Saturday, May 31, 2014

Phony Success

We need to stop calling a business successful if its employees don't earn a living wage. It's a perversion of genuine accomplishment.

Political Support of Laziness

When politicians voice their opposition to something that enhanced the greater good because it might "hurt business" or "will cost jobs" I often wonder why their opponents don't chime in with something positive about businesses by claiming that their owners and managers have certainly proven they are smart enough to make adjustments without all that predicted damage. If it's truly not possible, then the voiced opposition is really all about unconditional protection for unqualified or lazy owners and managers who likely don't care about their employees anyway, only how much money can be extracted from them.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Dark Side of Learning to Write

One of our greatest past achievements may have been created as a tool to do evil that continues to this day.

From Guns, Germs and Steel by Jarod Diamond, p. 235: “The intended restricted uses of early writing provided a positive disincentive for devising less ambiguous writing systems. The kings and priests of ancient Sumer wanted writing to be used by professional scribes to record numbers of sheep owned in taxes not by the masses to write poetry and hatch plots. As the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss put it, ancient writing's main function was 'to facilitate the enslavement of other human beings.'”

This plays into the idea that “information is power” because writing is information. Therefore, possession of reading and writing skills meant more knowledge and power. Looking at the current state of corporate and government actions in our information age, we now have a society that is largely based on a constant battle between people trying to get information and those trying to keep it from others, a conflict that certainly continues to have evil effects.

The Fertile Crescent and The Garden of Eden

What role did the Fertile Crescent play in the writing of the story in Genesis about the Garden of Eden?

Image found here:
This crescent-shaped land area that included a large part of ancient Mesopotamia and is considered the first place on earth where crops were grown by humans on a large scale contains the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the ones mentioned in the Garden of Eden story. It strikes me that this story could be based in part on legends of this area—to the east, as described—which is where a more lush area of the Fertile Crescent was located. (For comparison, the area of the Fertile Crescent that contained ancient Canaan was a much narrower band of land along the Mediterranean coast with no major rivers.)

There were likely stories told to the Hebrews in Canaan about that area that must have made it seem like paradise when compared to where they lived. Plus, there was desert directly between Canaan and the Tigris and Euphrates region, making the tales even more intriguing and difficult to prove wrong.

The question had to have been asked—if our god(s) loves us and is so powerful, why are we stuck here? If this question did come up, it's anyone's guess as to when it was asked in relation to the other myths of Abraham's family religion. But, the answer that was given might have come in the form of the Garden of Eden story; they were in the garden at first, but an ancient ancestral couple blew it for them, getting them all banished. But if the Garden of Eden was a real place, why couldn't they go back? Ah, cherubim are guarding the gate—we can't get in, so there is no use in trying. The remaining contradictions can be sloughed off to fancy tales of lying travelers.

The tale was born, and of course molded over time, as happens for all myths. I also wonder if the Hebrews claim of a "promised land" in Palestine instead of Mesopotamia was due to this story. If their origin was the Tigris and Euphrates region, why else would they not battle their way back there instead of Palestine?

The Failure of "Tradition" Justification

Those who use try to use “tradition” or “custom” to justify and action (or non-action) should not be allowed to get away with doing so because that idea can support literally anything. In Chapter 2 of the book Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond there is a section talking about a South Pacific population called the Maori and their overtaking a neighboring population called the Moriori. From the book: 
“A Moriori survivor recalled, '[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep...[We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed—men, women, and children indiscriminately.' A Maori conqueror explained, 'We took accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped. Some ran away from us, these were killed, and others were killed—but what of that? It was in accordance with our custom.'”
For those who use the "tradition" justification for any action have offered the worst kind of rationalization. Without something considerably more substantial to support a position, the use of "custom" should be rejected.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wrong If I Don't Get It

There is a  New Scientist magazine article from 2010 entitled "Einstein's sceptics: Who were the relativity deniers?" that gives some insights that I think can be used to help explain some of what's happening today concerning all types of "deniers."

