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defacto7

Profile Information

Name: Defacto7
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Portland, OR
Home country: not sure anymore
Current location: depends on which proxy I'm using
Member since: Wed Aug 1, 2012, 01:44 AM
Number of posts: 11,881

About Me

Humanist, Classical musician, Linux hack, Liberal, Cosmology enthusiast, Refuse resurrectionist, Living with you in purgatory

Journal Archives

Good morning blues

I get up very early, around 5:30 more or less, and step out on my porch to see how the sky had progressed since the previous morning. Sirius blazes just off the lower eastern corner of Orion before dawn right now. I got in my car and drove over to Village Inn like I usually do on Sunday. I like this ritual breakfast where there are very few people and no elevator music crunching noise into an otherwise simple atmosphere. What few people are there graciously allow me to evesdrop on their waking conversations. Sitting in a booth by an eastern window, dripping a little Tabasco on my eggs, I see the sky transform from night darkness through a spectrum of blues contrasted behind the bright orange of the restaurant sign until the sun breaks over the mountains.

If I were in Manhattan I would follow a similar routine walking to the neighborhood Greek diner feeling the movement and rumble of delivery trucks, the squeaking brakes, the rush of air from the downtown #4 rising through the sidewalk grating. The conversations are loud and fast offering a bonus of personal information to the inquisitive. Red Tabasco drips onto yellow egg yolks as I'd watch the sky transform from night darkness through a spectrum of blues contrasted behind 220 57th Ave until the sun breaks over the city skyline.

We live in a varried and beautiful world that is so much greater than the poisonous political actors we are surrounded with day in and day out. Those who shall remain nameless do not own us or the sky or the blue behind the backdrop of our morning interactions and sounds. I feel a sense of peace knowing that I have moments that are free of the ugly mirage and instead are filled with real life, beauty and the simplicity of just being.

Here's wishing all you DUers your own moments of freedom each and every day.

D7

I want to make informed decisions. Who's going to do the informing?

After reading an op that undermines my candidate my first reaction is a strong one. I'm disappointed and my knee-jerk reaction is to sink the ship. On the other hand there are some good rebuttals. But the good lesson for me is to think through the manipulations in the last elections.

The bots and deceivers were powerful in the time leading to those elections, this we all know; a lot of people were duped. It would be irresponsible on my part to dump any candidate on this or even a few negative tweets or bites just as much as it would be irresponsible for me to disregard them because their messages don't meet my standards for a candidate.

If you think the descievers were rampant and somewhat successful last time around I have no doubt the perpetrators have worked hard to improve since then.

I'm holding all info and judgements until I see and hear the real thing in action at the debates and in person. I'm not letting any tweets or hearsay dictate my position but I will compare notes and make my conclusions based on experience, not strictly on what I'm fed by the media or anonymous promotion.

That's how I see it.

D7

On Lying

My complete bafflement over the persistant and grandiose disinformation disorder permeating the country right now got me to do a little research on the psychology, philosophy, ethics and neural correlates of lying. It's was rather enlightening and in a way relieving to find so much material online characterizing the phenomenon of conservative political lying and the science behind such human behavour. Let me say this... We are not alone at DU in recognizing the madness. There are so many studies and articles that define and clarify the asininity of right wing lie pathology that I'm just going to leave you with three fascinating links on the subject.

I'll start with: Why We Lie: The Science Behind Our Deceptive Ways Deceptive Ways

This is a great general read from National Geographic that covers a wide view of why we all lie and why some are compelled to believe lies more than others... and much more.

Second: BBC Ethics Guide - Lying

This is a very nice compilation of ethical studies covering these topics:
Lying and truth-telling
Lying and ethical theory
Philosophers on lying
Lying under serious threat
Other types of lying
Lying and medical ethics

Some interesting philosophical points of view include St. Augustine and his graduated list of lies ranging from the pardonable lie to unpardonable mortal lie. I found it thought provoking that his number one most damnable lie was "lies told in teaching religion" Hmmmm! Another was Thomas Aquinas where he states that "Officious or helpful lies are pardonable". I guess that would make them purposeful if you needed to promote a "cause". It also covers Consequentialism and Deontologists.

Lastly: Neural correlates of deception: lying about past events and personal beliefs (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov PMC) about past events and personal beliefs (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov PMC)

This is a more "brain science" approach to lying. I came across this in the pursuit of philosophy and ethics but it's very interesting science.

