Uncommon Sense

November 17, 2019

Are “Young People Ignorant of Socialism”?

In a recent column on the ArcaMax network . . . well, here it is: Young people ignorant of socialism “From the Right” by Walter Williams on Nov 13, 2019
“A recent survey conducted by the Victims of Communism and polled by YouGov, a research and data firm, found that 70% of millennials are likely to vote socialist and that one in three millennials saw communism as ‘favorable.’”

As you might expect, the columnist decries the ignorance of young people with regard to history that they have never seen nor been taught, but . . . he also misses the point by a mile. To him, socialism and communism are bad, bad, failed ideologies, etc. And that young people do not recognize this indicates their ignorance. What he is missing is that these young people, in spite of all of the positive propaganda in its favor, are disenchanted with capitalism.

What he is missing is that these young people, in spite of all of the positive propaganda in its favor, are disenchanted with capitalism.

Hell, I am disenchanted with capitalism, because of all of the bullshit that was claimed for it that turned out not to be true. In addition, there has never been a “pure” socialist, communist, or capitalist state (or any other economic system) in the history of mankind. One look around the world shows this to be the case. Take Finland, often held up to be a “socialist” state (or democratic socialist). It is neither. Socialist activities account for a little over one fifth of Finland’s GDP. The rest is capitalist. Take the U.S. (Please!): the military is socialist, as are parts of the postal service, and any other government-owned enterprise (as the government represents “the People”). And then there is Medicare, Social Security, etc. The U.S. is not a “pure” capitalist country. It is part socialist, so what is being debated is actually just how much of each should there be?

The U.S. is not a “pure” capitalist country. It is part socialist, so what is being debated is actually just how much of each should there be?

And, really, the right wing of this country has been claiming that any collective approach to problem solving is “Socialism!” for centuries now, and now they are blaming young people for not understanding what socialism is. Another case of blind “blame the victim” politics.

Is it really shocking that young people are against the current status quo, being that they are one of the first generations in a very long time to have prospects dimmer than their parents’?

And, it is not just the young who are disenchanted. Consider that this very racist country elected a Black president . . . twice . . . in a “well, we haven’t tried this yet” manner. In each case, the opposing candidate was much more of a representative of the status quo. Then we had the election of the current president. Which of the two candidates represented the status quo more: Trump or Clinton? And which one got elected?

It is not just the young who are fed up with the status quo. The bottom 95% of us socioeconomically are, too.

November 12, 2019

OMG Where Do They Get These People (Sometimes a Blurb is Enough)

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Science — Steve Ruis @ 9:41 am
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I subscribe to a number of book recommendation lists, which is how this book came to may attention: Mind to Matter: The Astonishing Science of How Your Brain Creates Material Reality by Dawson Church. Here’s the Amazon.com blurb: (Note: I am sorry it is so long but it is also effing priceless.)

* * *

I am not, repeat NOT, recommending this book.

Best Health Book of 2018 – American Book Fest.
Best Science Books of 2018 – Bookbub.

Every creation begins as a thought, from a symphony to a marriage to an ice cream cone to a rocket launch. When we have an intention, a complex chain of events begins in our brains. Thoughts travel as electrical impulses along neural pathways. When neurons fire together they wire together, creating electromagnetic fields. These fields are invisible energy, yet they influence the molecules of matter around us the way a magnet organizes iron filings.

In Mind to Matter, award-winning researcher Dawson Church explains the science showing how our minds create matter. Different intentions produce different fields and different material creations. The thoughts and energy fields we cultivate in our minds condition the atoms and molecules around us. We can now trace the science behind each link in chain from thought to thing, showing the surprising ways in which our intentions create the material world.

The science in the book is illustrated by many authentic case histories of people who harnessed the extraordinary power of the mind to create. They include:

  • Adeline, whose Stage 4 cancer disappeared after she imagined “healing stars”
    • Raymond Aaron and two of his clients, each of whom manifested $1 million in the same week
    • Elon Musk, who bounced back from devastating tragedy to found Tesla and SpaceX
    • Graham Phillips, who grew the emotional regulation part of his brain by 22.8% in two months
    • Jennifer Graf, whose grandfather’s long-dead radio came to life to play love songs the day of her wedding
    • Harold, whose 80% hearing loss reversed in an hour
    • Joe Marana, whose deceased sister comforted him from beyond the grave
    • Rick Geggie, whose clogged arteries cleared up the night before cardiac surgery
    • Matthias Rust, a teen whose “airplane flight for peace” changed the fate of superpowers
    • Wanda Burch, whose dream about cancer told the surgeon exactly where to look for it
    • An MIT freshman student who can precipitate sodium crystals with his mind
    • John, who found himself floating out of his body and returned to find his AIDS healed
    • Dean, whose cortisol levels dropped by 48% in a single hour

