Monthly Archives: February 2007

ECU: The Ethical Consumer’s Union (est. 2007)

I’ve been thinking lately about how I can change the world. I decided about a year ago that being a more responsible consumer was a good way to make an impact. The problem is that being an ‘ethical consumer’ depends very much on your own personal philosophy. For example, some people don’t buy Nike because of labour issues, but they still buy conflict diamonds. Others buy fuel-efficient automobiles to protect the environment, but they don’t buy local produce. Being a well-rounded consumer is very difficult, and it’s easy to be labelled a hypocrit. I’m not sure if it’s even possible to be totally ethical, given the staggering complexity of market economies.

Last year I decided to start small. I resolved to consciously stop drinking pop and eating from major fast-food chains. But I’ve encountered a few problems (Coca-Cola is an umbrella company to many beverage franchises, and what exactly constitutes fast-food?) These ambiguities have shown me that ethical consumption is tricky, and requires constant vigilance.

So is there any way to develop a system that might make it easier? And how can I make more of an impact?

The tentative solution is what I call the “Ethical Consumer’s Union.” It’s a grassroots organization, started by me. The concept is simple: make a union of consumers to wield power in the market, much in the same way labour unionized to improve working conditions. Such organizations already exist (www.consumersunion.org), but they are more like consumer reports which suggest how we should consume. Mine is tougher than that, because I’m implementing a few rules. A union is nothing without something called ‘solidarity.’ We would all have to make real sacrifices.

If you want to join the ECU, then you have to stop buying whatever products are on the “Blacklist.” The Blacklist is a list of companies/products that have been deemed unethical by the union. So what’s in it for you? If you join the union, you can add to The Blacklist (provided that you include logical reasoning as to why the company/product is unethical.) For a company/product to be Blacklisted, it must be agreed upon unanimously by all the union members.

Since I am the only member of the union at the time of this entry (and since I am the founder of the ECU), I have already begun the list. If you feel that you want to stop supporting these companies too, then by all means sign up. You can suggest your own additions to the Blacklist, and then I’ll stop buying them too. Here’s what I got so far:

1) Coca-Cola

2) Pepsi-Cola

3) McDonalds

4) Burger King

5) Wendy’s

6) A&W

7) DeBeers Diamond Company

Hahahaha, no pop, fast food or diamonds for me! Obviously this list isn’t that well concieved, more like a dummy list that we can start with. I’m certainly open to starting a brand new list.

This is only my own list of personal boycotts. If you would like to join the ECU, you must agree to stop purchasing products from these companies. As the union grows in membership (I’m hoping to get up to 4 or 5 people), then the list will be updated and new rules will emerge through the suggestions of ECU members. The idea is that I will have 4 or 5 times more of an impact on the world this way… and so will you. Sound like a good idea?

The fundamental architecture of this organization is important. It’s basically a network. The great thing about networks is that they grow exponentially. If, for example, one business owner joined the union, it would cause a cascading effect that would begin to have a very real affect on the market. I’m not saying my organization will, but you never know!

Above all, I want members of the ECU to be personally dedicated to improving their own personal habits, and doing their best to change the world around them. That’s the only prerequisite. 

So, if you have any ideas or suggestions about the ECU, let me know. If you think I’m an unrealistic salad eating hippie, then get shoved!

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A Call For Answers: Why Should I Support War?

No doubt the most controversial political issue of the post-9/11 world is the issue of the American occupation of Iraq. The debate has elucidated the political segregation of the West more clearly than ever before. There are many who support the war, citing a variety of reasons. And there are those who oppose it, citing their own reasons as well. As you have probably guessed from the title of this entry, I think the occupation of Iraq has ceased to become a political issue, because it has ceased to be rationally defensible. In this entry, I will list a few reasons why I find this occupation to be unjust, and downright criminal. At this point, if there are any people out there who want to refute any of my arguments, then I invite you to comment.

Let me also state outright that I’m not a political pundit, and I am not going to make any claims that are based on opinion. This will be an entry written logically, and as neutrally as possible. Within this vein, however, I still propose that I can use the power of words and images to persuade you that the occupation of Iraq is unjust.

