Sunday, September 30, 2018


I guess the reason why I enjoy philosophy so much is that at its core, it has a deep concern for truth and knowledge. This discipline is focused on uncovering the way things actually are, the way the world is.

Philosophy makes the assumption that truth exists and it is accessible to our minds. It makes the assumption that truth is objective and universal to humans. And, since truth and reality exist-- by necessary extension-- there is such a thing as fiction, untruth, fallacy. Not everything can be true or real.

If we live our lives according to what is real and true--what is reality--we can make better predictions about our own lives and about society at large. Our perceptions of events and how to respond to them will likely be more accurate.

Why would we not want the most accurate vision? Is it because we do not think it is accessible or because we think truth and reality are tainted by the limitations and discrepancies of our human mind? Or, are we afraid of the truth? Are we afraid that it could demolish some of our preferred fantasies...ideologies?

Science has a system in place... a methodology for finding truth about the world. No other system either in the past or the present has such remarkable reliability, consistency and predictive powers as the discipline of science.

Let's say you post an ad on your Craigslist Community section for a "Bible Study for people who believe in the God of the Bible". Since you're likely to be living in a diversely religious community, you may have a Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witness and a Mormon attend. If you ask each of them "How to have eternal life in heaven" you will likely get several different (and contradictory) responses. Even major themes they derive from the Bible will get a different response from each of these members. You may all agree in the general idea that "God" and "Jesus" exist and that " He wants a relationship with you". However, once you decide to probe into more specific details about various texts and also about which texts should be emphasized more (or less) it becomes a crap shoot.

This is why you can't base a system of truth off of a--book/religious idea or theory where there is little consensus among the participants and even among the so-called experts. You know that the text is probably not the most reliable text at getting its message across if everyone is giving a slightly (or majorly) different account and emphasizing different verses. 

Any text/idea/theory is useless if it cannot clearly communicate its message to a wide range of participants (and experts) within its field. After all, communicating the message is the basic goal here.

Unlike religious texts, Scientists have come to some fairly startlingly strong agreements about various phenomena in nature. Even experts from other fields will readily agree with discoveries from other fields and will find ways to integrate this knowledge into their own field. That's because the thing discovered was universally true. A truth discovered in science has an impact outside its domain.

Science, of course, is comprised of groups of humans, both individually and collectively, who tune their minds to the acquisition of knowledge. They may decide one or two specific areas to research and add to the body of current knowledge that already exists. First though, these scientists are committed to an unbiased/impartial account of what they discover and should be open to being proven wrong.

We keep hearing that "Capitalism is imperfect--and can result in some major social inequities--but it's still the best economic system that we have, at least compared to the others." I tend to agree with this. 

In the same way, the system of science is still imperfect but it is the best we have for learning about our world and making predictions about things. Contrast this with ancient religious texts, revelation, personal accounts, hearing voices while praying, psychics, tarot cards and fortune cookies. These all have something to forecast--but how truthful are they? Do they say anything very specific so that we can test the predictive power they seem to claim? Or, do they default to rough, blurry generalizations with vague projections so that we are merely tricked into thinking that they are true?

Thankfully, in any marketplace there is a process of scrutiny and competition and analysis by competitors. In the marketplace of ideas there is also a process of scrutiny, analysis and competition by other scientists who are motivated to prove the other scientists wrong (or incomplete) or to snatch the discovery before the other scientist reaches it first.

Science has an inherent system of checks and balances precisely because science functions so very differently from religious ideology. This system of checks and balances is one of constant questioning, doubting and scrutiny that is undertaken in this process.

Anyone who has a high regard for truth will first and foremost have an accurate definition of the word truth. All communication between humans begins with language and having a shared understanding of the meanings of words. Words are specific sounds that represent things--both concrete, tangible things and abstract ideas.

Caring about truth starts out by caring about what is tangible and real, what is material and present. This is where science comes in, because it says things about the material, physical world. Caring about truth means that you take what is discovered about the natural world seriously. It also means that you will consider and study those topics which the human senses may not be privy to. You realize that there are instruments created by humans--by science--and you can trust that those instruments will give you accurate results about the physical world. Those instruments may be things like microscopes, telescopes, ultrasound... to name a few.

