belief and medical treatment

Recent religious news items – loose women cause earthquakes, women seeing male medical practitioners reduces intimacy with husband (like it’s cheating or something) and of course, all the child sex abuse scandals and the CC trying to make it about them and how sorry they are – and from the document trail – sorry that they got exposed.

Now, in much earlier times, before we understood weather, disasters, crop growing – the world was a bit scary and probably seemed pretty arbitrary. So the idea took hold that these things were caused by temperamental gods.

When we understood that weather, disasters, crops and so forth had natural explanations, there was far less need for gods – especially since, there was a need to keep young females of breeding age around instead of being tossed into volcanoes.

Religions have only reluctantly retreated from trying to explain natural events and mostly focus on spiritual and moral control of the masses.

I think it’s passed time for religion to make a good faith gesture to society and  stop embarrassing themselves. They should stick with the supernatural stuff, stop claiming that they are any sort of moral authority and withdraw from trying to caulk the knowledge gaps with their spackle-god.

But, I guess old habits die hard and recently some religions have been getting in the middle of medical treatment – and not even the end stage euthanasia stuff – but getting any medical treatment at all.

Several religions insist that women can’t see male medical practitioners because it’s immodest and impacts the intimacy between a husband and wife.

No word on men seeing male proctologists; you’d think they’d worry that that would make them gay.

Now, what’s disturbing about the women not seeing male medical professions is that these same religions often oppose women working – and certainly not working in professions where the women have any potential for authority over men.

This catch 22 is a more sophisticated version of using prayer instead of medical care and allowing children to die of preventable and treatable maladies.

Modern western medicine – especially dentistry – has made our lives longer and maintained health for a longer portion of those lives.

The reason we have so much dementia and non-environmental cancers is that these are mostly elderly diseases, because we’ve pretty much wiped out the small pox, polio and TB that used to be the leading causes of death and killed you young.

That believers fight so hard against medical treatments – basically fighting to shorten their own lives – isn’t that technically passive suicide?

Aren’t they the ones in the catch 22 – they want to rely on prayer and being in the deities good graces or not interfere with “the plan” – but at the same time, suicide is going to land you in the bad afterlife – so isn’t ignoring that there is life saving medical treatment essentially suicide?

Rethinking Capitalism

Capitalism needs to be re-framed from it’s bad rap of greed/exploitation.

Part of the problem, I think is that many CEOs are diagnosable as sociopaths (not violent, but lacking compassion) who make decisions based on what’s favourable for the wrong group – the stockholders instead of the workers who produce the goods or provide the services of the company that generate the capitol the company earns.

Stockholders provide capitol that is not directly associated with the company’s production, although I suppose stocks could be viewed as an ancillary product.

But stockholders are much more fickle than employees – stocks are bought and sold all the time – it seems like not many stockholders have the idea of buy and hold on for the long term.

Capitolism can be reframed to benefit not only those who invest the capitol or the ones who create the opportunities for capitol to be made, but also those who produce the services or labour that creates the new capitol.

I think capitalism doesn’t have to be viewed as greed centred, because  capitalism is not solely motivated by greed – but also the drive to innovate, to invent, to better people’s lives and contribute to society and to leave one’s mark on the world.

For a company to function, it needs many groups of people from employees, suppliers, consumers and investors  – and all of these people need a job to ensure that they can take care of their basic needs as well as creating personal wealth and quality of life.

When capitolism works well, all the participants benefit, which in turn benefits society.

To work well, capitalism needs to include heart and compassion. And it’s in a company’s interest to be a good corporate citizen, since consumers are increasingly not only concerned with a good product at the lowest price.

Consumers want to know that the company is not polluting the environment, has fair employee practices from demographic hiring and promotion policies but also not using a slave workforce in less regulated countries,  is creating a product that is safe and is not engaging in creative accounting.

Capitalism has long since stopped being about enriching the robber baron at the top.

But is a system of interconnectedness.

inter-dependent capitalist relationships

The company needs employees (who also need jobs) and consumers (who need jobs).  For those times when companies act like consumers are replaceable and employees are expendable or outsourceable.

There’s also government regulators and enforcement – more people with jobs!

Everyone’s salaries are coming out of everyone’s  pockets.

The more people who have jobs, the more people are consumers, are taxpayers and are benefiting from capitalism.

Is this naive or Utopian?

Maybe – and I think more needs to be understood about ‘greed’, and perhaps how to control, mitigate or redirect it – as I think it is an extension of a survival instinct.

Buy why can’t we rethink greed from “Me instead of you” to “Me and then you” ?

After all, you can accumulate so much wealth that it’s beyond your comprehension – and then what? What challenges do you have left to face when money solves or eliminates survival issues and pretty much ensures that any whim can be satisfied?

I’m not saying that three’s nobility in being poor – I don’t buy that at all – but there is something to be said for having just enough to be comfortable and not worry about the basics – but still having to work and problem solve for less essential things.

It seems to me that in many ways, having a huge amount of money takes you out of the world, since you can create your own little bubble world.

Humans are social creatures and I don’t think we generally do okay in  bubble world.