Ironically, the story of this war really begins with President Bush, back in May 2003, proclaiming “Mission Accomplished.”

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I find myself among the millions of other people around the world asking “What exactly was the mission, and what exactly was accomplished?”

Several weeks ago, President Bush proposed a ‘surge’ of 20,000 American troops to be sent into Iraq. This proposal came despite Bush’s falling approval rating, and a number of surveys suggesting that, among the American people, support for the war has decreased dramatically. Fighting not only continues in Iraq, but has actually increased. According to the BBC, as well as CNN, studies have placed the Iraqi death toll as high as 655,000.

President Bush, on the other hand, has a more generous estimate, ranging it around 30,000. And just for the benefit of the doubt (and in the interest of staying fair to both sides) let’s assume that Bush’s figures are accurate. Let’s assume that only 30,000 innocent civilians have been killed as a result of the invasion.

That’s still a huge loss of human life. I think I speak for everyone when I say “I want to know why they died.” I’ve heard people answer by saying “It’s the reality of war.” I don’t find much logic in this, because clearly the invasion was willfully and forcefully executed by America, despite international law.

Another popular answer is that “America is fighting a war on terror.” I don’t think I need to point out the obvious impossibility with declaring war on an idea. More specifically, one could say America is fighting the “threat of terrorism.” But it just seems strange to me that the nation Iraq should bare the full brunt of that war. For example: what about the terrorists in Spain? What about the terrorists in England? What about the terrorists in Somalia? What about the terrorists in Indonesia? What about the terrorists in Ireland? What about the terrorists in America? Bush and his administration are the first to admit that terrorism operates through an untraceable international network. I’ve often wondered precisely how a war on terrorism can be won, considering this fact. I mean, there have been terrorists in our world for centuries, have there not? Do people believe that terrorism can be meaningfully eradicated? And where exactly does one draw the line between terrorism and aggressive militarism?

That brings me to my first question to those who support this war: can you tell me, in very practical and methodical terms, how a “war on terrorism” can be won?

*If there are any war supporters reading this,

please answer in the comments section.*

My second point is more difficult for some people to discuss. And that is the consequences of war – the uncompromising realities of war – the real situations and circumstances that have arisen because of this occupation:

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This is a photograph of Sgt. Ty Ziegel and his high-school sweetheart Renee. Sgt Ziegel lost an arm, and had his face burned off by a suicide bomber while serving in Iraq. I think it’s important that we see images like this. It’s important that we see the kind of sacrifices being made by many soldiers. They have chosen to give their lives to serve America, and I think it’s important that (given the powerful nature of these sacrifices) citizens of the West do everything they can to ensure that this occupation is just.

So who claims that it is unjust? It has been suggested (my people from all over the world, from many different backgrounds) that the occupation of Iraq, as a pre-emptive military endeavour, was designed ultimately to secure the procurement of Middle-Eastern oil; and/or to establish a business-friendly puppet regime that would be sympathetic to the West. Of course, none of us can say for sure that this was the only motivation for America to go to war. But evidence like this makes one wonder:

“President Bush’s Cabinet agreed in April 2001 that ‘Iraq remains
a destabilising influence to the flow of oil to international markets
from the Middle East and because this is an unacceptable risk to
the US military, intervention’ is necessary.'”

~BBC News, 2002

It’s quotes like this, quotes taken directly from the American administration, that have raised so many eyebrows around the world. The suggestion seems to fall upon dead ears, as Bush’s administration consistently avoids the suggestion at press conferences, and in interviews. To me, this only lends further sway to the argument that the occupation of Iraq may be motivated by less noble causes than “the battle against evil-doers.” And consistently, proponents of this suggestion are categorized as “unpatriotic conspiracy nuts,” despite a large body of perfectly concrete evidence.

So, here is my second question to people who support the war: what evidence is there that the procurement of oil is not a factor?