In Mind to Matter, Dawson Church shows that these outcomes aren’t a lucky accident only a few people experience. Neuroscientists have measured a specific brain wave formula that is linked to manifestation. This “flow state” can be learned and applied by anyone. New discoveries in epigenetics, neuroscience, electromagnetism, psychology, vibration, and quantum physics connect each step in the process by which mind creates matter. They show that the whole universe is self-organizing, and when our minds are in a state of flow, they coordinate with nature’s emergent intelligence to produce synchronous outcomes. The book contained over 150 photos and illustrations that explain the process, while an “Extended Play” section at the end of each chapter provides additional resources. As Mind to Matter drops each piece of the scientific puzzle into place, it leaves us with a profound understanding of the enormous creative potential of our minds. It also gives us a road map to cultivating these remarkable brain states in our daily lives.

* * *

This is what happens when you blend a few facts with a few opinions. It has been discovered in the past years that we do not interact directly with “reality.” To be able to keep track of reality, we create a simulacrum of it in our minds and interact through it. This gives us quite a number of benefits. For one the simulacrum requires less detail and so a lot of the information streaming into our sensory organs can just be jettisoned, unless it has a significant effect upon your ability to survive. Consider that right now you have this truly immense sensory organ, your skin, which is sending sensory information to your brain for . . . what? Storage? Processing? What was the side of your thigh feeling 20 minutes ago? That didn’t get stored, eh? What happens to sensory information that gets sent to the brain and doesn’t get storied? (Hint: Bye-bye, useless info.) Another benefit is we can experiment with things in our imagination without the consequences of trying them out in reality, e.g. I shoulda punched that guy in the nose!.

Okay, so you take this evolutionary feature and you combine with the opinion, say, “everything happens for a reason.” What do you get? You get the nonsense of this book. A massive testament to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (the Latin means: “after this, therefore because of this”) and is an informal fallacy that claims that since event B followed event A, event B must have been caused by event A. It is often shortened simply to post hoc fallacy.

So, someone prays for their illness to be cured and voila, their illness is cured and they believe their prayer was answered. The doctors, nurses, hospitals, antibiotics, all of that stuff . . . is irrelevant.

Since “we create our own reality,” in our minds we actually create physical reality. WTF? This phrase (“we create our own reality”) has been used a lot in the personal development community, but it is a metaphor, not a physical claim. To claim that it is physical is a little like saying I made this painting of the tree outside my window . . . therefore it is the tree outside my window. Hello? We are creating a virtual map/simulation of reality in our heads. That is not the same as creating the reality outside our heads.

Can you imagine if this “version” of reality were actually the case. We would have dueling realities on display currently. “I want the #23 bus to come now!” versus “No, I want the #35 bus first!” “I want my mother to dies soon so I can have my inheritance” versus “Oh god, I don’t want to die yet, I want to see my latest grandchild first.”

Do we get banjo music in the background as these duels of will take place? Or does each reality get expressed separately? Talk about a multiverse! We would be up to our asses with realities. where would we put them all?

And the dishonesty in the phrasing of things! Consider “• Graham Phillips, who grew the emotional regulation part of his brain by 22.8% in two months.“ The way this was worded, it sounds as if this guy did the deed himself. If so, how did he do this? Was it through telepathy, mental manipulation of existing matter or the creation ex nihilo of new matter? If he could do it at all, why did it take two months. Were drugs being used? Were transfusions of stem cells involved? I guess you have to buy the book to find out. And don’t get me started on “• Elon Musk, who bounced back from devastating tragedy to found Tesla and SpaceX.” Gosh, a human being bouncing back from tragedy and doing something significant. Now that almost never happens! Must have been the magical creation of reality, I am sure.

Charlatans to the right of me, charlatans to the left of me, into the Valley of Ignorance I rode!

Addendum The opinion “Every creation begins as a thought.” may just be true, but what about all of the thoughts that are not creations, e.g. I think I will have a beer and a sandwich? How come I have to go to the store, buy the ingredients and make my own damned sandwich? How come my mind can’t create one on demand? What is it about physical reality that these people just can’t live with?! Inquiring minds want to know!

November 11, 2019

Scientists Don’t Always Hew Toward Logic

Filed under: Reason,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 8:07 am
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In an article on the Answers in Genesis web site, Jason Lisle, who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics and has published several credible papers on the sun, stated this:

“The Christian worldview is what makes science possible. The universe is always logical because logic is a description of how God thinks. God is perfectly rational. And since God’s mind controls the universe, the universe will always be logical. Being made in God’s image, human beings have the capacity to think logically, although in our sin we sometimes fail to do so. The success of science is, therefore, evidence that the Christian worldview is correct.”

