Saturday, October 3, 2015

An Atheist Feminist Shouts Bullshit.


Atheists like most arbitrary groups tend to reflect the dominant mores of the society in which they are embedded.  I suspect that male feminists are as unusual in atheist groups as in any other that doesn't have misogyny as a central group tenet. 

Atheists generally have weak belief systems, and therefore might be influenced more by advocacy groups with a useful message.  Many won't listen, even weak belief systems are hard to counter, but I suspect that feminism will generally find fertile ground in the rapidly growing atheist and secular part of the overall society. 

And you're basing this on survey and polling data, right? Not just on anectdote and making shit up?   Fematheist
False dichotomy.  In any event survey and polling data finds whatever the constructor of the survey or poll wants to find.  See any partisan political poll.  Did you ever hear of or write a "push poll?"  If not why not?  You claim to be a social scientist, you must have been taught about them in something like Surveys 101.

Unbiased observation of convention activity, social functions, and comments of members of a study group are much more reliable than any poll or survey unless you have access to the actual questions asked in the poll, the demographic of the polling subjects, and the bias of the poll constructor.  Got any?  Or are all your observations and data biased by feminist activism?

I am sorry, are you suggesting that because some companies polls do push calling that gives you the right to just make bullshit up on these boards and pass it off as reality? Is that SERIOUSLY what your argument is?  Attacking bad polling instead of defending or evening acknowleding the bullshit you just MADE UP?

I would call that a fundy evasion tactic there, JC.Fematheist

You can call it anything you like from your social science ivory tower.  I am not talking about company or think tank push polls, I am talking about the biased polls and surveys from proper respected academic departments in economics and social science, two areas of interest for me.  I do read past the popular articles in the news to the published data and read the protocols and the questions themselves.  Some good, some garbage. 

In any event I have been living atheism and feminism for many more decades than you have been alive and I am not a convert to either.  Before you sling your projection of fundy on me you should at least identify the fundamentalism I allegedly identify with.  What is it? A convert's fundamentalist anti-theist beliefs?  A feminist activist's fundamentalism that all men are pricks?

I am a trained scientist and scholar although not working in either field I am able to observe behavior from a scientific POV generally without bias or belief based conceptual blocks.  It is a fact that I am a feminist man living in a male dominated world, and an atheist in a Christian dominated culture, but I do observe without bias how both of those positions of privilege affect me and the others around me. 

Shouting about making bullshit up does not make the assertion true. One must in academia or in the real world, take the bullshit apart and demonstrate that it is wrong.  So far you have done neither.  

To be fair to Fematheist she is promoting a feminist atheist channel on YouTube (Search Kristi Winters) that is well worth subscribing to if you are into Video.  I skip to the references to see whether the transcript is worth reading. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fair Use and What is Right

As an intellectual property radical, I unfortunately, agree with the lawyers that nit-pick over how many words or bars can be used without permission.  I know too many people who have devoted countless hours to composing, reworking, rehearsing, and playing to empty houses before finally getting a composition into the public eye to allow anybody to use it without proper permission and compensation if asked. 
"Fair use" is simply a lawyer created license to steal.  If something is in the public domain even a rework or reedit becomes the property of the editor.  One might argue how much of the use is from public domain, but if you used the modern version at all you are on shaky ethical if not legal grounds.  

As an example many creators use the Creative Commons license categories for their work.  If they just want to get the meme out there free use is selected, others want attribution only, others restrict modification and reuse, some prohibit any use without permission and compensation. 

You shall not covet take (from the Hebrew) 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

  If hesh created it, it belongs to your neighbor.
 When our first book came out on Amazon, it was less than 48 hours later that you could buy a photocopied copy of it at half off - of which we recieved not one penny. Duo

And music appears on YouTube just as fast.  Bands depend on merchandise sales rather than royalties these days.  And/or crowd funding for the album which will be ripped as soon as it appears.  "But think of the exposure!" doesn't pay the bills. 

