Thursday, October 31, 2013

Socially Responsible Humanism

Thad Yep, J'Carlin. That's my sense of "prick", too. And I reiterate: unfortunately, any prick can be a father, too. "Father" is not some noble vocation, unfortunately, and neither is "parent". In the U.S. today, the terms seem to be increasingly confused with "unpaid juvie officer". ...
Thad J'Carlin, you're doing a lot of generalizing there and in my experience, that sort of thing doesn't work very well. "Humanism" is also a grand phrase that's devoid of any practical meaning. What does one do if one is a humanist? What does treat everyone as if they had inherent worth really mean, in practice?

As my virtual friend Stream Angel well knows, I believe that it's quite easy to make these great sweeping statements about justice and equality and human worth and what not. What I think is difficult is to actually boil those down into concrete practices.

It's all well and grand to talk about "good parenting", for example, but what does that really mean in terms of practices? Some people will tell you a good parent needs to swat their kid's rear end occasionally. Others are horrified by the very idea and feel no compulsion against dropping a dime on a parent who'd do that.

Is it "good parenting", for example, to take a child to a brothel? Be careful: the question is a hell of a lot more tricky than you might expect.

I may be generalizing, admittedly a harder row to hoe, but cherry picking specific examples, what we call in Bible arguments prooftexting, is really worthless in any argument.  For any shit you sling on the wall I can find different shit to cover it up.  The only result is a shitty wall.  
The takeaway is that it is all solved by the principles of humanism (lc h) that is all people are humans.  Not men, not women, not children, not Christians, not Jews, not [whatever.]  Simply humans. Not all the same humans certainly, humans are all different, but if you put "human" before the [whatever] it really does change the way you think about and look at people.

If it is a human body builder does it really make a difference which costume the human is wearing?

If it is a human dancer does it really make a difference which costume the human is wearing?

If it is a human CEO does it really make a difference which costume the human is wearing?
If it is a human street person does it really make a difference which costume the human is wearing?
or for more difficult cases 
If it is a human bigot does it really make a difference which -ism the human is wearing?
If it is a human criminal does it really make a difference which suit the human is wearing?

Humanism does not mean noble or even not a prick.  But the assumption of inherent worth and dignity does change the way you think even of a prick.  Maybe a victim of bad parenting, or the wrong associations while an adolescent, or any of a host of factors.  Hesh is still a prick, a crippled human, but a human nonetheless.  

Please note.  I am saying nothing about what a humanist society will do to protect itself from crippled humans.  It must do so.  Even humanist societies remove threats, but even threat removal must recognize the dignity and humanness of the threat.   

Parenting is a different issue.  But the same principles apply.  A parent, that is a person or persons who chooses to accept a child into their family, also accepts the societal obligation to nurture and socialize the child to become a responsible human adult in the society.  The society will provide resources to help, but ultimately it is the responsibility of those who choose to parent to choose the most useful resources to supplement their nurturing guidance.  This is a joint effort of the parents and the society so whether the child goes to a brothel, is beaten into compliance with societal rules, or whatever is as much a society issue as a parenting one.  



Friday, October 25, 2013

TRUTH™ Means that Others are Wrong.

The theist concern for the TRUTHTM is a critical difference that causes many problems.  If you have the TRUTHTM then by definition anything that does not comply with that TRUTHTM is necessarily inferior and/or wrong.  You are still under the delusion that an atheist or even a rational theist that thinks differently from you has a wrong belief, and that therefore considers their belief to be the TRUTHTM and all other beliefs inferior and/or wrong.
For most atheists and some rational theists this is simply not the case.  A rational approach to living merely says this paradigm works for me, and I will therefore follow this path.  Others are not necessarily wrong or inferior, they are just on a different path to a common goal, that is getting along with all people and things in a responsible way. 
As long as belief in God is subservient to getting along with others in a responsible way, I have no issue with that belief.  But if that belief is that God takes precedence over others and that those others are wrong and/or inferior, then we have a major problem.  It is those and only those theists that don't give the benefit of the doubt that are a problem for their fellows, theist or not.  Unfortunately, those theists are all too common and pose a real threat to atheists, and rational theists, and non-theistic believers in other truths.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Is is sex or sexism that sells?

“Everyone says sex sells, but actually sexism sells. There’s a difference.” -@femfreq (via @mmjordahl)
Not so. If the attractive and provocative model pitching the oversize SUV convinces the buyer of either gender that the SUV will compensate for lack of the necessaries for attractiveness where is the sexism. Pure sex sell. Also, is Yuja Wang being sexist by selling her music by dressing appropriately for a star of her age? It sure makes the reviewers drool all over their copy, who is sexist here?
Jonathan Korman  The process is sexist. It doesn't need to be located in any individual.
A process cannot be sexist. It is the individual reaction only. Dressing appropriately for the job is not sexist. Consider a CEO in a power tie or scarf and shoulder pads, at the head of the table. Is hesh being sexist? Using sex to sell, or what?

This is the same argument that a runner in a sports bra/top and tight shorts is asking to be raped. It doesn't fly.

More later... 11/? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Courtesy The Other 98% facebook. 10/14/13
I hate the word
It isn't a phobia.
You're not afraid.
You're an Asshole.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yesterday is up. No, it is East.
What we have learned is that people who speak different languages do indeed think differently and that even flukes of grammar can profoundly affect how we see the world. Language is a uniquely human gift, central to our experience of being human. Appreciating its role in constructing our mental lives brings us one step closer to understanding the very nature of humanity.
Where yesterday is depends on your native language in the title Mandarin and Kuuk Thaayorre (aboriginal Australian) respectively.  I don't know about you but as an English speaker it is behind me.

If you describe a key or a bridge in English, the words you choose have the characteristics of the gender of the word in your native language if that native language is gendered.

A sentence in Japanese where many things seem to me to be personalized I remember from my capital budgeting days is "The air conditioner for our office wants to leak, we are not permitted to repair it, but the building will close its eyes if we do so."

A fascinating article. Linked to study.  Well worth the time. 

Godless Evolution in a Nutshell

As the universe evolved heavy elements were created in hot massive stars that exploded seeding the universe with heavier elements that could react as elements do because of energy considerations to form compounds.   Some of the lighter elements, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen, commonly reacted with hydrogen to form methane, ammonia and carboxylic acid, which in turn reacted to form amino acids the building blocks of life.  As stars and planets formed out of dust clouds in space those amino acids were distilled onto planets that were suitable in distance and energy flux to contain liquid water. Eventually life formed on such planets.  Hardly something from nothing.  But no creator necessary, simply physics, chemistry and energy.
As life evolved it became necessary for survival to sense and react to the environment in which life existed, as finding nutrients and avoiding being one, was necessary for survival and reproduction.  Those organisms that were good at sensing and reacting to the environment reproduced and thrived until something that sensed and reacted better came along and became locally dominant.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, until part of the package needed for survival was in addition to experiencing and doing, thinking, planning, and feeling were added to the mix.  In particular feeling good about the opposite sex to form pair bonds to facilitate getting infants to be reproducing adults.  Thinking and planning are added relatively early in evolution as all mammals and birds appear to do so.  

Those animals that have evolved to assist humans in guarding, herding, rodent control and other needed functions around settlements have learned to sense human feelings of happiness, joy, wonder, and do things that create them in order to survive in the presence of humans.  See Facebook threads of cute animals doing things to please humans.