27 October 2017

Random observations for October 2017

"One man, one woman" is the fundie mantra on marriage, but the Bible is full of polygamous marriages.

o o o o o

No one ideology or philosophy has all the answers or even most of them.  The focus should be on the goal, making use of whatever works to get there -- not on the road, following it blindly whether it goes where you really want or not.

o o o o o

Rape is not caused by "immodestly-dressed" women, nor by porn, nor by "rape culture".  It's caused by rapists, period.

o o o o o

I would hate to ever become the kind of person whose views can no longer change. There's always more to learn, and existing views always have to be re-examined in the light of new knowledge.

o o o o o

"Fat acceptance" is a terrible idea, for most of the same reasons that "smoking acceptance" would be.

o o o o o

I reject slippery-slope arguments.  By that logic, we should never change anything at all, since any change, no matter how obviously beneficial, can be portrayed as a potential gateway to some other hypothetical change that everyone agrees would be bad.

o o o o o

"Faith" -- belief without evidence or in spite of the evidence -- should always be seen as shameful and embarrassing.  It is an abdication of mental integrity and a denial of reality.

o o o o o

The proper level of punishment for a crime is whatever level is necessary to stop people from committing that crime.  Any form of punishment which the criminal considers acceptable or reasonable is, by definition, inadequate.

o o o o o

Religion and "spirituality" are bullshit, there is no such thing as a soul, and we're just modified chimpanzees with mystical delusions.  It's fantastically dangerous to think we can afford to screw up because there's some super sky fairy up there who will save us if we do.  We'd better learn to deal with reality the way it actually is.

[For previous random observations, see here.]

13 Comments:

Blogger shkwiver said...

If "The proper level of punishment for a crime is whatever level is necessary to stop people from committing that crime" and the levels we've used in the past---which include boiling, burning, flogging, crucifixion, The Wheel, the Rack and so on---were not sufficient to stop people from committing crimes, then logically we must apply even worse methods of punishment.
Perhaps a different approach might be considered.

27 October, 2017 03:06  
Blogger Donna said...

Yes – this!

27 October, 2017 04:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shkwiver: Current levels of punishment suffice to stop most people from committing crimes. I'm talking about cases where people who commit fairly serious offenses get off with a relative slap on the wrist, by which society tacitly accepts the behavior as acceptable. That has to stop.

27 October, 2017 04:55  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

"No one ideology or philosophy has all the answers..." For anyone who doubts this, I recommend the ultimate proof: https://monoskop.org/images/9/93/Kurt_G%C3%B6del_On_Formally_Undecidable_Propositions_of_Principia_Mathematica_and_Related_Systems_1992.pdf

27 October, 2017 13:49  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

"Rape is not caused by "immodestly-dressed" women..."

Wouldn't criminals love to use that sort of excuse, say, for breaking the display windows at Tiffany's and stealing the goods: "The array of gorgeous jewelry and gems was tempting and desirable. Why did Tiffany's put them on display and expect me to not break their windows and take them?"



27 October, 2017 14:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Green: Thanks, I'll take a look at that.

Shaw: People (well, men, to be honest) would feel very differently about such excuses if they were used for other crimes. "Of course he robbed you, mister! You were wearing that expensive watch right out in the open, you slutty little tramp! Can't say I blame him!"

28 October, 2017 16:24  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

Yeah, in your spare time. It's said that only a few thousand people on earth ever managed to make it through it with any understanding of what it really adds up to, but it does prove that no logical system can be complete and consistent at the same time. Knocked the hell out of symbolic logic for a few decades. And Bertrand Russell never really recovered and had to spend the rest of his life marching against the bomb.

28 October, 2017 20:39  
Blogger Daniel Wilcox said...

You wrote, "we're just modified chimpanzees with mystical delusions."

Huh? Are you the same blogger posted a thoughtful analysis on my blog?

As a joke I might accept such a untrue description of homo sapiens, but not as a rational observation.