UU Outreach

Many UU and UCC congregations have aggressive outreach to minorities, especially children.  I know of one UU church that started an alternative scouting program for essentially abandoned areas.  They first started a Boy Scout program from a welfare hotel and expanded it into the south Bronx.  The participants and their parents are invited to be full participants in the congregation including age appropriate RE.  (One "graduate" has even written a child level book Birds, Bees, and Babies.)

Is Internet Porn Ruining Our Next Generation? Is Censorship the Answer?

Thanks for considering the children.

Nice social conscience.IamGreatest
Most computers, smart phones and even home routers have controls to exclude unwanted internet content.  Parents who think porn is bad can filter it.  Social controls (your conscience) is not the answer. 

But if you really want to consider the children teach them early and often "About your Sexuality" or its successor "Our Whole Lives" curriculum from UU and UCC which treats sexuality as a natural part of the human existence.  If you don't teach them they will learn it from advertisements and TV reality shows.  Or their porn loving friends. 

Education always works.  Censorship never does.  

I read a study a few months ago about young boys and the effects of viewing porn (as a mom of two boys, I was curious) and it focused on the fact that porn skews a person's view of sex and of 'normalcy.' In the study, the boys interviewed thought all girls looked like the girls in porn and if they didn't then that was weird (i.e., all girls were fully shaved, etc). It also discussed how the sex in porn is not even realistic and so it causes young men (and young girls that view it) to have unrealistic expectations. IMO, porn is not harmless and it's not something that should be viewed by children.christiangirl

If young boys and girls don't know what normal is, of course porn will skew their view of sex and 'normalcy.'  If they are kept in the dark of "we don't talk about that" and the only light is porn, guess what, light is normal. I was given a sex education book as soon as I learned to read, about 4 or 5.  '40s. It was as might be expected poorly written and obscure but my parents encouraged me to ask them or my older sisters about anything I didn't understand. Needless to say I was a trouble maker in grade school as other kids knew I had answers to questions their parents wouldn't talk about.  

Mammals have sex at puberty and are interested in it far before that.  Humans are mammals.  They will figure it out one way or the other. 

And, yet, grown men have their views on sex skewed by porn. It's not just about whether or not a kid is taught about 'normal' sex prior to their viewing porn. ...watching too much porn desensitizes us to 'normal' sex. Studies back me up...christiangirl

I suspect that none of those studies included grown men that didn't learn about sex from the church (sex is sin, and the missionary position while still sinful is excusable for procreation.) Or in the military: FFF&F. 

I know and have followed many children both boys and girls that were taught properly about sexuality pre-puberty and most of them find kinky porn to be a stupid waste of time. Most had good relationships with the opposite sex through early puberty and later in life.  None of them had unwanted children. This is confirmed by follow up studies on children that were exposed to the About Your Sexuality and Our Whole Lives curriculums both by UU and UCC research.

Are you actually suggesting that parents take an active roll in raising their own kids? You're asking way too much.mountain_humanist
Liberals think it is the governments job, i.e. "it takes a village."Seraphim
Since religious parents and many others have shown they can't do the job of teaching sexuality and defusing porn, perhaps the village stepping in is not a bad idea.

 In subjects like sexual mores that have such an important impact on peoples "village" I think the government and schools should stay entirely out of the picture. Government and schools will fall to the lowest common denominator usually "Just say no" as unrealistic as that is for sex or anything else. 
First and most important are the parents, supported either by their church or secular resources, eg, charitable organizations providing information and contraceptives for those choosing that route, or the many "Sex Ed" books available at the library, some written at the child's level of development.  Amazon has a whole section in children's books>Growing Up and Facts of Life.  As noted earlier put a few on the child's bookshelf and encourage questions.  When the child needs them hesh will find them. 

Perhaps surprisingly I think the child's church should be the choice for parents who do not choose to be involved.  Make sure your church school has a sexuality resource center no matter what the doctrine is.  The child will have to live with the consequences of that doctrine so they had best know what it is.  Note that child is pre-pubescent.  If they learn before the hormones kick in they are more likely to make better choices. 

