Class Warfare Blog

August 26, 2015

Divining Conservatives

I have pointed out before that conservatives are all for preserving the status quo. Obviously the people who are doing best in this state are the most ardent about “keeping what they got.” There are things in the worldview of conservatives that drive people like me nuts. For example consider this, from the poet and writer Wallace Stevens:

In an age of disbelief, in a time that is largely humanistic (much the same thing), in one sense or another, it is for the poet to supply the benefits of belief…. I think of it as a role of the utmost seriousness. It is for one thing, a spiritual role…. To see the gods dispelled in mid-air and dissolve like clouds is one of the great human experiences. It is not as though they had gone over the horizon to disappear for a time; nor as if they had been overcome by other gods of greater power and profounder knowledge. It is simply that they came to nothing….

What struck me about this statement was not the viewpoint that we had outgrown the need for gods, but that the “benefits of belief” needed to be replaced by something. I am still struggling grasping the concept of the “benefits of belief,” because “belief” in a religious context is belief in things that cannot be proven or, really, even argued from fact. As a scientist I am loathe to believe in things that are not true, and this is with a full understanding that all I think I know is only “provisionally true.” Scientific concepts are wrecked and replaced at a fantastic pace; we know that they are temporary constructs, waiting for ones more fully shaped. Still, each of those constructs has a core of truth. For example, when we learn that Aristotle taught that the four elements of physical things were fire, air, earth, and water, our modern minds can only laugh at his naïveté. But really, he was on to something: fire is a manifestation of energy, air is a stand-in for gases, earth for solids, and water for liquids. So, when we now say that matter is composed of solids, liquids, and gases we are saying much the same thing as did Aristotle.

My main point is that the arc of science is to expose our own errors and mistakes and correct them, coming ever closer to a view of nature that allows for us to make ever more accurate predictions. Religious belief is the antithesis of that: belief is not to be examined, facts are irrelevant, faith is not to be “corrected.” (I am always fascinated that Catholics believe their Popes are infallible and yet from time to time, those very same Popes admit mistakes and correct doctrine (as in being wrong). It is hard to accept both without questioning. Such acceptance, though has been turned into a virtue in Catholic circles.)

So, someone like me finds it incomprehensible that there are “benefits of belief” when the belief is in something that is unverifiable. This is not something trivial like believing that the Earth is round (spherical). The Earth is roughly spherical but because it is spinning and somewhat plastic, it is wider from side to side on the equator than at the poles and, of course, the surface is not flat, some points stick out and others are tucked down.

What we are talking about here is a belief in “invisible friends.” If a child has an invisible friend at the age of six, we are charmed (think of Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin), but if that same child has invisible friends while in high school, we take him to a psychologist. Religious people, though, insist as adults that they have an invisible friend, with super powers!

So, clearly I am missing something. Yes, I see that church goers benefit from the society that their church creates (mostly), but social clubs and service organizations supply the same thing. My father was a member of a stamp club. What bonded the members together was the joys of stamp collecting. Churches are celebrating a shared belief in the same invisible friend.

What I am missing is that conservatives place a high value on their beliefs, and the more those beliefs are indefensible, the better. And there must be benefits from those beliefs. This is elevating, for example, disbelief in climate change to religious belief status. Maintaining a disbelief in climate change when the facts all argue the other direction, proclaims conservatives as being people of faith, strong faith.

But this seems to me to be like one’s crazy uncle who believes all kinds of nonsense and staunchly defends his beliefs to the disbelief of all of the relatives. What separates being stubborn from being strong in one’s faith? Heck, what separates being stupid from being strong in one’s faith? Is it just the support of others who have the same beliefs?

The ultimate nail in the coffin of these “benefits of belief” comes in the person of Donald Trump. Mr. Trump’s life stands for everything evangelical Christians say they are against, yet Mr. Trump is #1 in the presidential polls amongst self-described evangelicals.

Basically, conservatives are saying, “if you believe the same stupid shit I do, then you are my brother” with the proviso that each conservative gets to choose his own topics upon which to exercise this choice. Evangelicals get to ignore the fact Mr. Trump is twice divorced, that he never consults god (except himself) when making important decisions, that he uses profane language in public, and any other foibles they want as long as they agree with him  on….

They are indeed strong in their faith and the benefits … well, the rich get tax cuts and we just lose our jobs. If we could only transfer their belief in things unreal to belief in things that are real. There is real joy there as opposed to the synthetic joy of religious and religious-like beliefs.

