Monday, June 8, 2015

Would I take my wife's family name?'s revenue last year was over $600,000,000.  People obviously care about their ancestry.  We care a great deal about our past.  About our family.  About our legacy.  Often all we have to connect us to our past is a name.  The name is very very important.  And when you switch names, against tradition, you can steal your future descendents' their legacy.

A man does not own his name.  He is borrowing it from his ancestors so he can give it to his son.  And his son has a responsibility to carry it on to HIS son.  If a man takes his wife's name, it is effectively the end of his family line.  Furthermore the family name gives a man a connection to the past, to his ancestors.  He feels a part of the greater family, as long as he keeps the name.

I for example, know that my family was a family of shoemakers.  That is what Schamenek means.  although in Houston, Texas, the name is quite uncommon, in a section of Pennsylvania, the Schamenek family takes up an entire page in the phone book.  When my grandfather (Charles Joseph Schamenek II) died, my father (Charles Joseph Schamenek III) was shocked at how many other men at the funeral were also named Charles Schamenek.  This was a very moving moment for my father, and if I'd have been named Charles Joseph Schamenek IV, it probably would have been moving for me too.

Family names are important to men.

I know what you're thinking.  "That's not fair.  What about the woman?  Is her family name not important to her too?  Women have been expected to carry on their husband's family name for thousands of years."

First, fairness is impossible here because there can only be one family name.  Someone will have to give up the last name, so we absolutely have to approach this rationally.

But why?  Why do we have to have a single common family name?

When you marry you create a new family.  Families have a common last name, especially immediate families.  It would be strange for an immediate family to be made up of father John Tailor, son Bobby Tailor, daughter Sally Tailor, and wife Jane Goldstein.  When someone meets Jane absent her husband and she tells them her name is Jane Goldstein, they will have no idea whose wife she is. But if she says Jane Tailor, they know right away, especially in the past when the town only had one tailor.

See?  Taking the family name is about the family.  It creates unity and harmony.  In times past there was a lot more practical advantage for the wife to take her husband's name than to keep her own.

Why is the wife STILL expected to be the one to give up her last name?

It would be easy to say "tradition" and end it there.  In the past it made a lot of sense because the husband had business relationships that we're dependent on the recognition of his name.  He was often recognized already in the community when he took a wife.  The wife probably had a social life but the thing about a social life is that gossip, or news, spreads quickly.  If she gets married and takes her husband's name, everyone hears it quickly.  Adjustment is much faster and easier if a well-connected woman takes her husband's name.  And if she isn't connected that well, then it doesn't matter if adjustment is slow.  If the husband takes the wife's name, adjustment is slower.  And it could affect the family's livelihood.

So that's tradition.  But it doesn't make as much sense these days, does it?  These days the wife has just as much opportunity to be well-recognized in the business world.  She might even be more recognized and respected.  Should she still abandon her last name when she gets married?  Should she take her husband's name when her name is so widely recognized?  Of course this does to a certain extent depend on the individual.  Angelina Jolie kept her name when she married Billy Bob Thornton.  Pamela Anderson hyphenated when she married Tommy Lee.  And Jacky Kennedy (wife of JFK) changed her last name when she married Aristotle Onassis.  But we really should not look at these people as examples.  Not everyone is famous.  This question is really about your average Joe and Josephine.

So, let's go to go back to the legacy of the family name.  If tradition is not relevant anymore, then why should the wife still take her husband's name?

I must ask you this question, how important is it really for women today to carry on their father's last name?  Will it be important to women to carry on their mother's name in the future?  I would wager that it is not all that important and that it has never been personally important for most women to carry on the family name, especially since the family name is carried through the male line.  Yes, naturally there will be individual exceptions to this, but I think the family line is more important for the man, specifically because he CAN see a clear lineage.  I think it's unlikely to become as important to women in the future.  At least in the immediate future.  And if it's going to become personally important for women to carry on the family name in the distant future, if they are going to care to carry on the family name, the first thing that will necessarily happen is that society will have to change its perception on the importance of the family name.  Men will have to stop caring about the family name for a long enough period of time (2-3 generations minimum) for women to start to be the name-bearer.  Individual couples might experiment with their last names but it's highly unlikely for society itself to go through that intermediary step.

