1-6-21 6:21  •  At Long Last - No Sense of Decency

Welda: Have you been watching the news? They had to lock down the Capitol! Both houses of Congress were being threatened by mobs, at least one person was shot. These are Trump supporters, after he addressed the crowd and told them the election was stolen.

VeeDeeBee: Well, you've got people that have walked all over the CONSTITUTION, crooked people at the state level covering up blatant corruption and cheating, courts that won't hear legitimate arguments or review evidence and a SCOTUS blatantly shirking their responsibilities.

I don't know what anyone expected. You have at least 75 million people that feel that they are going unheard, feel their voice is being silenced, and seeking redress guaranteed them by the constitutional that's being denied them.

Such a liar.

This is what *caused* it.

I hope you like your work.

12-31-20 6:12  •  Message from the Past

My Dear Reader,

Think back to 2012. Obama was President and still pulling the country out of the Great Recession, but things had begun to turn around. This was before Facebook consumed all other social media and online conversation elsewhere could be lively. We had a forum called The Religious Roundtable for discussing and debating religious and spiritual matters.

As we end 2020, I'd like to share this exchange that recently surfaced from my archives dating back to early 2012. The following discussion came as I was trying to define the problem - what I thought the harms were from the traditional religions as traditionally practiced at the center of American life and politics.

RhiannaMom: For the non-believers, why are you in a religious debate group? What do you get out of it?

I live in a society dominated by a particularly unpleasant and fanciful religion. I am trying to find ways to redress the injustice and unreason that arise as a result. I feel I have a duty to the truth.

RhiannaMom: "Unpleasant and fanciful" religion...? Which one?

Christianity of course.

RhiannaMom: How so?

It is a cruel and exclusionary blood cult.

RhiannaMom: And whose truth?

Truth is not determined by "who." It is determined by accuracy.

RhiannaMom: How do you "redress the injustice and unreason that arise"?

Through activism.

RhiannaMom: Truth is subjective... not absolute.

Accuracy can be measured objectively.

RhiannaMom: Certain truth's, I would say. In the context of religion and spirituality, yeah, truth is and can be subjective.

The subjective certainly exists in those contexts, but I disagree that the subjective qualifies as truth if it cannot be verified.

In any case, there is no way to stretch the term 'true' enough to make Christianity qualify unless you stretch it all the way to 'probably false.' There is zero verifiable accuracy to any of the supernatural claims.

The human race needs to face up to this.

We need a society which makes decisions based on reality, using actual truth that can be verified, not "subjective truth" which can't be checked, does not correspond to observable reality and could be wrong. GIGO.

*GIGO = Garbage In, Garbage Out


Back in 2012 when I wrote this, I could not have forseen what has become of American life and politics. But this was my fear. A society which demeans truth and departs from reality in order to maintain the beliefs of an ancient religion is not going to have truth on their side when they need it.

The Trump years have shown this in spades. Cruising into politics on the strength of his false and racist "birtherism," Trump has exploited America's refusal to demand verifiable truth at every turn. He will say, and his followers will accept, any lie that enhances their egos. Every day brings a new assault on what comprises reality and how you can tell.

Much human energy has been consumed tracking the departure from truth, the gradual wedging of reality into separate camps. Suffice it to say, today we cannot even agree that masks are effective against Covid, or that Biden won the election fair and square. Deaths mount and political unrest fills the streets while the truth - about the election, about the pandemic - languishes unused. A simple, powerful tool for saving lives and bridging differences is belittled and ignored.

This is why we need to put a stake in the heart of the blood cult. It has transformed into a political cult out for literal blood. I hate to say I told you so, but...

Christianity and the other Abrahamics are legacy systems leftover from a bygone era. It's time to use the power of verifiable truth to steer our society. This means facing the obvious reality about the ancient religions - that they are not true. They do not accurately describe the place of humans in the universe and are indistinguishable from mythology.

I don't think we can truly have a reckoning of the Trump era without this basic evolution. It's time.

12-24-20 12:24  •  Transgender in the Locker Room

BJ: Colleen Francis, a transgendered student at Evergreen College, has exposed herself in the locker room to the upset of parents and girls' swim coaches.

The school says Ms Francis has a right to use the women's locker room due to state law ????

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... mself.html

Dokie: If this person still has a penis then I dont believe the person should be allowed to use the women's locker room. Sitting with the legs spread so the penis and balls are on full display in front of children is wrong.

Children do not suffer harm just from seeing an adult nude.

Dokie: Are you seriously saying that it’s not a big deal for adults to expose their genitals to children?!

I'm saying that changing in a locker room is not "exposing your genitals to children." What harm do you think seeing an adult change clothes causes?

Dokie: Depends on the child! You might parade around naked in front of your kids, but don't try to do it in front of my sons!

A person changing clothes in a locker room is doing a 100% socially acceptable activity and is not causing harm to anyone. This is what a locker room is for.

Dokie: Some kids may be affected especially if they haven’t been exposed to adult nudity and especially when it’s the opposite gender. Even if it’s “socially acceptable” because it’s a bathroom or locker room.

Affected how?

Amie: Children shouldn't suffer harm from seeing nudity but if they have been raised to think the human body is sinful or perverse, it could cause harm.

What sort of harm? Can you give an example?

Amie: Well, like, if a kid had a really restrictive upbringing...or, if they taught that the human body is dirty and sinful...it could happen, couldn't it?

