(a)theistic ignorance

ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
(a)theistic ignorance

During the past months the leader of the Catholic Church has been very eloquently dismissing the obsessive focus on sexual morality within the Church, calling out the moral entrepreneurs hiding behind the guise of faith and step by step framing the Catholic narrative in terms of issues much more central to the Bible teachings: economy, poverty and social justice. 
 
I wasn't surprised. The Church has been around long enough to notice that its moral depravity is catching up with it's influence in the world and beginning to cost souls, real estate and money. I expected them know when to try to nip the next Francis of Assisi in the bud by offering their own top-down alternative - a Francis light - someone to repair the damages a bit and continue business as usual. Largely my expectations were met in Pope Francis. He made some concessions, came out in a plain white robe, people noticed and I expected it to be that. This week, however, Pope Francis came out with a speech. 
 
The details of the Pope's writing is not particularly interesting. If you want the details, here are some: 
 
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/27/the_pope_slams_tyranny_of_capitalism 
 
Suffice it to say that his pronouncement of this week is a strong attack on the economics of exploitation, laissez-faire capitalism and the psychopathic scum that find their excuses for destruction of our species in writings of philosophical amputees like Ayn Rand. The Pope doesn't hold back either. The language so vivid and accurate, that I can't find the equivalent in the top echelons of any globally significant leadership of today - the Catholic Church is alone here. 
 
By this point you, dear reader, may be thinking that I am surprised by how progressive the Pope is. I don't know if he's progressive. Frankly I don't care. I don't believe that change comes from the top of an archaic power-hungry hierarchy, no matter what pretty speeches they give us. I am not even surprised by the fact that the Church knows that the ideas of social justice, fairness and combating poverty are the key to the hearts of the modern Catholic and the more broad faithful community. This isn't a surprise any more than it was a surprise 2000 years ago, when a different power-hungry hierarchical bunch of assholes killed one of us on a cross. 
 
What surprises me is that we, the supposedly rational actors, the atheistic cool observers and thinkers, the product of the scientific age, can't quite seem to be able to pull our heads out of our asses, stop debating technical feasibility of claims in an ancient book, recognize our allies when we see them and realize the potential we have in front of us. One of these days we'll either have to move out of our own navel, or just accept the reality that our frame of mind is just as arrested as the people we mistakenly think represent the faithful community.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Beyond Saving wrote:"many

Beyond Saving wrote:

"many cooperating independent actors" is the definition of people forming a corporation. All a corporation consists of is a group of people "independent actors" forming a legal agreement to pursue some cooperative goal- often profit but often not.

No, not at all. A corporation is a legal name for a construct created by the government at the behast of very few actors who do not have to name themselves, who do not appear on the street and certainly don't announce their intentions using human mikes.

Corporations are not people, my friend. They are tools. They are governmental functions delegated to few people who aren't disputed, unless they rob someone rich. They operate in secret with no oversight. They are legal tyranies, opaque to any investigation by the many cooperating independent actors - the 99%.

Beyond Saving wrote:

ZuS wrote:

By the way, think about the "private" sector in the US for a moment. In reality the largest international corporations operating in the US are secretive bueraucratic governmental institutions. They write our laws, they give themselves bailouts and they pick our legislators, yet we have no right to look through their books and apparently no criminal laws apply to them.

There is nothing secretive about it. Laws are published every step of the process. You can see who wrote it, who amended it, who voted for it and which lobbyists donated how much money to those politicians. All that info is easily available. When fundraising, political campaigns maintain lists of PACS, politicians and major donors and which issues they donate money for. Everyone knows the bailouts were passed and apparently support them as the politicians involved have been mostly reelected (many of whom were supported by the OWS crowd).

And yes, you do have a right to look through the books of any publicly traded corporation and there are many criminal laws against fudging the books, ask Enron. Again, looking through the books is as easy as visiting the corporate website and clicking "investor information". You don't even need to get dressed. None of this is secret. You will probably be bored since political spending is a raindrop in the ocean as corporations tend to have the single minded goal of profit, not world domination.

