Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Politics Is More Important Than Religion Now

It seems that many YouTube atheists have moved away from criticizing and debunking religion to talking about feminism, political correctness, and other things that are dividing the atheist community. Criticizing religion is feeling more and more now like beating a dead horse. Religion has lost the debate. It's over. Atheism won. I've been increasingly feeling this myself. And although I'm not completely done beating the horse of religion (I don't think it's dead, yet) I do feel the strong urge to pivot towards politics and social issues more.

With the election of Donald Trump two weeks ago, the time to be political is more urgent now than ever. What's a Trump presidency going to mean for secularism? What's it going to mean for the future of science education? What's it going to mean for progressive values? For race relations? For the atheist community? These are currently all open questions. But Mike Pence's history of evolution and climate change denialism, along with Trump's the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, who was once rejected as a federal judge in 1986 for being too racist, the future is not looking good.

I'm particularly concerned about Trump's conflict of interests. His business holdings and properties around the world can directly conflict with his presidential duties. There have already been reports that he allegedly asked the president of Argentina for a favor on a project he has in the country. Trump is renting the Old Post Office in Washington DC from the government via the General Services Administration and has turned it into a hotel and once he becomes president he will get to appoint the administrator in charge of the GSA. He's already suing DC to lower his tax rate. Trump can use that hotel as well as his other properties to curry favor from leaders and diplomats alike. And since Trump is apparently not putting his assets in a blind trust, but is instead having his kids - who he'll be able to communicate with regularly, run the Trump Organization, it's certain Trump will use the office of the presidency to enrich his personal wealth.

There are actually a few things I agree with Trump about. I am for a strong border, and I am ok with deporting criminal illegal aliens. But I do not think we should deport all of the illegal immigrants who have behaved themselves while in the US. I think they should be allowed to get permanent legal status, but not citizenship. If they want to become citizens, they must return to their homelands and apply like everyone else. I am for a vetting process that seeks to determine whether potential immigrants or people we grant visas to are sympathetic to Sharia law. I do think that we should consider limiting immigration from countries with cultures where it might be more difficult for immigrants from there to adapt to American culture, but I'm against banning all Muslims.

I do support pulling out of the TPP negotiations, as Trump announced earlier this week. And I do support renegotiating NAFTA. In fact, most, if not all of our trade deals need to be renegotiated to favor American workers. I do generally think PC culture has gone too far but I'm not in favor of going back to the racism and sexism of the 1950s and 60s.

Trump is a bit vague on other issues. He was pro-choice his whole life until he started running for president. I don't know how sincere he is on his pro-life stance but I'm for keeping Roe V Wade exactly where it is. So I disagree with Trump on that. I do know Mike Pence is vehemently pro-life, and he's really the one I fear most. On same sex marriage Trump said the issue was "settled" and seemed to indicate that this decision was not something he planned on changing. I think Trump is personally not against same sex marriage, but again, I fear what Pence might try to do. He's actually tried to jail same sex couples who try to get married in his state of Indiana when he was governor.

I'm definitely against Trump's views on climate change. I think Trump doesn't actually believe it's a Chinese hoax but I think he's still going to try and push fossil fuels very strongly. I'm definitely against his plan to pull out of the Iran deal, but I think his stance against this was all talk. I've been told by a few fellow liberals that Trump getting elected has allowed us to avoid World War 3 with Russia over Syria. I have no idea if that's accurate.

Basically, politics is too important now. Debates over religion are interesting, but the real work and debates need to be about politics. The political threat from the Religious Right just became much more potent with Trump's election, and we are going to need to keep a watchful eye on them. On top of that, our nation is more divided now than ever. How do we get people out of the echo chamber? How do we get information and facts to people in a post-truth world? How do we resolve our differences and bridge the divide? What are the rational solutions to our nation's problems? These all need answers and to do that it takes attention. So I'm still going to write about debunking religion, but that is going to be shared with more political issues.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

MEME TIME: What's The Problem With Complaining About Climate Change While Eating Meat?

