Category: Psychology



It seems quite difficult to read anything by feminist writers today that doesn’t come back to the idea of patriarchy. This concept has, in my opinion, actually taken away a lot from the feminist struggle. When most people think of the struggle of feminism, they think of women overcoming the dominance imposed upon them by males; however, if you are a little more clever, you will realise that this is only half of the issue. The other side is the dominance of males imposed on females by females. This realisation requires a little more introspection by women, admittedly.

When a feminist writer blames male dominance in society on patriarchy, they are not considering what women are doing wrong to deny themselves access to the dominant positions in society. Thus, the need to be introspective and work harder to attain betterment of oneself is negated. This is a major step backwards.

While playing the victim does demonstrate how a perpetrator is doing something bad, does little to encourage oneself to improve or change. So, I would say that there are other reasons than just the idea of the patriarchy for, for example, there being so few female CEOs in the world.

I believe that one issue is that many so-called ‘masculine’ activities are quite beneficial to the introspection of an individual. One example is sports. When women don’t play sports because they think that competitive activities are a guy thing, they miss out on the chance to criticize themselves. In sport, it is quite evident who is better and who is worse. In other activities that are usually non-competitive, like art or dance, this is less obvious (of course, comparing Picasso to a common person is an easy call, but comparing two people in the same range becomes extremely debatable). When you do poorly in an art class, there is no game sheet to say how few points you scored. You are not reminded constantly of your shortcomings. In sport, assuming you are playing in the right level for your skill, you are constantly reminded about what you can do better (this is why playing against poor players will generally stagnate or even degrade a player’s skill, since they don’t worry about what they are doing wrong). This forced introspection and encouragement of betterment is a strong influence on the development of a child’s mind, inside and outside of sports.

This is only one example. No doubt there are other activities deemed ‘masculine’ that help men develop into the kind of people who will work a little harder to achieve dominant positions in society. So, this is actually a kind of feminism, in my opinion; just one that goes against the grain of what many feminists seem to advocate these days. In short, parents instill the skills needed for successful girls — those parents must realise that many ‘masculine’ activities are quite beneficial to their children’s development.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali at her best!

 


Why can’t people say I’m metasmart or metafast or even, metahungry? Because attaching the prefix “meta” to any of these adjectives would render them unintelligible and ridiculous. This is quite obvious.

Yet, most of us have heard theists talk about metaphysics and heard them use the term to be something opposed to physical reality, as if this makes some kind of sense (Note that the term metaphysics actually carries many meanings — this is the meaning that I am concerned with here) . Although this, as far as I am aware, is not a proper use of the term metaphysics, it has become one of those buzzwords that many people just generally accept without thinking deeply about it.

So, let’s try to break down the word, shall we? The prefix “meta” is usually defined as being “beyond” or “above” or some such preposition. Fine, this makes sense. Physical, in the sense that this is being used in the aforementioned use of “metaphysical”, refers to everything within the known universe — that is, everything that can be examined. Fine, separately, these two words seem to make sense.

However, it doesn’t seem to make sense to put these together. Why? Consider this:

All of our collective knowledge comes from the universe in which we live. Nothing can come from outside our physical reality because that “outside thing” would immediately become inside if we learned about it. It is nonsensical to think of anything beyond our physical world because our physical world is everything we know and everything we can know. Thus, as soon as we utter the word “metaphysical” we have made it physical: the word metaphysical exists within the physical universe since we are discussing it within our universe. Anything that is truly metaphysical (assuming that that’s even possible) would be beyond our ability to consider, let alone talk about!

In this way, the prefix “meta” can be only applied to things that we know the limits of, and know what is on the outside. For example, metaphysics is also used to describe abstract concepts (in this sense, things that we cannot physically touch), such as existence, truth, ethics and so on. This is fine. We have clearly delineated between touchable and untouchable things. Everyone can distinguish the physical and the metaphysical in this instance.

However, when a theist tells you something like “God is metaphysical” or some other nonsense like that, ensure that they explain two things: what does “metaphysical” mean exactly and how could they possibly know that God is metaphysical if they reside within the physical realm. In all likelihood, they will be unable to respond to either question intelligibly — but this is not the purpose, of course. The purpose? Metaconfusion.

Post Script: Another blogger, debilis, has suggested to me that since there are things that are not physical that exist in this universe (such as ideas) then this is evidence that there is something beyond the physical (notice that this still doesn’t indicate that any form of God exists). Yet, careful examination of what I’ve said in this post will reveal a conflation of two concepts of “metaphysical”: one which I think is nonsense, one which makes sense. Yes, there are things that can be sensed and things that cannot be sensed (ie, ideas). This is the acceptable concept of metaphysics. Then there is the this universe verses that which is beyond this universe (Universe meaning everything we know and can know about. In that way, a multiverse would be included in this notion of a universe). This is the unacceptable version.

