What we do know is that testosterone levels decline with age, which correlates with stupid, grumpy, and stubborn old grandpa. Testosterone calms you down which is important for clear thought; we’ve proven it reduces anxiety by injecting male and female mice with two doses of it: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4330791/
Science is wonderful, but there are still many unanswered questions in dick science. What genes affect dick length and pleasure, and can we know how to genetically engineer a change in vitro? Can we know why are masculine women and transsexuals so angry, and why do they want to destroy all dicks? Did testerosterone deficiency cause Sam Harris to decide to go to India to get a sex change? Because there is no reliable way to prove Sam Harris has a dick over the Web, I consider myself agnostic, as with the other questions.
Good is also just a social construct that results from religious entitlement and prejudice.
Why don’t Christians convert to Shinto?
>Great shrines in natural settings
>Can believe in whatever the fuck you want
>Can expand or reinterpret mythology however you want without creating controversy
>Free to borrow from other religions/traditions
>No prohibition on sex
>No prohibition on same sex
>The driving philosophy is to take nice baths
>Other philosophy is to celebrate life, i.e. through dancing
>No eternal damnation
>People quietly pass on when its their time
>Gods are fun to talk to
>Thousands of kami to fill up your pokedex
>The gods don’t want to end the world
>No compulsory church on Sunday
>No compulsory 10% income tax levy
>No annoying evangelicals
>Hermits have chuunibyou powers but would rather train in the mountains than usurp the government
Note: I set this to post in a couple years.
Lately I have begun to feel more patriotic. I do not like most Americans, and I would be fine being called unAmerican since the majority of my country cannot think critically and over half of us are nuts. But I have began to really value the institutions that have tried to check Donald Trump amd the Republicans from creating an irrational ruling hiearchy.
I see why we need a bit of a deep state–an FBI to investigate the president when all the other branches were conpromised by cynical Republicans who care only for power and personal gain, and who don’t stand for the truth.
I feel awful about what is happening in America and how powerless I feel to change minds. So much of the country has been radicalized and will support Trump, and similar alt-right or religious ideas no matter what. The Republican platform of lower taxes on the rich, big government when it suits them and no long-term planning, and dumb I g down the education and not believing in Global Warming or any gun control…it’s so indefensible.
Gradually I have recognized that the Democratic party is more logically consistent than I thought it was. It’s much more based on reality and facts. There are fewer illiberals there.
I feel very sorry for all of the Americans who will never learn how to think critically as I can. I often do not know about things, but unlike them, I don’t accept beliefs on faith and I can learn about things and be more confident that I am right than someone who believes in a trinity.
I certainly feel affection towards Thomas Jefferson, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens who are all great Americans. Hitchens was one by choice, and was right about how we the secular world will have to fight against religion and totalitarian Islamic idiocy someday, and everyone needs to be prepared to take a side. Such ideas won’t leave us alone, and religiosity will just grow in the Middle East if left unchecked.
Perhaps I should have studied Arabic so I could have written a blog criticizing the Qur’an, to do my part in that struggle for secular liberal freedom. Oh well…I cannot take back the past years of my life, and I do not think I was born strong enough to waste time so I could do that starting from today. But I must support anyone who does that in my place, and I now see that I probably do have to support American troops to some degree. No other country in the world is willing to try and invoke positive change in the Middle East, and even if America keeps fucking up, or keeps wrongly electing religious sects to rule the countries, we can still learn from our experiences and someday get it right. It’s still better than not doing anything about the problem and letting the cancer become so strong that we cannot fight it anymore.
Yeah, I’ve stopped being a dove and now I am a hawk. There are plenty of stupid wars and conflicts America should not have gotten involved in, and there were unwinnable ideological wars like Vietnam. But it’s wrong to aay america should never invade another country, or that America should just leave other countries alone. How has that worked for Africa where the world turned it’s back on Somalia? If America can actually learn how to fix problems abroad and bring secular liberal democracy to the world, then the cause is just. I just wish America would make that more of a priority and not get caught up in selfish conflicts of interest.