Are you fucking with me here? 1976 Buckley v Valeo opened the floodgates to legalized bribery you today think is no big deal. 1999 repeal of GS put that same legalized bribery on steroids. Currently ongoing travesty is this piece of work from the same crew back in 1976: http://www.fec.gov/law/litigation/McCutcheon.shtml

In federal politics we are awash with corporate money purchasing senators, congressmen and presidents. There is no such thing as one vote for one American, because very few purchased the whole scene. There is some local legislation still responsive to ordinary citizens, but the Koch brothers and their ilk are hard at work to destroy even that bit of democracy.

And as to the secrecy, you cannot be serious. Corporations fight disclosure at every turn, be it Monsanto vs GMO labeling or banks doing LIBOR manipulation behind closed doors. I can't believe I have to tell you this. And how fucking sad is it that you have to go back to Enron to find some jail sentences after the huge ponzi schemes of 2008?

I don't know, man. You seem completely divorced from reality. Ok, let's read on.

Beyond Saving wrote:

Corporations are just groups of people.

Well, hello Mitt Romney. I thought you were against giant bueraucracies that govern people's lives. What happened?

No they aren't people. I own one, I can assure you it's not a person or a group of people. They are legal construct enforced by governmental power of property protection with a sole purpose to create profit and aquire assets. That's not a group of people; that is an a-moral construct with no human emotions, outlook or interest. People running the corporations are far removed from the consequences and external costs of the corporate actions, which makes the corporation in part a shield against the consequences of your actions. The corporation effectively dehumanizes the rest of the world in the board meetings.

Beyond Saving wrote:

Eliminating them is as rational as eliminating all humans.

No it isn't. It's just a legal construct, supposed to perform a useful function in the society; we can reform it, replace it, monitor it and regulate it, just like any other utility. I don't want them eliminated; I want them brought to a level where they aren't perpetually threatening our survival as a species. Iceland has corporations and they managed to avoid Greece-like disaster by reforming and regulating. I own a corporation in Denmark, where regulation is completely crazy compared to what people in US are used to, and still I think my influence is far beyond anything any single person should be able to have, just on the merits of being a successful baker or something irelevant like that. I should not be able to influence local legislation, police or any other institutions to further my goals, but I can. In US this influence is taken to total absurds, where the legislators are literally just the PR department of the corporations.

Beyond Saving wrote:

And no, I am not you. I am part of several corporations and generally consider the private corporation the greatest concept mankind has come up with since the wheel. I consider people like you to be naive idealogues who I wouldn't invest in to run a lemonade stand, let alone a government.

You are right; you definitely aren't me. You aren't me because you have no idea you're a part of the largest oppressive bueraucratic system we ever invented. You rage against oppression by the governmnet, while being the definition of the oppression by the government by proxy. Fucking irony at its finest.

Beyond Saving wrote:

Quite frankly, I am not even sure what you hope to achieve. You say we should work together, but to what end? From what I remember from previous threads you are not an anarchist, you oppose liberty, and have sympathies with OWS which supports a strong state. So what will there be and who is going to run it?

OWS don't support strong, but different state. In a way OWS want a weaker state, to scale back the insane governmental corporate sector - the bailouts for the banks, the drones, billions of oil welfare, the immense waste that is there only to serve corporate aristocrats.

I don't oppose liberty; I oppose the idea that we can set up some system that will work forever. Libertarianism would be great, if we lived in a vacuum - push a ball in space, it goes on forever, right? Not so much here on earth. Here forces intervene. Here you have to kick the ball again and again. I am for kicking the ball, now and forever. I am not a revolutionary, because revolutionaries want to replace current power with their own. I want to resist. Constant bottom-up rebellion, forcing the powerful to be closer to the consequences of their actions, to create more sustainable institutions, to fight the short-termism, to resist the profit-based ignorance of external costs, to place human before machine in all matters. Kind of like what Chris Hedges talks about, minus the massive melancholy. If it means supporting revolutionaries temporarily, I may do that, but they can expect me in opposition the moment they get to power.