August 25, 2015

What Did You Say About the Emperor’s New Clothes?

One of the fascinating things Donald Trump is doing as a national service is exposing the rotten cores of both political parties, especially his own. By exposing the obvious fact that the Republican politicians are paying attention only to the needs of the “donor class” and ignoring the needs of ordinary citizens, people are starting to realize why it is they have been told that “government is the problem.” They swallowed the pill that said “Government is the Problem” but now they are seeing why that medicine was served up. It isn’t because of government interference in their lives as they have been told, it is because the government is the only agency of our society that can protect them from the rapacious plutocrats of the 0.1%. (Yo, folks, that’s what regulations are for; to keep the beast chained and under control.) So, along comes Donald Trump pointing out that all of the “politicians” (everyone save he himself) are going hat in hand to those in the 0.1% and asking for money … and are getting it, with strings attached, of course. Trump refers to them disdainfully as “puppets” because of all of the strings attached to the money they begged.

You need only compare polls of Republican’s opinions with the actions of Republican politicians to see who those politicians are serving. For example, Republicans want Social Security and Medicare protected. Republican politicians want to do away with them. Only rich people aren’t going to need SS and Medicare.

The question has been asked over and over how the Republicans get voters to vote against their own economic interests, and vote for the what the 0.1% want instead. It has, in the past, been social issues (gay marriage, abortion, etc.). But Mr. Trump has ripped the bandage off and exposed the fact that many, if not most Republicans, are “for” Planned Parenthood, “for” sensible gun control laws, and “for” many of the things that have been used as wedge issues before. But since the career politicians are in the pocket of Wall Street and the Plutocrats, they don’t get what they want. And it isn’t just the Republicans. Hillary Clinton is not immune to that criticism, have received large quantities of money over the years (dating back to the Clinton Health Initiative) from the rich and powerful.

As ordinary Republicans stagger around, blinking their eyes, and wondering why they hadn’t seen this before, we are left with an intense curiosity as to whether The Trump Spell will be itself dispelled and with soothing words, the wool drawn over the eyes of their voters again. And, if not, what will the new world look like when the voters, realizing what has been done to them, get really angry?

August 24, 2015

All of These Are Just Like the Others

I have written here, often more than once, about free will, the meaning of life, man as a special creation, imagination, and similar topics. Setting aside the arrogance and stupidity of believing that each of us was created in the image of a god (what good is an image without the substance behind it?; why are we so disposed to attacking others who present that image to us? etc.) there is something behind all of these topics that is escaping many in this discourse. All of these are steeped in the essence of “I” (or me).

Most people making arguments in the debate over free will, for example, limit free will to things consciously chosen, which ignores the fact that most of our choices are restricted and chosen subconsciously. At a restaurant, do we have free will as to what to have for dessert? Obviously not. Most people are confined to the choices on the menu. Special customers may be able to order “off menu” but the things they could ask for are limited by the ingredients on hand and the skill of the chefs. If you think back to your most recent dinner out, can you recall any conscious thinking at all when considering your choice of dessert. If there was any it was probably a thought or two along the lines of whether or not you were “full” already or whether you needed the extra calories. Women more than men seem to want to share their choices and discuss them, but I am not convinced that this is to help with the decision or to avoid making one. (On a date the safest thing to order is what the “payer” orders, so this may be a learned behavior.)

Most of the choices we make barely touch our conscious thinking. Even major purchases are made emotionally or even whimsically. And our constant whining (that’s whinging to you Brits) about our lives having meaning is at best bizarre. The vast majority of things around us have no meaning. What meaning does a carrot have or a rock? Really, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But our lives are supposed to have a meaning? Just what the heck does that mean? (Sorry.)

All of these topics have something in common and that is the illusion of self. I use the word illusion guardedly but I think it is appropriate. In a fascinating book entitled The User Illusion by Tor Nørretranders (which I have mentioned before) the author describes the origin of that term. It came from computers. When you operate your computer, it is easy to fall prey to the illusion that when you move your mouse or press a key on the keyboard, you are making the response that occurs on the screen rather than instructing the computer to do it.

Mr. Nørretranders points out that we take in a great deal of information through our senses but the vast majority of the information is simply discarded. There is also a time lag involved in processing all of that information. Anybody who has moved back several generations of computers will notice how incredibly slow they appear to now be, but when they were new, they seemed blazing fast, with almost no processing lag at all. But we are amazed to find our own brains have such a processing lag.