At the same time, America has a poor track record. We cannot even fix our own problems or irrationality, so it’s hard to imagine us fixing problems abroad. That said, we are more rational than the Middle East so any improvement we bring there would be welcome. (We can just keep out of Latin America since they’re ok, especially Costa Rica.)
The Muslims will wage more and more jihad on us no matter what we do. We need to keep soldiers in the Middle East. We need to get experts who can start fixing the problems there so there will be stability and peace and liberalism in a century.
And it does seem that Russia and China will be our enemies and there is nothing we can do about it. It would be great if they would help us, but they’re autocrats, and Russia sees itself as engaged in a zero sum game with the USA.
After a few years of confusion, when America seemed pretty bad, corrupt and meddlesome, the world has become more black and white for me. Liberalism is good, illiberalism is bad. My moral compass has started to atune itself to true north again.
I guess a lot of what I was taught wasn’t so wrong, but you have to think it through like I did or you wouldn’t know.
Of course there will be times in the future when I won’t have the time for moral clarity. I will probably forget things, or find my knowledge turning obsolete. I will forhmget the facts, the proofs, and maybe even the conclusions. I will certainly turn vulnerable in old age.
But isn’t it great to be young enough, and yet seasoned enough to have some co evidence in your own conclusions?
Btw I do not think I am a socialist nowadays. It is trye I am progressive, and want more government, and agree with a lot of what the sociaidts want. Even so, I don’t see a viable way to replace money (labor vouchers don’t seem to have worked), and the prophecies of Marxists didn’t come true as Hitchens pointed out.
I am more of a vanilla liberal, and a Democrat, who opposes neo-liberalism and deregulation. I am concerned about corruption in the government less than allowing businesses to get all the power they do to lobby in the first place. I am convinced the Republican party can never drain the swamp, because to begin with they believe in having hiearchiercal government!
I think deeper mass education is key right now. Without more of it direct democracy would just be mob rule and we would have creationists setting up a theocracy, and doves who refuse to tackle the problems of the Middle East and increasingly Europe.
Better education is probably more fundamental than focusing on bettering income inequality right now. The Republican party should not have the following it does, and that’s only possible because of the widespread intellectual vulnerability. Right now the country is in survival mode, and if we do not fix the problems of critical thinking soon, we will not be able to fix all of the other problems like income inequality, and a coeeupt hiearchcal government.
If we don’t do somethig to allow the population to wake up to how stupid they are and to seek better knowledge, then the Republicans will keep voting in morons, and someday the Democrats too.
Maybe I won’t be in America anymore, but at least I know now what I believe needs to be done to fix some of our problems. I’m not agnostic about gun control anymore like I was about 6-15 years ago or when I watched Pier Morgan tirading.
Public opinion is often wrong; mob opinion is almost always wrong; religious opinion is wrong by definition. -Christopher Hitchens
I rewatched that one 4 horsemen in that one video where they met at Hitchen’s house, and the amount of insight packed into those 2 hours was amazing. It holds up well over time and I wish they had more videos like that. If only Hitchens had lived long enough for them to have an anniversary meeting later.
The 4 horsemen label was really a great idea, and if not for it I would not have gotten to know about all of them. At first I wasn’t impressed with Daniel Dennett or Sam Harris, but I’ve grown to appreciate both of them. Together the 4 of them do appeal to rationality through different ways, and someone who throws away one of the other 3 horsemen’s books across the room at the wall might listen to Daniel Dennett. Conversely, he might not be aggressive enough to rouse them out of their stupr when what they need is a good hard slap across the face.
I would definitely have wanted to go to a meeting to see the 4 of them give a talk together. There really isn’t anyone close to Christopher Hitchens–no one who will take his ideological position as a former Socialist/Marxist, with a background in journalism, who has the readiness to change his mind and to defend liberalism to the extreme. There are no public intellectuals I know of who are as widely read as he is, as eloquent, as smart, as confident, or as capable of reciting from memory at the drop of a hat.