Look, you're not as bad as some. But you have to realize that you and I aren't the good guys here. We're corporate. We're part of the system humanity of the future will see as profoundly oppressive and unjust, akin to slavery. We can't even wrap our minds around how bad a rep we will have, once all is said and done. And that's if we don't destroy humanity by our short-termism in the meantime. It's harsh, but it's the reality and the least we can do is acknowladge it and not shit on people who try to change, regulate and moderate, like the Occupy movement has done and continues to do.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
ZuS wrote:harleysportster

ZuS wrote:

harleysportster wrote:

And a bunch of dumb fucks calling themselves "us" is not going to do a goddamn thing but bitch and complain

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/12/5/we_cant_survive_on_725_fast

Don't say I never taught you nothin' Smiling

An article that has been plastered all over every newspaper in the country and this is supposed to "teach me" something ? You almost make me laugh.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
harleysportster wrote:ZuS

harleysportster wrote:

ZuS wrote:

harleysportster wrote:

And a bunch of dumb fucks calling themselves "us" is not going to do a goddamn thing but bitch and complain

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/12/5/we_cant_survive_on_725_fast

Don't say I never taught you nothin' Smiling

An article that has been plastered all over every newspaper in the country and this is supposed to "teach me" something ? You almost make me laugh.

Well, at least I bring a smile to your face Eye-wink

They are going to get the minimum wage increase. They will eventually be able to win union representation. From Occupy to this, people are getting their legs in resistance to oppression and this time it's not fake resistance sponsored by the Koch brothers. They aren't dumb fucks and they will get things done.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


Sage_Override
atheistBlogger
Sage_Override's picture
Posts: 585
Joined: 2008-10-14
User is offlineOffline
Quote:REV. CHERI KROON:

Quote:
REV. CHERI KROON: [echoed by the people’s microphone] Mic check! My name is Reverend Cheri Kroon. I am from the Flatbush Reformed Church. I am here because the Prophet Jeremiah said, "Do justice every morning." Do justice every morning. And in God’s economy, no one gets thrown away. In God’s economy, no one gets thrown away.

 

...except everyone in "God's economy" gets thrown away that isn't rich.  Everyone gets thrown away that isn't rich. 

 

ZuS wrote:
They are going to get the minimum wage increase.

 

Says who?  Ignorant workers that think banding together and bitching will get them anything?  They have no power.  They want to try and take a page out of Occupy's book to use it as a manipulation method to get their way and what they don't seem to understand is that if they strike, there will be twice as many people jockeying for their positions.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want them to be mistreated at work and to have a livable wage, but they aren't special.  None of us are.  If you work at a fast food joint, you either have no choice, need extra cash or you're undereducated.  Disregarding all that, every company is different.  In N' Out pays more, Save Mart pays more, Wal-Mart starts most people out at minimum wage as do most retail jobs as well like Toys R' Us.  Even if they pay a little more, those people STILL don't make enough to live on even if that is their main job and they don't cause a shit storm like these fast food fucks.   

ZuS wrote:
]They will eventually be able to win union representation.

 

Hahahaha!!!!....that's a good one. 

 

ZuS wrote:
From Occupy to this, people are getting their legs in resistance to oppression and this time it's not fake resistance sponsored by the Koch brothers. They aren't dumb fucks and they will get things done.

 

You're right, they're not stupid; they're just annoying, self-entitled whiners that think making a fuss will accomplish a thing.  Just like Occupy!  Look where that went.  NOWHERE.  I supported the Occupy movement because I had similar ideals belonging to the Zeitgeist Movement, but after awhile, I just realized it was a gaggle of people gathering not understanding why they were there.  More people joined and just got on the bullhorn for no reason except to spout the same platitudes over and over again with no real direction or action.  I see this fast food garbage as a halfhearted version of that.  They won't get a thing, they will silently go back to their jobs once they realize they're jeopardizing their income, seek a better job like they should have done in the beginning and shut the hell up.

"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Sage_Override

Sage_Override wrote:

Quote:
REV. CHERI KROON: [echoed by the people’s microphone] Mic check! My name is Reverend Cheri Kroon. I am from the Flatbush Reformed Church. I am here because the Prophet Jeremiah said, "Do justice every morning." Do justice every morning. And in God’s economy, no one gets thrown away. In God’s economy, no one gets thrown away.