The worst choice for parents who don't want to be involved actively is unfortunately porn.  Make sure the door is open to talk about it.  They will see it.  Banned or not.  If they can't talk to parents and mentors, they will learn from peers and porn stars.  

Still,  education simply cannot satiate curiosity,  it won't.  Your 12 year old is still going to want to see what he can see on the internet.   After all I have seen and even done I still have curiosity myself from time to time.

That is where things can get weird,  even with eduation kids are still forming impressions and still forming connections and can get things sadly wrong with some of the stuff they can see online.

I almost ( I said almost, not quite)  think you should do some porny web surfing with kids to be there to correct where things are wrong and where it is not realistic.   But I also believe in strong boundaries and can't imagine doing something like that myself. Funderey

There is a difference between education and indoctrination.  Education is open inquiry where questions and issues are invited and welcome.  When a 12 year old surfs some disturbing porn, either they will hide it if indoctrinated and get things wrong, or if educated ask a trusted mentor what the hell is this?  But they have to know what "Normal sexuality" is in their culture before they can ask about "Abnormal sex"   
I still find you wildly unrealistic and out of touch here.   NO, your average run of the mill - NON indoctrinated, not even religious 12 year old is not going to be totally up front and honest about the porn he or she surfed. They will talk to their friends if it is particularly weird. funderey

One of the early activities in a sexuality education curriculum is defusing taboos.  A bunch of taboo words are written on a sheet of butcher paper, and the kids are asked to write synonyms under them and cross out any wrong synonyms.  Then the fun begins.  "What is wrong with that crossed out word?" asks the facilitator. The kids begin to argue and all sorts of taboos see the light of day.  But the kids learn that they can discuss anything at all, and they do.  One thing they usually argue about is whether a word is nice or not, and the facilitator smiles.  Sexuality education has just sprung up unannounced.

I may be out of touch with the real world, but I have been asked questions by pre-pubescent kids that I had to research to answer.  And I told the kid just that.  Not that it was wrong, just that I didn't know. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Randomness, Selection, Evolution and the Bible.

Having said that, I agree that the suggestion that four billion years of random mutations produced an organism as refined and sophisticated as a human being, is an absurd idea.  The ease w/which an ecological system can be destroyed evinces fine tuning, IMO.  The analogy of the likelihood of an explosion in a printing factory creating the largest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary seems apropos to describe the idea of a strict non-supernatural directed evolution of the universe. EOCjlb

If a bunch of people picked over the explosion debris in the printing factory and selected the parts that came from the OED and reassembled them it is not absurd at all.  It might take them four billion years, but that is a lot of time for selection to work. 

Evolutionary selection is not kind to random mutations that do not help the organism.  The organism is lunch for an organism that has more beneficial random mutations. If the printing factory also printed Lewis Carrol all the nonsense would be eliminated from the debris.  Scripture evolved in the same way.  Pieces of debris from destroyed myths were picked over and reassembled into the various versions of Sacred Texts we have now.  You may believe that God helps the sorters in all cases, but it is really not necessary for the sorting out to take place. 

As for humans, there were many failures along the line to the present iteration of humanity that may be a failure as we speak due to a mutation that encourages belief in the idea that humans "dominate the earth" which may be making the earth habitable only for cockroaches and perhaps dinosaurs whose genes are conserved in birds.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Thuggish Mediocracy
American lives are controlled by the thuggishly mediocre. The best measure of their control is this: when called out on their mediocre thuggery, they can comfortably double down.
Being non-white or having a foreign sounding names helps them get away with the persecution of the "different" read able to think and act for themselves, but the point of the article was that difference is bad. You must be mediocre like us or you are dangerous. 
The fact is that we are dangerous and always have been, regardless of color or name. As a child in the 50's, white, common name, I was dangerous. I read books, I read Steinbeck, I sang radical folk songs. I was frequently in trouble with the authorities petty and powerful. Which is why you have never seen my real name in print. And why I have always chosen my friends with care. Even on Facebook when I am too old to matter anymore.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Jefferson and Native Americans.

