Thursday, February 26, 2015

Communities Rules About Sexual Conduct.

Rational Christian All religions have rules about sexual conduct.

Believer No, I said that I didn't feel that some forms of marriage are of equal dignity and honor as others.  I commented on aberrations from traditional, normative marriage.

All communities have rules about sexual conduct.

Right now in universities throughout the developed world are having vehement discussions and legal battles about what constitutes rape.  These all boil down to the issue of whether a man has the right to have sex with whoever he wants to.  Note that universities are generally secular institutions. 

These issues have nothing at all to do with the traditional definitions of marriage and adultery, just whether a woman has any choice in the matter. The issue of choice by women is why many religions are so protective of their normative marriage rules.   

In my ERSSG affirmatively consensual, non-procreative, responsible sex has few other restrictions or rules.  And cohabitation agreements may or may not be legally formalized and generally have little to do with sexual conduct.  

The exception is when a (usually) couple decides to include children in their relationship either naturally or by adoption.   At that point all of society's rules, laws, and traditions of marriage become important and the formalization of the relationship becomes imperative.  It is perhaps ironic that the religious marriage traditions which assumed lots of children a few of which survived to puberty, became an established legal structure in which to raise the few children required for replacement of ones memes and/or genes.    

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Religion - Definition


Religion for me involves two components.  The first is an irrational belief in the superiority of some conceptual entity, God, the Buddha, The Tao, Deepak Chopra, a sport team, a political position, etc.  The second is a passionate commitment to that belief in the sense of spending considerable time and money on following the belief.  Wearing the "colors," going to events, socializing preferentially with those of a similar religion, and usually dislike or hatred of the other. 

One may support a conceptual entity based on some rational criteria, a university for its academic credentials; a sport team for its skill set relative to the others or its proximity; a political position for its support of your values; without it becoming a religious passion.  If the rational criteria change the support will vanish. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Arts Make Education Work

No wonder the religitards are trying to kill it.

Note, the term "retard" applied to one who is normally intelligent insults no one else.  Those with mental challenges are not retarded.  They do very well with their native intelligence.

Worth a click.  Tim inherited his father's passion for promoting and teaching the arts.

HAYWARD -- Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins spent Friday at a Hayward elementary school, joining children in a staged reading, singing with the chorus, answering questions and watching students work on computer art projects as he promoted the arts in schools.

His visit was part of Turnaround Arts, a program to improve students' grades and attendance through the arts.

"I am here today because of the importance of arts in education. When I was in school, I went from being a good student in grade school to a struggling student in high school. The arts became a lifeline for me," he said Friday

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bonfires (or incindiaries) on Campus

AKA The World is on Fire Lets Piss on the Candle We Can Put Out.

Although I am disappointed that Cal Alpha failed in minor ways to live up to the ideals of the True Gentleman and the fraternity traditions, I am not at all surprised that they and other SAE chapters reflect the privileged male culture in the US that continue to openly assert that women are kitchen slaves at best and the property of men whether they are related to the man at all.  The military, the police, the right wing(?) media, some important churches and many prominent politicians create that culture.  Unfortunately none of the above are likely to appoint a Title IX administrator to clean up their culture.   

Universities and colleges have the same problems but properly take the stance that as community leaders they should deal with them.  My concern is that draconian sanctions for minor offenses sends the wrong message about free association and free speech to the Stanford Community.  To wit: Fraternities are the only fall guys we have that we can pick on so they have to go.  See Etchemendy's one strike and you are out pronouncement.  

I am not concerned with bailing out Cal Alpha or SAE, appropriate responses by Stanford and National have been taken and are in place.  But they cannot have any effect on the house if the house does not exist even for an academic year.  Stanford should be a leader in creating a responsible social environment on campus and the fraternities and sororities should be the safe houses and leaders rather than the fall guys for failures all over the campus.

Other comments roughly reverse time sequence.

If you are going to throw guilt by association in the pot the administrator came from Ohio, politically and socially one of the most sexist and violent states outside of the deep south and Wisconsin.  Boehner is their US Representative. 

Lets not throw the house under the bus just yet.  Minor lapses in judgement, I wouldn't call it hazing in any sense of the word.  We had brothers hurt being tossed in the fountain for lesser crimes.  Underage drinking? I remember a punch called the Red Death that more than a few underage people had trouble with.  We had to be a bit more circumspect in the house, but times have changed. 

From my conversation with Laird it seemed like the house handled everything well, and the University had to do something, anything, to make a Title IX statement.  Lets see what he has to say.

