Monthly Archives: August 2017

Miscellaneous Posts on Irreligiousity

Here are some topics I haven’t taken the time to flesh out.

  • Is this 2002 Gallup poll evidence against the idea that more education means you are less likely to be religious? Well, I ought to check if the gap still exists since atheism has been on the rise in the past few years. It would not surprise me if the business and social connections help post-graduates. Is church just a social thing for them? Are they going just because their wives are going, or because they think religion is a useful lie to perpetuate for society or for your kids?
  • Superstition in names: Mongols who have seen their kids die like to give their newborns unflattering names to prevent their infants from dying. It is not uncommon for a boy to be named “nobody,” “vicious dog” or given a female name to confuse the evil spirits and keep them from snatching him. I’m not a Mongol, but kids should be allowed to choose their own names, and it sucks that society allows parents to choose semi-permanent names which their kids must use for their entire life, and I would love to change my name to a cooler one if it wasn’t so expensive.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_name#Taboo_names

    A nice name for a bar in Mongolia.

  • Would you rather live in a designed universe? It would be fun to be in a universe where the natural laws gave a few heroes incredible luck. There could be immortals fighting one another for petty feuds for millenia, power ranger mechanics, or we could fight existential threads like the giant monsters rampaging through our cities instead of interal forces. There could be sudden plot twists and inexplicable phenomenon like teleportation, invisible people, and miraculous healings whenever “the gods” got bored. There would then be no doubt that the whole world could be a play put on to entertain a higher being, and if we knew how the story is goes then we could enjoy our roles knowing we were minor actors.
  • The Christian population in Korea is fervent, while atheists in Korea aren’t pressured to organize or fight back against its creeping influence on politics and school curriculum, like they are in America.

https://humanisticpaganism.com/2013/02/24/is-korea-really-the-5th-most-atheist-nation/#comments

  • Wiki had an article I’m calling “former atheistic states,” which was rather misleading when I looked into the details. Many times when a president was elected for a term and tried to weaken the church or drive it out, it was put on the map, and I still don’t have any clue why Yemen is on the map. I suspect the map is mostly Christian propaganda, and attacks on Christians in that country are being used to justify putting them on the map. To be fair attempts at state atheism have not gone well, the two main examples being the USSR and the first phase of the French Revolution when they wanted to replace Christianity with an abstract Deism. Of course neither attempt lasted long – religion fights back, and the leaders decided to compromise and use organized religion as a tool for supporting their legitimacy. In the case of the USSR, Marxism optimistically asserts that religion will go away when people stop suffering under capitalism – when this didn’t happen, at least not quickly enough, Stalin decided to try to spread atheist propaganda, to curb the power of the church, and limit the power of church leaders to defend themselves in debates. World War 2 stopped the anticlericalism, because a desperate Stalin needed the support of the church to fuel patriotism, and thereafter religion was mostly tolerated.

 

  • I find it interesting that Albania is one of the least religious predominately Muslim countries, allegedly due to the USSR’s occupation there and opposition to religion. Even though they’re 80% Muslim, they’re more like “cultural Muslims,” in the way that being Muslim is part of your heritage. They’re more tolerant of other religions there, and the Muslims there hardly ever visit a mosque.

Sometimes the Soviets tried cool ideas and they did weaken the influence of religion even though they couldn’t eradicate it. If they had stayed and kept the course they might have wiped Islam out of Albania. Imagine if the US had let the Marxists takeover the Middle East and neuter religion?

Article 37 of the Albanian Constitution of 1976 stipulated, “The State recognises no religion, and supports atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in the people”,[37] and the penal code of 1977 imposed prison sentences of three to ten years for “religious propaganda and the production, distribution, or storage of religious literature.”

Another example where they apparently weakened religion is Kyrgyzstan. I really should make a point of researching how they did it, and for how long, given that Communist governments everywhere usually relaxed their opposition to religion over time. It’s unfortunate that the Red Scare has made people associate atheism with Communism though, which can turn people against it just by association. The Red Scare certainly made Americans insert the word God on their currency, in the Pledge of Allegiance, and so on and so forth, and I remember there being a similar uptick in religiosity and patriotism right after 9/11. (Some liberals have claimed that the reactionary feeling was not truly a newfond love of one’s country, which is another interesting point to debate.)

  • Here is a list the actual religiosity of today’s europe:

https://media.8ch.net/file_store/e23a056d9fb5449a74680e5b513e0ba5f546940c538a1dd9e355026c0b59782b.jpg

It is misleading when an article says Finland or Iceland are especially atheist, when half of them believe in spirits and life forces. I strongly dislike technical atheists who aren’t skeptics to all metaphysical things. (Supposedly the Finns aren’t as newagey as the Islandic people though, maybe ‘cas they’re close to Russia, lol.)

Let me just recap that the USSR working within the axioms of Marxism believed religion would quickly die out once they overthrew capitalism, and when it didn’t, they decided to try and stamp out religion within their borders with atheistic propaganda and restrictions on clergy, etc, but when Germany invaded Stalin got desperate and mostly gave up and brought the churches back. Cuba tried to restrict religion too, but quickly gave up, and the story seems to be shared across the Communist countries. I now suspect there wasn’t enough political will to commit to an atheistic propaganda campaign, and so most of them never truly lost their religion, which is why it sprang back as soon as it became legal to admit that your family was secretly Christian the whole time. (That’s the takeaway for me- it’s either that, or Christianity has been spreading to fresh followers in China and Russia due to how poverty makes you susceptible to believing in bullshit.)