Anyone who cares about the acquisition of Truth recognizes, humbly, that there is still so much that they do not know. And, if such a person cannot claim with certainty that something exists--say, angels dancing on the head of a pin or whether or not the Greek God Zeus causes thunder and lightning, they will promptly say, "I don't know".

When you say, "I don't know" this means that you do not have knowledge of something or some incident. Saying "I don't know" means that you are not privy to said things existence or being. Such thing (or incidence) could exist, perhaps outside your threshold of perception, but since you cannot perceive it either with your perception or with the aid of an instrument, you are most candid when you say "I don't know."

To me, a steadfast decision to be a truth seeker is the best way I can comport my being in this life--because truth is the best guide. It is true that life is short, and truth is not always fun, nor does it always align with my ego or my aspirations as a human being. is the thing, above anything else, that must be taken into account because it will have the most impact on my life and on my own welfare.

Agreed. It's probably self serving, evolutionarily advantageous and simply pragmatic that I seek truth. Thankfully, since this truth is universal and will affect everyone; my alliance to the truth will also be a benefit to others, since we are all enmeshed and affected by it in similar ways. In other words, the truth will impact me to a similar extent that it will impact others. My "self-serving concern for the truth", is an indirect form of caring for others.

One of the reasons I found myself coming towards philosophy and falling away from religion and religious views of "truth" was religion's appeal to emotion and its use of fear (again, an emotion). Religion instills a sense of fear for questioning, for doubting, for contemplation, for continual inquiry of new or different ideas.

Worse than its hellfire threats, religion imprisons your own mind from thinking---from hearing different voices, different perspectives. It is the embodiment of speech censorship.

Religion is like the angry mob of students trying to shut down a speaker--those who chant loudly so that others cannot hear the WORDS, the SPEECH, the IDEAS put forth by others because said speech is considered to be heretical. 

Religion shuts down other viewpoints because it "already has the right answer"--it has the final say--and other, competing ideas are simply "heresy".

Science knows quite a bit more than religion. It rarely boasts yet it has dramatically increased the human lifespan in recent centuries. Science is still humble enough to say, "This is what we know so far", let's hear your perspective too--and if you want to test out your ideas in this marketplace, feel free. There's no censorship to ideas of the mind here--you can think freely and speak freely here.

Sure science works. The proof is in it's products, the technologies it creates that we ALL can use. But also, science--this scientific community that we discuss--knows that what it has discovered is tentative and subject to adaptation, improvement and even (potentially) being overturned. 

That is the difference between science and dogma. Sure, both enterprises are made of fallible, limited humans--but at least with science, we know that it knows its own fallibility. 

Conversely, there is no way to "overturn" what is considered divinely inspired. It is just assumed to be true and that's it. The "sin" comes in the form of questioning this--by considering other explanations for why things are the way they are.

If you have derived your views on what your parents or what your grandparents think, then it's likely that you have exhibited little curiosity, little doubt, and little reflection upon these views. 

Instead, you have probably generated an emotional commitment to these views. That is, you find yourself aligning with the views of your parents and your ancestors because they make you feel comfortable - they are what you have always known. You just assume them to be true.

Perhaps you feel that having deeper curiosity for such views could stir up doubt and might have some sort of negative consequence--so you remain motivated by fear and intimidation and threats. So you stay within the lines, the rigid demarcations of what you have always known and believed.

If you do not have a clearly objective perspective of your views, how can you ever say that you've derived them rationally? And why should anyone else be expected to take on your views either?

Friday, September 14, 2018


Every day and every night before I dive into the underworld of sleep, I find myself completing inconsequential tasks. I’m unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry and chauffeuring it off to its designated drawers or closets.

 I’m picking up toys, and gadgets…and books. I’m wiping off cupboards and counters; and all of this is being done after 10:30pm—when the children have finally gone to bed.
 Instead of employing my intellect and reading about fascinating topics or writing down my thoughts, my time is displaced by constant, undervalued, invisible clean-up. This is labor that imparts not intellectual or academic value to my mind. There is almost no part of this that can be accessed and marketed at a future time. This is time not simply wasted—but time spent on wear and tear on the human body.