Now, all of these are manifestations of the human brain. And if there is anything you need to keep in mind (pun intended) is that our brains are survival machines. They have evolved by helping us survive (at least to the breeding stage of life). That is the way evolution works. If some sort of change in our makeup doesn’t help us survive, then it is fairly irrelevant in the larger scheme of things.

The survival capacity of the human brain is large wrapped up in imagination. We do not live in the present moment. In fact, as an archer I can tell you it is hard to live in the present moment, something we can only pull off for a few seconds at a time. (Some people refer to this as being in “The Zone.”) In fact we do not even live in “reality.” Our brains construct a facsimile of reality in our “minds” which it uses to navigate and predict the future (a major role of imagination). So, in an act as simple as crossing the street, our brains scan all of the approaching bodies, track their trajectories and create an expectation of where those objects (buses, cars, bicycles, pedestrians) will be when we are crossing the street. This capability is possessed by most mammals. But if you have ever seen a squirrel trying to cross a busy street, you can see that that function is not as well developed in all animals.

At some point in time we became aware of our own thoughts, which is really rather bizarre. The sense of it is as if someone else were speaking and we are listening to them. This is largely so, I suspect, because when we developed language, that pattern was drummed into our thinking. You spoke, I listened; I spoke, you listened. If we both spoke or both listened at the same time, not much communication occurred. So, if our thoughts became noticeable to us it was easy to frame these as if they were spoken and heard. If we were “hearing” these thoughts in the privacy of our own heads, then who was the speaker? Through such questions “I” was born.

There is nothing wrong with this … unless you go overboard and identify so strongly with this “I construct” that you believe it is the embodiment of all you are. Remember that the bulk of your activities, decisions, etc. are made subconsciously, that is with no involvement by “I.”

This is a relatively easy mistake to make. My guess is that 99+% of us make this mistake. The typical situation is that people are left to their own devices (leading to this identification) until a friend or a mentor suggests we try to meditate, which is nothing more than listening to one’s own thoughts and then experimenting with how much control we have over them.

The first impression of first-time meditators is that there are so many thoughts flying around in our heads, the second impression is that just observing them is boring (it was so boring my mind switched off and put me to sleep the first several times I meditated). So, what are these thoughts?

Aye, there’s the rub. Our brains have evolved to consider possible futures and to do that requires a sophisticated function. The busier our environment becomes and the more varied, the more processing is performed. If we were out hunting alone, in a wilderness setting, very few of these thoughts would be conscious. Apparently we are capable of processing a great deal more subconsciously than consciously. We would be out hunting in a state of being “one with nature.” But if we had a hunting partner or team, we would have to be constantly predicting the future movements and actions of the others. And we would be communicating, which vastly increases the success potential of the hunt. And communication sets up the speaker-hearer framework of thoughts (even if the communication is by hand signs or other non-verbal means). After the hunt, the hunters may have sat around sharing food and discussing the hunt that day. It was quickly learned that everything we experience was only dimly observed by our fellows (every child learns this through interactions with their parents), so certain “extrapolations” of one’s role in the hunt could be made, which might increase one’s standing in the group.

Over time, these activities extended to many leisure time periods. (Most people are unaware that we had more leisure time when we were hunter-gathers than when we took up agriculture (healthier and larger and stronger, too) but that’s another story.) So, eventually we got to telling stories “around the campfire” and imagination became unlinked to mere survival.

So, our brains have evolved to imagine and this faculty is not just a survival mode activity, triggered by a “fight or flight” response, for example. So, we “hear” thoughts in our heads that no one else hears and it is easy to place those thoughts into a supernatural entity (“I don’t know what came over me?” “The devil made me do it.” etc.).

That there is something equatable to “cause and effect” in the world is evident. Our imaginations allow for speculation on causes because they are linkable to effects. So, the idea of meaning is born. But meaning has no meaning, if I may use the word against itself. The way we use the word in this context is meaning is the special intent embedded in the cause of an effect. So, what do our lives mean? The truth is: absolutely nothing. Most people come into being with no special intent. There is some evidence in the literature that the vast majority of people throughout human existence did not link sex acts with pregnancies and births. So, if the cause of a person’s birth was unknown (“the Stork brought it” or “a gift from the gods”) then the people involved could not have had any intent in creating their child and even if they did, so what? As I have asked before, if an asteroid of suitable size were to hit the Earth and kill all of the people on it, what would become of “meanings?”

