#41 [url]

May 15 17 6:50 AM

Thanks for the chart Barbara. That one is going up on tumblr, for sure.

Theologically speaking the chart is actually very interesting. From my reading of Christian theology only one interpretation makes sense: Jesus came to the conclusion that the old law was impossible to uphold and would therefore have to be replaced by a new covenant based on Love.

Salvation or damnation therefore becomes a matter of your ability to love others ("your neighbour"), and not the ability follow every letter of the law. This is why he constantly challenges the law oriented Pharisees, interpreting the essence of the law rather than the letter. So lusting after a woman becomes infidelity, not only sleeping with her.

"And if your eye causes you to fall into sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell." As far as I know, none of Jesus' supporters did pluck their eye out, so I guess they got the message: You will sin, regardless, so maybe some humility is in place.

It seems to me much of contemporary American Christianity has been taken over by the other party, which is why you there -- like in the fundamentalist Hinduism and the extremism of Wahhabis and ISIS -- find people desperately clinging to strict rules and regulations, laws that are to bring some kind of order into their lives. These are basically people who are unable to accept the diversity of life and who because of this anxiety have to force everyone else to believe exactly as they do.

What they do eventually come to believe in, is often random and based on prejudices handed down from one or more fanatics from history. The cherry pick bible verses and sutras that fit these prejudices and disregard the rest. There is one common denominator, though: Sex and gender. Sex is dangerous because it is a basic instinct beyond social control, and gender because they see the binary as the very foundation of their limited view of culture and society.

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#42 [url]

May 17 17 7:37 AM

See what happens if you try to get rid of gender, and make everyone roughly an equal in all ways... it's pretty dull.

I like that there is a lot of dimophism, it makes things a lot more interesting

It just kind of sucks to be stuck so precisely the wrong end of the bell curve.
(See, they just can't seem to get away from the idea that they are resposible for shaping their childs personality, and it's considered 'high status' for a girl not to be too feminine, but not high status for a boy not to be masculine).

So what feels really good is 'bad' and even a 'sin', and what seems logically right is 'wrong', and it's all really confusing.
Coz it just seems like so much of what you want is what you can't have, and so much that is expected of you is what you either don't want, don't care much about, or can't figure out how to do anyway, and then you find you've neglected a lot of the skills that you might have had, had you not been so scared of the impact your behaviour would have on those around you.

See also: Facial correlates of sexual dimorphism used to diagnose 'autism'
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#44 [url]

Can I just vomit? I do not even know where to begin with this one. There are so many problems with this topic. I am not sure why we are having this discussion in the 21st century. I'm an atheist, but I haven't always been one. I was raised a fundamentalist Christian home, in a borderline cultist sect. I was a priest of sorts, a missionary that devoted years of their life to the faith. Let me identify the problem with this discussion as I see it. The problem is that the whole approach of rational discourse to true believers is missing the target. When I was a true believer and all other true believers I know out there, do not accept ideas on rational grounds. They understand instead emotion. They speak with emotion, they can twist any scripture to fit the emotion that moves them. They can cherry pick and choose what parts of scripture to back these up and ignore the ones that do not. Many of the fundamentalists I know do not accept that animals and humans are compareable. Animals are here for our use nothing else. True believers will see it as a challenge to faith that god purposefully put animals on a path on their own, but the faithful will not be tricked. Or they might go the route that these particular animals are possessed or agents of Satan. Which gets me to the other problem I see with this discussion. A failure to see the creativity of believers and belief in general. Belief is fluid and while fundamentalists do not see it, they are fairly ignorant to it changing. But it can change.

It seems to me that the goal of the original author was to offer grounds to combat the fundamentalists. Having been there and changed my mind on many topics, I thought I might offer some advice on what works to change a fundamentalist' point of view. It goes back to emotions. The best and most significant thing that worked on me and the many others I have seen leave the faith, was a befriending of others who had different beliefs, building a relationship of trust, and setting an example. Experiencing others and exposure to good examples is very important if you want to see change. Help others should be the goal not proving them wrong; this difference in attitude is significant. Beating each other with books, facts, and debating about what is, and isn't, doesn't do it. In fact it often makes people either more rigid in theirs beliefs, digging in, pride getting in the way or they walk away in despair and disgust.

Who might this discussion reach? I do think that rationale debate and discussion, logical consistency, etc, reaches the moderates, mildly interested religious people, who have no investment in the faith, who maybe were brought up with it was tradition, but honestly do not understand it all that much.

I look forward to actually reading Felix's book on the topic.

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#46 [url]

My pet theory these days is that extremism is based on insecurity and the need to belong. Cult members are not listening to rational arguments or "facts" for the simple reason that their sense of safety and their personal identity is anchored in the whole cultural system of their sect. If you attack one of the symbols or tenets used by the sect, you are -- in fact -- attacking their whole world view and their sense of self. That is so threatening that they are willing to believe anything in order to avoid questioning the basis for their leaders' teaching and their dogma.