Here is where I will assert something that may be controversial: ideas are physical things, in the sense that they physically exist within this universe. How? All information is real. All information is not magically floating through the ether. Therefore, it must exist somewhere — and it does. It exists in the neural connections that host the idea in our brains or in the 1s and 0s that host the idea on a hard drive. Although it is hard to imagine information being transformed into raw data of 1s and 0s, we know this to be true. I would contend that the same is true within our brains. It may not be easy, but I think that there is definitely physical locations where the data of any idea is stored in our brains. Ergo, ideas are physical.


I’ve seen Alex Jones in action from time to time, and didn’t really realise just how crazy he is — just pegged him as a bit of an over-the-top conspiracy theorist. Man, was I wrong: this guy is an outright nut. Clearly, from the video I’ve posted here, the guy believes in every conspiracy theory in existence!

Unfortunately, I don’t live in a place where I can call into his show, but I’d love it if someone took up the following challenge:Call into his show with some conspiracy theory you’ve just made up, something somewhat believable, and see how he reacts. My guess is he’d jump on your side immediately.


Possibly the stupidest and most disgraceful conspiracy theory yet: The Sandy Hook Truth Movement.

Yeah…. so, I can understand people being mistrustful of their government and government power, but this is ridiculous. Is this something that is really possible?

The government somehow used a psychotic person to shoot little children and not mention the conspiracy to anyone. Where do you find such a person? Craigslist? This is as close to literally impossible as a conspiracy can get.

Any normal person could not carry out such a heinous crime. Any crazed maniac who would carry out such a crime could not be trusted to keep it secret. It makes no sense.

And I thought 9/11 Truthers were being foolish…

Here’s a more in depth article.

It amazes me that I can never overestimate the audacity of stupid people.


ImagePreviously, I wrote a blog entry about an unfair “out” that believers have when they explain how something happened: “God did it.”

However, that is not the only trick up the believer’s sleeve. There is also the situation in which something does happen, but which an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God would not want to happen. Polio, floods, wars, drug wars, genocides, rapes, slavery, psychopathy, psychopathic killers, torture, child molestation, other religions existing, atheism, errors or contradictions in the Bible/Koran/Torah/etc., animal cruelty: the list goes on.

Why would God allow these things to exist? They do not help the case for religion in the slightest. However, a quick rejoinder solves all this: “God works in mysterious ways.”

Ah, yes! The “get out of jail free card” of religion. It works for anything that conflicts with one’s particular religious beliefs.

This is, however, not as great a solution as one might think. Why? Consider this.

After 9/11, many people might have said, “How could Osama Bin Laden have planned such a terrible act?”

Well, the answer would be simple, wouldn’t it? “Osama Bin Laden works in mysterious ways!”

“Oh, no! No, no, no! This cannot be applied to anything other than God, that’s not fair!” one might say.

Well, that’s partially correct, at least. It isn’t fair because it isn’t a fair argument.

It is an unfalsifiable statement. Although unfalsifiable sounds great (as in, “Wow! It can’t be falsified! It must be true!); unfalsifiability is not a measure of a statement’s strength, it’s actually a demonstration of it’s weakness, for precisely the same reason why it can be used to legitimize Bin Laden, or any other terrible act, for that matter. It can be applied to anything and still work. If something is true, it needs to have a method for testing it’s truth — an unfalsifiable statement cannot be tested and is therefore not a fair statement, logically.

If religious people can use “God works in mysterious ways,” then everyone can use “x works in mysterious ways” to prove anything. This is obviously not an effective way at getting to the truth in any matter, so the only other option is for nobody to use this manner of arguing. God does not work in mysterious ways: unfalsifiable statements work in mysterious ways.


The labels of “pro-choice” and “pro-life” have both come to represent legalizing and prohibiting abortion, respectively. This is inappropriate. The use of the words “choice” and “life” make it seem like this is all there is to the argument. The fact is both sides are wrong when they simplify this argument to either, “Do you hate a woman’s right to do what she wants to her own body?” or “Do you love killing babies?”

Since both sides have become hypercharged in a hypersensitive atmosphere, both sides fail to see the childishness of their own arguments.

Personally, I come down somewhat firmly on one side of this debate: the so-called “pro-choice” side; yet, perhaps counter-intuitively, I couldn’t care less about a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body. The fact is that the woman and her baby are not analogous to a woman and her arm. The baby is not simply a part of her body. She bears responsibility for the life inside of her, of course. This argument becomes stronger the further along in the pregnancy the woman is. It’s hard to see why once the woman emits the baby from her body, she cannot kill it, but if it is inside of her, and has the ability to live outside of her, she is free to kill it.