Almost all my daily hours are displaced and taken over by physical labor. I am now fully convinced that this is the reason women throughout the ages have made very few strides in science, engineering and invention (compared to men).  It is women who have been mothers throughout millennia. And, being a mother means all of those moments that you could have used to research a particular topic, invent something or become a prominent scientist, were used—were displaced—by childcare and housework duties.

 If you give women more time, you’ll find that they could manifest incredible results—because their drive for success, education and influence is so strong. Women are naturally ambitious perfectionists and tend to be quite conscientious. They are extremely hard working. Many are growing up to value their time and their acquisition of knowledge. So many women want to act upon…within this world and make a difference and many realize that the time to do this is short.

I keep hearing the phrase, “The Future is Female” and I am frightful that this will likely be the case. As a group, we as women are pushing forward at astounding speeds. Our ambition and courage is nearing its peak.

Around the globe, women are multi-tasking everywhereto untold degrees of madness. Were taking care of children while cleaning our houses, juggling education and careers, pursuing creative business ventures and dabbling with side hobbies to enrich our minds that give us even more skills.

I am not one of these women. I’m currently a full-time, stay-at-home Mom. I’ve become very aware of what’s happening on a social scale because I’ve found myself to be in the minority. I’ve been given a distinct vantage point of what is going on in the general female population around the globe. People always seem to be jarred with shock when I mention that I’m a stay-at-home mom without a side business, career and not taking any online college courses. Compared to most other women, I feel like a slacker.

And, this is where my lamentations come in for the phrase, “The Future is Female”. Women are the new men. The new group in society who must bear the brunt of the hardship, family loyalty as well as work both outside and inside the home—while the men are all off accomplishing the vast amount of the leisure and entertainment and downtime.

 Jordan Peterson has said, “There is going to be a time when women will have to work because men won’t.” I have arrived at a recent theory myself. My predictions about society are derived from all the observations I’ve been accumulating over the past decade as I watch the interactions and associations between the male and female gender in various societies—in cities literally all over the world.

Certainly, the data reveals that among the younger cohort in society, women are taking the lead in terms of college education, degrees, entrepreneurial ventures and careers that make a decent living. Even in mediocre or menial minimum wage jobs it appears that younger women are equaling or even outnumbering younger men.

But I think that when women are the primary breadwinners in society, this spells doom for the long-term health and welfare of society…of civilization itself. It’s particularly damning for women who prefer marriage and long-term, tightly committed, monogamous heterosexual relationships.

Currently, women are taught to think that they are like Atlas—that they can be all things. But we are not. At some point things are going to give; Atlas’ arms are going to weaken and break off.

Women cannot continually be assigned every single job in society while their counterparts—males within their age cohort—sit back and spend their most valuable, youthful years playing video games, watching videos, eating fast food and living off the estate (i.e. their parents or grandparents).

Women are doled out almost every conceivable task in modern society and take it on fully—from careers to raising children, to running entire households to cooking, cleaning, hobbies and extra side ventures. On top of all this, very many are taking night classes to improve their educational outlook. Women everywhere seem to be juggling it all.

However, there is one thing that the vast majority of women want more than anything.  In the end, even more than a successful career, women really do want a man. They want a committed partner…a marriageable mate…a long-term, monogamous relationship with a man. Yet, by the time women are ready for that kind of a relationship—they’ve achieved the education and career that they’ve so diligently sought after, they discover that it’s too late. This is because the men within their sphere of influence and the men they find desirable—even the men they find with the minimum level of decency for their standards—have already either married and partnered off. The few single men available are inmates, only interested in short-term flings or have gone down the irrevocable path of bachelorhood.

These days, things are very difficult for women who will have an 80+ year life span. But, unlike what you hear shouted from all corners of Western society and in every social media post, it’s not because women are being oppressed or denied opportunities or unable to participate in politics.
 Just ask your typical woman in society why she has so much anxiety, why she is so depressed…why she is so unhappy and she will inevitably respond with something about her current relationship—something to do with a man (or lack thereof).

