Friday, December 14, 2012

A new definition for morality

My new definition goes like this:

Morality is a prediction about the consequences of an act.

If you think there's a high risk of negative consequence, then you will view the act as immoral. If you don't think there's a high risk of negative consequence, then you will view the act as moral.

So, consider moral relativism. How does moral relativism play into this definition? It doesn't. Moral relativism disconnects morality from consequence, saying things are right or wrong depending on "personal opinion." This is of course totally wrong because right and wrong are subjective. It's meaningless to say right and wrong are personal opinions if you don't have some objective standard. The standard has always been the consequences of the act. Moral relativism deletes consequence from the equation, thusly:

Morality = ?

Without consequence on the other side, the equation is out of balance and tenuous… without meaning.

Moral relativism has no meaning except to give people permission to do whatever it is that they want to do.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The lie of "life's not fair."

"Life's not fair." What a ridiculous disrespectful lie. First, people who condescendingly tell others that life is unfair believe the person they are telling it to is an idiot for ignoring some obvious truth. But they don't realize how illogical it is to say "life's not fair."

The phrase "life's not fair" implies that life for everyone is unfair. Life is unfair to everyone? Am I the only person to see the contradiction here?

The word "life" here is all inclusive. In this sentence and in meaning it says "life for everyone." If the word "life" didn't mean "everyone," then you wouldn't be telling the person that life is unfair. They already addressed the inequality of life when they said, "it's not fair."

So you are really saying "life for everyone is not fair." But life can NOT be unfair to everyone! If it is unfair to everyone, then it can not by definition be unfair. Unfair means there is an imbalance. Life cannot be unfair to everyone. If it was, there would be no imbalance.

If life is unfair to some, then it must by definition be advantageous to others. We all know that some people are charmed. Life gives them success with little effort. They find money easily. They make friends easily. They look good without working out. They are exceptionally talented. They find love quickly. They attribute their success to hard work, and they no doubt have worked hard. But they fail to recognize the hard work that the guy who mows their lawn and cleans their pool has had to endure for the entirety of his life. These charmed people are the people that say "life's not fair." They don't even realize that life is more than fair to them.

So the phrase "life's not fair" is incomplete. It should either be "life's equally unfair to everyone" (a very clear contradiction) or it should be be "life's not fair to some." It has to be unfair to some. And it's completely meaningless to tell someone that. When someone says "It's not fair" that's exactly what they are saying.

You are better off just agreeing with them.

Next time you tell someone that life is unfair, consider how the contradiction makes you look. It is not true.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What is free will

This is really fascinating to me.  In fact, this is the root of all of my philosophical reasoning.  It happened when I saw an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation when Commander Data's personhood was put on trial.  For him to win the right of self-determination, they had to prove that he was sentient.  That he was alive.  And they attempted to define life.  Well, I wasn't satisfied with their definition.  For me, life was much simpler to define, although condensing down into a short elegant sentence is proving to be far more challenging. The idea is simple though.  Life takes energy and uses it to affect the physical world.  Of course a billiard ball has energy and it affects other balls.  So what's the difference between the cue ball and the stick and the shooter?  Free will.  Over the past decade I have been exploring this question of free will and I think I have finally been able to at least condense THAT into a single short and elegant sentence.  Here it go:

Free will is our effect over cause.

I will explain it this way: with a batter hitting a baseball.

What causes the bat to hit the ball?  The batter.
What causes the bat to swing?
The muscles of the batter.
What causes the muscles to move?
The decision to swing?
What causes the batter to decide to swing?
Seeing the ball and understanding the purpose of swinging.
What gives the batter the purpose to swing?

You see, we could go on like this forever it seems, trying to ask why why why why, like a 4 year old who has just learned that there's a cause for everything.

We can keep going up the chain of cause and effect and for free will to be real, we have to eventually see an incident where one event had an equal chance of occurring one way or another way, and the only outside force on that event was the will of the batter.  If you can keep going back in time and if ypu never find a cause of an event that involves the will of the batter, then the batter was entirely at the whim of cause.  He has to have control over cause to have free will.