...except everyone in "God's economy" gets thrown away that isn't rich.  Everyone gets thrown away that isn't rich. 

If they are, we knock that one down a notch too then.

Sage_Override wrote:

ZuS wrote:
They are going to get the minimum wage increase.

Says who?  Ignorant workers that think banding together and bitching will get them anything? They have no power.

Says reality: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101175212

It's how the current minimum wage was won decades ago. It's how we got our kids out of mine shafts and into public schools, it's how women and blacks got the right to vote. It's how anything good on this planet was done. They have plenty of power.

Sage_Override wrote:

They want to try and take a page out of Occupy's book to use it as a manipulation method to get their way and what they don't seem to understand is that if they strike, there will be twice as many people jockeying for their positions.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want them to be mistreated at work and to have a livable wage, but they aren't special.  None of us are.  If you work at a fast food joint, you either have no choice, need extra cash or you're undereducated.  Disregarding all that, every company is different.  In N' Out pays more, Save Mart pays more, Wal-Mart starts most people out at minimum wage as do most retail jobs as well like Toys R' Us.  Even if they pay a little more, those people STILL don't make enough to live on even if that is their main job and they don't cause a shit storm like these fast food fucks.

They certainly should cause a shit storm and the minimum wage victories that are coming will show them how.

Sage_Override wrote:

ZuS wrote:
]They will eventually be able to win union representation.

Hahahaha!!!!....that's a good one. 

1929 they cracked the skulls of organizers because they knew unions were coming through worker organizing. They knew it was no laughing matter. It's no laughing matter now either.

Sage_Override wrote:

ZuS wrote:
From Occupy to this, people are getting their legs in resistance to oppression and this time it's not fake resistance sponsored by the Koch brothers. They aren't dumb fucks and they will get things done.

You're right, they're not stupid; they're just annoying, self-entitled whiners that think making a fuss will accomplish a thing.  Just like Occupy!  Look where that went.  NOWHERE.  I supported the Occupy movement because I had similar ideals belonging to the Zeitgeist Movement, but after awhile, I just realized it was a gaggle of people gathering not understanding why they were there.  More people joined and just got on the bullhorn for no reason except to spout the same platitudes over and over again with no real direction or action.  I see this fast food garbage as a halfhearted version of that.  They won't get a thing, they will silently go back to their jobs once they realize they're jeopardizing their income, seek a better job like they should have done in the beginning and shut the hell up.

Already the employers are conceeding and as community pressure mounts the number will go higher. Panic will set in and the employers will try to sattle on 15$ an hour just to avoid claims of 30+ and full unionisation. These workers haven't gotten the blood on their teeth yet. Just wait for the empowerment of actual results to kick in. You will see a different labor rise in US.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Sage_Override wrote:You're

Sage_Override wrote:

You're right, they're not stupid; they're just annoying, self-entitled whiners that think making a fuss will accomplish a thing.  Just like Occupy!  Look where that went.  NOWHERE.  I supported the Occupy movement because I had similar ideals belonging to the Zeitgeist Movement, but after awhile, I just realized it was a gaggle of people gathering not understanding why they were there.  More people joined and just got on the bullhorn for no reason except to spout the same platitudes over and over again with no real direction or action.  I see this fast food garbage as a halfhearted version of that.  They won't get a thing, they will silently go back to their jobs once they realize they're jeopardizing their income, seek a better job like they should have done in the beginning and shut the hell up.

I agree

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3359
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
ZuS wrote:Already the

ZuS wrote:

Already the employers are conceeding and as community pressure mounts the number will go higher. Panic will set in and the employers will try to sattle on 15$ an hour just to avoid claims of 30+ and full unionisation. These workers haven't gotten the blood on their teeth yet. Just wait for the empowerment of actual results to kick in. You will see a different labor rise in US.

And when I was working 12 hour days in the printing industry and participated in the fight to get the GCIU union into the plant, the only thing that changed was that all of us workers were still getting fucked in the ass by the company, only now we were paying dues.