No matter what anyone would like to tell you or what people would like to hear, clearly heterosexual women are very wrapped up, entangled and affected by the men around them and the relationships they do (or do not) have with them.
But women have, unbeknownst to them, contributed to the problems they are now facing in society.

I think that the mating pattern and the entire unfolding of (Western) society has been going in a deleterious, almost dysgenic direction. It’s hard to pin-point when, exactly, when this transgression began. Perhaps women have become desperate and are lowering their standards—willing to mate with men in hopes of future commitment. 
As a result, women in Western society have been gradually intermixing their genes with unfit men. (This is not to suggest that women in society are necessarily “better” than the men within their cohort).  It’s just that for mating purposes, it is the female species who must be the choosy one. For it is the female who chooses whom she will mate with---if anyone at all.

Thus, it is absolutely necessary for women to find the fittest mate for the welfare of her future offspring and the welfare of future society. And, by "fittest" here, we mean a mate who has attributes that would foment the survival of her children—a mate who has strong protector and provider qualities; a monogamous mate whom she can count on for provision in both times of hardship and health. A polygamous man will have many offspring and not be able to devote the amount of resources, time and care to her children that a monogamous man could.

How else can a female raise her offspring without such a (monogamous) partnership? Society may currently pretend like this is feasible. But it is only feasible with the help of the ultimate sugar daddy, The State—and all its financial goodies. While a single mother can still work and have her career, she will undoubtedly be assisted by the State with the survival of her children. She will get numerous entitlements like housing, food, cash, healthcare, and even daycare…even reduced student lunches if her children attend public schools.

If (and when) the father has abandoned her, she will have The State to look after her children—and, by necessary extension, herself. She won’t have to give up her educational pursuits or her career either—the things that modern women desire more than anything else. The State, in essence, will allow her to have her cake and eat it too. Of course, this is in exchange for her vote—her allegiance to the State. The State gains more and more power by this set-up while the individuals in society lose their liberty.

But I believe that teaching women to depend on the State instead of on another person/partner will have harmful consequences for the future of society. This is what is happening here. The State, in effect, teaches women that they need not be extremely picky with whom they mate with, because they know that they have a back-up, (The powerful State, of course). They know that with the help of The State they will indeed be able to juggle single Motherhood, their career and even their education.

For the long-term welfare of society—even the survival of human society, itself, women must be taught to be extremely choosy in the mate selection process. Promulgating genes from men who are mentally unstable, uncommitted, dull, or who live out their lives in apathy and stupor is to promote dysgenics in society.

Remember, society in aggregate will end up being a reflection of the genes that it has to work with—the genes that are being expressed.

If society should have any “goals” at all, dysgenics should probably not be one of them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My Dad Sent a Sin/Salvation article... my thoughts

Hi! If you're up for a lighter "everyday" blog, please check out my other blog here: my fun, lite blog
Now onto more serious concerns...
It was a few weeks ago that my Dad sent me this link in my email entitled, Differences between Salvation in the Qur'an and the Bible.
Not sure if he thought I was delving into Islam (why would I have any interest)? Or, if he thought it had some theological punches about sin and salvation that showed Christianity's superiority to other religious viewpoints. Either way I skimmed the article and these were the tangential thoughts that came in the middle of the night...when I was nursing my baby...when I could literally speak the words into my blog and not have to type a word. These are the rare occasions where I can concentrate on "deeper" topics.
A big issue with Christianity is it's focus on humans beings as sinful, evil, and not good enough. This is a similar behavior in some relationships.
It's like the awful boyfriend who tells his girlfriend, "You are nothing without me, be thankful to be with me because I love you despite your faults--what you lack--your "good actions" and "good qualities" are essentially worthless to me but I will take care of you anyway. 
You are lucky to be with me and remember, it's "through me" that you gain your worth and value anyways. Actually, without me nobody will want you and you will be ALONE/SINGLE FOREVER!."

