10 January 2019

Random observations for January 2019

Ideology is almost as destructive to art as capitalism is.

o o o o o

Unfortunately, natural selection may have imbued humans with a propensity for obedience.  Back in the stone age, when the elders told the children "Don't go near the river, there are crocodiles there", those who obeyed were more likely to live to pass on their genes than those who went to see for themselves.

o o o o o

A while ago I drove past a church whose sign bore the message, "Have you ever wondered how many lies you believe?"  Oh, the irony.

o o o o o

A century from now people will look back on our time, which passively accepts aging and natural death as inevitable, with the same pity and horror with which we now look back on the age that accepted its helplessness in the face of the Black Death as something normal.

o o o o o

Gods are usually made in the image of the humans who create them.  That's why they hate the same people their human creators hate.

o o o o o

"War is not the answer," goes the cliché.  If you think about it, war is more often the question.

o o o o o

I honestly don't see any good in religion at all.  All the good that it supposedly does is actually done by people, and those people would probably be just as good even if they weren't religious.

o o o o o

If you favor "punching Nazis" (simply for being Nazis, as opposed to in retaliation for violence of their own), then you need to come up with a clear, straightforward, and generally-accepted definition of "Nazi".  The term is thrown around far too promiscuously these days.  If you believe a certain category of people can legitimately be subjected to violence purely because of their opinions, then at the very least you owe everyone an exact definition of who falls into that category.

o o o o o

It's objectively wrong to claim that religion and science can be reconciled with each other.  Every religion makes some empirically testable claims about reality.  In the case of Christianity, the Bible makes claims about the origin and age of the universe, the origin of life including humanity, a global flood, and so forth.  All these claims can be, and have been, tested by scientific methods and all of them have been shown to be completely wrong.  Similarly, Biblical claims about the Exodus and most of the Israelite "history" before about 600 BC have been shown by archaeology to be mythical.  The Gospel stories of Jesus are full of details which are irreconcilable with the known history of the period.  It is all just mythology.  Trying to reconcile it with science is as silly as trying to reconcile the Harry Potter books or Spider-Man comics with science.

o o o o o

We need a basic change in our thinking about the environment.  The option of just doing our own thing while the planet’s climate and ecosystems keep humming along on their own, as they have for billions of years, is no longer available.  The impact of human activity is simply too large now.  From now on we’re going to need to manage and control the Earth, the way we need to manage and control things like gardens and parks (which, unlike wild ecosystems, don’t remain stable in the absence of human intervention).  There’s no alternative.  So we’d better learn to do it properly, and get a clearer and more honest sense of what our priorities are.

[For previous random observations, see here.]


Blogger Adam said...

Funny how often religious people say things that make them hypocrites, they remain the blind sheep.

10 January, 2019 18:24  
Blogger Jimbo said...

A century from now, there may not be more than a handful of humans still alive to regret the shit that humans in the 20th and 21st century inflicted on the world.

10 January, 2019 18:27  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

I hate the fascist alt-right as much as anybody, but I too do not support the "punch a Nazi" movement. Violence should only be used in self-defence. Views and opinions, no matter how hateful and obnoxious, do not justify assault as a response.

10 January, 2019 20:14  
Blogger Blue Heron said...

My riff on one of your paragraphs.


11 January, 2019 12:46  
Blogger Ed Smith said...

Working definition
"supremacism": a philosophy that espouses the application of fear and violence against any group of people, up to and including killing, outside the purview of the ruling government exercising said powers to protect and serve the people within its borders."

I state this in such a vague way so as to include any flavor of white supremacy AND to also include its application from within a government if they gain power.

As said by Tom Lehrer: "I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another, and I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that!"

11 January, 2019 13:52  
Blogger Richard Garrett said...

To your last observation: what is going on right now in our national parks during Trump's government shutdown is a perfect microcosm of what we're doing to the park-at-large (i.e., Earth).

From the mountains of trash to the stinking raw sewage to the incomprehensible vandalism and destruction of irreplaceable resources (e.g., Joshua Tree), we are witnessing a condensed, metaphor-rich preview of our future if we suspend responsible and sustainable management of our planet.

In just 21 days, some of the damage already done is irreversible in the short term (wildlife behavioral modification is one example). Our national parks right now are windows onto the Trumpian future of Earth. We need to pay attention.

11 January, 2019 14:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Adam: I've come to believe that hypocrisy is fundamentalists' most salient characteristic.

Jimbo: That's always possible, but I think it's very unlikely.

Debra: It's an important principle. Free speech must apply to all views.

Blue: That's actually a fairly common reaction. I think it's easy for people who haven't seen the horrors of aging and dementia up close to say that they would refuse treatments for those things; I notice that during the earlier illnesses you describe, you accepted the treatments that were available to prevent yourself from dying of them. When treatments for aging are available, I think most people will do the same. Of course, some people may indeed prefer not to, just as (for example) the Jehovah's Witnesses today refuse blood transfusions; adults should be free to make such decisions. But I don't want to age or die, and when the choice is available, I think most people won't. You might want to take a look at this; more here.

Any particular reason why your post has comments disabled?

Ed: Ironically, I could imagine a situation where something rather like Naziism would rise again by using "Nazis" (by ever-expanding definition) as the bogey-man that needed to be ruthlessly suppressed.

Richard: Indeed, they've now moved from neglect to outright sabotage. It's the ecological equivalent of forcing workers to work without pay, to put pressure on sane people to yield to the hostage-takers' demands.

11 January, 2019 17:14  
Blogger Blue Heron said...

I respect your opinion, which is contrary to my own. No special reason for not having comments on this particular entry, some times when I write extremely personal blogposts I decide not to give an opportunity for gratuitous chatter and just let them sit. Not often but once in a while. I see you have done a lot of thinking about the subject, quite thought provoking. Thanks.

11 January, 2019 20:03  
Blogger Blue Heron said...

I would be happy to open my comments if you would like to make one.

12 January, 2019 07:17  
Anonymous Jack Jodell said...

As the late, great John Lennon once observed, "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." Interesting and thought-provoking post, Infidel 753!

12 January, 2019 09:04  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

A couple of these I had to read a couple times just to get it straight, you have a way with words for sure ... pretty good at it. Religion ... oh boy ... don't get me started {:-) As far as your comment on wanting to not age or die, etc ... I don't think most folks want to, even religious folks try all to avoid it, regardless of them saying they are going to a better place ... I guess suicide terrorists don't give 2 shits. I don't like aging, but on the other hand, I actually feel pretty good, but my hair is getting grey- er ... but yes, if I could avoid aging, death or other illnesses or whatever, I would. Death I don't take lightly, I had a few folks very close to me die when they were with me, a couple, including mom, it was so emotional for me, they died hard, not sudden, it was so difficult trying to hold back the tears, I had to go in the bathroom when I start to cry, because I didnt want them to see me, because they may feel worse. The worst part is having someone close to you dying right there in front of you, and they ask for your help, what made me so angry and crying, is that there was nothing I could do to help, just try to comfort them ... weird trying to describe the feeling ... but it stays with you I guess.

12 January, 2019 09:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Blue: Understandable, though I've always found comment moderation adequate for filtering out "gratuitous chatter".

Jack: Thanks!

Ranch: Even suicide terrorists believe they're going to an eternal "life" in Heaven.

When you've seen aging and decrepitude and death close up, as you have, you know it's a horror. We should be working on eradicating it just as we do with every other deadly disease.

13 January, 2019 06:36  

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