The article explores the surprisingly large group of scientists from all over the world who were against the Theory of Relativity in the wake of Einstein's discovery. The article's author, Milena Wazeck, notes the main reason was not based on a routine scientific dispute:
Einstein's opponents were seriously concerned about the future of science. They did not simply disagree with the theory of general relativity; they opposed the new foundations of physics altogether. The increasingly mathematical approach of theoretical physics collided with the then widely held view that science is essentially simple mechanics, comprehensible to every educated layperson.

One of the many opponents of relativity was described as having an attitude about the advancement relativity represented that was a danger to science itself because "nothing better symbolised the modern specialisation and incomprehensibility of science than relativity." In other words, science was leaving behind those unable to understand its newest findings.

This attitude seems very similar to those who deny in today's world things like climate change, evolution, and the effectiveness of vaccinations. This attitude of something being wrong because it's not easily understood also seems to be included in many of the claims of fundamentalist religious believers who push the idea that their religious doctrines trump new discoveries. They attempt to make arguments that try to include scientific objections, but I think their most detailed anti-science arguments generally reveal a lack of understanding instead.

Conspiracy theorists are just one of these modern attempts to undercut science. They make the attempt by trying to poke holes in scientific findings and assertions in which they hope people will insert their conspiracy theories as the only valid alternatives, even though their objections often fall short of being scientifically viable--letting alone the invalid nature of the conspiracy theory itself. This strategy can only work for people who do not understand the science in play and can easily substitute something they think they do understand.

One final point is that religious-based objections are likely to challenge science being okay with information yet to be discovered. Religion is more comforting to many believers because it always has a god figure to fill any gap of information. Since science doesn't provide a way to automatically put something in the place of missing knowledge, it is too difficult to understand and, therefore, rejected.

Self-Defense of Beliefs

In a recent Time article called "How to Win Every Argument" there is a 2004 study cited that I have wished for a long time would be completed and hadn't realized it had been done. The study is a little different from my reasoning for doing it, but not by much. In this study, an MRI was done when people's political positions were challenged. It turns out that the areas of the brain where reason and logic are handled shut down when this happens. Instead, the study's authors assert, "...the parts of the brain that handle hostile attacks — the fight-or-flight response — lit up."

To me this makes perfect sense because it falls in line with an idea I hold that our beliefs can be so central to our sense of self that any attack on them is perceived no differently than a physical attack. I have said before that I thought the brain's perception of the self in this expanded way can provide insights into how we react when strongly held beliefs are challenged. If a person were to put up no defense when a staunch belief position is impugned, it would be just about the same as doing nothing when being physically assaulted.

In addition, for those of us who have incorporated strong beliefs into the definition of our self, to change those beliefs voluntarily is the equivalent of commuting suicide (or for conceptual reasons, a partial suicide), something we also strongly resist.

For me, the solution to this problem is to be taught (or teach ourselves) that belief itself should be seen as detrimental. Instead, we should look to always keep the door open to new information that will adjust what we think about literally anything.

The protection of our self is so primary to our nature of existence that our basic instincts come into play when we detect a threat, and the challenge to something we inflexibly hold to be true causes us to do whatever we can to eliminate the perceived jeopardy in which we find ourselves no differently than a material danger. We need to recognize this fault in ourselves (our selfs) and minimize it the best we can.

In Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell hits on this point this way in describing one example of a deep cultural behavior that needed to be overcome:  "To become a success at what they did, they had to shed some part of their own identity..."

Also from Malcolm Gladwell's
Outliers: "Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear as first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don't. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky—but all critical to making them who they are."

A recent article from Brain Pickings has two passages that also hint at this idea of self-protection being more than physical. One quote, from B.F. Skinner, includes the passage: "
You tend to protect a bubble you’ve created and nurtured your entire life... Another, from the article's author: "The mind’s delusory tendencies, [David] McRaney explains, are just as vital as the automatic self-preservation processes of the body."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Comedic Truth

There are an unlimited supply of examples of comedy providing an insight into some truth we have failed to see, but can humor also be a mask to hide the truth or promote a lie? It's hard for me to think of something that's actually funny (instead of mean or insulting in the attempt) that boosts a falsehood. (There are probably examples, but I think they must be rare.) Can the level of true humor derived from a revelation be a kind of truth-detector?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Proof For Non-Existence

If a company truly can't exist if paying workers a wage so they can, that is proof the company should not exist.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Lesson Denied

Far right ideology is to the poor as Lucy is to Charlie Brown.