Meanings are inventions of our survival machine brains as a way of predicting the future, “if A did B to try to cause “C,” then….” So is the concept of free will. To even think that we will our way through life is laughable. Will is so hard to muster, that we are fascinated by those who can exercise it at all. All will is generated by us, but is limited to choices available at the time. Extraordinary people can recognize choices that others do not see and are labeled as being visionaries or imaginative.

So, are you a special creation of a god? No. You probably aren’t even a special creation of your parents. Yes, children are planned, but how planned are they? We don’t even get to choose whether they will be boys or girls, tall or short, smart or dull. What we get to choose is the time of the child raising period(s), so that it is not financially ruinous. Other than that, kids just sort of happen. Genetics determines much of their physical attributes and their upbringing most of the rest. And very, very few parents plan all of that.

The key to living a good life is getting the hell out of your own way.

August 22, 2015

Polls, Surveys, and Damned Lies

Why there are polls regarding the presidential candidates at this point in time is beyond me. Basically they are asking people: given that you really know almost nothing about these people, which would you vote for for President? (I suspect there are polls for the same reason there is coverage on cable TV at this point: ratings and money.)

Currently Donald Trump is leading in the national polls. Just for the sake of argument, let us say that he is getting 25% of the “votes” at this point. In other words, three out of four Republicans want somebody else.

Now the way things used to work, at some point candidates dropped out of the race and things shifted around. So, for example, if Candidate Y drops out and X% of his “poll supporters” favored Mr. Trump, then Mr. Trump’s numbers would go up. If they all switched to one of the other candidates, Mr. Trump’s numbers would stay the same. Eventually you would get down to a short list of three, or two, or even one candidate to be “chosen” by the party convention. So, why there is a lot of handwringing over the fact that Mr. Trup is “leading” the polls is puzzling. He may be at the peak of his popularity right now. As the number of candidates shrinks, other candidates numbers could swell well passed the 25% mark, as we have seen over and over.

But the reason most candidates drop out is they run out of money and can’t raise any more. The new reality, though, is that a great many candidates have multi-millionaire backers or even billionaire backers and, as long as they don’t spend money like a drunken sailor, they could be in it until the end. Which means that coming down to the Republican convention, there may still be a herd of elephants trumpeting to the finish line (I do apologize for the egregious pun).

The odds of any of the convention goers being skilled deal makers is very low as it has been many decades since a “brokered convention” has occurred (wherein they could learn the skill from past masters), so this makes for chaos in the offing and the possibility of a candidate with a minority of support from the GOP body politic becoming selected.

Thus is the new reality in which political parties, which used to control candidates by controlling the money to a large extent, become almost irrelevant because the candidates control their own money (or rather their backer’s money).

August 21, 2015

Why, Why, Why Do We Have to Get This News from a Foreign Source?

In 1996, Congress passed a law requiring the Pentagon, our military purchasing agent to account for all of the moneys spent. Let’s see, since 1996, that has been 8.5 trillion dollars. To date, the Pentagon cannot account for any of the money spent as they haven’t deigned to make an effort to comply with that law. Instead, they are still doing what they have always done, if their books don’t agree with the other agencies of the federal government, they make up new numbers. That’s right, the Pentagon cooks its books! Since they have no way of knowing what they actually spent, they either do that, or shrug in Congressional hearings and say “We dunno.” You can see why they would rather lie in private than tell the truth in secret.

All of this deliberate not knowing allows the Pentagon to make any argument/demand for funding as they see fit (making up numbers to suit their arguments) which makes it somewhat understandable why the Pentagon does this (after all their hearts and minds are in the “right place”) but why, oh why, does our Congress accept this?

Because of this lack of accounting we have situations like this:

“The Defense Logistics Agency is responsible for supplying just about everything imaginable for the DoD. As Paltrow puts it, “everything from airplane parts to zippers for uniforms.” Speaking in a meeting with aviation industry executives in 2013, DLA director and Navy Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek explained, “We have about $14 billion in inventory for lots of reasons, and probably half of that is excess to what we need.” But it keeps buying more—often adding to inventory of which there is already a surplus.
     “In one example, the DLA had stockpiled 15,000 Humvee front suspensions as of 2008, which is the equivalent of a 14 year supply. Yet somehow between 2010-2012, defying both logic and prudence entirely, the agency purchased 7,437 more of those same parts—at significantly higher cost than those already gathering dust on warehouse shelves—at a time when demand had been cut in half.
     “As of September 2012, the DLA and military had already ordered $733 million in duplicates of existing supernumerary supplies, which was a 21% increase from the $609 million it spent on the same asinine duplication the previous year. All this stuff makes a comprehensive inventory impossible, and a worker in the DLA’s largest warehouse explained there is no system for verifying  that items are stored correctly or even to track or estimate how much is lost to employee theft.” (the antimedia.org)

We are talking about an amount of money equal to about half of our National Debt and we have no idea how it was spent.