 Just make a few substitutions here and you have the God of the Bible, telling you that without him, you will burn (alone) forever.Do you recognize this? Many young women today have boyfriends who treat them with this exact pattern of behavior- but the irony is that the God of the Bible appears to act (and think) in the exact same way.
This is not a healthy or productive behavior but it appears to be a common theme of manipulative, sociopathic individuals throughout the course of our history. When you see the above pattern of behavior displayed by any supposed deity or person, take pause, it's probably coming from the mind of a psychopath and usually a male (females have much lower rates of psycopathy throughout the course of human history).
The behavior described above reminds me of how masters treat their slaves or how captives treat their victims. It's called "Stockholm syndrome."
Now back to "sin". It's certainly reasonable to think that humans are imperfect. But we do not need a devil or deity or an afterlife to tell us this. I don't think anyone has ever suggested that they were perfect.
We are goverrned by both virtues and vices and we have a limited and fallible brain. We often do behave in ways that indulge the less virtuous side of our nature. We take short cuts at the expense of future well-being. In many cases we take the self absorbent path and do not defer gratification so we act out in what are called "sins" such as rage, lust, violence, impoliteness, dishonesty, debt, selfishness, overeating (because it feels better in the moment).
I tend to see "sin" not as some offense to a mystical being (that we have no physical way of testing the existence of and thus proving it's existence)-- but rather as David Brooks eloquently states in his secular book, "The Road to Character". This is the most reasonable look at what can be considered "sin" that I've ever encountered yet.
Regarding sin he States the following:
"Sin is a necessary piece of our mental furniture because it reminds us that life is a moral affair. No matter how hard we try to reduce everything to deterministic brain chemistry, no matter how hard we try to reduce behavior to the set of herd instinct that is captured in big data, no matter how hard we strive to replace sin with nonmoral words like "mistake" or "error" or "weakness, the most essential parts of life are matters of individual responsibility ad moral choice: whether to be brave or cowardly, honest or deceitful, compassionate or callous, faithful or disloyal."
and here:
"We really do have dappled souls. The same ambition that drives us to build a new company also drives us to be materialistic and to exploit. The same lust that lead to children, leads to adultery. The same confidence that can lead to daring and creativity can lead to self worship and arrogance."
 and here:
"Sin is not some demonic thing. It's just our perverse tendency to fuck things up, to favor the short term over the long term, the lower over the higher. Sin, when it is committed over and over again hardens to loyalty to a lower love. The danger with sin, in other words, is that it feeds on itself. Small moral compromises on Monday make you more likely to commit even bigger moral compromises on Tuesday. A person lies to himself and can no longer distinguish when he is lying to himself and when he isn't."
and here:
"A person is consumed by the sin of self-pity, a passion to be righteous victim that devours everything around it as surely as anger and greed. People rarely commit big sins out of the blue. They walk through a series of doors. They have an unchecked problem with anger. They have an unchecked problem with drinking or drugs.
"The final reason sin is a necessary part of our mental furniture is that without it, the whole method of character building dissolves. From time immemorial, people have achieved glory by achieving great external things, but they have built character by struggling against their internal sins. People become solid, stable and worthy of self-respect because they have defeated or at least struggled with their demons. If you take away the concept of sin, you take away the thing that the good person struggles against."
and here...
"Our days are filled with moral occasions."
 Many Christians will jump in at this point once hearing these quotes and emphasize that "sin" is ultimately our nature that "goes against God". Thus, according to the Christian, sin is more a corruption of our own nature that goes against "God himself"-- it isn't simply a list of our misdeeds and misbehaviors. Rather, these misdeeds and misbehaviors reflect our being's fallen state with relation to the divine, perfect being--God.
Now, I want you to recognize that the Christian understanding of sin goes against the common, everyday understanding of "sin" held by the average person who isn't concerned with theology or philosophy.
People think of "their sin" in relationship to others-- to other HUMANS WHO PHYSICALLY EXIST. How did I betray my friend? Did I act selfishly to my husband the other day? Did I treat the checker at the grocery store rudely? Could I have driven less aggressively? Should I have given that homeless man some cash? Am I coming across as arrogant? Should I have spent less time on the internet and more time playing with my children? Should I have been more generous with my time...compliments...or knowledge to others?
And this is what makes sense, what is the most salient for us to understand. We only need to live in a society-- among OTHER PEOPLE to come to the realization that our behavior is going to have an effect on not just ourselves, but others. There are clearly certain behaviors that are going to help society and others that are less helpful, or even hurtful.
The Christian View of Sin and humans:
The Christian view of sin is that you as a human are so wretched and lowly that the only worth you have is in Christ/God. In fact, anything good you do isn't even valued or taken into the equation. Its worthless---you're worthless.
This is not a healthy mindset for any human to have. It is not a recipe for personal responsibility-- but rather a recipe for thinking that your life is shuffled by the hands of a force outside yourself-- until problems and mistakes arise and guess who gets the blame!? You do!
In other words, you get the full blame for the misdeeds and "sins" you commit, but you do not get to take any of the responsibility or pride for the good that you do-- because remember, it's not your works that get you into heaven (as lambasted incessantly by Christian Protestants).