Basically, eating meat and fish are the single biggest contributors to man-made climate change. So if stopping man-made climate change is important to you and you happen to eat cheeseburgers, fish, chicken, and you love you some bacon, you're the worst part of the problem.

Food for thought.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Free Will, Science, and Religion Podcast - Ranting On Politics

On this episode of the Free Will, Science, and Religion podcast I rant and rave about the upcoming election and some of the problems with the republican field. This is what we call an "impersonal opinion" episode where we stray from the main topics that the podcast is about.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

I attended a free screening of a new documentary entitled Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret the other day. It argues that the largest contributor to forest depletion and environmental unsustainability is our consumption of meat and dairy products. That's why I've dramatically reduced my meat consumption over the past few years to almost nothing, with my eventual goal of becoming a vegan. It will be hard, but it can be done. What motivates me, besides the animal cruelty occurring on factory farms, are the facts contained in the documentary about just how bad our consumption of meat and dairy products are having on the environment. See below.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Peter Joseph On "Economic Calculation in a Natural Law"

Peter Joseph is a popular documentary maker with a strong online presence. He's mostly known for the Zeitgeist documentary in 2007 which went viral in the early days of YouTube. It featured a section on Jesus mythicism which wasn't well cited and many of its claims have since been for the most part debunked, but nonetheless became very influential and caught the attention of virtually the entire Christian community.

But this post is not about that. Peter Joseph's main focus is on creating a new cultural paradigm in terms of how we live, where we get our energy, what we do for a living, and the structure of our economy. He argues that we phase out our market based economy and replace it with a resource based economy. The current market based economy is unsustainable and is designed to fail. It is a train wreck waiting to happen. And educating the public on this while promoting his alternative, is his main agenda. Too often however, his criticism of Christianity is all people hear and some people just shut out all his ideas based on that.

Regardless of whether or not you're a believer, I think his ideas are worth listening to. They are concerned with the dangerous direction humanity is headed towards and how we need to change the current system for the better and achieve the energy and resource stability and abundance in order to avoid the cliff that we are headed towards. I'm not saying I agree with him on every point, or that I'm endorsing all his views, but we need to explore alternatives to the current paradigm, which is poisonous.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Does The Fine Tuning Argument Make God Responsible For Natural Evil?

I just had a idea. I was thinking about the fine tuning argument which tends to be fairly popular among internet apologists and whether or not that causes problems for the problem of suffering. Natural evil is an evil for which "no non-divine agent can be held morally responsible for its occurrence." Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires, droughts, meteor impacts, and diseases that cause sentient beings to suffer or die and for which no human being is responsible are examples of natural evil.

Classical theists have acknowledged that the problem of natural evil is a big one, and have tried to come up with many solutions, or theodocies, in trying to explain why an infinitely good deity would allow them. But the question I want to ask here, is whether god merely "allows" such evils or is the ultimate cause of them. Some theists maintain this claim that god allows these evils, but doesn't cause them. And some theists for example, claim that god has nothing to do with natural evil, and that they are caused by agents other than god, like demons.

I think there is a possible contradiction between theists who take these views on natural evil, and who hold to the fine tuning argument. Basically, if god fine tuned the universe, how is he not also responsible for all the natural evil in it? In other words, how is this:

A1. The fine tuning of the universe is either due to physical necessity, chance or design.
A2. Fine tuning is not due to either physical necessity or chance.
A3. Therefore, it is due to design.

Compatible with this, such that god isn't responsible for natural evil?:

B1. God (an omnipotent, omniscience, omni-benevolent being) exists.
B2. Natural evil exists.
B3. God is the creator and designer of the physical universe, including the laws that govern it.
B4. Natural disasters, and the evil they cause, are a direct byproduct of the laws that govern our universe.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Republicans Have The Same Misconceptions Of Reagan As They Do Jesus

What's wrong with republicans?