I think we can say there are no known examples of a child being harmed from the mere sight of nudity.

So the question is, are the hypothetical harms to a hypothetical child under *very* narrow circumstances (raised so puritanical that the mere sight of nudity is psychologically damaging, yet brought to a public locker room) so severe that they warrant prejudicial exclusion of some (not all) adults from EVER using the facilities?

Amie: ...lots of reasons why it can emotionally harmful for kids.

So should all adults be prevented from changing in the locker room?

Dokie: There is is an option for a private changing area in most locker rooms I have been to as an adult. So, I don’t see what is the problem with providing the same for kids.

So what should be the rule at the pool locker room? No nudity because of kids? No kids because of nudity? Or no nudity for some people?

Amie: IMO, locker rooms should be available to all. If we're going to have segregated locker rooms - segregated by sex - they should be open to all those who identify as that particular sex.

In my ideal world, locker rooms wouldn't be segregated at all! I do feel that there should be individual locker rooms/family locker rooms available for those who find being exposed to "naked bodies" abhorrent.

Well those people are still going to be pretty abhorred once they hit the pool. Do we ban bikinis and speedos next?

As I said, changing in a locker room is what it is for, and the pearl clutching 'outrage of parents' in this article is an excuse for expressing bigotry against transgender people.

Dokie: So what is more important to you? Adults have the right to be naked in front of kids or find a middle ground that works better for all involved?

What is important is that transgender people have the same rights as every other adult.

12-21-20 12:21  •  Where is Hate?

Godsteam: A girl got in trouble at school for wearing a shirt that said "Homosexuality is a Sin."

Flutterby: That's hate speech!

Sharon: The little twit should not have worn the shirt to school, but it's not hate speech, people are entitled to hold that opinion.

"Homosexuality is gross" is an opinion. "Homosexuality is a sin" is normative. Claiming that being gay is inherently wrong is hate speech.

Flutterby: "Sin" and "Inherently Wrong" sound the same to me.

Yes, those are the same. The difference is between stating an opinion ("It's gross! I don't like it!") and making a normative statement of how people should be ("They are doing wrong, before God no less"). Calling an entire group wrong before God is hate speech.

Flutterby: Thanks, and I agree with you.

12-18-20 12:18  •  Learning About Religion

Godsteam: Do you realize that most people are going to hell?! Truth!!

Flutterby: Get out of here with that crap! No one wants your religion crammed down our throats. There shouldn't be discussion about religion here at all.

Sharon: I disagree, I think we can discuss it. I like learning about different beliefs.

Beliefs can be anything. There is no criteria...people just pick what they like, or what sounds good. Or conversely, they accept the beliefs of others who do not know more. Beliefs are the least interesting part of religion because they are not operative.

The important things to learn about religion are the parts that work, and why and how.

Religion is a social tool which creates a positive feedback loop between the individual and society. Religion provides a cosmology, or a story of our origins, which anchors it to the moral order. Religions are essentially narrative traditions that connect where we come from to why it's important to be good. The narrative explains all facts and gives an ultimate justification for all values.

In order to work this way, religion must get the stories organized into the minds of everyone in society, and there are five basic strategies religion uses to create this common understanding.

1. Intellectual - people talk about what the religion means, propagate and defend it
2. Institutional - organizations coordinate when and how religious expression is enacted
3. Ritual - shared acts bring people together to reinforce the story, and allow individuals to map their own experience onto the story
4. Aesthetic - the religion inspires art and other tangible "stuff" that spreads the message
5. Experiential - the cultivation of the religious experience

These five forces work together to revitalize the narrative and keep it alive through generations. In this way, the competing needs of the individual and the group can both be served by one system. Religion achieves personal wholeness and social cohesion simultaneously.

This is why understanding religion is important. The same cognitive mechanisms which worked to organize people into religions can also get people strongly committed to beliefs in other kinds of narratives, with no more required touch on reality. Religion is an extremely powerful social tool.

12-16-20 6:16  •  Giving to Panhandlers

Lucy: I saw a homeless guy on the street as I was going into a fast food place, so I bought him a couple of burgers and fries and a drink. And you know when I tried to give it to him, he wouldn't take it! He said he needed money! Sure, so he could go spend it on booze and drugs! Yeah, right! I never give money.

Susan: They don't need money! Most of them get into nice cars at the end of the day and drive off laughing at the fools who give to them so they don't have to work!

Karen: I have blessing bags in my car that I give out. They contain 2 pairs of socks and deodorant. If people are truly in need they are grateful for them.

It's not up to me to decide which of your sufferings is most in need of ease. I give money.

12-12-20 2:10  •  Morality in School

CharacterScketch: They should not be teaching morality in the schools!

Holly: Parents teach morality. Schools teach reality.

They are not separate.

Holly: They are extremely separate.

Some people think it is immoral to eat a cow.
Some people think it is immoral to eat a shrimp.
Some people think it is immoral to wear a short skirt.
Some people think it is immoral to dance.

Reality is that all of the above exist in normal society.

People can think anything and are sometimes in error. Morality is derived from harm. If people claim an issue is "moral" but there is no harm, they are in error. Real failures of morality create harm and that is why they are failures, and how you know they are real.

11-11-20 11:11  •  That

CrittyKitty: How's school?

Busy, thanks!

10-10-20 1:23  •  Busy Time

Friend: Why so quiet?

Grad School!

Oh. Good Luck!

Read more in the Archives.