The only thing Indians needed, Jefferson insisted, was the civilizing influence of agriculture. (Like English theorists since John Locke, Jefferson willfully ignored extensive and highly productive Native farming which did not use European implements.) By abandoning hunting and adopting farming, he counseled, Indians would rise from "savagery" to "civilization" and eventually be absorbed into American society. As president, he extolled the virtues of agriculture in meetings with Native leaders, in correspondence and in speeches. "In leading [Indians] to agriculture," he told Congress in 1803, "I trust and believe that we are acting for their greatest good."
Mark Hirsch is an historian in the Research Unit of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. He has a Ph.D. in American history from Harvard University.
National Museum of the American Indian, Summer 2009, pages 54-58
© 2009, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian
Another relatively "Fair and Balanced" attack on Jefferson for creating the slippery slope to Native American removal from the Colonial America and the Manifest Destiny.  

Assimilation was the British Colonial paradigm and eventually even the Colonials got restless.  But none could escape the "White man's Burden" of bringing "Civilization" to the differently civilized.  

Culturally Jefferson was a gentleman farmer in a slave economy.  More importantly he was skilled politician determined to bring his vision of an enlightenment society to America. Politics involves compromise even of ones own philosophical principles, to gather the consensus to make a nation.  That the native tribes and the atheists were victims of those compromises is not surprising.  I still like the way he snuck "Their Creator" into the Declaration of Independence, and "Freedom of Religion" into the Constitution.  What the rest of the bigoted Americans have done with it is not really his fault.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

San Francisco, Manhattan, Transit, and Gentrification

From a Facebook post on New Subways in SF.
 New Yorkers do not lament Manhattan. Super high density south along the waterfront with subway access to downtown, (midtown in Manhattan) gives the best of all worlds. I lived in midtown for 22 years in NYC and took subways everywhere north, east, south and west. I even took a subway to Hoboken to get to my car. Car was only good to west and southwest. Even the occasional trip north was easier west of the Hudson.  J'Carlin 

Current political correct thinking among the marginal middle class is that gentrification is bad.  It displaces the poor, and incidentally the marginal middle class, in favor of all those productive rich techies, many of whom are not like "us."  "We" do not want SF to be like Manhattan, the ultimate in gentrification. 

The problem with this thinking is that transportation is what enables the marginal middle class and the poor to take advantage of gentrification, as service people to the gentry.   In Manhattan in my lifetime the lower east side, Hell's Kitchen and everything north of 96th street was tied to downtown and midtown by the subway system, so that servers, artists, and grifters were a short cheap ride from the source of all the "New Money" that is money generated externally from the local economy.   


Art and Artists

 From a Facebook thread on a misogynist artist.  Take your pick.

 If you cannot evaluate art without evaluating the artist you don't understand art. If a person can overcome fundamentalist bigotry to create a work of genius, more power to herm. [As to the mention of] "all men are created equal" who are you to even mention the artist owned slaves. He had no choice in his culture. That he could transcend his culture to create a better world where all are equal (even though we are not there yet after 200+ years) speaks volumes about his character.  J'Carlin 
An artist and herm art are two entirely separate and distinct entities in all cultures.  The art may live and be meaningful long after the artist has returned to dust.  While it is fun to argue about which composers of famous religious music were atheists,  the fact remains that the music they composed is sung and revered by believers in any culture affected by the religion depicted in the composition.  Religious art is by and large atrocious, and the artists justifiably forgotton.  But the stories told by that atrocious art are fundamental to religious belief.  The few exceptions were created by artists that the current crop of religious fundagelicals would probably hate. 