It doesn't matter if the concepts of sin and/or salvation are different between Christianity and Islam. We still need to examine the theology/philosophy behind these religious doctrines and see if they work...if they actually make sense in the world we interact with.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

To my Fundamentalist Parents

I wish you could understand me. I wish we could connect and really relate. After all, the word "relationship" has the very word "relate" in it.

But the truth is, this will never happen the way I would like. I do understand you...but you will never understand me.

Your religion....your religious delusions about so many things will hinder you from truly understanding me. After all, these delusions of yours are used to define me-- to determine who I am, and, more specifically, why I am the way I am.

You allow a largely fallacious set of views to characterize me-- even before asking me about anything.

When you allow an ancient book (and your preferred interpretations of it) the ability to determine everything around you-- why everything is the way it is and why people behave the way they do, you are bound to get a very distorted view of the world and the people in it.

The Christian religion isn't very different from other religions in as much as it has built upon assumptions about a number of things. One of thoes things is the "Inerancy of Scripture". There is this assumption that the Bible is free of errors and that it is divinely written and inspired and so it is the source that a Christian goes to in order to determine all things. If the Bible says something about science, then, it is that account that is taken as authoritative and true, even if it happens to go against a natural/scientific account.

The Bible does not say anything specific about the natural world but it does seem to say plenty of specific things about the "spiritual realm"--claims that conveniently can't be tested or falsified in the first place--because, after all, these are things that are not part of this world. They are beyond this world. How nicely convenient to be able to escape the necessity of providing rational thought and arguments for such beliefs.

I love you but I often feel sad about our relationship. I see so many other parent-child relationships where the parents are just happy to be with their children and share a relationship with them--not incessantly longing for their children to be converts to their particular ideology. Not constantly worried that their children will end up in hell. I know these thoughts are on your minds at all times. People that you know have conducted themselves in this life FAR WORSE than the average person but are guaranteed a spot in heaven, simply because they expressed faith--while I, your disbelieving daughter, will likely go to hell.

When I asked you the other night if the Jews would be in the same place as their killer, Hitler--in Hell, right? You made reservations for them. You didn't seem to let this make you feel uneasy about the theology you uphold. You were able to suggest that "Well we don't know everything about God and his plan. We know so little.". You can use that same logic for me then. You can rest assured that I won't be going to hell no matter what I think or believe.

 Loreen thinks the same way. We met for coffee a few days ago and during a pause in our conversation she said, "Renee, I'd like to get serious with you. You probably know where I'm going with this already....but I'm concerned about you. I'm concerned about your kids. I think about you a lot and how you've lost your faith...I think about how it must hurt your family...your parents! Your parents must be so worried for you. You know there is a heaven and a hell and there's a God."

Hearing her admonishment didn't bother me for one second. I didn't feel uneasy or "spiritually bullied" because I've heard it before and I really do understand how Christians think (because I once thought the exact same way!). Because of this, I can have empathy for Christians and their response to me. They mean well but it does get tiresome to deal with people inside a box--who have no capacity to see beyond it. Now that I've stepped out, I can see beyond the box...I can still though, understand exactly how they think.