Yawn. Sexual Assault Exaggerations are news.  Where is the most likely place to be sexual assaulted today? At the festivities around professional sports events.  Why isn't that news? D'oh.  Where is another likely place to be sexually assaulted, a church social.  Why isn't that news? D'oh. Lets look at the Military.  Why isn't that news? D'oh. What's left? Colleges.  When are you most likely to be sexually asaulted on campus? Game Day! Why isn't that news? D'oh.

Hey, college fraternities throw parties that women attend.  Everybody hates fraternities because they weren't tapped.  Now we got news.

True Gentlemen,

I am not threatening anytthing at this point.  Just trying to get a reasonable conversation going with the appropriate people at Stanford.  I think the appropriate people will begin with President Hennessy as the issue is not the dehousing of SAE but an assault on free speech, free association, and traditional Stanford social life, the last having no legal standing but is why legal issues will be the primary assault weapons. 

The damage to a pledge's name, to the fraternity's continued existence on campus, and indeed the existence of fraternities on campus has already been established with the announcement of the dehousing as a fait accompli based in part on the remarks of a pledge.  All of that makes makes Corry a huge reason why Stanford and at least the Old Lions should sit down and talk about undoing the damage.  I am not a wealthy person and $1000 is not something I can easily afford to invest in protectiing all that is important to me about my Stanford experience but I have spent more than that for a SAE reunion party. 

I would much prefer to speak softly, but I need a big stick to deal with the Provost's threat to basic freedoms at Stanford.  It doesn't even have to be a real big stick at this point but it needs to be really big. 

Phi Alpha,  needed more than ever at this point.  Stretch your memories it is relevant.

A bit of background: I was a legacy ΣAE and grew up singing ΣAE songs in the car led by Charlie Black, Kansas Alpha '23, on our many long road trips including a respectful love song to the Sweetheart of ΣAE which was a serenade song from the 20's.  I rushed ΣAE only as a courtesy to dad as my older sisters had convinced me that fraternities were sexist hellholes that I should avoid at all costs.  They were wrong about Cal Alpha.

I attended  ΣAE Leadership School in Evanston and was impressed with the national values of respect in the fraternity not only for brothers but for all people, particularly including women.  The True Gentleman credo was evident in all we did at Leadership School.  It was at Leadership School I found out about the Little Sisters of Minerva for houses to demonstrate their respect and concern for campus women.

I was instrumental in the founding of the Little Sisters of Minerva at Cal Alpha when there were few women and no sororities at Stanford. The Saturday dances on the huge porch facing what is now White Plaza led by Little Sisters who invited friends to the party were a fixture of Fraternity Row.  Hat tip to The Lancers, the house band, for the music.

I was social chairman two years, and threw many parties some of questionable taste (including an annual Toga Party) but part of my job was to insure that the True Gentleman values of the house and ΣAE were maintained.  By and large they were. 

It is no accident that many of the cc’s here are from the early 60’s.  As I remember the class of ’61 threw a 25th reunion party including neighboring classes and the Little Sisters, a tradition that has been maintained since with the 5X reunion class hosting the others.  The reunions are always well attended including Little Sisters some of whom married brothers and are still happily married after all these years.  These reunions are a testimony of the strong bonds built in living, socializing, playing, and working together in a tight social environment including the Little Sisters of Minerva. 

In my visits to the ΣAE House, both before and after I moved near campus I have made it a point to notice how the women visitors were treated and it seemed to me that the Little Sister tradition of respect and concern has been maintained, including the 2013 pregame party invite for Alums.
My initial reaction to the SD article was that even the social suspension was a political overreaction by Stanford to real abuses on other campuses and nothing I have seen or heard since changes that opinion at all.  No one was physically hurt, bad taste including sexist atrocities passes for entertainment on Fox News, and a private, by invitation party implies an acceptance of the invitation.  Telling tales out of Vegas is rude in any society, and overreacting to tales told out of Vegas is just wrong.
From the information provided it appears that the house measures taken in response to the suspension are more than adequate to address the nonissue that caused it.  


Dear Vice Provost:

I understand that Stanford is under considerable pressure due to Title IX, current events, and campus protests to do something – anything – to show that the University cares about women’s rights.  But a death penalty for one of the few vibrant, women friendly, social organizations in the Stanford social desert sends the wrong message, for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time. 
The wrong message:   Any voluntary gathering of men and women will be subject to “special scrutiny” under Title IX.  Have a mixed social gathering only at risk to the existence of your organization.  Essentially you are saying that social gender segregation is the policy of Stanford. 
The wrong reason: A hostile environment refers to an environment like a workplace or classroom where people are not able to avoid the offending material without severe consequences.  Being pelted with grapes for walking out is not a severe consequence in the case of the annual Roman Bath party apparently eagerly anticipated by both the men of SAE and the women of Pi Phi who knew that improv. stand-up, dark humor was going to be a feature of the party.
The wrong time:  Announcing a death penalty for a popular organization after most students have left campus to celebrate a busy, merry holiday with friends and family hoping that nobody would notice sends the message to the media, the student body, and the parties involved that the only reason for the death penalty was to have something to show Title IX snoops if they showed up at Stanford.  The burning match appeal the first week of classes is further evidence that Stanford is making a political statement, not a transparent, reasoned action for the benefit of the University community. 
As a 52 year alum who greatly benefited from my time in the SAE House on Lasuen Row and have viewed my SAE Reunions with my brothers and “Little Sisters of Minerva” as one of the main reasons to attend Stanford Class Reunions.  I strongly protest this unnecessary and disgraceful action.
Please note that the above is a personal opinion of a Stanford Alum, not associated in any way with the current Cal Alpha SAE Chapter.  It was, however, stimulated by the request for support in their appeal of the dehousing action taken by the University.  


Vice Provost;

You should be aware that the announcement by the Title IX administrator in re. SAE and related announcements by Provost Etchemendy have effects far beyond the fate of the current house and will have major ramifications as to free speech on campus and indeed traditional social life at Stanford. 

A group of Cal Alpha alums as well as other interested parties have taken interest in some legal issues in the matter some of which might be germane to your decision.

At the very least the following case should be relevant.
Full text of opinion in Corry et al. v. Leland Stanford Junior University et al.  

Pertinent excerpt from Calif. Education Code sec. 94367
              "No private postsecondary educational institution shall make or enforce a rule subjecting a student to disciplinary sanctions solely on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that, when engaged in outside the campus or facility of a private postsecondary institution, is protected from governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or . . . the California Constitution."

Speech by President Gerhard Casper on Corry decision:

There also appear to be Title IX issues with applying group sanctions for behavior of individuals that may be relevant to this type of case. 

I am not an attorney so cannot comment on any of the above but I think you should be aware of our discussions.  

I am not representing anyone but myself as a Stanford Alum please pass the buck to President Hennessy.  It belongs on his desk.  



This is an open thread.  Anyone may comment anonymously or blog ID.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On Dualism

 Guest post
I don't know if this is even worth talking about. As far as I can see, dualism is the culprit. It all goes back to dualism. We have the Genesis story of God creating light, then separating light from dark. As far as I'm concerned, light and dark were only metaphors for good and evil even when man thought there was a God that created light. Once God created light he simultaneously created dark.

But I'll move on. From there everything else comes. This world is dark compared to the light worlds, which is is both the Gnostic view and the Christian view. From there, good people are just good (light) and bad people are deplorable (dark) and should be stopped because they threaten to drag all good (light) to the side of dark. If this is what the squabble is all about, why not stop seeing everything as a fight between two opposites. This is how the trouble arose in the first place.

What can replace dualism?

In The Beginning?

... give an example of something with a beginning that has no cause.

Since you have provided no example of something with a beginning that had a cause why should anyone bother.  Other than a few quantum events that may or may not have had a beginning everything that happens is the result of a chemical or physical recombination of existing things. 

A few billion years ago a galaxy of main sequence stars seeded itself with dust clouds composed of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, iron and other low molecular weight elements via the well-defined carbon sequence of fusion events.  A few were in a configuration to produce novae where higher molecular weight elements could form.  These dust clouds in the galaxy formed more stars and inertial and gravity effects formed planets around them.  Some of those planets were at the right distance from their star to have liquid water in abundance (hydrogen and oxygen are common in the universe) and carbon does its promiscuous chemistry to generate organic compounds that clump together to make things like lipid membranes and large clumps of goo.  Some of those large clumps of goo replicate inside a lipid bubble, and make more bits of replicating goo.  Some replicators are more successful at gathering resources than others and dominate the ecosystem they are in and life goes on. 

Perhaps you can find a beginning in all of that and we can discuss whether or not it had a cause. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fundy Atheists

It is impossible to be a fundy atheist, as there is no belief system to follow.  Atheists don't even agree on what sort of existence God doesn't have.  God may be an imaginary thing in the mind of theists, may not exist at all, or be a vague focus of belief.  In any event for an atheist whatever God is it is useless. 

On any behavioral scale atheists can be found anywhere as they are human, but generally they fall closer to the normal regions as they don't have vuvuzelas in fancy dresses in over decorated balconies ranting at them constantly that they are worthless sinners.  Deconverted theists, especially deconverted Christians, may retain some of this negative self image, a childhood of self-loathing is not easily forgotten, but even the deconverts have managed to lose most of the adverse behavioral effects.