Practically Unfair

It often said in many different ways that the problem of violence against women should not include (or not have to include) learning how to minimize their risks. Instead, the thinking goes, our efforts should be aimed at teaching men to end their bad behavior. While this sentiment certainly has an appropriate ethical basis, it's too idealistic for current conditions and ignores relevant practical considerations. For the same reasons that motorcycle riders are taught (or learn) how to take what should be unnecessary steps to reduce their risks of injury or death from others on the road who don't follow the rules, those who are at risk from any unethical behavior by others need to accept and act upon the unfair reality in which we live. While we should certainly put the bulk of our efforts in teaching people to respect one another and not engaging in destructive behaviors, to ignore the unfortunate and current need for potential victims to take precautions is a practical necessity until things change.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Myth of Mythical Differences

For those who support the supernatural idea of a "collective unconscious" between all humans (and maybe even all forms of life) the basis for the claim is at least partly based on the idea that it would be impossible otherwise for different ancient populations to have developed similar myths. They assert that the lives of these separated groups were too different to have resulted in myths that have so many commonalities. I find this an untenable position that overlooks the fact that human life on this planet is necessarily similar in most major respects. Here are a few:

1) All humans tend to live for about as long as everyone else. There are no cases of individuals, or groups of individuals, living for hundreds or thousands of years.
2) The sky contains the sun, the moon, stars and planets no matter from where it is viewed.
3) We all know that fire destroys, provides light and produces heat.
4) Water is always located in rivers, lakes and oceans that all have the same basic traits.
5) Water falls from the sky everywhere; clouds are missing from no place on the planet.
6) The experience of a steady cycle of light and darkness is universal.
7) Animals are easily divided between those that swim in water, fly through the air, and walk on the ground.
8) There are constant threats of injury or death from other humans and animals.
9) No human population as a unique birth process.
10) All animals have blood.
11) There are always two sexes.
12) Every human (and other animals) needs to sleep regularly.
13) Some plants are poisonous to us; some are hallucinogens.
14) We all have hair.
15) We all discovered the usefulness of tools.
16) We all are susceptible to getting sick--and getting better.
17) We all walk on two legs, upright.
18) We all argue and fight.
19) Children grow up at about the same rate.
20) We all experience wind and changes in temperature.
21) We all figure out what floats and what sinks in water.
22) We all dream.
23) We all have some sort of marriage/family structure that is recognized by everyone else.
24) We all need to eat and drink to survive (also experiencing thirst and hunger), and do so on a similar schedule as everyone else.
25) No one is exempt from pain.
26) When someone is noticeably different from the rest of the group, that difference is not ignored.
27) We all use language.
28) Objects fall to the ground (don't float or move sideways).
29) We all have sex drives and go through puberty.
30) We all have parents.

Given these commonalities (among many others), it would be bizarre if our ancestors' myths were any less common than they are. There are obviously differences between groups of people, too, but we have many more basic things in common--many of them so simple and basic that we often don't notice them--making the commonalities between myths no mystery at all.

Solo Relationships

We now live in a world where we often hear life-advice that pushes the idea that we need "to love ourselves first" before any real happiness can be attained--or something similar. I've always had a problem with this maxim because it trows out the basic truism that our existence is always going to be infused with other people, meaning that learning to love and support others is mandatory for a happy life. It would be like trying to learn to fly while ignoring the necessity for air.

With that in mind, here is a rare article that covers this topic in a way that makes much more sense than the way so many others promote shunning or minimizing strong and intimate relationships in order to be happy. This is in opposition to supposed gurus who mainly look at relationships--if they look at them at all--in the narrow and selfish context of how others will benefit them. (It also seems that those who promote this individualistic vieware usually wealthy enough to not need others to survive.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

House, Woman, Donkey

You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. --Exodus 20:17

Including women in a list that includes houses and donkeys should make it clear that women are also to be seen as mere objects literally belonging to men, making it hard to understand how people still claim the ancient code from where this came can't be discarded in favor of any number of improvements since then.