*Supporters of the war: if you have any good evidence, please post a comment with a link.*

We, as a society, really have two different ideas about war. The first idea is that war is an honourable pursuit. War, as a tradition, has been associated with bravery and loyalty throughout the centuries. In classical paintings, for example, soldiers are often portrayed under a shining sun as they, on their mounted steeds, defend king and country from the forces of evil. This is a concept of war that we feel very comfortable with.

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Of course, there is another kind of war: real war. This photograph was one of the first realistic images to emerge from modern war, and it is probably the most famous image to emerge from the Vietnam war. The picture shows a naked young Vietnamese girl running to escape a napalm attack from an American helicopter. It is famous for being one of the first images to show the reality of war. Small surprise, then, that millions of Americans began protesting the war.

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Today, thanks in large part to the Internet, we are able to see what the war in Iraq looks like. What we see is not the same thing that you see on the 6 o’clock news. I’ve seen dozens of shameful videos taken from the ground, and each one makes me think more and more about what a shameful war this has become:

Listening to these boys, one is reminded of teenagers drinking beer and playing video-games. Their actions and their words hardly merit honour. It is plainly obvious that these particular soldiers have become entirely desensitized to death, and it’s evident that they are not the mature and compassionate people that we should expect our troops to be. I hope that these types of soldiers are the minority. I really just don’t know. There have certainly been ample cases of soldier misconduct during this occupation, including instances of rape, murder and torture. I suppose some would say that is an inevitability of war.

This is my final question to the supporters of this war: is all the death, rape and torture of innocent Iraqis still worth it?

Supporters of this war are essentially supporting actions that have led to the death of thousands on innocent people, are they not? Their reasons for supporting the war must be pretty important. But what are they? It can’t be to protect their country, because statistics show that international sentiment towards America has risen sharply. It can’t be for national security, because statistics show that Americans feel less safe now than they did before the occupation.

And it can’t be to fight terrorism. If anything, they are breeding a new generation of terrorists.

So, to all the war supporters out there: please, would somebody explain to me how this war is a good thing? Precisely why should war be supported?

*Before anybody answers, let me guess: because I’m too uninformed to know that progress in the industrialized world is made possible only by the military industrial complex, OR because I’m a tree-hugging anarchist mindlessly hopping on the left-wing bandwagon, OR because I’m a godless hippie with an unrealistic acid-induced ideology.*

That’s What It Looks Like From MY Bench

Last night a friend of mine asked me about my views on religion. Most of my regular readers will know that I considered this a timely question. There’s been a lot of really interesting discussion happening on the blogosphere over the past few weeks. I’ve learned a lot about other people’s beliefs, and I’m really happy about that.

My friend asked me to write it out in a summary for him so he would remember what I told him. So, as per request, here is a summary of what I believe with regards to Theism.

No matter how far in human history you look, you will always, in some form or another, find some reference to a God or divine being. The Egyptians and many before them, for example, believed that the Sun itself was God. In other parts of the world, people believed that the natural world was God, and that animals represented different spiritual manifestations of that God. As history marched on, and as civilization grew and adapted, different cultures around the world developed their own definitions of God. And so it goes on still today.

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Where I live, in Canada in the year 2007, I happen to live an a nation that is a direct descendant from the Judeo-Christian empires of Europe. Therefore, I’m at least somewhat immersed in the world of western Christianity, and less familiar with Islam and Eastern religions. Most of my friends are Christian. I drive past several churches every day, and each one has a sign outside that reads a parable about God, or Jesus. They’re usually very good statements, and I like reading them.

I’ve grown up around Christianity my whole life, but my parents decided to raise me in theological neutrality until I was old enough to figure out what I truly believed. Now, I think I am old enough to properly express it.

My system of belief is based on a very easy principle: I believe in things based on logic, factuality, and rationality. It sounds cold, I know. But most people that know me well know that I’m not a cold person. I don’t know how else to explain it. I just like having something to base my views on. I consider myself lucky to have been raised without being told what to believe. My overarching belief is rather straightforward. Consider these two concepts:

God = Everything that exists. The creator of everything. The ultimate being. The expansive entirety of all knowledge and wisdom, the full spectrum of reality.