This would be the extreme, however. A third trimester abortion is something rarely performed unless the mother’s life is in danger anyway. However, this raises the question: where do we draw the line? I think almost everyone would agree that there is a point after which we cannot ethically terminate a baby (which is not a threat to the mother’s health), but it is much harder to say exactly when that point is. So, in all, given the choice between letting women do what they want to “their bodies” and allowing a life to be terminated, of course I will take away the woman’s right to do what she wants to her body.

Now, before I get to why I am actually on the side of the pro-choicers, let me breakdown why the “pro-life” term is also ridiculous. Think about that term. Pro-life. What stupidity. Who is not pro-life, in the greatest sense of the term, aside from psychopaths? This term is an ad hominem in itself. That’s a bad start. You’re labeling all people who disagree with you as psychopaths before the argument has begun. This is not an argument about who likes life and who likes death. This kind of thinking destroys any nuance that may be presented counter to abortion prohibition.

Now, as for me, I don’t believe that abortion should be legal, as I said, because I care about a woman’s choice to do what she will with her body. This doesn’t have a big enough impact on society, in my opinion — and I believe that it is the purpose of laws to make a society run as smoothly and humanely as possible. Well, if you’re a pro-lifer and you’re banging your desk and screaming right now, just calm down for a second. I have not just contradicted myself. I believe abortion should be legal because when we look at examples around the world where it is not legal, we have to consider what happens. Does abortion just stop? Wow, I wish I lived in that world! No. It does not stop. It goes underground. It still happens, and it happens by boyfriends kicking their girlfriends in the stomach until the fetus or the mother dies, it happens by single mothers using coat hangers to hopefully puncture the right organs (I will save you the details. I’ll assume you can guess what I’m saying), it happens through quack doctors, or people who are not doctors at all, try to make a quick buck off a helpless would-be mother. This is a totally inhumane society, and one I am not willing to live in. For this reason alone, I am for the legalization of abortion everywhere.

Abortion is an admittedly terrible procedure, but one which qualified doctors can perform with the lowest chances of error. This has nothing to do with being pro-choice or pro-life; it is simply the best solution to a hard problem.


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End to democracy! End to capitalism! End to tyranny!

What’s the solution? ANARCHY! Of course!

I’ve always wondered, how would these anarchists react if their dreams came true? How would they cope in a civilization in anarchy? My guess is they’d be the first to go running back to their middle-class homes to cry to their mommies, but that’s just speculation. What is it about anarchy that is so appealing to them? Do they really understand what they are advocating?

An excellent case study for anarchism in the modern world is  Somalia from 1991 to 2006. This period provided a unique chance to witness the results of a state of anarchism on a society. The results were not good.

The level of daily violence became “catastrophic,” according to Doctors Without Borders and “a statistic from 2000 indicated that only 21% of the population had access to safe drinking water at that time, and Somalia had one of the highest child mortality rates in the world with 10% of children dying at birth and 25% of those surviving birth dying before age five” (CIA World Fact Book). Adult literacy dropped to 24%, civil war erupted, and diseases like tuberculosis and measles ran rampant.

I am not quite sure what it is about the above example that is so ideal or worthy of fighting for. Actually, I have a hard time believing that the anarchists you see at any protest are actually serious about bringing about a descent into anarchism. To be honest, they seem like young kids who just want to make unnecessary trouble and enjoy the verbal masturbation of talking pseudo-intellectually afterwards.


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How many people would claim that they love killing people? How many of those people do you actually think, if they knew the gruesomeness and cruelty of killing someone, would actually continue to claim that they love killing people?

Anders Breivik, the perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Norway, in which he single-handedly walked around an island full of unarmed civilians and shot them one by one, doesn’t even answer yes to the above questions. Breivik has been very straightforward about the brutality of his crime with the utmost details. He has incriminated himself over and over, without remorse. Yet, he did admit one thing: he said that as he was killing people, he had a strong desire to stop the whole time. He said that he only overcame this gut feeling by convincing himself that it was a necessary evil to help society as a whole.

So, aside from sadistic psychopaths (I’d argue that although non-sadistic psychopaths wouldn’t feel empathy for people they killed, they would be able to reason enough to decide that its not a good thing to kill random people and therefore have no desire to do so), people have a built in morality against killing random people.

We do not need the silly ten commandments to know that killing people is not good. This is instinctive. What were people doing before the ten commandments? Killing each other randomly? Society could not function if this were the case since society is built on trust.

Claims are made that modern societies are built on Judeo-Christian values; however, many less violent countries, such as East Asian countries, were not founded on Judeo-Christian values.

Also, I would argue that it is not even our society that makes us moral. The society just keeps the trust among us for those few who, for whatever reason (bad upbringing, bad DNA or a combination of these two), commit crimes. But, there are always exceptions. Most people will act morally in any political system.