Intelligence? I Think Not

It has been said in various ways that the more intelligent one becomes the less confidence one has in any finding or assertion of fact. Given that thought, it should be no surprise that increasing brainpower is not pursued by more people.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hiding Relationships With Language

It would probably improve our perception of the relationship between ourselves and the rest of the animal kingdom if we used the same words to describe similar behavior. For example, instead of using forms of the word migration to describe movements of non-human animals, we should try using forms of the word nomad, the word we use to describe similar movements of human hunter-gatherer societies.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Return of The Monty Hall Problem!

Well, this is back again...causing arguments! If you don't agree with the conclusion in the video, I hope the way I see it helps...

Try looking at this in a group format with two groups, A and B. Group A has a single door (the one the contestant chose) and group B has the remaining two. It should be clear that there is a 1/3 chance the prize is in group A and a 2/3 chance the prize is in group B. When the host eliminates one of the doors in group B, the contestant is being done a favor by being told the reaming door in group B has the 2/3 chance of having the prize that could formerly only be applied to the group as a whole.

Praising Nastiness

Wherever profits can be made they will always be sought with uncaring diligence, meaning that the things making up a society's core structure should be off limits to that unfortunate human trait so every individual has a solid foundation from which to pursue happiness.

"The great merit of the capitalist system, it has been said, is that it succeeds in using the nastiest motives of nasty people for the ultimate benefit of society." --E. A. G. Robinson

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Past Fails as Standard-Bearer

"Trash heap of history" and "ash heap of history" are a few of the versions of a common saying that doesn't look upon our past favorably, yet we also have many people who try to bring it back by seeing them as "the good ol' days" or something similar. Our past should be seen critically, using it as a teaching tool integrated with a goal of continuous improvement for all of us. While not all of history should be seen as part of a garbage heap, looking to emulate the past is foolish.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Hashtag campaigns seem to be similar to prayers: They allow people to feel like they're doing something without actually having to.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Depths of Self-Defense

"I Don't Want to Be Right" (New Yorker)

"...when people feel their sense of self threatened by the outside world, they are strongly motivated to correct the misperception, be it by reasoning away the inconsistency or by modifying their behavior."

This is really close to something I've thought for quite some time: We react to any attack on our self--including any stance we may hold that is considered central to our identity, not just our physical bodies--in literally a self-defensive way. An attack on one's deeply held ideas is seen as dangerous as a physical attack and brings on a similarly motivated protective reaction.

Sytematic Failure

It seems to be that no system (in the scientific sense of the word) can exist permanently without interaction from outside its defined boundaries. The universe itself is not excluded, as it is predicted to eventually peter out in any number of ways. Only if a multiverse is eventually proven--a scenario that would provide an outside interaction for our single-universe system--could there be an exception. Given that, is there anything that can be declared a valid system, something that's truly closed?

Poor Favors

Way too many of today's super wealthy make claims that can be translated as taking credit for the work of others while pretending the poor are being done a favor by doing so.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reactionary Evidence

It is no surprise in the similarity of reactions from pseudoscience supporters and Fox News watchers when each is compared to science and journalism.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Unprovocative Silence

The Internet has turned the old adage "If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all" into a despised notion for many that classifies unprovocative silence as a deplorable notion to be overcome.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Range of Unpredictability

It seems to me that there is an unfortunate commonality between auction appraisers and lawyers. Each can only give an opinion as to the outcome of their efforts, meaning that laws are not the clear and comprehensive human achievements they need to be.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

National Mitosis

There are growing signs that the U.S. is experiencing precursors to a moment where political and religious opponents officially split up and take sides in a serious battle.

Here are some specific details about what's going on:

1) The elimination of the military draft. It has been observed that the elimination of the draft in 1972 created a situation where the all-volunteer force has become politically and religiously unbalanced, now with a much higher percentage of those on the political and religious right. The elimination of the draft was initially applauded by those on the left, but it has resulted in the loss of a balancing component in everything from what the military does to its culture. The military is no longer a place where different people are forced to live with one another and learn how to get along.