He made this comment after saying “The branch of physics dealing with how the universe operates at very small scales — interactions involving particles smaller than atoms — is called quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is weird.”

I don’t think he will get a counterargument from anyone who has studied quantum mechanics that “Quantum mechanics is weird.” But, just what sins are preventing us from logically grasping what is going on in the quantum realm? He doesn’t say . . . interesting.

With regard to “And since God’s mind controls the universe, the universe will always be logical.” it seems the good doctor is espousing philosophy that is “early church” at best, which was based ex post facto upon Aristotle’s physics. In that physics, things that move had to be continuously pushed along, or they stopped. There was no inertia/Newton’s First Law of Motion. The planets moved in their heavenly orbits because there were angels pushing them along. They didn’t have room for Apollo’s fiery chariot for the Sun but if it weren’t for their faux monotheism, we might have had that, too. But in modern physics, the universe toddles along without the need of an “intelligence” behind it.

I cannot imagine Jason Lisle is this stupid (having read part of a book he wrote, I also can’t see him as being ignorant). I have to assume that he is engaging in willful wishful thinking. He so desperately wants to have a god controlling his life, that he is willing to sacrifice any common sense and basic physics knowledge he may have possessed.

This is unfortunate because religious apologists hold up people like Dr. Lisle as examples of scientists who believe and find their beliefs compatible with their science . . . when in fact, this seems to be a case of massive compartmentalization. Compartmentalization is where we hold incompatible ideas separately in our minds so they do not conflict. The religious audiences of the apologists are not usually in a place to recognize how “off” the science is from mainstream practices. Here, two separate compartments seem to be being smashed together with brute force.

And, Dr. Lisle ends with this:

“Although God is logical, he is also very creative. His ways and thoughts are far above ours (Isaiah 55:8—9). And therefore, some aspects of the way God has chosen to uphold his universe may seem very strange and surprising to us. Quantum mechanics is a great example of this. And yet, we trust that the universe will always be rational, if not always intuitive, because it is upheld by the mind of God.” In other words he uses the example of the illogic of quantum physics as an example of God’s rationality. It is so absurd, it must be true.* (*Apologistical Logic)



November 7, 2019

Morality and Manners

Filed under: language,Morality,Philosophy,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 7:40 am
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I frequent the Quora site and since I am interested in atheism, I see the question “If you don’t believe in God, how can you be moral?” and its many variants over and over and over (and . .  over . .  <sigh>). . . . This “question” is more of a statement than a question and is usually categorized as a “Gotcha Question,” right up there with “If God is all-powerful can He make a rock even He cannot lift, Father?”

An interesting variant of this question showed up this morning in the form of “Atheists, do you respect other people’s beliefs though you yourself do not believe in a deity? It is morally right to respect people’s beliefs, right?

The obvious answer is “no;” respecting other’s beliefs has nothing to do with morality. Consider Hitler’s profound belief that Jews were abominable and were to be exterminated. But then I realized that the questioner hadn’t used the best words available for his question. I believe he meant to say “Atheists, do you respect other people’s religious beliefs though you yourself do not believe in a deity?” Just because others often compound ordinary beliefs with religious beliefs, we should not fall so easily into that trap. If this is the intended question, and it seems to be, then the Hitler example is not all that good, although one could make an argument that the hatred of Jews was promulgated by Christianity. So, how about another example, how about Pope Urban II? Around the year 1095, he gave a speech calling for armies to embark on a crusade to the Holy Lands to take back Jerusalem from Muslim rule. Between 1096 and 1291, this speech was the impetus for eight major expeditions into the “Holy Lands” where untold numbers of unspeakable acts of savagery resulted in 200 years of bloodshed, and more than 1.7 million deaths. Should I respect old Urban’s belief that Christians are the rightful rulers of Jerusalem as opposed to the Jews who were there first or the Muslims, who were in possession of it at the time, both of whom are partial “rulers” of that city today?

I think there are many religious beliefs that are less mainstream that most people would find it difficult if not impossible to respect: any Scientology belief, for example.

Another immediate thought I had was it should be good manners to strive to understand someone else’s belief before adopting an opinion on that belief and to not just dismiss it out of hand. And, then . . . manners . . . manners? Why are there no questions regarding how we can have manners without God? Why are their no Christian manners? Surely manners are on the same spectrum with ethics and morality. Even if it were not immoral to covet one’s neighbor’s spouse, surely it would be bad manners? Aren’t manners intended to help us live together amicably, just like ethics and morals?

And where did manners come from when there isn’t a peep about them in the holy scriptures? Surely manners couldn’t have been created by people and, ugh, be like, you know, subjective and everything.

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