has to exist. Random chance could not have brought about everything we see.

For one thing the science of mathematical probability offers striking proof that the Genesis creation account must have come from a source with knowledge of the events. Moses couldn't just randomly come up with the account list of the 10 major stages in the right order. The chances of doing this on your first try are 1 in 3,628,800!

Also the more that scientists examine the planet Earth and its life, the more they realize that it is indeed superbly designed. Scientific American marvels: “As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.”4 And Science News admitted: “It seems as if such particular and precise conditions could hardly have arisen at random.”5

4. Scientific American, “Energy in the Universe,” by Freeman J. Dyson, September 1971, p. 59.

5. Science News, “The Universe: Chaotic or Bioselective?” by Dietrick E. Thomsen, August 24 and 31, 1974, p. 124.

God is not the most logical explanation for nonrandominity. For example, it is more likely that Moses was visited by a human time traveller from the distant future. The time traveller will/did explain to Moses the scientific account of the creation of earth, which Moses then cribbed for the Genesis story.

Mathematical models suggest that the manifest existence of humans and the theoretical potential for time travel make this explanation 33,724.6 times more likely than any hypothesis involving a deity.

BBC News marvels, "According to Einstein, space-time can curve back on itself, theoretically allowing travellers to double back and meet younger versions of themselves." 1 Science News recently admitted, "“You’re dealing with time travel. Maybe you should expect it to be weird.” 2

1. BBC News, "New Model Permits Time Travel," by Julianna Kettlewell, June 17, 2005.

2. Science News, "Taming Time Travel," by Laura Sanders, August 15, 2010.

11-29-15 8:02  •  Religion is Not About God

Dr. Loyal D. Rue is professor of religion and philosophy and focuses on naturalistic theories of religion. He is a member and lecturer at the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science.

The following is taken from a lecture Dr. Rue gave at the Beyond Belief Conference in 2006, which explains how narrative traditions are at the center of religion and the purposes served by this. Here's an excerpt from his talk:

Loyal is an engaging speaker and the rest of his talk is very interesting. If you have 23 minutes, you can check him out giving his entire lecture here in Part 1 and Part 2. (In fact if you have 17 hours, the entire conference is riveting.)

If not, you can probably get the gist of it from this quick summary put together using the slides from his presentation:

Obviously, religion serves some purposes both for personal wholeness and for social cohesion. Dr. Rue suggests that if the narrative story was a true one, based on our actual and evolving knowledge of cosmos and bios, and infused with a naturalistic morality, it could serve to provide wholeness and cohesion without the superstition and exclusion that marks existing religious traditions.

I thought his ideas about why we have religion and how we could improve it were very insightful. Any thoughts?

Clara: Honestly? We'd be better off without religion, even naturalist ones. I do not see that keeping man and his mind in a state of needing to follow, as healthy or honest.

I'm not seeing anything here about "keeping man in a state of needing to follow."

People have language, culture, and stories. It is an inescapable fixture of human existence. They enrich our lives, and we absolutely cannot function without them. Culture is how we have enough in common with other humans to communicate and work together, and how we transmit our language and values to the next generation.

I don't see anything unhealthy or dishonest about cultural transmission...particularly if the cosmology of the culture you are transmitting is verifiably true instead of ridiculously false.

Clara: Coming up with a "Single vocabulary" that justifies values and explains facts, still suggests a way or path to follow, only it aims at one way or path, no?

Not at all, any more than the fact that we all speak English means we all say the same thing.

You can say anything you want in English. It is a tool you can use in a million ways. You can also learn other languages, even abandon English if you want to. It is one vocabulary, but it is not one way, and you are not stuck there. You are only limited in your ability to communicate with other English speakers if you don't have it at all.

More importantly, there does seem to be just one reality that we all live in. It is to this reality that we are inescapably chained. I don't think acknowledging the most accurate descriptions of this reality as being on a single way or path. It is recognizing, to the best of our ability, what is.

Clara:I want more time to think on this, Raver. I want to critically dig into my own rebellion and question why it's there. Thank you for this post.

You're welcome, I'm glad to be thought-provoking.

Maggie: People need religion because they are afraid of death. So, it's therapeutic for them to believe in an afterlife where people will lie around on clouds and play harps all day.

I agree that "the afterlife" is why a lot of people believe. I have often wondered how necessary it is though. Do a majority of humans have to have an imagined afterlife for personal wholeness, or is the idea just so common that people are conditioned to fear anything else?