And this resulted in a merger with a Canadian company that closed all of our plants throughout the country.

The GCIU were an utter waste of time.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
harleysportster wrote:ZuS

harleysportster wrote:

ZuS wrote:

Already the employers are conceeding and as community pressure mounts the number will go higher. Panic will set in and the employers will try to sattle on 15$ an hour just to avoid claims of 30+ and full unionisation. These workers haven't gotten the blood on their teeth yet. Just wait for the empowerment of actual results to kick in. You will see a different labor rise in US.

And when I was working 12 hour days in the printing industry and participated in the fight to get the GCIU union into the plant, the only thing that changed was that all of us workers were still getting fucked in the ass by the company, only now we were paying dues.

And this resulted in a merger with a Canadian company that closed all of our plants throughout the country.

The GCIU were an utter waste of time.

I get that. At 7% unionisation the unions are really having severe trouble accomplishing anything. However, times are changing and people aren't in a union just to keep tagging along; they are here to fight for survival level wages, for position in the market and basic respect. Also that type of mergers should be subject to anti-trust legislation and these things you can fight for as well. There's a good chance we will see a different breed of labor, aware of their power and unafraid to challenge the employers globally and locally.

It's a fight. Whenever I'm about to fight, I look at my enemy: what is he going to try to take out first? That's the thing he fears the most and I go all in on that. And they crack down on organization more than anything, so it's a fight. Have to have heart for any fight and how much worse can it really get? They will break. All bullies break once their actual safety is in question.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
ZuS wrote:BobSpence

ZuS wrote:

BobSpence wrote:

What aspect of 'our frame of mind' do you see as just as 'arrested' as holding to a 2000 year old supernatural ideology?

Assuming that the bullshit we buy into is less dangerous, better or even different in-kind to that of a given theist. I think that this is a huge mistake. Personally, I think the only real difference is temporal - today some of the "secular" ideologies are far more dangerous to the survival of the species than anything a theist cooked up, because we imagine our future in terms of crap like "necessary destruction", golden shower economics, pay-per-healthcare and drone skies.

What I am trying to do with this thread is draw new lines to define ourselves. I think we should try to be a-bullshit first, a-theist second.

The only reference that I think I recognise there is to "healthcare", which I assume is something to with the fuss over "Obamacare".Living as I do in a nation which has had a public healthcare system for some time, more like Canada and the UK, this seems to be another peculiarly US problem. My concerns about people being subject to "bullshit" would be more concerned with things like Anti-vaccination campaigns, homeopathy and other 'health' scams, including 'faith' healing, which are actually leading to deaths, especially among children.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence wrote:The only

BobSpence wrote:

The only reference that I think I recognise there is to "healthcare", which I assume is something to with the fuss over "Obamacare".Living as I do in a nation which has had a public healthcare system for some time, more like Canada and the UK, this seems to be another peculiarly US problem. My concerns about people being subject to "bullshit" would be more concerned with things like Anti-vaccination campaigns, homeopathy and other 'health' scams, including 'faith' healing, which are actually leading to deaths, especially among children.

I am immersed in this stuff every day, discuss it all the time with people so I forget that many don't follow the current events the way I do. No, I was not refering to Obamacare in particular, although it's a good example of a complete systemic failure helped along by insane secular ideologies. The failure is NOT what the media will tell you, but the fact that Single Payer as they call it in US was never an option. Single Payer would be more like the system you have wherever you live - publicly funded healthcare. This system would, in time, destroy any notion that healthcare should be a private insurance monopoly, so they couldn't allow that to happen.

I live in Denmark (public healthcare, public education, public a lot of stuff) and I recognize that every "peculiarly US problem" is a potential and almost always definite future problem for everyone. US is a mass exporter of neo-liberal policies for the past 40 years, by force if necessary. Our politicians will try what the neo-liberals succeded with in US. It's a guarantee.