A bigger question is why do we hear about this from Reuters and not any of our domestic news sources. It appears that our fourth estate has been marked down and sold off.

August 19, 2015

Illegal Immigration: Even a Third-Grader Could Solve It

There is still a debate over illegal immigration in this country while there shouldn’t be: this problem has been solved, but our politicians would rather have the issue as a political football than effect the solution.

There are two parts to this problem:
1. preventing additional illegal immigration, and
2. dealing with those already here illegally.

Preventing additional illegal immigration is relatively easy. Ask yourself: why are they coming to this country? And the answer is obvious: to find work. So, the solution to cutting off the flow of such people is to shut off the jobs. So, from now onward, to get a job proof of citizenship or permanent resident status will be required. Guest workers will be handled as they always have been. So, undocumented workers will no longer be able to find work and the flow of such people will drop to a trickle. The only people opposed to this are the business owners who are using (and abusing) this form of cheap labor.

What to do with those already here is also not so hard to handle. Deporting 11 million people would be a massive problem, but rewarding them with full rights as citizens would be wrong. So, during a defined period, those who identify themselves as being here illegally and have kept clear of the law and have paid taxes, etc. will be granted permanent resident status (non-voting). If their children were born here, they are citizens because of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, but if they were not, then they, too, will be granted permanent residency. Any who do not come forward during the enrollment period will be deported if found, no exceptions.

Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Next problem!

 

August 16, 2015

Has Everyone Forgotten?

It seems there is a tremendous amount of hand wringing about student incurred debt right now. The Democratic candidates for President are all offering their plans to “reduce the load.” But has everyone forgotten?

Not that long ago, the get tough on education folks in Congress decided that student debt would not be subject to bankruptcy laws. So, if a student declares bankruptcy, it doesn’t affect his student loans.

Every scummy business, businessman, banker, speculator, and gambler can avail themselves of our bankruptcy laws … but not students. Heck, a company in financial trouble can legally fake its own death and then be reborn with another name with the same people, buildings, and equipment in place … but … not … students. Why?

My guess is the Republicans figured out that young voters tended to vote Democratic (teachers, too). So, how could the lives of these people be disrupted so that they would be “scared straight,” straight into either voting Republican or not voting at all out of fear of offending the powers that be? Hey, Murray, I got an idea! “Let’s load them down with debt so great they will be too anxious about their economic future to worry about politics. With their second and third minimum wage jobs, they won’t have the energy to volunteer for no Democrat. Whaddya think, Murray?”

Is there any rational reason for why student debt should not be dischargeable under bankruptcy? I don’t see one.

Republicans who do see a rational reason for this exclusion, don’t believe in “the market.” If too many loans get discharged out of bankruptcy, then the costs of those loans would go up and the criteria for getting them should get tougher, right? The market should fix those things, if … if … one believed in the power of markets in truth, rather than just when it benefits them.

August 13, 2015

The Source of Spirituality

When we were a relatively new species we traveled about in family groups as hunter-gatherers. Parents took care of children and each other. On occasion, a task that was insurmountable by a single member of the tribe was solved by two or more members working together. Thus cooperation was born. Cooperation expanded into even more complex patterns as while hunting for example, when one member of a small group might spook game animals to run closer to his compatriots with spears. Cooperation that is successful generates esprit de corps.

At some point in time, cooperation occurred between members not of the same tribe. This created group cohesion and a sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself, bigger than one’s family.

Those of you who have had a positive experience in a team sport, know how much like family that team felt, how you felt like a part of something bigger than yourself. (We even called that feeling “team spirit.”) If you were a member of a military unit, group cohesion was a factor in the development of that group, plus attachments to “country,” and “family” are made to make sure all of that military capacity stays on our side of any line our leaders want to draw.

Then act a soupçon of going to extremes, a common human tendency, and everyone “believes” that we are all part of something larger, that there is a plan your you and a plan for me in the larger state of human affairs.

If you look sideways a bit, you will find all kinds of interesting manifestations of this: out of the corner of your eye, you can see the people who believe in reincarnation. Virtually everyone of these people I have met (Americans) was convinced that in a former life they were a vizier or princess or other famous person. If this phenomenon (reincarnation) were actually in force, everyone I met who learned of a past life of theirs should have said “I was a farmer” or if going back farther, “I was a hunter-gatherer” because that’s 99.9999% of all there were, so I am guessing they are engaged in make believe. (Interesting that we have the term “make believe.”)

