break it down

That was a big thing in the 70s getting to go out for Chinese food. The going out was a treat in my growing up years.

As an adult, living in the same region,  authentic and 70’s style Chinesefoods are side by side with any other food kiosk at the mall. It’s not an occasion anymore, it’s just lunch in the way that any food is just lunch.

So, the more food cuisines at the mall the more cosmopolitan you are. More telling is when food from other cultures seep into your mind as comfort foods.

In addition to oatmeal and grilled cheese, my comfort foods include tan tan noodles and korma chicken. Foods that I didn’t grow up eating, but I think of as just as comforting as the foods that I did.

And it takes a country like Canada to do that; where immigrant populations haven’t had to individually fight for their rights as citizens.

On Canada, we leave that to the First Nations; the aboriginals that European colonization laid to waste. Then managed by successive colonial then quasi-independent governments; In Canada, it was gays and lesbians who fought for and won legal equality which should have been a matter of course in the Charter of Rights in the 1980’s.

Interestingly, the Charter came into being after the First Nations won the right to vote in the 1970’s. Still, pot latches were illegal and the attempts to stamp out the culture continued.

We fought as individuals and we fought as couples: Canadian Couples and Canadian-Foreigner Couples.

So Canada, if you want foreigners to have our ideals before they come to Canada;

Then Canada has to open the doors to the one group of people who continue to be put to death, persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and experimented on

Gays and Lesbians, the Transgendered and the Bisexual

The most oppressed people who want nothing more than to be free and law abiding citizens in a land that will treat them like people.

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone

Howard Jackson,

I accept your book challenge. I haven’t received the Letters from a Skeptic from Jenny in Iowa yet

but I am going to read

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better

, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett,, from the reviews, it sounds like it’s brilliant although I acknowledge that there’s some confirmation bias going on.

still, snippets:

Guardian:

There’s an almost pleading quality to some of Wilkinson and Pickett’s assertions, as though they feel they’ve spent their careers banging their heads against a brick wall. It’s impossible to overstate the implications of their thesis: that the societies of Britain and the US have institutionalised economic and social inequality to the extent that, at any one time, a quarter of their respective populations are mentally ill. What kind of “growth” is that, other than a malignant one?

Globe and mail:

A number of factors have been identified as influencing whether social relationships are supportive or toxic. Some researchers highlight the importance of neighbourhoods where people trust, rather than fear, one another. Others focus on the importance of a workplace that fosters a sense of autonomy rather than powerlessness. Yet others emphasize being part of diffuse social networks. Each of these factors has been shown to have important effects on health.

However, Wilkinson and Pickett argue that these different factors are all symptoms of a deeper issue – namely, inequality.

Inequality – consider that gays and lesbians have shorter lifespans, shorter and more intimate relationships, because the social inequality of being gay is an attack on our very lives.

Being treated as lesser than, in a toxic mix of religious condemnation to gay bashing to legal discrimination and an uphill and on going fight for rights, that we fight through entirely legal and non-violent means.

Even though everywhere around the world, there are countries which are honest enough to make being gay a death penalty crime to the countries where there are degrees of tolerance, hard won after decades of hardships as a community and as couples and individuals.

If all members of society are equal and treated that way, the economy would be taken care of because we’d all be in a state to be entrepreneurs, creators, productive members of society, contributing.

it’s the dream that Gene Roddenbury had with Star Trek’s Federation – all war, poverty and inequality gone from human society, so each person could live at their potential, whatever they chose it to be.

It’s not beyond us, we just have to want it badly enough

we just have to want it more than we want what we get from the status quo

Details, always Details

When debating believers about their religion, they will invariably try to drag you into a debate over details in the bible with vague assertions that there are secular documents which support the claims. There are not.

That locations and some of the people who are mentioned in the bible were real people for whom there is evidence that they existed, doesn’t mean that the stories in the bible are any more true than that Sex in the City took place in a real city and some of the people and events that Carrie and her cohorts met or participated in where real. But the main cast of Sex in the City are as a real as the bible’s characters.

There is no debating the veracity of the bible, because that’s arguing over details that are dependent on a premise that remains unproven.

It doesn’t matter what the particular claims of a religion are, when the validity of the deity the claims are dependent upon remains dubious

The universe is natural and conforms to consistent and predictable rules – there is nothing to indicate or hint that there is any more than what we already see.

So people who would assert supernatural claims, have yet to provide any evidence for their claims despite having had as you point out over 3000 years to do so – thus, the particular claims of any given religion, are red herrings to the actual argument.

Natural vs supernatural is what it comes down to.

If you want to beleive in the supernatural, then you open up a big can of worms because how then can you assert that there are no unicorns (invisible and pink or otherwise), vampires, ghosts, anything else that anyone can invent

How can you realistically draw a distinction between supernatural beings?