Archive for the ‘Repeatedly Beating Dead Horse’ Category

Christianity’s fatal flaw, reprised

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

So, I keep thinking about this topic because I keep feeling like if I could just put the right words on my thoughts, it would suddenly make sense to the Christians in my life why I’m so convinced the religion A: was made up out of whole cloth B: contains harmful ideas and C: should be relegated to the dustbin of history

I acknowledge that they’re generally not that likely to be able to integrate this information – that in fact the structure of their minds will prevent it because of the massive neurological upset that understanding would bring them – suddenly their entire mind would need fundamentally re balanced. But it still bothers me, especially when I have people on Facebook very sincerely assuring me I’m going to hell for not believing the right things in the right way.

I know I’ve talked elsewhere about how having a plethora of religions, each claiming to be the one true way and that all adherents to all other religions are less-than, is a awful thing we should be doing away with, especially since we now live in the age of weapons that can kill millions in minutes and we can no longer afford to have wars for no particularly good reason.

In any case, one basic thesis of Christianity that I hear pushed again and again is that man is so flawed that Jesus has to “die for our sins” because “God is a just god and demands that someone be punished for all these sins”. It’s insisted that even people who have only committed minor sins are way too flawed for our perfect God. It’s also insisted that Adam’s failure to obey God was part of what started all this.

But hang on a minute. God *Created* us with neural networks that start unformatted (almost no internal structure, we are mostly born tabla rasa). If God wanted perfect obedience, creating us a state machine (similar to the computer I’m writing this on) would have gotten H* exactly that. God clearly either had no knowledge of how neural networks work (which would prove the all-knowing part a lie) or *wanted creatures that wouldn’t always walk the straight and narrow perfectly*. It is not the nature of a mostly-blank neural network to immediately leap to perfect behavior – some sin along the way is *inevitable*.

Now, mind you, I’m not asserting that we’re designed by a supernatural being at all, I’m fine with the idea that we may have just happened, that a evolutionary process may be all there is that is responsible for our existence. What I can safely rule out, however, is that we were created by a all perfect being that should then be punishing us for being flawed. This has always had a couple of problems in the argument

1) The Christians who argue that God *has to* punish us for all eternity for our limited and temporal sins are

a) Arguing for a evil God. Only a evil creature would punish so disproportionally to the crime
b) Arguing that God has no free will. And yes, they really do argue that! They say he *Can’t* just let our mistakes slide, that it’s outside of his nature because he is a Just God (never mind that eternal torture for temporary errors, especially the low grade errors must of us commit, is about as unjust as I can imagine)

2) The Christians who argue that the only path to redemption is through Jesus are

a) Aruging that God has no problem with the vast majority of human population being misled in a way that leads to them being tortured eternally or
b) Arguing that God can do nothing about the plethora of religions that claim another path or
c) Arguing that their supposedly just and moral being has no problem with expecting us to *guess* in the face of huge amounts of misleading information, *including the observation of the world around us which would *strongly* support the idea that humans are storytellers who manipulate each other for money at the drop of a hat and that religions are just a way for the priests to manipulate the sheep in order to get money

Anyway, the fundamental mismatch between the way unpatterned neural networks behave on their way to learning to be patterned neural networks and the apparent expectations of God as described by the Christians seem to me to be a valid reason to declare the religion is bullshit. That’s before we even get into the abusive nature of “God loves you so much that he built a special place to punish you if you don’t love h* back”. Most of the behaviors the Christians ascribe to God we would call abusive if anyone else did them, and generally I think what’s going on here is the Christians, who have brainwashed themselves into believing the Bible’s threats about God are true, are so afraid of what God could do to them that they apply the “Where does a 600-pound monkey sit? Anywhere he wants to” strain of morality to God.

Conservatives and paying

Friday, April 9th, 2021

So, I’ve been pondering Trump (for example)’s tendency to rob his supporters, stiff his vendors, and whatnot. I then started to realize that every time anyone has in any way messed with my paycheck, they have been politically conservative. Politically conservative people are more likely to delay paychecks, fail to pay, pay less than what was invoiced, etc.

