Cost of Ignorance

The Vaccine Panic delayed scientific reaserch and threated the herd immunity

Researchers are hoping that by using a common tool for measuring of brain activity in a new way, they may be one step closer to identifying whether  a child is a greater risk for autism

If autism research had not been derailed by the celebrity lead masses’ lack of understanding of vaccines, we could potentially have accomplished this years ago and been able to brain scan for autism now.

But lack of science education and inability to think critically, resulted in autism researches engaged in a fruitless debate over the role of vaccines. Correlation is not causation.

Worse, parents who were simply concerned about their child put everyone else’s children at risk by failing to vaccinate their child. As a result, diseases that were eliminated because of comprehensive immunization, are not making a comeback in children who weren’t vaccinated – and this breaks down the protection of  herd immunity.

It is selfish for one parent to make a decision for their child, when it has the potential of great harm for other people’s children. After all, thinking about the children is to consider all the children.

By the same token, the religious masses objection arising from their limited concepts morality and deferring to the ancient wisdom and traditions of stone age goat-herders have also delayed not only medical advances such as stem cell research but also social and civil rights advancement of people that ancient goat herders didn’t approve of – basically women, children, seniors and ethnic and sexual minorities.

The harm caused by religion is not the apparent driving and cause of violence – because again, correlation is not causation.

Violence occurs in conjunction with religion and without. That a person is beaten or killed because they are or are not a particular religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, mental or physical ability or any other measurable characteristic  of an individual that connects them to a group – makes no difference to the actual beating or death.

This speaks only to the motivation of the violent person. What their emotional investment or attachment to their hatred of the other person or group.

Religion, racism, sexism, genderism, ableism, ism-isms – these are all merely rationales, applied after the fact – and not motivators. To the perpetrator, the ism is the rationale they assign to their action, as if by explaining that the individual member of a given group deserved the beating/murder because of their inclusion in the immoral, subversive and all around lesser than group.

This is what makes a hate crime assault or murder different from one person hating another particular person for their individual action or non-action. The rational is that the other person specifically did something or failed to do something and thus deserved it.

The real problem in society is people seeking to control it by imposing their ideal of what that society should look like.

The religious right seeks to control our private behavior while socialist lefties seek to control our public behaviour.

Where any individual falls in that spectrum is dependent on how they interpret what the common good is.

Religious fundamentalists of all religions emphasize traditions, conformity, unquestioning obedience to authority – as if we all just pretend to be the same and get along, things will be better. All religious fundamentalist seek to limit women’s role in society, control education policy to prevent education and critical thinking, and marginalize sexual minorities.

Society fundamentalists of all political stripes & religious affiliation emphasize focusing on each individual’s impact on other individuals and their environment – be it a workplace culture to actual nature. Conservative people in this spectrum fear corrupting influences while Liberal people in their spectrum fear stagnation and conformity, loss of individuality.

Conservatives think that they are staunch individualists, but this is an oxy and regular moron view when, by attempting to control private behaviours, they demonstrate an absence of consideration or respect for other individuals. Instead, they seek to validate themselves by coercing others to appear the same. My country right or wrong is not a democratic principal, but a theocratic/dictorial one. It’s not a democracy if as an individual you are deemed unentitled to equal citizenship and participation because you expressed your disagreement.

To cling to tradition is to cling to ignorance.

Tradition really means that we aren’t capable of making decisions in the here and now. That we should just repeat what the people before us did.

When the “people” being copied lived in a small region with limited technology…. the perception, understanding and awareness that the earlier society had, cannot possibility address anything in a society that would appear to be magical and alien.

Stone Age Goatherder reality is not the reality of the Global Information Age; and the solutions that the goatherders developed made sense to them in their world. But we have to create our own solutions in step with our reality.

That is the real cost of ignorance and blind worship of ancient authority.

It prevents us from solutions to the dilemmas that we face in the here and now.

The main issue of society is finding a balance between consistency and change.