Today's republican party are politically the biggest and most stubborn babies perhaps in the history of the US; certainly since World War II. They're a bunch of anti-birth control, anti-middle class, anti-secularist, anti-evolution, anti-science, climate change denialists who have been completely bought and sold by their corporate fundraisers. They hate the President with a passion and are willing to disrupt government and jeopardize the welfare of the people just to prevent him from getting any serious bills passed because they don't want him to leave the White House with a positive legacy. Any time you hear a republican sound off on science, sexuality or economics you can almost guarantee that you're going to be hearing something profoundly idiotic.

Republicans have two dead heroes that they love to put up on a pedestal and idolize: Ronald Reagan and Jesus Christ. And what makes these two icons of the republican part so odd, is that if you really look at what each of them did and said, it is antithetical to their primary agenda. While the hypocrisy is astounding, it's what you'd expect from an anti-intellectual party.

Let's look at former President Ronald Reagan, the political icon of the republican party, who all party members must speak about with the utmost admiration. Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times when he was in office, he gave blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, he traded arms with terrorists, he nearly tripled the federal deficit, and he increased the size of government. Reagan wouldn't even be able to win a primary in today's republican party because he'd be too far to the left. And yet, republicans have this image of Reagan as the ideal president - a model for every future republican with presidential aspirations. But his record clearly deviates from the modern script the party has devised today. Reagan was willing to compromise, he was sometimes willing to do the right thing and get government moving by finding a middle ground between his party's ideology and the left's. Compromise has become a dirty word today in the republican party and as a result we've got a congress that is the least productive in history.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Parenting And Society's Ills

When I analyze many of society's ills, I can't help but come to the conclusion, that most of them are due to bad parenting. I think that if all parents were better informed and let go of the embedded cultural ignorances that were passed on to them from their parents, we would have a better world that maximized its potentiality. That means a world with far less violence; no war (imagine that); the humane treatment of the environment, animals and fellow human beings; technology that maximizes human well being through renewable energy; and an economy that is not based on the exploitation of finite resources and cheap labor. Sure many problems are natural: disease, famine, drought etc, so better parenting by no means would end all of our problems, but surely a great number of them could be reduced if not all but eliminated.

I have very strong thoughts about being a parent. I have to be honest when I say that I do not, and have never wanted to have kids. I don't see myself as the fatherly type. I have thought perhaps too deeply about this issue, unlike many people who simply have kids, either planned or not, without really thinking about the consequences. When I tell people that I do not want kids, I usually hear a shocked response that asks, "you really don't want to have kids, ever? I say "yes", and we usually get into a debate about why. Why I don't want to have kids is for several reasons.

The main reason why I do not want to have kids is the main reason why most people want to have kids: I do not want to pass my genetic material on to someone else. There are things about me that are genetic that I simply would not want to knowingly pass on to another human being. I don't want to go into detail about them, but I know that all the negative traits that I have that are genetic, can all be stopped by me if I don't have kids.

The other reason I do not want to have kids is the high financial cost of raising a kid today, combined with my low attention span and general dislike for kids. I like adults. I like people who are educated and cultured and intellectual, because it is these kinds of people that I can usually have the most interesting conversations with. Kids are by nature uneducated and immature, and I do not like anyone regardless of their age, who has these characteristics. Kids deserve parents that truly care about them and want them in their lives. I am sad to say that I cannot fulfill that end of the bargain. I have had so many friends over the years who have told me horror stories about their parents neglecting and abusing them, and being such bad parents that I sometimes think you should have to have a license to be a parent. I am deeply concerned about the potential that I could be a bad parent, that my way of dealing with this is to refuse to have kids. I would never want to intentionally bring anyone into the world and then mistreat them. I feel this to be the most rational and educated stance on the matter. If more people thought like me in this regard, then the brightest, most informed and most dedicated people would have children and they would grow up into the better adults.