We all have experienced this spiritual sensation, that we were part of something larger, because we were or are. To carry this to the extremes required by most religions is not a good use of imagination, though, and really is a form of con to exert power over the believers. “You are part of God’s plan, my son.” Right. Ever ask one of these hucksters what the plan is? The answer is they do not know, because “no one can know the mind of God.” In other words, they are saying “we couldn’t possibly know that God had a plan for any one of us, but if you believe there is one, so much the better, please pass the collect plate.”

My suspicion is the people who answer poll questions about religion by describing themselves as being “spiritual but not religious,” is they don’t want to be left out. Everyone else is part of something bigger than themselves, so they want that, too. In fact, they can feel it.

Some of These Are Not Like the Others

Ah, now we are getting some movement amongst the 17 Republican candidates for President. So, who is moving up in the polls in the early primary states? Uh, Donald Trump isn’t exactly moving up but he isn’t, as most of the pundits expected, moving down either. Ben Carson is moving up, and Carly Fiorina is moving up.

So, what do these candidates have in common?

All of them are not professional politicians.

As I have been mentioning, ever since Ronald Regan, the Republican Party and more recently its in-house publicity organ, Fox (sic) News, has been promoting a particular meme, namely that “government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem.”

And what is the “government” but a collection of politicians?

As Mr. Trump says, “What do these folks do?” They run for office, it is what they do. Other than that, they do nothing.” “Oh, they also go around asking for money. Many of my opponents have asked me for money and I have been glad to help out. Many are nice people, but other than that, they are losers. C’mon, they have done nothing.”

So, government is the problem, and 14 out of the 17 Republican candidates are “politicians,” cogs in the machine of government and only three are “real” outsiders, aka nonpoliticians.

“They don’t know how to do anything real,” says Mr. Trump, “they are a bunch of losers. I, on the other hand create jobs, build buildings, I do things.”

As do Mr. Carson and Ms. Fiorina.

Welcome to the new Republican reality in which politicians are demonized until Congress has an approval rating of less than 10% and then Senators run for President on a platform of “I’m not like the others, I’m a good politician.”

But they didn’t include an exception in “government is the problem” for “good” politicians, now, did they?

 

August 11, 2015

Two World Views

Filed under: Culture,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 1:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

World View #1

In the distant past, humans were perfect and had no apparent physical flaws, but due to character flaws, humans fell into a depraved state. No matter what our eyes could see, we were unworthy, despised and unable to see our way forward. But, it turned out that through belief in a specific god of the thousands known to us and a few acts of obedience and we could be saved from our own bestial nature. Otherwise, after we died we would be transported to a world of torment, their to suffer until the end of time. Life on Earth has no promises, and only after we die do things get better.

World View #2

In the remains of our past we can see a time when we lived much as other animals do. But over time, we learned how to protect ourselves from the weather/climate through clothing and shelter and from predators by fashioning weapons. Over thousands and thousands of years we learned to live in larger communities in which we were surrounded by those not kin to us. While we often quarreled and even made war, per capita violence has decreased steadily throughout our history.
Through the development of medicine we can now survive natural diseases that used to kill us by the million. By developing sharing technologies we can speak with people far out of ear shot. In addition we can hear music when we are nowhere near the musicians and see plays when nowhere near the actors. We can preserve the thoughts of people after they have died, even after they have become forgotten by all who knew them.
By developing far-seeing instruments we find the universe is so vast, they we do and can inhabit only a tiny, tiny fraction of it indicating that we can have only a small impact on the large scheme of nature. By we have learned to travel to other worlds and find much to be curious about.
Over time we live longer and longer and in greater comfort able to pursue subjects far afield from those when we were almost totally focused on mere survival.

Okay, now choose.

PS

It is interesting that World View #1 is only promoted by people who have something to sell, a little like the current education reformers who are constantly screaming our education system is failing, when it is succeeding ever better over time, and that the only way to save ourselves is through the educational products (tests, charter schools, etc.) they are selling. It is the exact smae pattern, that of a morally loose huckster, looking for ways to profit without providing superior service or products, just their products.

The “Prescription for Being Saved” they are selling requires no church, no tithe, no priests, no help at all, but these organizations are constantly pushing a god who is “all-powerful, all-seeing, and always in need of money” even when their leaders lead lives of opulent splendor.

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