Because change for the sake of change or to see what can arise as a result of change doesn’t serve our interests anymore than clinging to the past.

The solution is not to pick one or the other – they are both harmful without being governed by the other. The solution is a balance.

Steady change is consistency – changes accumulate over time and appear seamless.

What people insist is traditional marriage now is not what marriage actually was. The idea of romantic love being the basis for marriage is entirely modern. Marriages were previously to create political or business alliances and to concentrate wealth and power in elite hands.

That it tends to be the people with the wealth and the power who are also the traditionalists, is hardly a surprise. After all, it’s worked out really well for them so far.

It also explains why “old money” thinks “new money” vulgar. New money comes from a change – a new technology, a new area of research and development, a new solution to an existing problem – it comes from progress.

Over time, with more accumulated changes, new money becomes the old money – and the old money becomes a painful reminder of past glories or a fall into decadence. Think nobility with titles but no substantive social position, land or cash and the grandchild era of the generation that actually made the money.

It comes down to, like life, society also evolves.

Evolution of life rests on simple principles – accumulated changes over time, a selection process that favours some changes and works against others and disasters.

Society evolves in the same way.

When we really look back in time, there is no consistency to see – there is nothing but change.

The appearance of consistency is little more than ignorance of the past, something the current solutions and future cannot afford.

Mocking Religion

We can only parody, satirize, poke fun at or generally mock what is not true at it’s core; because humour is about revealing our individual and collective cognitive dissonance.

Which is why religion is an easy target and blasphemy is just another magnitude of the parody.

The distance between reality – that which we observe and does not change when other people  observe it – and our perception of that reality; is where humour lives.

So humour, is a means to divide between those of us who see the gap between reality and perspective and those who do not.

There is no religion that can’t be poked fun at and parodied – but increasingly, religious leaders are so unaware of their cognitive dissonance that their own words or actions draw such attention to the cognitive dissonance that parody isn’t even possible. All you can do is copy what is self-parody.

So, I think that the real difference between an atheist and a theist, is not one god.

But rather, a willingness to be mocked.

Theists are in an abusive relationship with their deity, so it only makes sense that abuse is what makes them comfortable. It’s why they hold beliefs that are easily mockable and why they lash out violently against everyone who differs from them.

They think that abuse is the only way to interact with people and that masochism is the human condition.

Atheists, do not accept being mocked, and there is no way to mock a non-opinion. Atheists do not accept claims for a deity.

This is not the same as denying, because denial means there’s room for there to be a god. Anyone’s opinion or belief can be wrong. Which is why atheism is a non-opinion and non-belief. It’s simple a position of not having enough information to form an opinion either way.

Until there’s evidence for a deity – any deity – there is simply no reason to live your life as if there is one. And no reason to characterize anyone or any group as being immoral, childish, stupid or other things; or denying rights and freedoms, for not accepting unproven claims for a given deity.

The Safe Word is Atheist

Three is so much insecurity around sex, especially for the religious people.

I don’t think that any people think and concern themselves with sex as much as a religion person trying to stop other people from having sex.

It’s like they have to condemn sex in public to give themselves permission to be kinky as all get out in private.

It’s like they do the good deed (condemn others) and that creates a positive, so then make everything balance by then doing the bad deed (sex).

More likely, they are just self loathing kinky perverts who can’t control themselves and are deluded into thinking that everyone is like them – and we’ll all band in public to condemn what we do in private.

They do not understand not being ashamed – and that’s why they cling to religion – it says if you obey your shame and don’t do anything that is natural to you, then you’ll be released from that hell into heaven so, if they just got over themselves, stop being ashamed, they could enjoy heaven now.

Hey religious kinky people! Atheist is the safe word!

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Before printing, please think about the environment.

THINK GREEN – READ IT ON YOUR SCREEN.

If you work in an office, you probably see some variation of the above at the end of every email.

This might be one of the most misguided messages to make people think that they are being environmental.

