The Bible is the Original Fake News Site

The Buried Lede: “This will be unpopular: The Bible and the Koran and the like are the original “fake news” sources.”

biblefakenewsFew would have predicted that the internet, open access to information, might lead to the demise of humanity.

“Facts” are extremely complex things; to understand that is to begin to think about philosophy and theories of mind.

The vast majority of advances in knowledge are going to tech. And tech can only build tools, it can’t navigate ethics and meaning and justice.

And despite what the tech focused world says, or the religious focused world, there can be expertise in things like ethics, meaning and justice. In law and economics and statecraft. Those things can be studied, understood, improved.

We’ve assumed that religion would fill that role; but religion is dead, it isn’t growing. And the very inability we have to point out errors in religion, the rewards we give out to bad thinking by labeling it a “Right” has, in my estimation, set the foundation for a world where “facts” can be anything you choose.

And lest I pick solely on religion, the same holds true in any communally reinforced grouping of ideas. Progressivism, Conservatism, Socialism, Energy Healers, Reiki, etc.

If the very foundations of existence can’t be questioned, if we must accept as valid all beliefs, if we are unwilling to point out bad thinking in the core beliefs of individuals, is it any surprise that we now have a population, Right, Left and Center, who are woefully unskilled at detecting bullshit? Both from others, but more importantly from self?

This will be unpopular: the Bible and the Koran and the like are the original “fake news” sources. But we don’t call it out, and therefore, the vast majority of humanity’s foundation of knowledge is based in fake news.

So, tech built the internet which disseminates vast quantities of information, but humanity doesn’t yet understand the foundational issues of knowledge. Opinion isn’t knowledge. Belief isn’t knowledge. But information is now in the hands of everyone, and everyone believes they are right, that they have knowledge. But knowledge, facts, truth…these are complex topics.

The idea that knowledge acquisition isn’t considered a skill, that it’s simply thought of as the discovery of new information, freely available to any and all, and that the opinions of any and all have merit, has brought natural human division to new depths. We now have burger flippers and hairstylists and Lawyers who think they are experts in global trade and economics and politics and race-relations, and they are driving the world. Into a ditch.

The internet brings this all together in a mirror image of the primordial soup from which we arose, into which we now descend.

Rise of Berniecrats, Death of Democrats, Ergo, Death of America

IMG_7276The Democratic Party is being severely weakened, and will be unable to mount any serious challenge to the Trump wing of the US.

Bernie Sanders and his supporters will prove to be the worst thing to happen to the Left in decades. And his followers, who have very little understanding of realpolitik, do not have anywhere near enough support to implement their flawed ideology; but they have enough to hamstring the unity needed to disrupt any serious effort push back on the Right.

Right now, the DNC, which has much less power than Berniecrats have been lead to believe, have created a “Unity” committee, which will be formed with Clinton appointing 9 members, and Bernie Sanders appointing 7 members.

Think about this: Bernie Sanders still refuses to identify as and commit to being a Democrat, and yet he’s being given huge power to shape the party. And the Berniecrats, who haven’t won any political race of any significance, fancy themselves as experts on how to take back the Country.

Remember the platform committee? Bernie put Cornell West on that committee; he who promptly endorsed Jill Stein after the effort.

The Berniecrats are toxic, ill informed, and frankly, immoral (go research their treatment of Delores Huerta in the Nevada primary caucus to deflate any notion of the movement’s moral superiority). The net result of this is that they will only have enough power to kill the Democratic Party; not enough to kill Trump.

And that has the potential to kill America.