Sam Harris does his best, but he’s calmer, makes fewer aphorisms, and just can’t do a Hitch-slap nearly as well or as often. He takes a cowardly moderate position too often for my liking on everything except fighting Islam. Of the three survivors, Richard Dawkins makes the most interesting tweets, and I know he’s going to die sooner or later. Daniel Dennett avoids tweeting, and although Sam tweets the most, they tend to be retweets and I tend to side with Dawkins more and prefer his commentary.
I think it’s weird how Sam Harris got a PHD in neuroscience and then basically never used it. He also had a weird stint in India for a decade–he was smart enough to get into Stanford, but then he just dropped out to go meditate in India. I don’t get that, but it seems like he was seduced by mysticism to a degree that the other 3 horsemen never were. I think he is suffering from cognitive dissonance because he refuses to give up on his strong belief in the value of meditation when question by other atheists who are skeptical of it. His defense always sounds like, “You haven’t done it so your opinion is worthless like someone who is blind–but I have learned a lot–just have faith.”
Yeah well, maybe it does have benefit, but you could probably get those insights without going to India for a decade or however long he did. (Maybe I’m just envious I don’t have the time and money to go to a retreat and learn under some gurus.) There’s a big difference between him and Hitchens though–Hitchens was condescending toward meditation because he didn’t want to calm his mind. There on display lies the old Marxist attitude, who thinks truth and progress are best acquired through struggle. It would have been interesting if Sam Harris had managed to persuade Hitchens to try meditation, to see if it had much effect on the fiery oration Hitchen could be capable of.
Back then no one drove normal cars: everyone drove a convertible, EZ rider motorcycle, or a JEEP/pickup, COCA-COLA product placement everywhere, all young men are stupid muscular blondes, there was widespread belief in UFOs, omniscient government conspiracy theories, and death valley was a popular tourist attraction. And everyone listened to motown.
democracy is a sham, we have always been run by secret societies.
“The fairly new discipline of evolutionary psychology uncovers an inconvenient truth about who we really are, stripped of romantic fairy tales about our specialness. The fundamental reality of our species is that we are naturally evolved primates, and primate social organization is built on male dominance hierarchies. These hierarchies concern themselves with the allocation of resources according to status. The coveted resources are food, territory, and sexual access to females. Males who achieve dominant status receive the lion’s share of these resources. This helps to assure the transmission of their genes, which is the essential goal of evolution, if evolution had a goal. The most aggressive males have the greatest survival rates and reproductive success. The gene for male aggressiveness dominates, as does the gene in females for receptiveness to aggressive males.
Primate species’ success naturally selects for aggression. Meanwhile our facile brains and clever paws invent new devices that allow dominant males to wield ever deadlier weapons and to invent new dogmas to convince their lower status pack mates that acceptance of the dominance of higher status males is “morally” or otherwise correct. This progress finds its ultimate expression in war, the unique phenomenon that allows low status males to engage in high status dominance-aggression behaviors normally forbidden to them. Young primates are with rare exceptions eager to put their very lives at risk for the chance to imitate the high status behavior of dominant males. Ending the lives of the hated rivals designated “the other” carries no stigma but is celebrated as the highest of moral virtues.
Add to this the human predilection to imagine the existence of nonmaterial entities believed capable of effecting causality in the material world, i.e., god, and you have a pretty robust theory of why human societies function identically, whether their supposed principles are democratic, theocratic, fascist, capitalist, socialist, communist, royalist, imperialist, tribalist, and so on and so on.”
Well, this is gold. I had no idea it took that long to learn Japanese.
There’s a blog that focuses on the extreme libertarian view of essentially no government in an effort to refute it. It comes up when you Google “Why Taxation isn’t theft,” and it has some good comments, from which I have drawn a little material.