…and…

The Universe = Everything that exists. The creator of everything. The ultimate being. The expansive entirety of all knowledge and wisdom, the full spectrum of reality.

OMG!

Whatever word you use, it really doesn’t make a difference to me. It’s really the same thing. So when people ask me if I believe in God? I tell them I absolutely do. And yes, the Big Bang makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve read a number of books explaining the basic science of it, and so far it all adds up. But the Universe is based on something called causality, and while the Big-Bang is a very nice effect, there is no scientific theory explaining the cause of it all. There’s no science texts explaining why it all happened. Therein, lies my faith in a higher power, or force. Or, if you like, my belief in God.

Now, does that make me religious?

Well… in all honesty, I don’t know. Most people tell me “no” for some reason. Sometimes I think I’d like to be, just to feel a little more included. Sometimes I think it’s not really up to me. There have been a lot of Gods throughout history, and a lot of prophets claiming to be borne of them. I’ve read a lot of books (the Good Book included) and I still have a hard time with the idea that God can be expressed as anything knowable to us (such as a man). Unfortunately, this is the part of my belief that puts me on the other side of the fence, and makes some people think of me as a “non-believer,” despite the fact that I do have beliefs.

And it is hurtful. It’s actually a very pervasive double-standard, when you think about it. Consider how Christians might feel if they drove by signs on their way to work that said “There is no God” or “Science is the only answer.” It would probably cause an uproar! And being a so-called “atheist” often means that I get labeled as “immoral,” “godless” or even “lost.” Even when I was a kid, I was aware of the rift between me and my Christian friends. Maybe that’s why I feel it’s important that I stand behind my beliefs to the fullest today.  Thankfully, my Christian friends today do their best not to make me feel that way.

As for Jesus himself, let it be known: If he was indeed a living man, then I think he was the most profoundly radical philosopher in human history, and absolutely should be followed. Human history is fraught with greed, corruption and ill-will. For a man to come along and say “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemy” is absolutely astonishing to me. I’ve always had the utmost admiration for the teachings of Jesus Christ, and whether you think I’m Christian or not, I do try to live by his principles everyday.

The problem I face is this (and this is probably where most Christians might get put off): I think organized religion has convoluted and twisted these ideas so much that they tend to lose sight of the principles that underlie them. Forgiveness, love, compassion: I don’t see it practiced enough by the institutions of faith. Instead I find them to be intolerant and sometimes even manipulative. Both Islamic and Judeo-Christianic belief systems are guilty of this today, and it frightens me. I cannot knowingly support organized faith because I simply don’t agree with several of their positions. These often include:

1) The ongoing denial of the processes of life on Earth (which I believe to be factual)

2) The intolerance of homosexuality (which I believe to be natural)

3) The condemnation of all abortion (which I believe to be too circumstantial to judge)

4) The necessity of denying other religions (which inevitably leads to conflict)

Alternatively, I think the church has a lot of good policies:

1) Waiting for marriage, if you like (because your family is yours)

2) Supporting your community (which is often forgotten in this disconnected world)

3) Helping those less fortunate (raising money and organizing relief around the world)

4) Personal discipline and prayer (without discipline people will not control themselves)

As a personal rule, I refuse to belong to a church until I agree with all of their views. I think that’s fair. Maybe one day I will find a church that is right for me. It just hasn’t happened quite yet.

At this point, do you still think that I unfairly stereotype religious people?

Every now and then I go out to the playground by my house late at night. I lie on the bench so that the only thing in my field of vision is the starry night sky. Immediately, I feel like I’m on a rock in the middle of space. I may feel like I’m facing up, but then I remember that the Earth’s gravitational field doesn’t quite work that way, and I’m actually facing out. And what I see is God.

He doesn’t tell me that I should respect my neighbor. He doesn’t tell me that I shouldn’t lie. He doesn’t tell me to love my family. He doesn’t tell me that I shouldn’t kill.

I tell that to myself.