People try to use NAZI Germany’s holocaust as an example of how our morality can be molded according to the regime in power. This is absolutely false.

If you actually know about the details of how the holocaust was carried out, you’d know that the most difficult aspect of pushing through the holocaust was human reluctance to kill. At first, soldiers were just ordered to shoot Jews. This didn’t last long. Although people naturally will go along with authority, this only goes so far. Watching numerous people die by your own hands is something that few people can endure. Eventually, some German soldiers refused to obey their superiors orders, and this led to a cascade effect of other German soldiers refusing. The result? The gas chambers. If you claim that gas chambers are more cost effective than shooting people, you are not thinking about what is involved in the gas chambers. First, the technology didn’t exist. They had to do some serious R and D to figure out how to pull off mass death via gas chambers. Second, they needed to transport people to gas chambers. Third, they needed to build gas chambers and death camps. Fourth, they needed to man these death camps. Fifth, they had to burn the bodies. Sixth, they had to do this in a way to not alert the local population (who, by their own morals, if they found out, would have become horrified). This is only six reasons, but there are many more. The fact is, the NAZI government learned very quickly that their soldiers were moral and they needed to circumvent this morality very quickly and efficiently to prevent mass mutiny.

Even in wartime, there are outbreaks of peace that happen. The Christmas Truce of World War I is probably the most well known example. Even though both sides of the War were taught to hate one another by political and military authorities, suddenly, mass outbreaks of peace occurred between British and German soldiers. It seems it’s actually not that easy to ensure a war continues without pressure from forces above (forces that themselves have not participated in the ugliness of war).

It is for these reasons that it really bothers me when someone claims that humans need religion to be moral. This is the greatest insult to the humanity that exists within all of us.


It is sometimes asserted that you must have faith to believe in science because we don’t have an answer for everything. Well, to an extent this is true. However, it is the best we have. Further, it is by far the best we have.

How do I know this? It’s based on the idea that trustworthiness of an argument comes from how deeply you can question the presuppositions before coming to an “I don’t know” answer. The trustworthiness of science in this regard is always many levels greater than religion. Let’s compare the two. Now, every assertion can have multiple questions, such as “Why is that,” or “How do you know that,” and so on. For the purpose of simplicity, I will only take one route to the foundational presuppositions of each assertion.

Science

Assertion: “Water can be used as a fuel for a power source known as hydrogen power.”

Question: “How do you know this?”

Presupposition: “Because water contains two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen and pure hydrogen can be used as a power source”

Q: “How do you know water has two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen?”

P: “Because the atomic theory has helped us come to this conclusion through many different forms of experimentation.”

Q: “How do you know experimentation will prove something?”

P: “Because this is what the scientific method states.”

Q: “How do you know the scientific method is effective?”

P: “Because it allows us to see repeatable results in experiments.”

Q: “How do you know that repeatable results is a good thing?”

P: “Because it allows us to see order in the universe so that we can understand it.”

Q: “How do you know that seeing order indicates anything?”

P: “Because discovering order allows us to make predictions. If something always happens, we can assume it will happen again and again so long as the variables are the same.”

Q: “How do you know that all experiments thus far have just by chance all worked out the way you expected?”

A: “We don’t know that.”

* I am not a scientist. There may actually be silly mistakes here, and I may have missed possible steps. My main point is to show that there are at least six levels of understanding that science has achieved in this particular case.

Religion

Assertion: “Jesus turned water into wine.”

Question: “How do you know that?”

Presupposition: “Because the Bible says so.”

Question: “How do you know that the Bible is correct?”

Presupposition: “Because God made it.

Question: “How do you know God made it?”

Answer: “We have faith that He made it.”

In this case, there are only two levels of presuppositions. The only evidence provided is the Bible. In the science example, the amount of evidence that has been provided for the six steps I mentioned  is an enormously large amount. It entails all the evidence we have achieved since the beginnings of the scientific method along this particular question’s path.

Further, the depth of research required as one moves up this ladder of knowledge increases dramatically. It requires much more evidence to show that water is two parts hydrogen and one part water than it does to explain why repeatable results are useful.

Biblical study can never go beyond the God question, unfortunately because God is supposedly infinite. He is beyond inquiry. Therefore, the conversation always stops there. This is not an intellectual way to view the world.

The fact is, science is always pushing the boundaries of these levels, in both directions; while religion is stultified.

Of course, the more times you ask, “How do you know that?” kind of questions, as any parent of a 2-year old will know, to more abstract the answer becomes, to the point where it doesn’t really make sense to be asking the question anymore. This happens in the science example above.

I remember a great Louis C.K. skit on this, seen here, where his daughter keeps asking “Why?” and it humorously demonstrates the ridiculousness of this situation. It starts around the 7 minute mark.

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