Here in Denmark public healthcare has been threaten for 11-12 years by alternatives that are more expensive, less efficient, but pocket more money for the suppliers and get better jobs for the politicians after their time in office, if they make good friends with the industry now. All of our education system is publicly funded (I graduated Computer Science from Copenhagen University; consistently rated top 50 in the world, fully publicly funded), but for the past 12 years the cuts and attempts at commercialization (introduction of tuition) and privatization have degraded the quality of education and are threatening the whole model. Same is the case with a whole range of societal issues, these mostly being under attack from EU decisions that trumph local law.

Now the newest travesty our politicians are cooking up together with the US is the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, popularly known as the TPP. The level of potential destruction bottled up in that treaty is so huge and far reaching, that I have difficulties explaining it to people without their eyes glazing over in disbelief. I rutinely get I-must-have-not-heard-that-right-or-this-guy-is-just-insane kind of reactions, because what the treaty does is simply insidious. In one sentence: any country that agrees to it will submit to an "independent tribunal" appointed by international corporations, where the corporations can bring lawsuits against the agreeing nations states, if they deem that the nation state incured loss of profit for them - be it by enforcing environmental regulation, labor, food safety, whatever. This treaty is literally the death of the nation state and start of the global corporate state, if your govt signs on to it. And once you sign on it, changing it requires agreement of all members - welcome to permanent super-national law. Nagotiations in the EU are underway.

By the way, the whole treaty is super hush-hush stuff; nobody can hear any of it, legislators or citizens. Here's a quick presentation to the leaked chapter; just a taste of it: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/14/tpp_exposed_wikileaks_publishes_secret_trade

Notice that the guy commenting there is from the Cato institute - one of the most neo-liberal think tanks in the country. He himself is at a loss when facing the blatant corporatist agenda, which is quite extraordinary to hear from these guys.

Look, you are not a citizen of some country that is not affected by this. You are a citizen of the world and these guys are your legislators. We've beaten many of these types of legislation before (SOPA for example), but they keep coming and we must keep fighting.

Without even mentioning the financial disaster and the wars-for-profit, I think I have presented enough to show that secular delusions are far, far more dangerous than anything theists come up with today. If you have any questions, I have links and even memberships to journalistic and commentary sites that go in-depth with these issues from the perspective of the citizen; not the perspective of the corporation, which is what you are likely to get in your mainstream coverage.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
So this right here is why I

So this right here is why I think we could do worse than give our faithful allies a pass on some of their nonsense:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdczhcY9YA4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Our nonsense is much more dangerous and we need them for that fight.

 

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
 A lot of troubling food

 A lot of troubling food for thought there. I am still think religious modes of thought effectively endorse authoritarian social structures, so they also should still be challenged.

Either way, I think as the world gets more entangled culturally, socially, etc, there are increasing possibilities for groups with their own agendas to pursue them.

The more I think on all this, the messier it all becomes. 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


iwbiek
atheistSuperfan
iwbiek's picture
Posts: 4197
Joined: 2008-03-23
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence wrote:I am still

BobSpence wrote:
I am still think religious modes of thought effectively endorse authoritarian social structures

yes, but so do most other human modes of thought.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


Atheistextremist
atheist
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5133
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Nice lateral thread, folks

I think we'd generally agree that the morally consistent side of religion (its humanity) can be broadly supported by all so long as the doing of good deeds is not a stealthy evangelical instrument. This particular pope does say some oddly normal things, which I think is a reflection of just how far out of touch Christian (and muslim) doctrine is with evolving human moral behaviours. It's such a surprise to hear a pope say something sensible. He comes across as amazingly balanced just for being momentarily human.

The church cannot change stripes, of course. Here in Oz the other day, one state legalised gay marriage and the poor gays rushed to get married legally before the conservative federal government challenged the ruling in the land's highest court. All the while the gays were roundly denounced by Christians who accused them of threatening family values (children). These Christians are an off-shoot the same cult that serially abuses children and covers it up. That's pretty much inexcusable in my book.