The desire to be a parent is as natural as eating for most people, and I don't quite know why I lack this quality. I have a different twist on "reproduction". For me, passing on my ideas is how I envision my seed being spread. Children are not necessarily like their parents, and there is no guarantee that parents will get along with their kids. But if you are intelligent, and outspoken, you can pass on your knowledge and ideas to others, and influence minds, and that can make more of a difference in this world than making another human being. It is not merely the act of influencing minds that I care about so much that it is bettering the world. I truly care about the quality of life for human beings, animals and the environment. We have extremely complex problems that we must address if humanity should see the end of this millenia.

I propose a radical change in the way we raise children that is partly taking place already. Parents should wait until they are older and more responsible before they have kids. There are many cultural reasons why having kids at an early age happens, that needs to be phased out as people enter the modern world. No one should have more than 2 or 3 kids; the Earth simply cannot yield enough resources to handle litters of 10 kids anymore. Cultural practices in raising children that are shown to be harmful should be abolished. (This admittedly would probably be the greatest challenge to a world with maximized parenting skills.) A deep sense of morality must be taught to our children that emphasizes above all else, compassion and empathy towards others. We must emphasize the pursuit of knowledge, reason and critical thinking as these have shown to be the best medicine to cure the ignorance that has led to so much unnecessary suffering.

In short, better parenting means a better world for all of us.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Watch this documentary: There's No Tomorrow

I came across this short, informative, animated documentary about the problem with capitalism's affect on our energy resources. In short, our current system is not practical on a long term basis. We are committed to non-renewable energy, and the little investment put into renewable alternatives, has hit some road blocks in regards to whether they can really be feasible replacements.

Getting rich in the short term via oil, coal and natural gas will plunder the Earth of resources, destroy it with pollution and ultimately be the end of humanity if we do not seriously consider a patchwork of alternative energy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day 2010

The last time I smoked out in public was recently on a warm April day, and rather than litter the floor with my cigarette butts I chose to put them all back into my cartridge, and encouraged my friend to do so also. As I get older and more mature I realize my role and responsibility that I play with nature and society. I want to make the world a better place, not worse. I want future generations to live in a better world. The old selfish mindset I had is evidently destructive and I have matured to the point where I am past that. I am aware of what I do to the planet now. Let's make Earth a better place.

I've always been an advocate for human population control or stabilization. I don't think anyone on anyplace on Earth should have more than two children. How can we sustain an ever increasing population when we know that the Earth contains a limited amount of resources? There is a threshold somewhere when the human population and its required resources will exceed that which the Earth can provide. I don't know when that moment is coming, or what that population amount will have to be, but I know that it is an inevitable moment given the rapid and seemingly unstoppable growth of the human species.

There are many things we can do to help slow it down including urban skyscraper farms, locally produced foods, worldwide recycling, and changes in lifestyle. But all we can do is slow it down, the threshold is inevitable. Slowing it down is worth the try, but what else can we do? We need a sustainable population growth of about 2.1 percent. We can't reduce our popualtion because that would send the economy spiraling downward. Who would invest when you'll have a declining population and thus a declining market? Unless each individual starts making and spending more money than the previous generation that is not going to happen. I feel we are trapped in a never ending growth cycle of our population and that any effort to reduce it is futile.

There is another aspect of our population growth that I am scared of. That is the secret race war that exists. Everyone knows that the larger your population of your ethnic or racial or religious group, the more power your people will have in general. The U.S. can't fuck with China because their population is so enormous but a small population like Granada or Iraq with just over 20 million people are more easily conquerable. In a representative democracy the larger your population the larger your voices will be heard. That is one of the reasons why I think Latinos have so many children, besides their Catholic tradition: to increase their ranks so that they will no longer be a silent population. When Latinos were a tiny minority no one cared about them, now that they are 15% of the U.S. population, the largest minority, people take notice.

I think on the world stage there is a race to have a larger population. Bigger populations are harder to control and smaller ones are easy to exploit and at times "ethnically cleanse." I don't want to see a population war among all the people in the world because in the end the Earth, and nature, and ultimately us, will be the ones who suffer. We are better than that, but we still hold onto fears of war and genocide and the forced submission of people unto other people.


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