2) In a similar example, the members of the U.S. Congress sit according to political party. This partisan split enforces the tendency for politicians unlike themselves to remain separated. A recent poll suggested the public thinks this practice is a bad idea, and there is a suggestion that each house of Congress be assigned seats alphabetically so that members would be forced to mingle with those they otherwise avoid. There is no evidence this is even being considered.

3) The growth of partisan media outlets has resulted in the public becoming more polarized in general. “Heavy use of partisan media doesn’t just affect your attitudes about the other party’s candidates,” said one of the authors of a recent study on the issue. “It also affects how you think about the other party’s supporters — you’ll be more likely to see them as less patriotic and more close-minded, for example.”

4) Racial divides are also a growing issue. A new report on segregation in schools shows that it's making a comeback, and affirmative action programs meant to help racial and other minorities have been declared unconstitutional.

If some major steps aren't taken to reverse the splitting of the country's people into groups who can't get along--and don't even want to--then the eventual split is inevitable. Unfortunately, it is often the case when a system (in the scientific use of the word "system") fails, it crashes hard. It's difficult to imagine the U.S. being an exception.

Wrongly Unaware

When I read a scientific article on a complicated subject and can't fully understand it, I'm a bit thrown by the clearly uninformed comments from people challenging what they don't understand as if they do--and do so with bad attitudes. This must be terribly frustrating for those who do have the skills to understand.
I imagine it's like an article written by a doctor on a new treatment and seeing in the comments people disagreeing because it doesn't line up with any of the Four Humors or cupping.

The Failure of Easy Answers

It's unfortunate, but it's a widespread problem that the most simple answers get the most weight. Just watch the part of the video where George Will talks about it (for two seconds).

If a claim is made that takes one breath--and especially if it makes you mad--look for more detailed information.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Burden of Citizenship

Frontline: United States of Secrets

Watched the first part of this tonight. One of the things I took from this is that the government seems to see the country's citizens as annoying obstacles to be disregarded and, if necessary, defeated; laws and civil rights protections are seen as an unfortunate hardship on those in power.

Pure Sex


Girl Kicked Out of Prom Because of Leering Dads
The girl was told she was making boys think impure thoughts. 

 When I see the work "impure" used like this, it reminds me of the negative connotations we so strongly place on sex in general, and women in particular. To insist that even a sexual thought is somehow repugnant is a correlation that is bizarre, given the fact that we don't attribute similar distaste for truly gross thoughts like those involving violence and bigotry.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Real World

It's a continuous stream of stories like this that solidify for me the notion there is nothing but the physical. Looking elsewhere seems to be an attractive option sometimes because of our lack of knowledge and inaccurate conclusions based on our inadequate senses, but when we do make discoveries, it's always tangible.

Seeing the Light

The spectrum of visible light is continuous with an unlimited number of wavelengths between minimum and maximum values we can discern. We, however, perceive this evenly distributed scale of information in named chunks that are fairly universal (red, green, yellow, etc.) What is it about our visual processes that makes these fairly universal distinctions? Why don't some people see as a primary color the area between what we call blue and green? Or yellow and red? There is no "clumping" of light wavelengths at any point along the spectrum to match our commonly named categories, therefore it's accurate to say that our perception of colors must be a distorted and deformed version of reality. How often do our brains lump information together automatically like this? In how many ways are our perceptions similarly skewed without realizing it?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Is Philosophy Worth It?

While reading a post about Hunter S. Thompson on the awesome Brain Pickings website in the middle of finally getting around to reading Guns, Germs and Steel, I began to wonder about the often ignored history of our modern day quest for meaning.

One of the items Jared Diamond covers in his book has to do with comparing the conditions of hunter-gatherer societies to those with later centralized farming systems that allowed for some people to spend time doing things other than attending to their individual basic survival needs. It's hard for me to image individuals in those simpler societies spending much time on such philosophical questions having to do with life's meaning. If any of them were to be brought back and exposed to our modern society that allows for so many to take advantage of their survival needs being supplied by others, allowing for them to spend time thinking about philosophy, art, math, etc., would they see it as an advancement?