I see that you have read some Dawkins books. I have read 7 and think his book The Ancestor's Tale ranks as one of the 3 best science books published in a long time.

Also, see that you've read some other great books that are also favorites of mine. You have good literary views;-)

I still often think of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiography, so tragic yet so heroic.
Others we do agree on Diamond's, Krakauer's, and Tarr-Turtledove's.

But that the species who recently computed, designed, and sent a probe on a successful 10-year mission to Pluto, that created the architecture of amazing buildings, discovered and charted the Human Genome, wrote incredible music, art, and literature, has moved forward, despite horrors such as the 20th century, in ethics, rights, and justice...etc.
is
according to your phrase, only
"...just modified chimpanzees with mystical delusions."

Good grief...

01 November, 2017 08:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Daniel: I guess you haven't read much of my stuff (not that you can be faulted for that), or you'd be more aware of how I use that kind of terminology. As it is, from context it's obvious that I'm using that phrase to emphasize that humans aren't qualitatively different from other apes -- that is, we don't have souls or anything like that -- and to repudiate those "mystical delusions".

Chimpanzees are quite smart, and of course we modified chimpanzees are substantially smarter, enough to to accomplish awe-inspiring things. I'm a great admirer of technology and have posted about the New Horizons mission and architecture, among other things. If anything, such achievements are all the greater when one recognizes that they were done by animals, not supernaturally-created entities with some sort of "divine spark". It's the supernatual and mystical beliefs that have held us back, historically.

Are you one of those people that never comments until they find something they don't like?

01 November, 2017 10:02  
Blogger Daniel Wilcox said...

Infidel753, Nope, I came to your blog hoping to discover more of the careful reflective analysis I read in your other comment on secession!

Instead, I got what to me seems an unscientific, inaccurate view of homo sapiens.

I was an anthropology major for a couple years at a secular university, have worked in mental health, read many science books, and been an educator for many years.
Based on all of that and more, it appears that your phrase isn't true.

But I will accept the fault that I only quickly read several of your blogs, and looked at your About section.

I was just shocked by the sentence in question!

Maybe, I ought to have read for a few days, many articles, before commenting.

And, I don't disagree with you that chimpanzees are quite smart, as are a few other sentient species.

It looks like we also disagree about history. Rather than bog down your comment section with a long explanation of that, I will suggest you take a look at atheist Tim O'Neill's History for Atheist blog. He's too snarky for me, and I disagree with some of his articles, but I do think he serves as a correction to the claim of many atheists that non-atheist views of reality have "held us back." The answer is yes and no.

I will read more of your posts before I comment again.

Haste in thinking and commenting leads to problems, mine in this case.

01 November, 2017 10:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

If you want something more substantive, see the post below this one, or today's (I sometimes adapt comments I've written elsewhere into posts here). It's not reasonable to expect a reader to seek an in-depth knowledge of a newly-discovered blog before commenting on anything, but a rule I find useful is to avoid making my first comment on someone else's blog an attack comment, if you see what I mean.

Unless you reject evolutionary biology, it's a literal fact that humans are modified chimpanzees (or a modified version of a human-chimpanzee common ancestor which was probably similar to a chimpanzee, if you want to get more technical than this type of post really requires).

01 November, 2017 11:23  
Blogger Daniel Wilcox said...

Infidel753, Thanks for maintaining a blog of substance, some good reflective articles, along with weekly links to a few odd news items, displaying humans' primate selves-- antics similar to a monkey my aunt once gave me:-)

Your article last month on humans and our tendency to violence ("Ape-men") is lucid and convincing. It central focus reminds me of facts that I learned in anthropology classes and past readings on the topic.

It also reminds me of Steven Pinker's in depth book on humans and violence. You've probably already finished that. But if not, I highly recommend the tome. It will confirm your points with many more historical facts.

I'll keep reading:-)

02 November, 2017 07:29  
Blogger Infidel753 said...


Thanks for the kind words -- I really appreciate it.

02 November, 2017 09:36  

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