When I lie on the bench, he doesn’t tell me anything. He’s just there, and I know that it’s up to me to do the right thing. Sometimes I get scared lying on my bench, because I know somewhere out there in the world, there are some people who want to tell me that I deserve hell for my so-called “non-beliefs.” But then I look up the stars, and I just know that it cannot be so.

There ya go Hunt. You owe me a bag of chips for this.

Homosexuals: Choosing To Be Hated

 Joining the debate on homosexuality, I’d just like to make one point, and one point alone. To me, it says it all.

“Studies consistently show that a much higher percentage of gay and lesbian youth (25-30%) attempt suicide.”

     ~Reuters, 2006

The most common argument among religious groups is that “homosexuality is a choice.” By framing homosexuality as a product of free-will, it’s then possible to categorize homosexual behavior as being sinful. I’ve always found this argument to be fundamentally flawed, and I’ll explain why:

If being gay were a choice, then why do so many people ‘choose’ to be gay? Obviously, people who are gay suffer much more than people who are straight. They are often rejected by their friends and family. They are treated with sub-standard regard in our society, our schools, our workplaces, and even within their own faiths. Can you give me any possible reason… I mean ANY reason… as to why any person would consciously make the ‘choice’ to become gay?

I’m really asking. I want at least one person to tell me WHY people choose to be gay.

And what about the gay guy in your high-school? What about the guy who gets called a queer and a fag? What about all the teenagers who killed themselves because the world made them feel like they were freaks and sinners? What about the presbyterian minister who committed suicide in November 2006 because he couldn’t stand living with so much shame? Would you have looked him in the eye before he pulled the trigger, and told him that his life-long struggle was his ‘choice?’

They get assaulted both verbally and physically. They have a shockingly high suicide rate. Resoundingly, gay people insist that their attraction is completely natural. Do you really think you can look these people in the eye and tell them that it’s all their “choice?”

I’m sorry; I refuse to believe that homosexuality is a choice. I believe, based on the simple argument above, that it must be natural. I thus believe that gays ought to be treated with exactly the same rights as straights, because our attraction is just as natural. 

Unless somebody can explain to me why gay teenagers kill themselves so often, then I think this argument is pretty damned solid. And that’s why I’ve always believed in gay rights. I know the church likes to address homosexuality as a product of free-will, but I think there’s too much evidence to the contrary.

If anyone has any solid evidence to support the claim that homosexuality is a choice, then I implore you, in the interest of discussion, to present it in a comment.

Passionate Writing For Passionate People

Hello readers!

Just a friendly reminder that this blog, and other blogs were conceived as platforms for the passionate yet rational discussion of a plethora of issues, some of them more ‘difficult’ than others. They are not to be taken personally. Ever.

Furthermore, the views and opinions expressed by the author(s) of this blog (and any other blog) are to be considered volatile, and in need of passionate rebuttal/argument. I mean that. That’s why we love blogging. Because it gets us passionate about the issues that matter in life. Discussion is productive, especially if it is logically argued, and well worded. Not frustrated and irrational.

What I do NOT tolerate is shifty back-talking and behind-my-back insults if you disagree with what I say. Put it out there, and back yourself up if you disagree so strongly with me. I’m up for the challenge of real debate. I don’t want to hear about people disagreeing with me when I’m not there. I think it’s an utterly shameless cop out. I have the utmost respect for people who tell me I’m wrong right to my face. If you passionately disagree with what I say, I want you to tell me, and don’t hold back. Don’t wait until I’ve left the building before you dish it out. That’s pathetic. All that shows me is that you’re too intimidated to have a proper discussion with me.

If you’re not in the mood to have really tough discussions about the really tough issues, I courteously invite you to stop reading my blog. If, on the other hand, you have passion for your beliefs and want the world to hear your thoughts, than write a well-structured and clearly written comment and tell me all the ways I’m wrong. Explain in thorough detail how my opinions are clouded by arrogance and ignorance. Give me a long list of reasons why my logic is flawed. I relish honest criticism, and I’m fully equipped to be critical right back at you. It’s the joy of blogging. The joy of real discussion.