Jean Baudrillard, Postmodernism and The Wiz

baudrilaardwizWherein reading the postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard causes recall the sage words of The Wiz:

“Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, whereas all of Los Angeles and the America that surrounds it are no longer real, but belong to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology) but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the reality principle.” — Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation

‘Living here, in this brand new world
Might be a fantasy
But it taught me to love
So it’s real, real to me”

— “Home” from The Wiz

Note: Stephanie Mills is preferred over Diana Ross

Brokeback Families…

family treeI‘ve heard several comments by conservatives, seemingly unable to directly criticize the love story that exists in the movie Brokeback Mountain, railing about the injustice of how these two men treat their undeserving wives. The pain caused to Michelle William’s character (Alma) is unmistakable, and many conservatives point the finger at Heath Ledger’s character (Ennis), and by inference, indict the entire gay community for the harm they’ve caused to the broken families they leave behind.

This, as I read between the lines, is another attempt to demonize the gay community, to blame them for the problems that exist when their relationships fall apart. The criticism isn’t without some merit, and therefore, can’t easily be dismissed. The irony, however, is that equal criticism should be aimed directly at the conservative community which has worked to demonize and dehumanize gay individuals, making it difficult for them to understand their own sexuality, and ignorantly promoting the idea that if you just act straight, you will be straight. Read more

Religion and Meaning

As science continues to erode the viable realm of religion, apologists for religion seem to cling to the life-vest of “meaning” as the last stand for the value of religion.

In other words, religionists claim that science is unable to answer the “why’s” of an issue (which, I think is a tenuous claim, but which I’ll put on hold for now), and that these questions are best left in the hands of religion.

OK. If this is the case, then let’s discuss it directly. This posting is meant to solicit responses and ideas.

Can anyone give me some examples of “why” answers that religion does well? If this is the realm in which religion excels, then let’s have a listing of those answers it provides.

Anyone?

On Determinism…

The majority of humans will get caught into basic routines of social expectations; the brave may escape the monotony of scripted existence, the worship of the status quo.

My Articles of Faith

NOTE: This is an old version of my values. There are two newer versions published here:

Life’s Purpose:

The primary purpose of my life is the pursuit of Joy.

Secondary to that is the pursuit of truth, by which I have faith that I’ll be better able to control the environment of my life, affording me greater opportunity to achieve my primary purpose.

My faith:

I have great faith in humanity. In sum, I see the world as a positive place, and am happy that I am a part of it. I believe that humanity is a positive force in this world.

It is my belief that all great human achievements are rooted entirely in the greatness of humankind. I do not look to sources external to humanity to explain or understand its value.

I have faith that humankind will continue to gain increased knowledge relative to the nature of our existence, the nature of nature, and the means by which we will gain increased power over nature to improve our lives. Science is generally the object of this faith.

I have faith in my ability to shape the contours of my life, as well as to contribute to the makeup of the communities of which I am a part.

I have faith in the ability of pluralistic democracies to provide the greatest foundation for the pursuit of joy. My faith is that through continued work and human capital, we can build a more perfect union. To this end, I am faithfully involved in the political process.

I have faith in the equality of humanity, that all should be equal and that all deserve rights which are endowed upon them naturally. All should have equal opportunity to create the shape and contour of their lives.

I don’t believe that the ends or goals of humanity are guaranteed; I believe in the real possibility of failure. I believe that we are in a race against time to avoid failure, and this motivates my faith.

My communities:
Individuals preside over communities, which are created to serve the needs of individuals. Though symbiotic, we must never elevate “community” to the ontological status of “individual;” they are fundamentally different things.

My first and most important communal tie is to my wife, Mary, and to my two children, Cien and Aris.

I am a member of the entire human family, whom I consider to be brothers and sisters.

Additional communities of which I am a part: family, friends, neighborhood, City, County, State, and Country.

I identify with the struggles of specific communities, such as the gay-lesbian community. I identify with the struggle for equality waged by women. I identify with the struggle for equality waged by the minority communities.

I don’t consider myself detached from the struggles faced by these communities, as I feel that fundamentally, the struggle for equality is a struggle faced by all of us. That my current demographic is at the top of the hill does not mean that it will always be so, and to that end, I work hard to ensure equality for all.