He has to effect cause.

And you see, this has some very serious and far reaching consequences, especially for the Christian, who absolutely MUST believe in free will, otherwise the God who will send some people to eternal torment in hell and other people into eternal bliss in heaven must be a tyrant if free will is an illusion.

So, the cognitive dissonance between my deterministic view of the world played against my faith has structured my view of the world.  I cannot simply dismiss God.  And at the same time I cannot dismiss logic and reasoning.  There has to be an explanation.  And that is what I have been searching for.

Of course the popular understanding of quantum physics gives me an easy out.  Quantum physicists believe that there are cases at the quantum scale that are probabilistic.  That simply observing something is enough to affect it.  I could just accept that and procla this as the answer for my cognitive dissonance.  Oh if it were only that easy.  The problem is that I feel that scientists must be missing something.  There HAS to be a cause for an atom to go one way or another.  Our observation might ultimately lead to effect the outcome, but the chain of events between our observation and the outcome itself is not even considered.  Ever since the double slit ecperent was done 100 years ago man has thought that we control the world.  I'm not convinced.  Something is happening to cause the photon to turn into a particle.  We can't be the only cause.  I don't know what it could be, but observation itself can't be the only thing at play.

So, I continue on, in search of free will, because I must.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ooooo! It's 11:11!

In the metaphysical world apparently seeing 11:11 means something. If you google it you'll actually find that it means all sorts of different things depending on their belief system but in general it's supposed to mean that you are on the right mystical track. But if you think about it logically can you blame people for seeing it all the time? They really have no choice.

It begins with the desire to be special. How cool is it when the odometer in your car reads all ones? When it's 11:11 or 1:11 you appreciate the cool factor of all 1s and you think, "wow that only happens twice a day." Then you hear about people repeatedly noticing 11:11. They say they see it several times every week. They can't explain it. They say that when they look at the clock and see 11:11 they don't know why they looked at the clock at that time. They just had this urge to find out what time it was (even while they ignore the fact that wanting to look at a clock is by definition a spontaneous impulse.) Then they discuss in wonder about the meaning behind it all and conclude that their constant reminder about the time makes them special. You want to be a part of this special crowd too, and before you can say synchronicity you find yourself checking the time at 11:11 all the time.

How to explain it??? Is your vibration somehow synchronized with some cosmic mystical source guiding your light as it penetrates the essence of your chakra? Hardly. It's actually quite simple to explain. It's your subconscious mind. It happens to be a superior time keeper. Its responsible for a lot of biological functions that are dependent upon excellent timing so it stands to reason that it knows when 11:11 is. When it becomes aware of your desire to know that it's 11:11, if you happen to be near one of the clocks it knows about and you are in a ready state, say driving, or in an elevator, or walking down the street, it will simply alert your conscious mind to wonder about the time. Then you get this inescapable urge to check your watch.

Bam! You are a member of the 11:11 club. Aren't you special? No. Not really.

Now, some proponents of the 11:11 theory will say something like, "I notice 11111 or 3.14 all the time and you can't predict that." It's true that you can't predict when you will notice pi or the number 42 or 11111. But you do know that statistically speaking, you have as much a chance of running into 11111 as you do any other number between 0 and 99999. But you pay attention to the times you see the numbers that are special to you; or more accurately, your subconscious mind does. It is after all a lot more alert to the world than you are. It processes information far faster than your conscious mind does. So when you are driving on the road and you see a license plate made up of some random digits, your subconscious mind ignores it. But when it runs across some digits that it understands have meaning to you, it alerts your conscious mind to take a look.

BAM! Proof that you are special and in synchronous relationship with the universe.

Or is it? Uh... no.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Actual Contraceptive Use and the Pregnancies that Result

Take a good look at this chart. It illustrates exactly how NOT effective birth control is and how our almost religious belief in contraceptive affects pregnancy rates.

