Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hi there.

I'm going to move all my internet activity here, I think, a bit of a withdrawal from the constant skipping around from New York Times to Andrew Sullivan to the Nation, or any of the 200+ blog bookmarks.

I'll leave my Facebook up, but put a link to here Same with LinkedIn.


  1. Generally speaking, I'll be working from an evolutionary psychology viewpoint, but Bad Axioms seem to underly many popular opinions in morality, ethics, religion, psychology, cosmology and so on.

    I make no claim to societal certification in any field, but after a long lifetime of discussion, argument and mutual exploration, I've learned to recognize bad axioms by their effects on the speech patterns and thought processes thereby revealed.

  2. For instance, at a recent Atheist-Freethinker lecture and pizza discussion, I was a little discouraged to find the same muddy water served up a crystal clear libations of rhetorical purity.

    Women aren't the same as men, in ways that have to be acknowledged when talking about kinds of religion, and behavioral tendencies. Yes, there are bell curve overlaps between the sexes, but when we're discussing social structures, governmental needs, and general patterns of behavior, it's necessary to keep those bell curves in mind, and not distort them for convenience in argument.

  3. I avoid arguments as much as possible, preferring mutual explorations and discussions, but sometimes, views will diverge about the reality of a thing, and difficulties arise in finding a common evidential framework to evaluate the terms of the axiom we're building from.

    I'm not much for referring back to Plato, or even to Hegel or Spinoza. I prefer everyday speech, and simple language. Here's why: Back in the late Sixties, after nearly a decade in San Francisco and Berkeley, mixing thoroughly with the actors in both the Hippie and Free Speech movements, the drug revolutionaries, and the anarchics, with all there fondness for new words for what they thought were new ideas, I moved to Spokane, Washington, a very conservative city with the social structure of a tight little village, but a history of railroad strikes.

    The children there that we were trying to reach with our newly begun alternative newspaper, The Spokane Natural, had been educationally tied up by years of Christianist and political fundamentalism. In1969 in a city of 250,000, there was not a single coffeehouse. There was only one brave open-minded reporter on staff of the briskly conservative newspaper.

    I quickly found that I couldn't use the fine language of the Berkeley campus, because it was not spoken in Spokane. I had to find simple words to communicate what turned out to be simple ideas. In the process, I found that many of the liberal and progressive divisions in the Bay Area could not be expressed, because they were too trivial. These differences splitting the Black Panthers from the Free Speech Movement were really personal attachments to favorite babies of the ego.

    So I explained my ideas about how to structure society, how to deal with family and friends, how to deal with love and death and jobs and journeys using strong little words we agreed on.

    The difficulties lie in never warping a word for convenience in argument, to always be working for flashes of insight, jointly arrived at. It's so easy to get caught up in a discussion and let it turn into a competitive idea argument, instead of a mutual quest. But the end of a quest, or one of its waypoints, is a win win. An argument is a win lose. Sometimes the way out of an argument is to go back and check the word foundation and see if everyone is using a the base words for the same meaning. It might take a long time, but what's the hurry.

    We're evolved from campfire stories about the way the world works. We can bring modern knowledge and facts to the campfire without bringing old useless and confusing myths to the campfire, and still enjoy the stories.

  4. Feel free to join in, but I'll probably write quite a bit about a lot of things before anyone joins in.

    Once again, I much prefer mutual searching over arguments, and especially arguments involving supernaturalism, because I know nothing about the supernatural because I don't even believe it exists, by definition, so it's pointless and disruptive to engage in endless logic chopping on bad axioms. God is a bad axiom. Woo is a bad axiom. Hunter-gatherer is not a bad axiom. Mother love is not a bad axiom, but it might be a bit secondary. Patriotism is secondary. Tribalism doesn't seem to be.

  5. Here is an excerpt from Edward Snowden's statement at the Moscow airport. I find no flaw in it:

    "I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.

    It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law."

    I recommend you speak out about this. It DOES help!

  6. Egypt, the latest and clearest battle between secularism and theocracy in the MidEast. Obama skirted the law about coups by pretending to slap the military by canceling a joint exercise, but I suspect the military has its hands full, and didn't want the exercise. It looks like a civil war will erupt soon. All the signs are there -- burning churches, mosques as battlegrounds. Not all Muslims are Arabs, and vice versa. There are much more secular Muslim societies than in the Mideast. Indonesia comes to mind. Israel's push is to stabilize Egypt, civil rights be damned, as they are in Israel, and keep pretending Iran's going for nukes.

  7. Looks like our next step in the clash of civilizations will be to carefully mince the population of Syria, while hoping the other Mideast states allow us to continue to divide and conquer them. Will be hard to pull off this phase, since only UK and France might back us, and Russia's anti-aircraft batteries will require cruise missile strikes.

    In some ways, this is the reverse of Bin Laden's strategy of provocation unto collapse. Nicely played. When will Israel be drawn in by occasional munitions dropping populated areas. Sounds like a good time for false by by the USA against Israel, triggering Israel bombing Iran as the support for the whole mess.

    I can hardly wait.