Unlike theists, especially Christians, atheists don't need someone to tell us how to behave, we generally take the day we are given and "rejoice and be glad in it" per Forrest Church, and make it great without help.   

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Here is a question, what would a gender equal society look like?


Almost any Heinlien novel including the Juveniles.  The women characters are almost always more equal in brains and competence than the men.  The only problem feminists have with Heinlein is that the women generally are interested in contributing their more than equal genes to the gene pool.  Nothing unusual, most of the women I know about who are in the feminist trenches being more competent than the average man in their chosen work are interested in contributing their more than equal genes to the gene pool as well.  They generally choose men who have been brought up to be partners rather than "husbands" and who use their male privilege to support their partner. 

Case in point: A well educated, extremely intelligent and broadly competent man (brought up by a dual career couple) did odd jobs throughout his partner's US military supported medical training, required service in a base ER, and residency; fathering and parenting 2 children in the process.  The doctor took over a small metropolitan area family practice, which needed a practice manager as well so that odd job fell to the partner.  Those of you from the yellow boards on this forum will appreciate knowing what gooddogma-sit and Tarakyan have been doing since they got too busy to post here.  Yep.  True story.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What is Reality

beliefnet et al
I find it useful to distinguish between

  1. Mythical reality (including religions) which is a widely recognized group of mythical characters and situations that are generally accepted as being real and useful by a culture.  It is not necessary to have read the Brothers Grimm to know about Little Red Riding hood.
  2. Fictional reality which is a group of fictional characters and situations which those wishing to suspend disbelief for the duration of the fictional events, or the discussion of them are treated as real. 
  3. Observable reality which are characters and situations that can be shown to be real to all rational observers.  Note that truth values are not a given in observable reality.  

Feb 9, 2015 -- 7:09AM, Blü wrote:

That Christianity's propositions accord with reality.

Ah. So when you say Christianity is 'true', you mean it accords with imaginary reality, not objective reality.

Further thanks for clearing that up.

I think a better word per Shermer would be accord with belief reality. 

The brain has objectively observable belief centers that interpret reality in ways that enhance survivability.  On the savannah interpreting certain patterns in the windblown grass as a tiger, may have survival benefits even though the reality is that they are only wind effects. 

In a society controlled by vuvuzelas mediating for a vicious, vengeful God it may be a survival benefit to believe in a vicious, vengeful God even though reality is that it is vicious, vengeful vuvuzelas that should be feared. 
Feb 9, 2015 -- 8:09PM, Blü wrote:
As for all other "realities", while the brain and its functions are part of objective reality, the contents of its concepts do not necessarily have objective counterparts ie don't refer to things with objective reality. Examples are 'unicorn', 'two', 'supernatural being', 'justice', 'Donald Duck', 'some chairs' and so on.

Rationaist BS is no different from other BSNo matter how many times you explain that 'Donald Duck' is a real fictional character, the realities of which can be discussed by anyone familiar with Disney™ movies, tv shows, comic books, etc. a rationalist will insist that 'Donald Duck' is imaginary with no objective reality. 

As Blü himself has discussed 'Donald Duck' has three fingers and a thumb on each 'wing,' is anthropomorphic, talks English in English speaking countries but is multilingual, generally wears a blue sailor hat, a blue man's shirt, and a red bow tie.  This is factual information that exists independently of any person's mind and can in fact be verified by a search of Donald Duck images.

I might suggest that 'Donald Duck" is real for a majority of the people in the world, whereas something like a benzene ring exists only in the imagination of a few chemists SEMs are fakes, and frequently involves a snake biting its own tail even for chemists. 

'Donald Duck©' is so real that if someone imagines a similar anthropomorphic duck and tries to publish a comic book based on the character hesh would have a major legal battle on herm hands to establish that the imagined duck was sufficiently different in reality to not infringe on the Disney Copyright. 

Feb 11, 2015 -- 9:53AM, Blü wrote:


a rationalist will insist that 'Donald Duck' is imaginary with no objective reality.

We have descriptions and images and impersonations of Donald Duck. However, no real Donald Duck exists outside of imagination. He's a fictitious being.

No one has ever maintained that Donald Duck is a being.  Just that he is a fictitious reality.  A reality that exists and is independently verifiable by any rational person independent of anyone's imagination. 

Please note the working of the conceptual block which changes "reality" into "being."  It doesn't really change anything but provides a mental fig leaf to cover the "reality" of the fictional "being" as "being" can be interpreted as a once or presently living touchable, interacting entity.  All of which is critically important to denying God as a Mythical (religious) reality.