Something to bear in mind ZuS, and as you obviously know, this is a forum for venting about past religious experiences, sharing thoughts, getting support, etc. There's bound to be some confirmation bias washing about. Nevertheless, the nature of the personalities here tends to draw our debate towards the middle. Personally, I don't disagree with what I think is your original point, that we should support individual behaviours that are good, whatever their source.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Sage_Override
atheistBlogger
Sage_Override's picture
Posts: 585
Joined: 2008-10-14
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence wrote:A lot of

BobSpence wrote:
A lot of troubling food for thought there. I am still think religious modes of thought effectively endorse authoritarian social structures, so they also should still be challenged.

Either way, I think as the world gets more entangled culturally, socially, etc, there are increasing possibilities for groups with their own agendas to pursue them.

The more I think on all this, the messier it all becomes.

 

That's why we all need to come together right now and use that confusion to create cohesive understanding.

 

That being said, here's a dose of rational thought:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-51V-gUaPxY 

"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence wrote:A lot of


BobSpence wrote:

A lot of troubling food for thought there.

Shit... I rarely if ever get that response. Well, let's make the most of it Laughing out loud

Your last post is worth two responses and putting them into one post would not be good for the brain. Tough choice. Here are the two titles:

1) Religion as a heuristic for solving complex problems (problems with Dancing Terrain solution space)

2) Ideology is not the objective, but the means: ancient group dynamics and modern compound effects

I have to take #1 first, because it is more in line with this thread and it really is a premise for #2. I may make a separate thread for #2; it is a real eye-opener on wtf is going on around here and what to do about it literally today - immediate actionable info.

Without further delay, here's #1.

Back to your post for a second.

BobSpence wrote:

I am still think religious modes of thought effectively endorse authoritarian social structures, so they also should still be challenged.

That is a valid concern and I want to address it directly, but to do so, I must take you for a small trip through the science of complex systems. You are a patient man, so I am hoping you will stick with me through it.

It is a relatively unknown field of study, which is a crime - rough outlines of it should be the premise of all of our education. I can recommend a great crash-course on it here:

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=5181

The price on that site is steep, but I would never advise anyone to look for a rather fast torrent alternative on a torrent site. So don't do it. Really. I totally mean it.

The essence of it follows in this post and it should be enough to understand my point.

Everything worth doing in life is a problem with a solution space. Problems can be classified in three distinct groups according to their solution space:

1) Mount Fuji (MF) - a simple single peak problem, hence the name. Taylorism is always presented with a super simple example of a MF problem: optimizing shovel size for productive output. A search algorithm for this problem is stupidly simple: you increase the size while the productivity increases, then stop once it starts falling. We know the optimal shovel size given the material shoveled; it will never change - MF problems are solved only once. This is incidentally why a snow shovel is huge compared to a coal shovel - snow is lighter and optimal size for output is different. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. Taylorism became and ideology based on the belief that everything can be reduced to a MF problem. It is , of course, a total bullshit assumption and completely defeated today, but the core idea has been used to destroy entire economies. The effects of Taylorism are with us in very ugly forms even today, because our understanding of solution spaces is totally fucked by it. Taylorism is partly responsible for this post - people profoundly misunderstand the markets, free-market ideology grips them quickly and effortlessly and the complexity is ignored. Massive negative social changes were and are being pushed based on this fundamental misunderstanding, partly giving Taylorism as a reason why it's not a bad deal for us. Whether you think it was a mistake or an excuse is irrelevant - by today it should be clear to the most hard-core free-market fundamentalist that something is very rotten here. If they are honest, that is.

2) Rugged Terrain (RT) - a static solution space with a bunch of peaks, a bunch of possible MF solutions to the same problem. You may spend more time searching for the best peak, but you can usually devise an exact algorithm to solve the problem in some amount of time and then never worry about it again. This class of problems is what gives the MF problems an illusion of being universally applicable - you can just apply the MF strategy all over the solution space and then just pick the highest peak.