To Everyone Who Opposes Abortion: READ Your Bible

It’s very easy to oppose abortion if you’ve never been in that situation. Let me say this as clearly as possible: there is only ONE group of people on Earth who are in the position to judge abortion, and that is the girls who have had unwanted pregnancies. Only THEY know what it’s like, and they are the ONLY people in the position to say whether they think it is right or wrong. People like us really cannot begin to grasp what a painful decision that must be. We are in absolutely NO position to judge them, and we should not look down on them for the decisions that they make. If anything, we should commend their courage, because neither choice leads them down an easy road.

The fact that some people think that these women ‘dispose of a life’ shows me how GROSSLY misconceived some people’s notions are about the kind of emotional agony and profound suffering these women can go through. Do you think they just toss their unborn child in the garbage and continue on with their depraved life of hedonistic sex? NO! They are stable, morally responsible women with steady partners, who may have had a problem with their contraceptive, or taken the wrong medication. Accidents happen, and that is an unavoidable fact of life. 

What frustrates me the most is that these women are portrayed as if they DON’T CARE about life. News flash: they think life is JUST as precious as you do, because they are ordinary people just like you! I know the church tries to make people think that abortion is only for coke-whores and irresponsible sinners, but that is a SHAMELESS LIE, and it’s only a dirty fear-tactic that the church uses to further it’s own agenda of discouraging pre-marital sex. I would hope that we do not let the indoctrinations of the church run so deep as to make us lose ALL compassion for these women. They are our sisters, our girlfriends, and our daughters. The church should support them instead of making them feel like they have done wrong. It’s one of the most disgusting injustices I’ve ever heard of, and it’s one of the major reasons why I could never put my faith into the Christian church.

Nothing sickens me more than a person who judges without giving due compassion or consideration. Ironically, the Bible warns SPECIFICALLY AGAINST THIS BEHAVIOR. And to all the middle-class pseudo-Christian snobs out there, allow me to refer you to the specific parable, in case you forgot it. It goes like this:

Matthew 7:1 – “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

I know the abortion issue is difficult for some people, but for me there’s simply nothing to argue about. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU. End of story. And to all the religious types out there who think it’s okay to say that these women are ‘disposing of life:’ you need to do two things:

1) Become a vegetarian so that you’re not a complete hypocrit, and…

2) Actually READ your Bible for once!

“A Fascinating History” (Part I): Sir William Henry Gates III

I don’t care what you think of the Microsoft product line. I don’t care if you think Windows screws up all the time. I don’t care how many frustrating hours you may have spent re-configuring DOS. And I don’t care how much you think MSN is a silly fad. Bill Gates should be considered a genius and a hero for all that him and his company have done for us. And yet… most of us just think of him as “the richest nerd in the world.” But

I say… take a good long look at this man. This is a man who has had an EXTREMELY high margin of influence in your life over the years, and I think he has truly contributed to the furtherance of mankind in a big way. Can you say you really disagree?

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Sure, his company may have practiced unethical business here and there. But dammit… their court proceedings were probably typed up in Microsoft Word! The rise of the personal computer was facilitated almost entirely by this man’s foresight. Not to mention his innovative marketing tactics and cutthrout business policies. I think he always just did what he knew needed to be done, and I can’t really blame a guy for that.

Oh yeah… and in case you forgot: he has personally invested tens of billions of dollars into curing  diseases that are killing people around the world. He is so confident and optimistic in his endeavour that he predicts he will have produced an AIDS vaccine in his lifetime. But no… to us he’s just some nerd living some mansion somewhere cause he’s loaded. Dammit people! The man should be SAINTED!!

I wish people would take a bit more notice of the heroes in our world. It’s clear that Bill Gates will be long remembered by history as a great man, no matter the outcome of Microsoft Corp. I don’t think anybody in history has done such a selfless act, to take all that power and money, and actually put it towards something good and noble. He is setting a bright example to the corporate leaders and wealthy elites that have been so greedy over the years. I don’t care how big the Gates mansion is, because any man that works this hard for the betterment of humanity deserves to come home to a comfy chair at the end of his day.