(For a copy of the excel spreadsheet, send me an email.)

If you don't believe the numbers, take a gander at this website:
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

What does the chart mean? What can we conclude?

43,000,000 women are said to be engaging in regular sex. 38,000,000 are said to be using some form of contraceptive. Of those 38,000,000 women who do use contraception, they collectively engage in so much sex that almost 2 and a half million of them will become pregnant within a year.

That is 6.55% or 1 out of every 15 women.

Think it's that bad because I lumped all of the contraceptives together? Want to consider a single contraceptive? Okay, how about the number one contraceptive. 1 in 11.49 women will get pregnant each year. Yikes. That's even worse than the general contraceptives. That means that the pill actually brings the average down!

Okay. How about the condom? 1 in 5.75 women will get pregnant. Twice as bad as the pill.

Ah, but what if we combined them. What if she is on the pill and he still wears a condom. SURELY that will virtually eliminate the possibility of pregnancy. Hardly. Out of every 66 women who regularly engage in sexual activity (probably less than the population you'll find in every night club on a Friday night), one will get pregnant within a year.

Also, take a look at the difference in effectiveness between condoms and withdrawal. Wow. I would wager a guess that you consider withdrawal to be the epitome of unsafe sex. And when you think of safe sex, you think of a condom. But they aren't that much different. Condoms are only 1% more effective.

Well, obviously this chart illustrates the necessity of education, right? Well, you might think so because if 43,000,000 women are engaging in sex and only 38,000,000 them are using contraceptives, that leaves 5,000,000 women who don't use contraceptives*.  And because of this, 4 and a quarter million of them will become pregnant. This is more than twice the number of pregnancies by the 38 million women who have sex with contraceptives. But if these women did all use a contraceptive in the same percentages, almost 300 thousand of them would still get pregnant. That's not an insignificant number.

And it doesn't negate the fact that there are still almost 2 and a half million women each year getting pregnant from so-called protected sex.  It is a strawman argument to bring up the 4 and a quarter million women who get pregnant from unprotected sex because the important point is that contraceptives are causing more pregnancies because they cause us to have more sex than we would have without them.

One more thing about education. 89.4% of the population of sexually active women are using contraceptives! I don't think education is going to increase that number by very much. Clearly, sex ed has done its job. People are convinced that contraceptives work.

They are in fact BRAINWASHED into thinking that contraceptives work. Oh, we all know that contraceptives aren't 100% effective, but that doesn't stop people from acting as if the contraceptives are.

So what's the conclusion?

SAFE SEX IS A MYTH! If anything the belief in safe sex CAUSES us to act recklessly and to have sex much more than the contraceptives are designed to handle. The result is MORE pregnancies than before the pill changed our attitudes about sex.


*Because withdrawal is considered to be a means of contraceptive, this means that "no method" is the male ejaculating inside the female every single time he has sex with her throughout the year. I don't think 11.6% of all men ejaculate inside the woman every single time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pre-marital sex leads to specialization and that leads to incompatibility

The most common excuse people give for pre-marital sex is "we should find out if we are sexually compatible." Two problems with this.

#1 It's widely accepted that the longer you are married, the better sex becomes. The first time you have sex with someone is usually not the best.
#2 If you don't have any experience, then you haven't developed any tastes.

If you both wait until you are married, you are both virgins when you are married. You have NO experience so you aren't likely to have developed certain tastes about sex. You might be intrigued with different positions, role-play, oral sex, anal sex, toys, handcuffs, candles, feathers, ice, bondage, and maybe even kinkier things. But you don't know what you like and don't like yet. You will discover your tastes TOGETHER. You aren't likely to love kink if you haven't ever experienced it. And if you try it with your spouse and he or she doesn't like it, then you aren't likely to get kinky enough for it to become important to you. You won't even know how important it could be to you.