I was realizing that this makes sense. Conservative politicians are generally the ones who say we should not have safety nets, not support our neighbors, etc – this makes sense, they are dishonorable in the sense that they want the advantages of being part of a group (see Resource Allocation As A Group) without being willing to pay their share. They’re like the people who want to use open source software but keep their bug fixes as proprietary instead of contributing them back to the open source project.

I wonder if they realized that if *everyone* behaved as they do we would all be much worse off as a species? I suspect some of them know this but are too hooked by the money and power being the biggest asshole is gaining them, while others of them are genuinely deluded into believing that being conservative (in the sense of going back to times when we were more selfish and/or awful) is a winning move.

The awfulness of conservatives (A recurring theme)

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

At one time, I thought that conservatives provided a balancing effect on our viewpoints and we’d make worse decisions without them.

I’ve come to believe that no, in fact, we’d be a lot better off without their influence on the systems of power and in fact they are just awful, possibly even evil.

Look at recent events. They want to ban providing food and water in lines for voting while they deliberately reduce the number of polling places in liberal areas. This is called cheating – and it is something they do often otherwise we wouldn’t be burdened with them at all.

And, of course, they want to ban children – which they include 18-to-21-year-olds-in – from getting health care if they are transgendered. THis is a impressive level of awfulness. It does represent the truth that conservatives do not want us to be free – they want billionaires to be free and everyone else to be enslaved, and if at all possible they would like the Christian equivalent of sharia law. But not for them – after all, look at Matt Gaetz – only for everyone else. They have basically no moral compass – they are convinced a abortion is murder but bombing people who happen to believe in a different way of allocating resources is A-OK – in fact bombing people just because they happen to have oil is A-OK, or even just because we’d like more profits.

They generally care more about money than continued survival – they’ll defend fracking because it’s fine if our children have bizarre cancers and no water to drink as long as they can continue to have dirt cheap electricity and gasoline now – and they’ll also defend preserving stupid investments – we will tax the wind turbines because they’re competing unfairly with coal, we will block new solar installations because it might make fracking irrelevant.

They will of course find epic new ways to be racist. When Trump ran on a platform of racism, they loved it. Bring back the Klan!

And, they’ll argue for finding ways to make it look like humanity is barely holding on when in fact we’re fantastically wealthy. They’ll demonstrate the ultimate in fiscal irresponsibility, designing a awful resource allocation system and then insisting we stick to the paper accounting system when the reality is we have tons of food and tons of land and houses.. but the paper accounting system says we don’t have enough so we need to make people starve to death.

They will game the system whenever possible, and they’ll encourage the tyranny of the ultraminority – after all, the majority of people were not conservative even when the conservatives manage to capture both houses and the presidency. The conservatives are just willing to do more awful things – as they demonstrate day after day

They also repeatedly lie using their media and then claim that it is the liberal media that is lying. It’s demonstrable that they lie, but their followers just carefully forget all the lies. I am sure there’s a fair amount of brainwashing / emotional illogic agreeing that goes on every time their followers listen to Fox And Friends or Rush – and of course a lot of their followers carefully ignore any data point that indicates they are wrong.

The question is just, is there any way to totally disempower them or at the least ensure they only have as much power as a fair vote would grant them? The problem here is they are willing to do awful things – probably eventually including calling for the murder of liberals – in order to get their way. They need spanked, badly, but I am not sure how to spank them. They *want* a civil war – they would love to shoot millions of us. There’s no reason to think either side would win in a civil war, either – it’s something everyone would lose.

The irony is they are the people that talk the loudest about words like ‘Freedom’ – but of course that only means you are free if you think like them. And they wrap their authoritarianism and willingness to cheat in the flag – just look at Mitch claiming all his awfulness is patriotic.

The ethics of God

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

So, one of the things I find rather creepy about Christians is their willingness to defend the ethics of God. It’s pretty clear to me from looking around Earth that if there is a God they’ve been operating with some very questionable ethics (the proliferation of religions, each claiming to be the only true one, makes one suspect that if there is a God, they either don’t care about us at all or they enjoy watching us fight – then we could discuss the ethics of using evolutionary algorithms to design a body that *someone is living in while it’s being designed* – especially the lack of any way to turn off the pain / damage report subsystem.