Paper is the end product of logging, lumber and pulp mills, transportation of new goods or goods to be recycled, recycling programs – and post-consumer recycling is actually more environmentally harmful when you factor in the bleaching chemicals and lower quality of paper slurry when the paper fibers are increasingly shorter and less useable with each recycling process.

But how is it green to think that reading on a computer screen?

When computers are built using toxic heavy metals and have even more transportation costs associated with the manufacture and assembly from all over the world and unsafe e-waste disposal practices? Never mind the environmental cost of generating and transmitting the electricity used to power the computer and screen…

We were more environmental when we used typewriters than computers.

We do not yet think green. We just think that we’re thinking green.

But that’s not a good enough thing.

The “appearance of” achieving a goal will prevent us from achieving goals.

Traitor?

I haven’t been particularly interested in the WikiLeaks story. Even with not seeking out information, I’ve become intrigued by the idea of whether or not Julian Assange should be a hero or a heel.

It struck me that the calls for Assange’s execution for being a traitor are not only premature but dispute the traitor label.

Assange is certainly not a traitor of the US government – he’s not an American Citizen – he’s Australian. So, by definition, he is not betraying his government. That label is more correctly applied to the people within the USA government and military who actually leaked the information to foreign nationals.

If the claim is made that he’s a traitor to western democracy, there’s not really any governing laws or judicial body that would have jurisdiction. So no case to make there.

What it really comes down to is that the US government has been embarrassed on a number of levels and has been shown to not being above board.

It’s ironic that the US government is slowing rolling back rights, freedoms and privacy and being supported by the portion of the public with the law and order (aka republican mindset) that it’s not an issue for the government to track you if you aren’t doing anything wrong.

Yet, the US government and those with the republican mindset, are unwilling to allow the government to also be tracked and made transparent. So, are they admitting that they have things of hide? By their logic yes – and by the WikiLeak, also yes.

No society is a free society if they cannot criticize their government; and being able to do that, id dependant on government transparency.

It’s telling to me that the US Government records made public policy is that records are released after 50 years, but when WWII era documents were due for release, the legislation was changed for a longer term. You have to wonder what would be so explosive even 50 years later? But more than that, why was the government allowed to maintain a classified rating when there’s no possibility that 50 year old documents still pertained to national security.

This is where WikiLeaks is really explosive – and as far as I know, not even discussed, aspect is that it’s not the details in the WWII documents that were the national concern, but rather the operational processes that would be revealed.

What the current WikiLeaks documents demonstrate is that the government of a democratic country, is not now operating as such. While the WWII documents would have shown that not operating as such, is the US government’s business as usual.

The sad part is that this really wasn’t a secret.

Assange only confirmed what most people already assumed to be the case, so in terms of shaping public opinion, WikiLeaks is a non-starter. The danger of WikiLeaks is that the public no longer has the deniability that allowed the public to ignore the problem.

Calls for killing the messenger, are just a way to shift the blame that properly belongs with the US Government.

What makes this behaviour the most worrisome is that the sense of entitlement to not be held accountable,  not to be held to their own stated standards and to operate as they like without questioning their authority. This is exactly what how the religious right operates and the religious right has hijacked the republican party and has skewed government policy and practice.

Now, I don’t have an issue with self righteousness per se, and really, how could a person and still have a blog?

But this recent upswing of evangelical obsession with left behind end time apocalypse has left me with the impression that the Republican religious right are actually wanting the apocalypse occurring in their lifetime. Even, or maybe especially, if they have to bring it about themselves.

After all, their Jesus promised that the apocalypse would occur in the lifetime of his followers. The original followers, not some 2000 plus years later.

So, on one level, I can understand why they are so anxious – but even being self righteous, you need to put a cap on what lengths you will go to be right.

Spending more money on lawyer fees that you will win at court is extreme enough – but there’s no reason to prove the world will end by ending the world.

I’ve always resisted conspiracy theories, but it’s difficult when they start to make the most sense.