We don't normally think of philosophy coming as a result of our ancestors' taking up agriculture, but maybe we should in order to give us a more nuanced picture of our past, and how it compares to what we have become. We often use the development of agriculture as a major turning point in our history, but usually only for more tangible change--in technology, for example. Now that we have the ability and awareness of philosophical questions that may never be answered, are we better off? Has the mental anguish and physical violence attributed to philosophical (including religious) disputes been worth it?

Spoiling Society

When the members of any government body move to act in their official capacity as lawmakers, regulators or judges, they must only use the laws of the land, not the rules of one's religion. There must also be a principle in play that keeps the two separate in order to stop either from spoiling the other.

Can't Believe Just One Conspiracy Theory

When people claim by the scientists who have proven climate change is real are perpetrating some kind of elaborate hoax, it only solidifies the idea that those who tend to believe in conspiracy theories have the ability to see them pretty much anywhere to explain what they don't like or understand.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Unholy Work Ethic

For those who think there is value in whatever version of the Ten Commandments they like to claim for themselves, the sabbath commandment tells them that work is unholy. Yet, so many fundamentalists push the oxymoron of a "godly work ethic."

"Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God."

Instructions Are Your Friends

I know it's not a popular thing for men to admit, but this picture has reminded me that it's time to step forward and publicly say I'm proud to read the instructions!

(I only wash all my clothes together in order to fool anyone who might see me.)

Friday, May 9, 2014

What the Internet Wants

We now know for sure what the Internet wants.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Propoganda is Propoganda

It's not too much of a stretch to compare Fox News with Hanoi Jane and Tokyo Rose.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blemished Blondes

I wonder if there is a building Pavlovian negative response to white blonde women wearing short dresses and skirts based on their prominence on Fox News.

Corporate Human Shields

When a country or a corporation claims that any actions against it shouldn't occur because it would cost jobs, the term "human shield" comes to mind in a way not much different than when used in the context of physical violence or war.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Constitutional Inadequancy Shines Through

Yet another 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court. What these things mean to me is that the Constitution--a document written in the 18th century--is inadequate for the task of holding a country together in the 21st century, even with all the patches and supposedly clarifying rulings since its adoption.

No one should expect that any group of people living at any moment should be smart enough to rule over those who live hundreds of years later. If a set of rules are so unclear that the supposed experts are split more-or-less 50-50 on a regular basis, then the rules are more-or-less irrelevant.

One other way I see this has the Supreme Court's role in church-state separation morphing from chaperone to pimp.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Men and Sex Made Clear

I'm not 100 percent sure why, but this segment from a Family Feud episode illustrated more than anything else I've seen the innate difference in how most men and most women view the desire for sex.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sentence Fragment Firearms

I thought I would share something that I think makes clear the seriously skewed position of the National Rifle Association.

A Google search of their website only comes up with one hit when searching for the entire text of the Second Amendment, which includes the need to supply a "well regulated militia" as the reason for people to be able to "keep and bear arms."

When going to that one NRA page, the text is part of the description of a short video about the NRA National Firearms Museum, a video that includes an image of a display which obstructs the "well regulated militia" part of the Second Amendment with a gun.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Elusive Sexuality

I wonder whether at least some of the people who are against society's normalization of homosexuality hold that stance because we have yet to understand the implications of heterosexuality despite thousands of years of trying.

Tea Party Insurgents

I fear that before too long we will see news outlets accurately using the term "Tea Party insurgents."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ignoring Advancements

The opening paragraph of this story about a religious right legal group seeking to "recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries" is based on a point of view I always find difficult to understand.

The information available to us increases in quality over time as we make new discoveries about everything. It is a human failing to insist that the declarations of people from some point in the past--necessarily based on information that has long since been superseded--should remain in force.

Postal Service

The way we should look at the U.S. Post Office is as a government service that is provided to everyone--just like public safety services, storm drains, and street lights--not as a for-profit enterprise out to make money. Seeing any part of government as a commercial business badly skews its role as a service provider for the common good.