  • The Czech Republic seems to be an exception where religion might have already taken a fatal blow, but that was more because there was already a strong history of anti-clericalism and irreligiousity, due to local history and conflicts with the church, before the USSR invaded. They now might have the highest proportions of atheists (and nones), and it’s really too bad that the drawbacks of air pollution, xenophobia, rude unfriendliness, and poor service would deter me from taking an interest in ever moving there. They’re also still very superstitious. (I hope their relative rationality lets them realize they need to clean up those other issues.)Kyrgyzstan too is supposed to be unusually tolerant of non-Muslims for a Muslim country, with the secular government going so far as to try and stamp religion out of the public schools.

Continue reading Miscellaneous Posts on Irreligiousity

Rough draft: Making Laws for a fair game

Everyday we  are playing a game where we are encouraged to play a min-max style, and so libertarians are often wrong when they say, “If you don’t like X, then stop doing it, but don’t tell me I can’t.” My stopping won’t stop others from doing it. It won’t prevent the tragedy of the commons, or a death of viable playing styles as everyone min-maxes!
A case in point is veganism, which I might rather easily embrace if everyone did it. We could save a lot of money if we stopped subsidizing the price of steak and water to provide for those cattle, since growing plants for food is much more energy efficient. In effect, as we shovel subsidize corn into cows, vegans must subsidize the non-vegans. But why should I deprive myself?

 

Or for another example, why should I bike to work, buy more expensive food products, and so forth if only I am doing it? There is such a premium on being moral! It’s sad when more ethical behavior is only an easy option for the rich!
That’s why some of us want to be socialists. We’d rather enforce laws that apply what we consider “ethical” on everyone who can affect us. When done right, it works, and the problems such as exemptions for the rich fall away. You might think it’s authoritarian right? Well, socialism isn’t incompatible with you being one of the voters putting things on the ballot. It’s only “authoritarian” if you don’t like the laws, but there are times when only law can drive change, and when a population of people acting in their own interest must create laws to protect themselves from being victimized or disadvantaged if they act according to a moral compass, even if most everyone wants to follow that same moral compass. I’m just rambling about the tragedy of the commons.
Really, we need laws and enforcement to make the game fair sometimes. Both the losers and the winners often try to make laws to protect their interests. If you believe in reducing income inequality, or anything progressive, it’s natural to want to change the law so the winners aren’t already predetermined at the start of the race.

One thing I want to research is the Great Compression. What is the cause of income inequality shrinking in America from the 50s until the 1980s, when it ballooned under Regans deregulation? Why don’t we talk about the policies that worked during that Era today? This chart is the smoking gun that ought to blow Wall Street deregulation pundits out of the water.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Compression

Not nearly enough talking is done about that; most Americans don’t know about it. Really, Richard Dawkins and I have had the same idea – certain people really shouldn’t vote. But if they do vote, maybe there should be some kind of multiplier so that more educated/competent voters are worth much more. Voting in ignorance or on emotion is like driving while drunk. — and when you go to vote, it’s not like eating a greasy hamburger that only will make you unhealthy, because your vote will affects others and their liberties. The glorification of the vote — of having people vote according to their tastes and preferences isn’t a good thing!

A bit of elitism would fix so much! If you graduated from college your vote is worth 1.5 times more. If you got a PHD, it should be worth 3 times more. (Under this reasoning more rational people would quickly have a lot more power!)

Ah, of course there are objections to this, but this is a rough draft I’m still exploring.I’ll point out that the senate system and winner takes all policies that allow lobbying in a  limited number of crucial states almost exclusively (at the expense of the rest of the country), is the present system, and it is not a “one man one vote system.” In effect someone in Wyoming has like 50 times the votes of someone in Texas, due to the importance of the Senate.

I really do think it’s been proven that most people aren’t qualified to vote anymore. People who don’t understand complicated things like economics are voting….they watch Rick Perry ads and consider making him the nominee because he 1) brags about being a Christian 2) wants to repress the gay “other.” Then these people vote in Trump. And they vote in a pure Republican congress just because they are supporting Trump, just by association, thereby allowing Republicans to control 3 branches of government and destroy any hope of checks and balances.

Hell, the liberal law schools and lawyers have been struggling with the effect of having a Conservative Supreme Court majority for 40 years, it’s such a shame. I’ve always hoped that the Judicial branch would be the elite group that sees further than the rest when everything fails, but the partisan appointments, and conservative leanings of the court (especially as they age and refuse to retire), are making me dislike them more and more. How much better it would be if younger lawyers would expand consumer protection law like they did in the 70’s (rather than gutting it under conservatives), and if law were an active, exciting area of debate again!

It’s amazing that this is the future they the people have choose. Maybe Republicans shouldn’t be allowed to vote! (And a smaller percentage of liberals.) Of course, the Democratic party isn’t liberal, it’s centrist, but Republicans are laughably wrong on so many issues, that it’s not even worth considering their position 8 times out of 10, until a hypothetical future date when they flip and become the new liberal party like they flipped in the civil rights era.