A "critic" is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is a logic in this; he is unbiased - he hates all creative people equally. Lazarus Long aka Robert A Heinlein

There seems to be a current trend among critics to focus on the artist, especially the things about the artist that the critic hates.  Heinlein was a militarist and jingoist, therefore all of his writing is trash.  L Ron Hubbard was a religious charlatan fuggetabout all the Battlefield Earth books.  Jefferson owned and fathered slaves, therefore the Declaration of Independence means nothing.  There is nothing to see here folks.  Move along. 

I have even done it myself:  Abram was a lying, exploitive pimp.  Therefore the God he invented, and the religions that depend on that God are trash.  In my defense I had come to the conclusion that the religions that grew out of the Abrahamic tradition were trash long before I found out Abram was a prick.  I never liked him from the stories that included him, but until recently I had never followed his family and gang from Ur, to Haram, to Canaan and to Egypt.  They seem to have been a sociopathic bunch.  

[The following is a subsequent edit.  Please note this is a working blog and editing is common before and after comments]

Heinlein was also a misogynist.  Note his use of "man" in the quote.  The fact that in the vernacular it was generic for human is lost on the feminists.  The fact that all of his women characters were generally more competent in all respects than the men counts for nothing since they all were interested in procreation. Their choice of competent men to help not only with the sex but with the family as well is lost on the feminists. 

Hubbard was a brilliant student of human wants and needs, in particular their need for a strong community controlled by an unquestioned belief system.  Whether Scientology works depends on whether you ask a believer, an apostate, or a critic.  The fact that Hubbard made more money from Scientology than from writing Science Fiction "at a penny a word" is probably his greatest sin.  

The Republigelical meme that  Jefferson owned and screwed slaves is a bigot’s apologetic for their own hypocrisy.  His actual views about slavery and in particular Sally Hemmings is available to any intelligent unbiased student of his life and in particular the society in which he was embedded.  He couldn't even call himself an atheist, let alone a humanist and survive politically to keep the Black Regiment of New England Calvinists out of the Constitution and God out of the government.  


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Three Levels of Reality.

Sep 6, 2015 -- 9:52PM,  wrote:
In the same respects since our very first example of something that is true and certain is our self/self-awareness.     By what logic would I hop to accept anything else as being more certain or true?

I think this is important because when we attempt to measure our self/self-awareness.   It cannot be found,  it holds no weight and with heavy scrutiny it doesn't even exist.Utiltheo

Cogito, ergo sum. That the external world can influence my thinking is strong evidence that it exists as observed.  The fact that I can affect the external world is additional evidence that I exist if needed.  Solipsism ultimately fails as the external world can affect my thoughts in unpredictable ways and my effects can also be contrary to my intent. 

The external world can be thought of as consisting of three levels of reality that can affect thinking. 

Objective or sentient reality, that which can be observed, measured, and manipulated with physical tools but not directly with the mind with the exception that the mind controls most physical tools that manipulate sentient reality beginning in humans with the hand.   

Mythical reality consists of memes generally consistently understood across cultures and languages.  Mythical memes can strongly dominate thinking if they are introduced early enough in a person's life.  Note that most mythical memes are fairy tales and folklore in language that can be understood by small children and generally are one dimensional good vs. evil, obedience vs. sin, etc.  Nuance and interpretation may come later in life but generally that interpretation only reinforces the meme. Mythical reality is ultimately the creation of humans for the regulation of their cultures(s.) God(s) are frequent memes in mythical reality but all are created by humans commonly in their own image writ large.   

Fictional reality is a tool for manipulating minds, mythical reality and occasionally sentient reality but is more limited than mythical reality in that it is language and culture specific, although the best are translatable across languages and cultures.  Fictional reality normally has an identifiable creator, and includes art and music as well as the written word.  The memes generated by fictional reality can approach mythical memes in power and utility. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Aunt Bea's Kitchen

But in my search I found that Amazon sells Mrs. Miller's Elderberry Jelly which I have tried and which brought back memories of "Aunt Bea's Kitchen." "Aunt Bea" was an honorific from most of the kids in the small town I lived in from 4-8, Her kitchen was open to all for a sandwich on home made bread, the primary ingredient of which was love.