The lovely thing about discovering sex together is it truly enhances the bond. The sexual bond isn't just about pleasure, hormones, and vulnerability. It's also about discovery. And I think the importance of this discovery is undervalued today.

The problem with incompatibility isn't that people have too little sexual experience before they marry. The problem is that they have too much. Each person who has experience with sex before marriage has become a specialist. Then the task of choosing a mate includes finding another specialist who fits you. But if you don't specialize before you marry, then you and your mate will specialize together, and you will have harmony in the bedroom.

Most of the people saying "you need to find out if you are compatible" are coming at the question with their own experience in mind. They are assuming that one of the individuals will have had experience. But that's not always the case. And if it is, then you should be open if the person you want to marry is a virgin and recognize that some of your specialization might have to change. But it doesn't have to be bad or even boring. Rediscover your love of sex with your new spouse, especially if they are a virgin. And if both of you have experience, then forget it. Try to find common ground. Marriage is all about compromise. If you can't compromise in bed, then it's probably going to manifest elsewhere first.

One final thought. If you are one of the people who says "you need to test drive the car before you buy it," fine. Are you willing to wait until you are ready to "buy" the car before you test drive it? Are you willing to wait to get engaged to this person before you have sex? No? Then this argument is nothing but a red herring. You are having pre-marital sex because you are immoral and can't control your urges. Stop trying to act responsible because you aren't.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Respect is NOT earned. It is DIS-respect that should be earned.

There's a lot of confusion over the word "respect." It can mean two things: courtesy and honor. What is honor? How does it differ from courtesy? Well, let me tell you.

I realized some time ago that there are 3 levels of respect.
  • Courtesy - How you treat everyone, stranger or best friend. You are polite to them. You don't insult them. You don't talk badly about them behind their back. You don't argue with them in public. You don't try to make them look bad. It's mostly about what you don't do. You don't disrespect them.
  • Disrespect - There are two kinds:
    • Feeling of disrespect - How you think about people who prove that they are not worthy of courtesy.
    • Action of disrespect - You might also sometimes "disrespect" someone, by doing the negative things listed under courtesy, even if you respect them. When you do this, you are likely to change their opinion of you and they are likely to start to disrespect you, both in feeling and in action.
  • Honor - How you think about someone who is wise. It's deeper than just treating them with courtesy. Your thoughts about them have grown. How you treat them is related to how you feel about them. You are much more likely to be obedient towards someone you honor than someone you are just courteous towards. You think higher of someone you honor than you think of yourself. But you might still disrespect them (action) from time to time.

You know, you hear this a lot:

"Respect must be earned."

And in the same paragraph the same person will say:

"I treat everyone with respect."

Here is where the confusion between courtesy and honor really surfaces. If, when you say "respect must be earned," you describe courtesy, you have it backwards. We must by default treat everyone respectfully... with courtesy... until they have demonstrated that they don't deserve it. It's only until you think about respect in terms of honor that you are right to say "respect must be earned."

I see a lot of people do this. They are clearly thinking one thing: courtesy. But they are describing honor.

Is this important? You BETCHA!!! If you are thinking and describing courtesy when you say "respect must be earned" then you are advocating treating every stranger you meet with disrespect until they have proven that they are worthy of courtesy. Maybe this is why people treat each other so badly. They buy into the "respect must be earned" philosophy and treat each other with dis-respect until that person proves they deserve respect. It's backwards. How is someone going to earn this courtesy if you are treating them with disrespect? Are YOU going to treat someone courteously if they are treating you disrespectfully? If they don't treat you courteously, are you going to start to respect them? No. So you must understand how important this issue is.

Of course in general we do often "treat everyone with respect." But the effect of "respect must be earned" still manifests itself quite a lot too. Far too often I feel.

So I think it's time we recognize the difference between courtesy and honor and we start to treat EVERYONE with courtesy, irrespective of our beliefs on the phrase "respect must be earned."

Indeed. We really must treat everyone with respect.