This seems to be true for larger cultural groups, as well, which is why calling real news "false news" seems to be a workable tactic in some circles. If "the Others"/the enemy believe in climate change, climate change has to be false. If "the Others"/the enemy believe in God, atheism is the only option and so on and so forth. Climate change denial and atheism has become a sign of your cultural belonging, and real facts are not going to to change that. I have seen research that indicates that the more climate change deniers learn about the relevant research, and the more educated they are, the stronger their denial becomes.

Likewise: If your belief system requires a strict gender binary, no amount of fact is going to make you trans friendly. Unless, that is, you for some reason (cp Carah's story) move over from one tribe to another or become one of the very few free souls in the world.

There is hope though: Over time any cultural system will change. The members of that group might not notice that change, especially if they know little of history, but you will see that change in the tension between older and younger generations within the different social groups. Gen Z'ers find it in general hard to understand the homophobia and transphobia of baby boomers.

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#47 [url]

Well personally I'm not that convinced about 'climate change' either. I mean I'm convinced that the global climate can and will continue to change, as it has done for millions of years, but I'm not that convinced that human activity has as dramatic an impact as people claim, nor that we have to drastically alter our behaviour in the near future in order to 'save the planet', the planet itself will do fine without us, but we might end up with some serious floods in popular coastal areas and low lying countries like Bangladesh I guess.

At the same time we've only been keeping detailed records for about 500 years, and we've only been burning fossil fuels in vast amounts for about 100 years, and we are already on the verge of switching over from 'gas guzzlers' to hybrid/electrical or fuel cell powered vehicles, and will probably have more or less completely switched over by 2050, (you know, they'll probably have a new 'scrappage scheme' to get people to replace old petrol/diesel vehicles with electric ones once the technology has matured a bit more and prices fall), and hopefully also be able to switch over power stations to power those electric vehicles to safe nuclear, renewables or even maybe fusion if we can finally get it to work.

So you could say future generations will see we have a strange 150year 'blip' in historic ice core samples or whatever, in terms of a small human-generated uptick in carbon dioxide emissions, but the relative amount of impact that has on global temperature fluctuations is debateable, when we consider all the other factors that have a larger impact over much longer time periods. (Erm, didn't the atmosphere use to consist of almost entirely carbon dioxide, before some kind of bacteria came along and started polluting it with that dangerously combustable and highly corrosive substance called oxygen? Gosh isn't it terrible it's now up to something like 21% of the entire atmosphere, heaven help us if there are lightning strikes making the trees all catch fire).

Things like solar cycles, super-volcanic eruptions etc, that we can't hope to have any reasonable control over, have always dramatically affected the earths climate and ecosystems to a far greater extent, for millennia before we were even aware of them. 

So I'm not a 'stick my head in the sand and hope it all goes away' type, or an 'ignore all those petty concerns while there's money to be made' type, but I do think a lot of it is overblown and alarmist, and we should really stick to engineering better solutions to existing technical challenges, than getting all upset with each other for holding conflicting belief systems about systems that are probably too complicated for anyone to grasp the whole of, as part of a kind of sublimated in-group/out-group tribal conflict, (same goes for Linux/Windows, (I mean how many people have even heard of Dave Cutler etc.), or PC/Mac), or as a replacement for a kind of religion, when most people seem to be playing off emotions based on misinformation rather than facts.

There's already a generation coming up behind me that's never known any version of Windows before Windows XP, as much as I have always known about cars and was never faced with learning to ride a horse or drive a cart, when my mum born in 1950 grew up in a world when only relatively rich people even had cars, and most everyone else just had to walk everywhere or take the bus.
Likewise there will be a generation born soon that won't believe that only 50 years ago people actually used to actually compete over whose car had the biggest engine, or the most chrome fins, instead of over whose car was the most eco-friendly, had the longest lasting battery, and had the best self-driving operating system and personal communication, navigation and entertainment gadgets in the inside, gadgets which make a lot of diffference to the travelling experience but which actually use relatively little energy, and don't weigh the car down so much that it actually needs a 4 litre engine to move around.
I'll be nearly 70 in 2050, and I fully expect that by then young-whippersnappers will be aghast that I even once drove a car with a 1.4litre Diesel engine, and had to learn how to work manual transmission, and wasn't really allowed to take my hands off the wheel to change the TV channel for sometimes hours at a time. 

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#49 [url]

On second thoughts, I don't feel like discussing anything.

"We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting."

- Khalil Gibran

If I cannot be a feminine traditional woman, what's the point of being a woman?

- Me

Last Edited By: Monique . Edited 2 times.

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