It’s possible to make anything sound reasonable.

When you consider any outrageous point of view, there is always a way of stating at least one element of the message and making it sound reasonable, and then slowly add other elements to the message so that each sound reasonable in the context of the previous point. In this way you can lead people down a path that allows them to agree with even the most ridiculous position.

Of course doing this means you must keep your target person focused on just your point of view, and not let them think freely. Because the moment they think for themselves the whole craziness of the argument becomes apparent.

If you can get enough people to follow you down this journey the overall power of mob-think can take over and can ensure that the crazy idea you are proposing becomes self-perpetuating. The pressure from others stops each person thinking for themselves.

The power of this is immense.

It’s the basis of religion, sexism, racism, communism, political parties, sport, armies and pretty much everything that society has built.

Is it always bad? NO.

Can it be used for bad? absolutely!

And there is a simple remedy. THINK FOR YOURSELF. If the idea being proposed has merit, it’s okay to do it. But if the idea is clearly stupid, walk away from it, even if people you think are nice and following it.

Don’t let the stupidity of others perpetuated by a group become an idea you believe in, just because others tell you to, think for yourself.

Please feel free to think about this idea for yourself, and if you think I’m being stupid, then ignore me. It’s your choice.

(328)

The world we live in is not fair, there are have’s and there are have-nots.

It takes generations for a family to gain wealth. When people learn something of value that knowledge helps their children and their children’s children each do better. Over many generations of careful learning and teaching, knowledge allows amazing things to happen. People whose parents are educated have a much easier time than those whose parents are not educated.

If your grandparents went to university, it’s very likely your parents would also have gone to university and hence it’s more likely that you would have gone to university. It seems obvious that some of the reason for this may be genetic, but probably, of even more importance is the environment that educated families create for their children, with all the skills to empower their children to learn and think.

This is not to say that people who come from families who do not create a scholarly environment cannot succeed, just that it’s much harder for them.

Some cultures seem to dissuade free thinking, treating (for example) women as lesser people, and actively stopping all forms of thought and action that is different from the thoughts they were taught to have. There are large religious groups who punish non-conformance with their personal religious ideas.

Often these religious ideas teach that anyone unlike them is inferior.

And these same religious groups teach that following their specific ideas will lead to a place after-life where things are perfect. And many of these religious groups encourage horrible things to be done in this life as a way of achieving this perfect place in the next life. Of course they offer no proof of this after-life, just punishment for questioning the idea. These concepts are not limited to any one religion but pretty much span every form of religion.

They all forget the simple logic though, that for them to be right, everyone else much be absolutely wrong. And the only proof they have that their specific version of this magic story is true is their absolute personal faith in their version of the magic story. And the only way to show that they are right is to show that their blind adherence to their specific story is blinder, and more absolute than the next religions’.

When you add together ignorance-enhanced-poverty with blind adherence to an unprovable-belief-system that’s only value comes from not-believing anyone else’s unprovable-belief system you have a simple recipe for disaster. You have people who do not value life, either their own or anyone elses.

At a very basic subconscious level, even the most fervent followers of the most irrational religious ideas must know that they are wasting their lives. And this deeply subconscious UN-voiced knowledge must make them really, really frustrated or angry.

When you then hurt or kill one of the relatives or acquaintances of these religious zealots, you give meaning to their meaningless existence. All of a sudden they have an outlet for the unvoiced illogical emptiness that they are part of. They now can get angry and kill everyone else.

When a catholic killed a Protestant (or vice verse) in Ireland it encouraged a hundred Protestants (or Catholics) to go and kill Catholics (or Protestants). It took an amazing effort of will for the fighting to stop. The people who worked for decades to stop the killing were castigated from all sides, but they eventually found a path to peace. Even in Ireland the pain, hurt and anger are still in many people, but they have found a way to keep themselves from blowing each other up (at least very often) for quite some time now.

Now look at the fighting in the Middle East, where a huge number of different groups all practicing subtly different versions of the same religion are on a daily basis blowing up, shooting, chopping off bits ,bombing and killing each other. Each one that dies create hundreds more angry crazies. While they have immense wealth in terms of natural resources, a huge amount of time and effort is spent on stopping any learning and killing everything that moves, rather than making existence better for all.

If doesn’t matter how good or bad your argument is, the moment you lob a bomb at someone’s child, parent, sister, brother or friend, the opportunity to solve any problem dies.

Saying that you want to kill everyone is never a great way to start a discussion either. And acting upon it makes the discussion even harder.

I’ve had the chance to visit many places in the Middle East over the years. Israel is an amazing place with incredible universities and a wonderful open culture. I believe that given the chance the well-educated people of Israel would be able to look beyond the pain and the fighting of the past and truly embrace peace (obviously this is only possible when the fighting is in the past). But there is absolutely no way to embrace peace while bombs are falling and tunnels are being built with the purpose of waging war, and religious zealots believe that they will be rewarded in heaven for blowing themselves and other up.

Most people are not religious loons, but as soon as you blow up anyones relatives all good sense leaves and all you have is anger and hate.

Educated people can stop, breath and calm down, it takes some time and a huge effort, but logic can beat pure animal-istic hate.

And the time to start to stop is now.

(485)

What the hell is going on! oh right the same as always.

What the hell is going on!

Like most kids around the world, when I was at school I learnt of the history of the Brits who travelled to America to find solace free from religious and social tyranny.

It was held up as the pinnacle of freedom. A country driven to see all people as equal and to allow each individual the freedom to live their lives as they wished.

Of course the next chapter in that children’s history book did explain that all wasn’t perfect, with oppression of native people, rampant slavery, racism and sexism issues and a history of political corruption and political cowardice that pretty much matched the rest of the world. I know now that this chapter is taught very differently in America.