So if you’re reading this, Bill Gates, then know this: I think you’re a cool guy, and if you want we can go out for beers sometime.

Do You Have “Strong Beliefs?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “belief” lately. Everybody has beliefs, and they vary a lot throughout the world. In fact, I can’t really think of two people I know that have the exact same set of beliefs about the nature of life and the universe.

And yet, all over the world there are organized systems of belief called “religions.” In my life, I’ve known a great number of people who have claimed to belong to these religious groups, and I’ve always tried my best to understand their beliefs. But I’ll be perfectly honest, I sometimes get confused.

Throughout the years, it has become evident to me that people really don’t know what they believe – that is, they have not actually given any clear reflection or thought to even their most fundamental positions regarding life and existence. If you disagree with me, then hold on because I can easily prove it. All that I ask is that you follow a few logical steps with me, and I will show you (even with an open mind) how some people’s individual beliefs are just fundamentally flawed.

For thousands of years, mankind did not know anything about where he was. People living in the Holy Roman Empire, for example, thought that their empire encompassed the entire universe. It’s same with the oriental Dynasties in the east. If somebody told you that there were dragons beyond the sea, you would have no good reason to believe otherwise. How would you know? That is what the world was like for much of the development of civilization.

Obviously, religions flourished during this era of human history because it gave people an answer. The story of Genesis, for example, provided people with a way of making sense of how life started. It gave people something to tell their children when they asked “Why are there clouds?” and “Where do people go when they die?” For thousands of years, religion provided the answers. Some faiths cunningly used the notion of a dual afterlife (heaven/hell) to instill moral rectitude among its subjects. Amazingly, it still persists to this day. Others taught that life was recycled into a new carnation until the soul had been purified. And for years, those beliefs were widely accepted as being factual.

When people in the Christian belief system were asked “Where did we come from?” they were told that god had created the Earth in seven days, and that all humans were descended from a single couple. And for centuries, this was also considered to be factual. And since many families currently living in North America are directly descended from the people in Holy Roman Empire, many of our beliefs and traditions have evolved into what we might call “modern Christianity.”

As the centuries marched on, and with the rise of the scientific method, people slowly became aware of the naturally occurring processes of biological development. It is called “evolution,” and it is a completely verifiable and readily observable fact of life. And yet, we still encounter some people who claim that they “do not believe in evolution” – in other words they still cling to the antiquated explanations of life on Earth. Many of them “believe” that the Earth itself is only several thousand years old. Pardon me if I sound close minded, but I find that to be an absolute insult to the virtues of knowledge and rationality that are so integral to human development.

Essentially, these people are saying that science has yielded incorrect results, right? They are basically saying that the entire network of established scientific minds is wrong. They say that evolution is only a theory despite the fact that it is proven… that the Earth is young despite a plainly obvious fossil record… that dinosaurs are a myth despite the presence of bones, or even that dinosaurs walked with man!

But HEY… that’s okay. If you choose not to believe in science, then I won’t put your beliefs down. It’s perfectly allowed. People can believe what they like in this world, and I’m in NO position to stop them.

BUT!!!

If you do not believe in evolution, or in the scientific method, then why do you go to the doctor’s office when you’re sick? Do you think he pulled that influenza vaccine out of his ass? Or could it be that modern medicine is inherently based on the posits made by science? Maybe you should think about the centuries of biological testing and scientific scrutiny that went into making that little vaccine possible. It’s the exact same testing and scientific scrutiny that says humans evolved, and the vaccine seems to work.

I think that most people today accept science as an explanation for natural phenomenon that they can see with our naked eyes. Why don’t people believe the natural processes that they can see under a microscope? You know, it was hundreds of years after the death of Copernicus that people finally started believing that the Earth revolved around the sun. How is it that even today some people still insist on denying similarly proven posits of science?

Simply put: to deny evolution is to deny a LARGE MAJORITY OF SCIENTIFIC FACT.

This is how I see it. There are only two ways your beliefs can make sense:

1) You accept evolution because you accept that science is a verifiable and observable reality of our existence, and evolution is inextricably tied to the rest of established science.