Look how many celebrities die young from drugs and alcohol, unable to cope with too much money and not enough challenges.

The robber baron descendants and hereditary wealthy who live in their own bubbles seem to not understand that the power they have in bubble world doesn’t pass into the real world, which isn’t structured to suit them.

And that laws and rules still apply to them when they step outside their bubbles.

The dangerous ones who try to remake the world over into their bubble by funding terrorism is the darkest side of wealth.

Concentrating wealth in the hands of the few skews the world.

Redistributing the wealth through capitolism – employment and consumerism as the redistribution methods – would avoid the concerns of redistribution by purely socialist or communistic methods.

Wealth redistribution must remain connected to innovation, to labour, and to contribution.

Certainty in the Uncertain

History is nothing if not documented change – change in cultures, societies, nations – each one having their own take on morals and ethics, religion.

So it is extremely curious to me that current day believers are convinced that there is one true religion that provides a morally absolute framework and that they happened to be born at a time in the world when that one true religion was in fashion and they happened to be born in a region where it was practiced and to parents who were teaching or amenable to it.

It’s like the ultimate version of my deity can beat up your deity.

I don’t see how you can be so certain of a thing like a religious belief and take from it an absolute unchanging morality – when there’s been 10’s of thousands of religions in human history.

How can a believer be certain to have the right and true religion from all the religions that we know about through history, when there’s the same amount of evidence for all of them being real. Which is none at all.
It boggles how a believer can cling with certainty to a belief system that has no basis in logic or evidence to support the claims? What makes them reject all other currently practiced religions in favour of any one?

Usually people remain in the religion that their parents exposed them to. Or at least, its a religion that is dominant in the area were they reside. Safety and more importantly, validation in numbers.

But why accept a currently practiced religion over older ones that are now out of fashion – if there really was a god or deities – wouldn’t they have wanted worship and tribute from the start of there being people?

Isn’t it better to pick none than pick a potentially wrong one?

If there’s an afterlife and some judgement  isn’t it better to say, hey, I couldn’t have known who, so I opted to be a good person, use the brains that I had and live my life.

Instead of well, I though the other guy was the true god, so I worshiped him – and now, you’re kinda…standing there in front of a totally other god – other variation on the one you picked and well…you’re screwed.

Because the one thing that all the deities seem to have in common is jealousy and vindictive pettiness to the point of genocide more often than not.

Which, when you think about it, should indicate that these would not be anything that had anything valid to say about morals or deserving of worship.


footnote to add a link to Tim Cooley’s Atheist blog post

The words Christians Use That Sicken Me

And I include this here because these words and phrases stem from baseless certainty.

House Evolution

We bought our house in 2003 and the original colours were:

Cream with green trim, brown roof & gutters

While the front living room and back dining room windows had already been changed by the previous owner, you can see by the upper story window, that the original windows were aluminum and brown. We had the remaining windows all replaced with vinyl framed, double glazed with argon gas to improve insulation.

We also picked bathroom pebbled glass for the garage window so light would still come in, but people couldn’t look in to see anything. It was part of the general security improvements – the front garden was original also shrubs and ground cover – including a large rhododendron that blocked the front door from the street view. This was a nice privacy feature, but security trumps privacy.

You can see the greed front door and the wood white & green garage door

This is after the roof has been redone to blue and see the white gutters replacing the brown ones - and the original wood garage door.

We made one change to the downspouts, the original one had a downspout right at the front corner of the garage, so the water ran across the sidewalk. This was a safety hazard in winter, since that creates an ice problem. We had them relocate the front downspout to the overhang post at the front door – so the water then went directly into the garden.

Before we added the wood border around it and more dirt, in fall when the rain was really bad, a lot of water came down this spout, creating a short running water feature and pond that extended into the yard.

Above the house number, you can also see the original brown lantern style light fixtures.

the front side yard before the dirt and fence replacement

In addition to changing the colour of the roof, we also updated the vent system – instead of the whirly one or plain vents, we picked ridge venting – which means that the vents run along the entire peak of each roof.

The advantage of this is that there’s no hot pocket of air in the highest peaks, since the vents cut into the roof can only allow hot air to escape from below whatever level they are set at.

It also ends up being more square inches of venting than a couple of vents in each roof – so there’s more air flow – reducing heat and moisture.

The original fence had a small gate right up to the house – the fence was already falling apart and here you can see where we did a sort of band aid with thin strips of wood nailed to hold the boards in the frame together.

back yard view showing the wood overhang for the lower patio

The front, back and garage to door doors were replaced with white steel doors – improving appearance and security.

Also from the back view, the upper story bathroom windows remain the original frames. They don’t make the fancier windows this small, so when we had the house painted, we had the frames redone to white, so they matched in colour the other windows.

the 2 level flower box - where the bulbs circles are

The mostly completed project – new roof and gutters, all outside doors to steel, few fence and complete colour change.

We also changed the wood overhang for a metal one and the garden shed from wood to a plastic one – which ended up being a mistake, since it fell down….

And of course, the garden overhaul from one front flower bed and pots to three raised flower beds, pots and a rock garden.