3) Dancing Terrain (DT) - solutions are worth only for a space of time; a single variable can change everything in a moment, even the calculation of the current solution can make your solution instantly invalid! This is how most things in life work, but I will take the example of an airline ticket pricing system as illustration for clarity. As an airline company you can calculate the perfect pricing scheme for the market; it will take you a couple of months of crunching numbers and the price will be invalid the second you  start calculating it. Some schmuck just finished his calculation, set his price and changed the entire market - your data is gone. All of a sudden, lines drop off because they are no longer rentable, new lines pop up and the solution unknown. Even worse: if you could spend billions on a computer rig that can calculate the perfect price instantly, it will be invalidated the next second, because your own change will prompt changes in the system, effectively invalidating your solution. This is why airline industry isn't into super computers.

The class of problems that have DT solution space is called complex. In computer science we often use heuristics to approximate solutions to these problems. Heuristics are basically just rule-of-thumb algorithms that give you a pretty good answer very quickly; their usability varies according to how well they match the problem.

Different aspects of life are clearly complex problems and we need heuristics to solve them. We have a particular problem in front of us: corporate takeover of the global economy. We have some heuristics at our disposal and I think religion is very well suited for the purpose. Let's look at it:

a) Core message of love, equality and value in sacrifice for others - the antithesis to the Ayn Rand morality model that supports the corporate state. Christianity actually has their #1 guy in the mythology saying that it is harder for a rich man to enter heaven than a camel to pass through an eye of a needle - they are natural enemies of narcissistic opulence and reject the idea that wealth equals role-model. They drink it in with mothers milk.

c) They have organized and eloquent leaders, who communicate the core of this complex message in simple terms using little more than a reference to a story from a book.

d) It is based on simple human language and can be communicated across the usual barriers of class, faith, language, etc.

e) At their best, ordinary faithful are stoic and steadfast, stand by their principles and will go far before stopped. They literally have it built into the ideology - suffering and sacrifice.

f) Quickly organized masses of people for a cause - the anathema of the aristocratic/autocratic leaders, but if and only if done by the opposition.

g) Some of them are prone to being bullshitted, but let's be honest - same is the case with any confused and weak individual. These will follow the crowd. If we get the best of them to the front of the pack, the insanity of the Tea Party will take shape of a million-men march and have the spirit of a Dream Speech.

Points f) and g) address your concern that religious beliefs "endorse authoritarian social structures", but this is actually secondary to the point in this post. The point is that religious beliefs are a heuristic - a way to see complex problems in simple terms, but still capture the core of the issue and be able to act on the information in an organized and rational fashion. In this respect, what Jesus taught his followers about economy is infinitely more valuable than anything given to us by the conventional class on economics.

Our opponents seem to understand this perfectly and have no problem recruiting religious folks for their cause. They promote idiots, charlatans and free-marketeers to lead the religious pack, they have Fox "News" define what Christian, Muslim and Jew is. They pull out every divide-and-conquer item they can find in the Bible, latch it onto some loud-mouth with the corresponding chip on his shoulder and finance his escapades. They know that, if they didn't do massive divide-and-conquer on this crowd, they would have to spend even bigger resources to get rid of people like MLK, who would be popping up all over the place. If we let them disable one of our most potent heuristics by sheer repetition of connecting it to cretins, crooks, narcissists and profiteers, if we let them make us hate it and distrust the people who are potentially some of our best allies, we have bigger issues heading our way, because we seem incapable of acting rationally in a complex environment.

I am not saying that religion is all we have - far from it. People have been resisting oppression in all possible ways for millenia. The modern 99% and the Occupy movement are in the process of creating a whole new generation of heuristic hackers that will be effective and at the same time resistent to individual tergeting of leaders and bullshit propaganda by imposters, thus giving a platform for everyone, including good-faithed religious, to step up. Small organizations are popping up focusing on surgical-precision strikes that involve building large platforms of supporters and volonteers. Even if their primary goal is not successful right away, they are building minds and means for the future. They aim at the moon and hit the stars - a heuristic. An example is here:

http://www.wolf-pac.com

In a way, my rant on benefits of the religious heuristic are just as much an argument for not discarding and abandoning tried-and-true methods of organizing and fighting bottom-up. Think Ghandi said it best:

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

The consequence of this conclusion is, of course, a different post and involves title #2. Stay tuned for that; may appear in a separate post/forum. I will post a link in this one if/when it happens.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.