In essence, most Christian defenses of God’s ethics come down to “A 600 pound gorilla can sit anywhere he wants to” – which I suppose might mean that Christian worship of God is worthless to God because they’re only worshiping h* because they’re afraid of h*. Of course, I’ve always found the thought that a supreme being would want worship rather questionable anyway, see various posts in various places.

As usual as I pen these words I contemplate that a few hundred years ago I would have been put to death for them.

Anyway, one net result of all this is I find the idea that there *isn’t* a God actively aware of us or engaged in our lives (which might not mean there isn’t a God at all – as I’ve said elsewhere I think there probably is but they’re probably about as aware of us as we are of individual cells in our body) vastly preferable to the idea that there *is* one and everything I see before me is their idea of how things should be run.

Although, on the other paw – I’ve mentioned elsewhere how no one could ever know if they were at the top of the stack – even God may believe there is something above h*, whether h* is willing to admit this to humanity or not. (And there may well be.. it may be turtles all the way up, or all of us may be in some sense above any one of us). So maybe God isn’t disavowing all religions because *e isn’t sure whether *e is at the top of the pile or not. It’s a interesting idea to play with anyway.

Republicans too awful for words

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

It’s kind of impressive, really. At this point the Republicans think cheating on elections is just dandy. Calling for violent overthrow of the government is fine. Trump should get a pass for that and the many felonies he’s demonstratibly committed (the washington post was kind enough to round those all up for us at https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/rap-sheet-trump-crimes/2020/10/16/c6a539da-0e61-11eb-8a35-237ef1eb2ef7_story.html). Of course, I’ve come to expect cheating from the republican party, I’ve come to expect voter disenfranchisement, and apparently in the new normal we can also expect violence from them. (To be fair, they did lots of false-flag violence while pretending to be Antifa during the summer, so this is just stepping up to committing violence in their own name)

I knew they were the party of corruption and lies, but I didn’t realize – and I should have, given how often they talk about how patriotic they are, something that they wouldn’t have to say if it were actually true – that they were the party of destruction of our democratic republic. If they can’t win elections fairly, they’d like to just get out the guns and stop having elections.

Of course, their almost-always-lying “news” sources (Fox, Breitbart, Rush) have whipped them up into a frenzy and made them believe some things which are *clearly not true* (look, if you are dumb enough to think there’s a conspiracy to change the election results that *every single judge* signed off on, including many appointed by the most recent administration – then I can’t help you, you’re dumb enough that you’re likely going to darwin-award yourself sooner or later anyway.)

I think a lot of what’s going on is many of the republican party members are going on, emotionally, what they’d *like* to be true – they want for more humans to be in favor of treating their fellow man awfully than to be in favor of sharing, because it makes their awful behavior more defensible (because everyone’s doing it)

And as far as the leaders, they’ve realized they can cheat and lie their way out of having been complicit in a attempt to overthrow a fair and free election, and they’re in favor of that.

We need to figure out some way to hold their feet to the fire, because it is clear that the party of lies, corruption, and “screw you, I’ve got mine” is going to continue to be as awful as possible for as long as they can, and that apparently includes giving Trump a pass for having deliberately created a violent attack on the capital because he’s such a toddler that he can’t cope with having lost a election.

The right’s lies continue..

Monday, January 18th, 2021

So, as one would expect, the right is busy lying about how it wasn’t them who smashed the capital, it was antifa, or a left false flag operation. Never mind the fact that *everyone* arrested thus far has been a genuine Trump supporter – never mind all the video of the event posted to right-wingers-only-allowed, free-speech-only-if-you-are-Conservative parler.

I suppose it fits in perfectly with the tendency of the right to lie. What’s interesting is increasingly, you can pretty much safely bet that anything the right accuses the left of doing, they themselves have done or are doing. You can almost start to build a play by play of their actions just by looking at their accusations. Which, of course, makes me assume that if there’s *any* truth to Q’s accusations at all – something I highly doubt – the people running the pedo ring are them on the right. Which is kind of what you’d expect – repress natural aspects of yourself (like sexuality) and they’re going to come out in other ways.