It seems that maybe teaching the issues of the past more completely may have been a great way to help people to learn to stop repeating them.

The issues of today, seem to be all too familiar from that children’s history book.

Yes I’m looking at you corrupt Supreme Court, and you, paid for politicians, and you business owners who think you have rights greater than other individuals, and you irresponsible gun rights advocates, and you manufacturers who ship jobs oversees to save a buck irrespective of the long term social costs, and you climate change deniers who put your short term profits ahead of long term health and social need, and you union leaders who limit growth of your members to line your personal power bases, and you war profiteers, and you bigots who subvert the meaning of religious texts to support your bigotry…. Hmm it’s a long list when you think about it….

(352)

Seven Freedoms that are not in any way freedoms.

1. Freedom to tell others how to live their lives.

2. Freedom to discriminate based on skin color, sexual preference or accent.

3. Freedom to shoot people based on the clothes they wear.

4. Freedom to force others to believe in my version of religion.

5. Freedom to buy or sell political favor.

6. Freedom to promote violence against others.

7. Freedom to act like a bigoted asshole.

alg-tea-party-express

Rather than freedoms, I see these things for what they truly are; ancient ignorance’s that have no place in the modern world.

(464)

The love of being wrong

There is an incredible number of opinions out there, so many that they become white noise. Some people decide to believe things because they were given an idea so early in their lives that they were never questioned. Others choose to believe things because the people who are making those claims are attractive or their views further personal goals.

I choose to only believe things which are quantifiably provable.

I suspect that many things I believe will on further examination prove to be wrong. I’m open to being proved wrong. In fact I relish being proved wrong.

Finding out you are wrong, and correcting your knowledge is the purest pleasure.

I live to learn and I abhor those who do not.

(736)

A rational list of policies that the nicest places in the world are working towards

world

Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, France, UK, Canada and many other countries are embracing a wide range of cultural new normals for the 21st century. Some will work, some will miss, but they are aspiring to be the best they can be.

Here are some of the beautiful ideas that they are moving towards, that I find to be wonderful aspirations.

Pro safe sex and sex education.

Pro abortion – it’s the absolute choice of the mother who can choose to listen or ignore anyone as they decide.

family

Pro contraception for health and economic equality.

Anti-gun and anti-bullets – keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and crazies absolutely.

Anti-organized-religion – feel free to worship anything or everything, but keep it private.

Pro union rights as and when workers choose – individuals or groups have the absolute right to negotiate as and when they see fit.

Pro regulation to ensure a level playing field – healthy capitalism demands rules

Pro legalize drugs to destroy organized crime – tax and control.

drugs

Pro gay rights because everyone has the same rights – let everyone live the life they need and want to live – happiness doesn’t have a single definition.

Anti racism in all it’s guises – we’re all designed to find people unlike ourselves scary, deal with it.

Pro freedom for all – freedom to enjoy life without hurting others.

Pro fiscal-conservatism – balanced budgets lead to long term security and national growth.

Anti social-conservatism – no one has the right one answer.

Pro society – everyone gets the same rights.

Pro rehabilitation as opposed to punishment.

Respect for the rule of law and the people who enforce those laws.

(352)

Nothing is true – Proof!

Many people argue that you cannot disprove the existence of god.

While this is a revolving argument on the surface, actually this is a very simple practical way out of it.

Every god related story can be shown to be fiction, when tested against other god related stories. There are no facts that prove the existence of god. But lack of proof of existence is not the same as proof of non-existence.

There are an infinite number of possibilities of which I can only prove a finite number.

So the chance of anything being true is a finite number divided by infinity, and anything divided by infinity is as close to zero at it’s possible to be.

So given that nothing is actually true, then it’s absolutely certain that everything including god does not exist.

In your face nihlists.

nihilist_mints

QED!

(552)

An honest discussion between theologians and scientists

The bible says that god makes the sun rise and fall. But I know the rotation of the earth is the mechanism that we interpret as movement of the sun.

The bible talks about god making clouds, but I know that clouds are the result of evaporation of water rising into the atmosphere.

The bible says god makes rainbows, but I know that it’s the effect of light passing through water droplets that separates the colors based on the refractive effect of different frequencies of light.

Tides, bible says god, evidence shows gravitational pull of sun and moon.

tides

Stars, bible says god, evidence shows nuclear fusion reactions in large balls of matter that we call stars.

The bible says that everything that is unknown at the time of its writing by men is down to god.

Theologians when presented with the evidence of science will always say that while the mechanism can be understood, god created the underlying rules of the universe. So it’s all down to god.

I’m actually okay with that thinking, as it allows theologians to support further investigation into the deepest levels of understanding. And maybe one day we will see the fundamental rules of the universe, and maybe when we get to see and understand those, there will be a lot of very happy theologians who can say “see I told you so”

(407)

When I was a child I read the bible, and loved it.

As an adult I read the bible and loved it.

Didn’t for a second believe the stories in it, but loved it.

I Didn’t think it was true, I thought it was symbolical, but loved it.

I loved the ideas, I didn’t agree with all of them, actually, every single story made me think, and many I found problematic. But I loved it.

I don’t follow the bible. But I learnt a huge amount from the experience of reading it. Much of what I learnt, taught me to question all religion. And maybe that is the point of the bible.

There is no book in existence that shares so many ideas.

It’s the one book everyone should read. And in reading it, make up their own minds as to what a morale code should be, and maybe it will influence how they live their lives.

Some will find God, some will find a morale code, but everyone will find a lot about the history of mankind.

You don’t need to read the bible to have a morale code, and you don’t need to read the bible to accept or dispel the idea of God. But it will influence your opinion.

There is nothing as powerful as knowledge.

(308)