Carolyn Porco - a brilliant astronomer, who also spoke at the Beyond Belief conference with Dr. Rue - envisions a cosmology where people are taught to take comfort in the truth, as we currently understand it...that we are made of the stuff of stars, and it is to this we return. She suggested that being dead seems to be no different than the state of being before we were born, and that is nothing to fear, and that people can find peace in this idea.

I like to think that confronting and accepting truths is more healthy in the end than clinging to pleasant fictions. At least there would be less error.

Maggie: A belief in religion can solve people's drug problems. Not by itself, but it can prepare one's mind and attitude to do it themselves.

That is certainly part of what makes AA work, if you can call it "working" when they report only 3-5% cure rate.

Bill W, who founded AA, later did some clinical work in laboratory settings with alcoholics who were given controlled doses of LSD. (It was legal back then.) The cure rate as reported in those studies was something like 60-70%. Bill W theorized that what was missing in the lives of alcoholics was profound spiritual experience. He had founded AA to help provide some of it, but later stated that one session with LSD did it even better.

I would certainly agree that spiritual experiences can be a real catalyst in life-changing decisions, whether within a religious framework or otherwise.

Maggie: It is true that religion uses myths to explain why we have the values we have. And, try to connect those to politics. When we teach our children to believe in myths, we are controling their minds.

I suppose you could say we are "controlling their minds" when we teach them the truth, too, but we have to teach them something. I'd rather it be the truth, to the best of our ability to ascertain it, than any unsubstantiated claims.

Thanks again for your comments!

Maggie: I firmly believe that there are people out there who just are not capable of existing and living a normal life without that belief. There are a certain percentage that do not possess the confidence necessary.

That could be a matter of temperament, or one of conditioning...if we didn't tell everyone that there is "supposed" to be a God and and afterlife, maybe they could manage without it better.

Maggie: Let's put it this way, I think that only 1/4 to 1/3 of people will ever evolve past organized religion.

Well, "ever" is a pretty long time, who knows? But, we do need to have some human organizations, and, as Dr. Rue suggested, religion serves some important purposes for society and the individual.

I think that if we acknowledged the human need for religion - at least for now - we could craft one that would be less damaging to society. Whatever the merits of religious vs. secular, there is no doubt that most of the religions we have are causing a great amount of harm.

It may be because there is something inherently "bad" about religion. But I think it is mainly because they are full of unsubstantiated claims that are about a million miles from anything that could be considered true. The difference between what people believe about reality, and how it actually seems to be, is creating a huge amount of error.

If we need religion that much, we should have a true one that works.

Maggie: I think if more people understood the cure rates for those organizations, they might try to rely on themselves more.

I know what you mean...I kicked a couple of bad habits on my own myself, and I'm so glad I am not stuck "in recovery" from them for the rest of my life. I left them behind.

Maggie: I don't like the way I was indoctrinated by religion as a child, and so I tried not to teach my children anything religiously related.

I understand, but we have to teach them something about where we came from and what we are - a cosmology. A lot of people have always relied on the religious cosmologies to explain where we came from because that was all they knew, and it provides a deep sense of meaning.

What I am suggesting is that the true story of where we came from, as we understand it, is truly just as meaningful, and even more beautiful and spectacular than any religious myth. When told as the magnificent story that it is, the facts about where we come from - even the very little we understand so far - are far more romantic and magical than anything we could imagine.

What I am suggesting is having a religion that meets the needs of humans - to have a fusing of facts and values - based on true facts and tested values.

11-30-15 9:43  •  Change the World

Tia: If you could change the world, anything, what would you change?

I would have people value truth. Everything else will follow.

Tia: Who's truth would have the most value?

The one that is the most accurate.

Tia: Well, here's the hang up. There are some things that aren't absolute and impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

If that is the case, then "we do not know" would be the most accurate truth. All else is speculative bullshit.

Tia: Is a Buddhist's truth any more accurate than a Christian's, or Muslim's, or Pagan's, or Atheist's?

Check. If you can't tell, it is speculative bullshit.

Tia: It would come down to who was in power, not who was more "accurate."

Not if the truth was valued. Accuracy is the source and measure of value in truth.

Tia: The fundies are SO deluded, convinced of their "truth," that the Bible is the inerrant and literal word of god...

There is no evidence that this is the case. If people valued truth they would understand what that means.

Read more in the Archives.