I do wonder if I should offer a URL that shows my journal without my political ranting.. I think that it does help me get out some of my anger at the awfulness and egregiousness of the right without (generally) actively getting into fights with anyone, but I also have to imagine anyone who’s interested in the majority of my life has got to be getting sick of the ‘repeatedly beating dead horse’ section.

Then again, I probably only have about 5 readers and 4 of them agree with me, so maybe it doesn’t really matter. I do sometimes wonder if I am able to build up my musical skills to where I gather some more attention what my fans will make of my blog.

Parler

Sunday, January 10th, 2021

So, I’ve been spending a bit of time reviewing the echo chamber that is parler.com – partially because I will take no small amount of delight in watching it go dark in a hour and fifteen minutes – but part of what it really underlines for me is how deeply delusional the True Believers of Trump are, and how much damage he’s likely done to us all with his continuous stream of lies about having won the election.

I honestly hope that Jan 21, there’s still food, shelter, and water for everyone. Believe me, the Trumpanzees are deeply deluded. They can’t fathom why anyone would dislike Dear Leader – they conveniently have forgotten all the hundreds of thousands he got killed, his tax gifts to the rich, his attempts to destroy Obamacare, the nonexistent Trumpcare, his refusal to embrace science, his evident and never ending racism (“the china virus”), his willingness to walk away from treaties we negotiated in good faith, the trade war he started and lost, etc etc – as a friend of mine says “Orange Man Bad”.

Yes. Orange man *very*, *very* bad. Orange man’s lies and/or delusions possibly about to lead to a civil war, which *no one wins*. Orange man’s encouragements have revved echo chambers in Orange Man Delusional Land (mostly from the same people hwo believe in God the Sky Fairy Who Will Torture You For All Eternity If You Don’t Believe Jesus Is Lord because he loves you so much) into levels of energy that, when you combine them with the fact that America is the most armed nation in the world, could end in major carnage.

Trump has deliberately done the opposite of unifying whenever he could. He’s repeatedly sent out emails to the Party Faithful talking about how democrats and socialists are subhuman. He’s also pumped xenophobia to the limits. I just hope that A: we make it through this in one piece and B:*maybe* people will think a little more before voting for pure evil because the alternative was sharing, and sharing is horrible!

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts”…

Friday, January 8th, 2021

… unless you happen to be white republicans. In which case, by all means, start a riot.

I can’t say I’m really surprised.. I’ve long known Republicans were the party of violence, because they’re the ones always starting wars to rob nations of their oil. And Trump of course has always turned this up to 11, with having web pages talking about “joining Trump’s army”, repeated lies to his followers, extreme rhetoric that makes it clear that he’s only president of Republicans and he thinks Democrats should die at the first opportunity – even *retweeting a video that says the only good democrat is a dead democrat*.

They like to think they’re the party of law and order, but they’re not. They’re the party of “the police are above the law and should murder anyone they want” – which is *not* law and order. They’re the party one thinks of when hearing of whackos taking over a federal property and not getting charged with any crimes. Yes, the police let the right get away with a lot more than the left, but that doesn’t mean the right are more law abiding. I could gesture to the list of Trump-circle folk now with felony records – or I could of course gesture to things like the Klan and the Proud Boys. (They are also the party of “Corporations are above the law”, “The rich are above the law”, and “The president is above the law”. And of course, the party of electoral disenfranchisement.)

Unfortunately one thing conservatives are not good at is skeptical thinking. Over and over they’ve been fed obvious falsehoods and yet they still keep repeating the lines that were programmed into them by the talking heads on the TV even as it becomes more and more obvious those lines were lies. And they’re never going to figure it out, apparently – if they can’t realize by now that Trump clearly lost this election, and clearly tried to cheat his way to victory, then they’re probably not going to figure that out later. If things like Trump claiming COVID would go away doesn’t convince them their leader was a moron – not to mention, I remind you, we are talking about the person who went bankrupt *running a casino* – then I don’t know what will.

I have this theory that the bizarre facial expressions Trump makes while he talks short-circuits the brains of some of the people watching. Although, I also think in general we’re not that great at being skeptical when exposed to talking heads, and we’ve seen over and over that while liberal news is willing to use quite a lot of zeal in putting spin on things, conservative news is willing to flat-out lie, over and over.