I hope this stuff is useful; it's a whole lot more interesting than my writing so don't equate my blather with these well written articles. They do give insight into why it's such a shit storm out there.

D7

My dog threw up on the floor today.

After which he went back and ate it which seems disgusting to me personally. But then I realized that his condition imparted a deep philosophical lesson. The holy bible says, "As the dog returns to his own vomit, so does the fool to his own folly." I think that's Ecclesiastes or maybe it's Proverbs I don't know. But then I realized something even more disgusting. My dog may not only be an evangelical but he may be a Republican as well.

OMG

Doubt, a summary of this little mini series

I'd like to offer up Edgar Allen Poe:

"In the beginning of the first thing lies the secondary cause of all things, with the germ of their inevitable annihilation."


The history of doubt is the history of humankind itself. It begins where our concepts of self and universe explode from two dimensions into three; it's at the point where we begin to seek symmetry from chaos. Doubt is the single catalyst that melds perception into truth and points imagination toward reality. Without it fact is a whim and truth a blur. Reason is non-existent without doubt's incessant prodding. Doubt is the fuel of science. It defines philosophy and philosophy, in turn, defines it.

Its history is one of discovery, wonder and courage; it's also one of dissent, agony and martyrdom. The 300,000 innocent lives who burned at the stake in Madrid alone, along with the millions of other murders perscribed by blind faith speak to the irrepressible nature of humankind and the power of doubt. Doubt has never conceded to anything but triumph.

I am honored to count myself among those who doubt and who seek facts as they are able to be verified. I'm also proud to be among doubters who can admit being wrong and in doing so, revise views to accommodate better ideas. To me this is life. I couldn't possibly think myself as courageous as so many who have stood against the monstrous adversities of past centuries, but through my doubts I hope I can continue to be part of the process to annihilate ignorance and spread the cause of reason.

D7

P.S. The above words are my own musings so you can blame me. Much of the material from the previous entries are gleaned from the book Doubt by Jennifer Michael Hecht. I'd call it a philisophical history of doubt. If you want more it's a great read.

Doubt in 19th century America

Frances Wright, usually called Fanny, championed religious doubt. At 18, Fanny had a literary and philosophical club at which members delivered essays to one another. Fanny delivered one about Epicurus and Leontium, Epicurus's first female disciple, which was later published as A Few Days in Athens. In it she states, "To fear a being on account of his power is degrading; to fear him if he's good, ridiculous... I see no sufficient evidence of his existance; and to reason of its possibility I hold to be an idle speculation."
She was influenced by Utilitarianism, later called utopian socialism, famous for their schemes for a perfect community, including gender equality, free love, and free thought.


(One more to go...)

Doubt in the 19th century

Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) author, abolitionist and crusader for women's rights wrote as an impassioned doubter, "There is no theory of a God, of an author of nature, of an origin of the universe, which is not utterly repugnant to my faculties; which is not (to my feelings) so irrelevant as to make me blush." She also called for children's books for "the secularist order of parents." Martineau mused that Christianity "fails to make happy, fails to make good, fails to make wise." She also called herself the "happiest woman in England."

Doubt in the 18th century

A young man named La Barre who refused to take off his hat to a religious procession, damaged a crucifix, and was in possession of a copy of Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary was tortured and executed for blasphemy in 1766. Voltaire was particularly stung by La Barre's death and rose up against "this sentence so exécrable... so absurd... which is an eternal disgrace to France." Voltaire, though not atheist, became a great leader in stopping violent persecution partly due to this tragedy.

La Barre was 19 years old.


(Not to worry, there's hope in the next century)

Doubt in the 16th century

Born in 1548, Giordano Bruno, excommunicated by the Calvinists, excommunicated by the Lutherans, and sentenced to burn at the stake by the Catholics claimed, among other things, that the universe was infinite and filled with many other suns like ours. When sentenced to death by fire in 1600, he famously said, "Perhaps you, my judges, pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it." Invited to repent, he refused. While on the pyre he was offered a crucifix which he pushed away with sharp disdain.

He was 51.

Doubt in the 17th century.

In 1696 a medical student at the University of Edinburgh named Thomas Aikenhead said that theology was " a rhapsody of feigned and Ill-invented nonsense" and that the scriptures were " so stuffed with madness, nonsense, and contradictions, that you admired the stupidity of the world in being so long deluded by them." He also said that Moses, "if ever there was such a man," had, like Jesus, "learned magic in Egypt, but that he was both the better artist and better politician.

He was executed for blasphemy in 1697. He was 20 years old.
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