OR…

2) You maintain that all people on Earth are descended from Adam & Eve roughly 4000 years ago, that they were ejected from the Garden of Eden, that dinosaurs terrorized the Roman Empire and then mysteriously buried themselves under oceans and glaciers, and that thousands of mankind’s best thinkers have methodically collaborated over hundreds of years only to be wrong.

A lot of people like to avoid these two realities. But straight up… it’s one or the other. They’re mutually exclusive! There is absolutely no middle ground, because they contradict each other at the most fundamental level.

So when I ask people where they stand in their so-called “strong beliefs”, it’s no wonder that they have a hard time answering. The reason is simple. They don’t actually know! They don’t actually think about it, because if they did then they would run into concrete walls at every turn, and it become obvious that their “beliefs” on evolution are based on a complete lack of awareness.

“Blind faith” they say. I think that’s absolute horse-shit. It’s just being blind.  

But like I said, I know lots of religious people. And I don’t think they are stupid. I just think they have to struggle their whole lives to define what they believe, but they can never come to any kind of conclusion. But then again, who among us can?

And just because you accept evolution, it doesn’t mean that you can’t accept god. The POPE believed in evolution! Evolution explains HOW… but it still doesn’t explain WHY. And science never will explain why. There will always be a place for faith and spirituality. But COME ON! Evolution as much fact as the Earth revolving around the sun! Do some freaking reading for once! 

 —

PS. It’s important that we teach our children evolution correctly:

As opposed to the incorrect way (the gross over-simplifications of the church):

Infidelity At It’s Finest: The Story Of Lisa Nowak

Jealousy is a funny thing. Some people claim to be more prone to jealousy than others, as is reflected in the statement “He’s a jealous guy” or “I’m not the jealous type.” Well I for one believe that everyone suffers from jealousy just the same. If you think that you are not a jealous person, then you’ve just been lucky enough to evade the circumstances that result in jealousy.

Some people get into such hurtful romantic situations that jealouss becomes enough to make you sick, drive you insane, or cause you to consider murdering someone. If you think that, because you are emotionally stable, that you can avoid jealousy, then you are wrong. It can affect anyone at any time in their lives. And as absolute proof that I’m not lying, listen to this story.

On Monday, February 4th 2007, a woman riding on a bus felt like she was being followed by a dirty looking woman in a trench-coat. When she got off and proceeded to her car, her suspicions were validated as the woman in the trench-coat followed her and tried to get a ride from her. When she was denied, the woman in the trench-coat pepper-sprayed the other woman.

The woman in the trenchoat had brought a variety of weapons with her, indluding a steel mallet and a knife. She had driven 900 miles to catch the woman, and had worn a diaper the whole way to save time on the drive. Evidently, she had discovered that the woman she was following had been sleeping with her secret lover (she herself had two kids and was cheating on her husband as well). It was a sordid love triangle, in which a man was cheating with two married women at the same time. It has all the makings of a terrific scandal. And here’s a kicker: this time last year the woman in the trench-coat (Lisa Nowak) was piloting the Space Shuttle Discovery.

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So how does this happen? How do smart, successful and supposedly “stable” people get their lives ruined by jealousy? How do they let their jealousy get so out-of-control that they loose all sense of reason? I think the story of Lisa Nowak is a profound reminder of how small inconsiderate acts can cascade into a downward spiral of self-destruction.

Of course, the man in the middle of all this, the man fucking two women and lying to both them, was the captain of the goddam Discovery. Something about that really doesn’t suprise me. I can’t wait to hear NASA’sexplanation for how they ever let these turds through their “rigorous psychological screening process.”

And now, I’m so jaded about the whole idea of noble space exploration. In fact, despite my strong interest in science, I have always been firmly against NASA and space exploration. It just seems to me that we could be spending our resources on more important things right now, instead of spending all this money to launch horny sociopaths into sky on a 200 ton penis.

Ultimately, I’m glad Lisa Nowak got arrested. People that cheat should get a taste of their own medecine. I think that her life was probably ruined long before this incident. It just seems such a shame that she came from such great heights.