I am hoping that seeing a attempted armed coup will cause some of the right to start to realize with great shame that yes, they were aiding a wannabe-Hitler. Not that Trump was ever anywhere near as smart or capable as Hitler, but he did want to be king for life and if he could have gotten away with genocidal acts he would have. Actually, in some ways Trump was worse than Hitler. Hitler at least wanted what was best for Germany, before he became a drug addict. Trump only wanted what was best for Trump, ever.

And while we’re talking – conservative morons, the immigrants were never a problem. You have been lied to, over and over. They were a convenient group to demonize.

“Making the world safe for democracy”

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

One silver lining about yesterday’s riots – unless we are total hypocrites (and make no mistake, we are total hypocrites and what I am about to write will not come to pass), we can never again start or feed (by sending guns or troops) a war to “make the world safe for democracy”. We have demonstrated that we have no moral superiority, that we are not and never were the side of the angels, and that in fact our system of government will eventually hand nuclear codes to a toddler.

https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/533172-zimbabwean-president-capitol-riots-show-us-has-no-right-punish shows that I am not alone in thinking this. (Of course, I’ve been sharply critical of the USA’s tendency to be murderous thugs, a oil company with a army, for quite some time now – and we also have a recorded history of overthrowing democracy in order to install totalitarian regimes, so “Making the world safe for democracy” was never really anything but a convenient excuse for being abusive in the ways we wanted to be.)

Just so you right-wingers know *what* you’re cheering on redux

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

Another article that says things better than I could: https://eand.co/this-is-why-america-is-becoming-a-poor-country-41a8d6003e90.

I know that lately it’s been hip and happening if you’re on the right to ignore reality. After all, we’ve seen the Laffer curve not work out time and time again, and yet you all keep voting like you’re Charlie Brown running to kick a football that by now you should be able to figure out that Lucy is going to yank away from you. You all remain deeply committed to the idea that the invisible hand of the market will fix everything – and let’s not even talk about the obvious economic sense of solar and wind, and your attempts to lie to the american people – some of which are apparently dumb enough to not understand that the grid has required some energy storage in order to remain stable for the last 50+ years.

But let’s talk about what voting for the right in a modern context means.

It means “People who have bad luck should starve and die.”

It means “If you happen to live in a watershed where fracking is occuring, you deserve the cancer that’s going to kill you. You also deserve the bankruptcy that our horrible, corrupt, broken healthcare system will push you into for treatments before you die.”

It means “I believe in freedom only when it’s a freedom I want to have”. In particular, you shouldn’t have the freedom to mess with your blood chemistry – unless it’s with alcohol – but you should have the freedom to carry a tool for killing other people. You shouldn’t have the freedom to do *anything* if you’re black.

It means “The police should kill any non-white people they want to, for any reason, and I will cheer them on. Murder of innocents by police and by our army is perfectly acceptable.”

It means “The rich deserve to be able to enslave the rest of us.”

It means “We should choose the dumbest possible way to generate and use energy if it makes the people who are currently rich richer.”

It means “Corporations should be more important than people.”

It means “You should be educated with a series of lies that matches how we’d like you to see the world so we can go on raping, murdering, and looting”

It means “If you are not a white male, you deserve to be a third-class citizen”

It means “Capitalism is more important than people. If capitalism isn’t compatible with mass automation, continue with mass automation and just let the excess workers starve to death. They are worth nothing anyway.”

It means “Life is cheap.”. In fact, we underline that fact with the USA’s COVID death record.

It means “Justice is for sale to the highest bidder.”

And, lately, it means “The majority’s votes only count if the majority voted Republican.”, along with the corollaries of “If you can’t win, cheat” and “lying about voter fraud in order to cheat your way to a victory is totally valid.. if you’re a republican.”

It means “Every child left behind”. It means standardized tests and money/funding are more important than teaching. After all, gotta make those profits at the standardized testing companies. It also means the rich should have a good education and the poor should have a bad one so we can make sure they remain poor. And of course, it means we should lie to our children – we should pretend there is any reason at all to think the Bible is anything other than a bunch of stories written by a bunch of people 2000 years ago, for example.

I’m not even going to touch the subject of religion, since there’s a whole category on this blog specifically for that.

I could go on for a while..