I think if we are honest, we'll acknowledge that a big reason to ask her husband to take her name is to undo thousands of years of male oppression.  I'm going to explain why this is irrational in a moment.

But first, let's discuss hyphenation.  Why not hyphenate?  Some women hyphenate.  Why doesn't the man hyphenate too?  Once again we return to the legacy of the family name.  What happens when the kids get married?  Does the daughter hyphenate?  Does she hyphenate both of her parents' names?  What if her name has been Sally Goldstein-Tailor all of her life and she marries Michael Shoemaker-Bookman.  What is her name now?  Sally Goldstein-Tailor-Shoemaker-Bookman?  What about her kids?  Will her son's name be Jimmy Anderson-Smith-Harris-Jefferson-Goldstein-Tailor-Shoemaker-Bookman?  See?  It gets ridiculous REAL fast.  If we adopted this naming convention, when we address people we wouldn't ever use the whole name.  We would abridge the name.  We would STILL leave out names.  The decision as to which name to choose will STILL be there!  You might for example, take the hyphenation of the father's name and the mother's name.  But THEIR names are hyphenated.  So the parents will have to choose which Grandparents' names the children will bear.  It becomes a HUGE mess real quick.  It doesn't solve any problem.  It just postpones it.  And it adds more problems.

So hyphenation is ridiculous.  Now, let me explain why it's irrational to try to use the last name to rid yourself of the shackles of male oppression.

When a couple gets married, there are 5 options.

• Take the husband's name.
• Take the wife's name.
• Hyphenate.
• Take an ancestor's last name (EG: the wife's mother's maiden name.)
• Make up a name.

If your intention is to undo millennia of male oppression then the only option you would have would be to abandon both of the family names and make up a new family name.  You see, the wife's mother's maiden name is actually the wife's grandfather's name.  It was his name first, decades before it became the wife's mother's maiden name.  So as you can see, it is impossible to avoid the male dominated naming convention if you want to maintain a connection with the past, with your family, and your ancestors and in fact the rest of humanity.

So, no matter what, the woman is taking on a man's name.  It's either her father's name, her male ancestor's name or her husband's name.  Either that or the couple chooses a completely different name, in which case, they create fragmentation in their family tree.  They lose a connection to their past.

So, because this issue is related to feminism, let's examine it from the wife's perspective.  Here are her choices:

• Keep her father's name.  (It's the name she has known all of her life but she is lying to herself if she thinks she is undoing male oppression.)
• Hyphenate her father's name with her husband's name.  (Putting off the name choice and making that choice even more difficult for her children.)
• Take one of her male ancestor's name. (Again, lying if she thinks she is undoing male oppression.)
• Make up a new name.  (Remove herself from her family tree and reject her husband's family tree.)
• Take her husband's name.  (If she has to choose one man's name, it might as well be the name belonging to the man she adores, respects and loves above everyone else, right?  She gets to receive all of the advantages and benefits that go along with tradition.  She embraces a new loving family, and they embrace her.  She remains connected to generations in the past and the future.)

The choice should be clear.  The reasons a wife chooses a man's name and not the other way around, although not immediately obvious, are clear.

Men feel the desire to carry on the family name.  So a woman who doesn't want to take her husband's name decides not to because she wants to undo male oppression.  But, as I indicated above, keeping her own name doesn't undo anything.  Her name is still her father's name.  Plus she likely does not care about the legacy of her father's name, especially if her reasons for keeping his name for herself after marriage is because she wants to undo the male domination.

See?  No matter how you slice it, rationally speaking, it makes the most sense for a woman to take her husband's name.  No other choice is as rational.

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:

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.