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LL Pete
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LL Pete

Problems of Belief Systems  - 
 
The Insider Fallacy
This usually takes the form of, "You can't possibly know what you are talking about because you are not a believer/member/participant/etc."
The flip side of this is, "I speak with authority because I am a believer/member/participant/etc."

Essentially this is tribal talk, excluding outsiders and objective rational scrutiny. It is authoritarian, anti-empathy, anti-reason.

It is used as a bludgeon, to shut people up:
"How can you possibly know what it is like to be black/white/Mexican/Syrian/etc., you're not black/white/Mexican/Syrian/etc.!"
"How can you possibly know that it is like to be an immigrant, you didn't have that experience!"
"How can you know what I am going through, it's not you!"
"How can you possibly know what it is like to have been raised in a small town in Nebraska unless you were raised in a small town in Nebraska!"
"How can you possibly know what Islam/Christianity/Buddhism/Hinduism/Satanism/etc. is all about if you are not a believer?"

And of course, "I know, because I've been there, done that, listen to me. Here, look at my resume!"

You get the dreary point.

The antidote to this kind of bullshit is reason, simple reason.
LLP
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Reasonable Faith's profile photoLL Pete's profile photoBalbir Bhatia's profile photoBill Redmond's profile photo
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+LL Pete Reason plus the willingness the maintain an open mind always. The old adage that there is none so bigoted as the recently converted usually shows minds have been permanently closed, from which often stems an effusion invective and much worse.
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Extreme Inequality Is Not Driven by Merit, but by Rent-Seeking and Luck Debunking the meritocratic argument on its own terms. “Far from trickling down,” Oxfam concludes, “income and wealth are instead being sucked upwards at an alarming rate.”

Pity our confederate friends, who know all this. Viscerally, they know that an oligarchy has been stealing from the middle class, hand over fist. And yet, they have rushed to the classic, upper-class rentier lord as their hero for salvation!

They stay glued to media machines owned and operated by that same oligarchy, nodding when Hannity-O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Breitbart blame it all on liberal billionaires like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and George Soros. And scientists, yeah, hate-em! And journalists, teachers, medical doctors, economists, civil servants and all the other smartypants ‘elites’ the confeds love to hate. Never mind that these are the elites who stand in the way of a return to feudalism.

Riiight blame the few zillionaires who give the most to charity and who want their own taxes raised. Blame the tech billionaires who actually earned their wealth - and who are now democrats. Call them greedy. Never the coal barons and oil princes who pay for climate denialism, in order to sell poison a bit longer.


Never put 2 & 2 together... that 20 trillion dollars in Bushite tax cuts of the rich never delivered jobs. They just gave us a new ruling class.
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This is a very interesting conversation between Dmitri Orlov and James Howard Kunstler.
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Strong.
 

The only five words I want to hear from Ryan & Co.  It’s not surprising that Donald Trump now polls below 40%. What’s shocking is that one-third of US voters don’t care about his daily spew of maniacal cackles that would have suicided any other major politician, or even a local dog-catcher. Sure, a rolling tide of decent Republicans defecting from the GOP has been joined by members of the studiously apolitical intelligence community and military Officer Corps, whose near-religious devotion to neutrality was shattered by the prospect of a solipsistic carnival barker with nukes. (See below.)

But what stands out is how SLOW this hemorrhage is! Or the strength of Denial. For the most part, we see an array of monkeys with hands over eyes, ears and mouths. Conservative columnists like Jennifer Rubin and David Brooks and even the despicable George F. Will have been standing up, saying “Trump’s Enablers Will Finally Have to Take a Stand…”  

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/05/opinion/trumps-enablers-will-finally-have-to-take-a-stand.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

…but none of them yet is willing to accept the true diagnosis. Calling TRUMP the ‘disease,’ instead of a mere symptom of rot that they helped to infect into susceptible American conservatism. Foremost, a bilious war on science, economics, law, diplomacy, journalism, medicine, civil servants, skilled labor and every other fact-centered profession or clade in American life. That is the core, element - that war on the part of America that works in facts - a deeper campaign that has nothing to do with classic “left” or “right”.

The Kochs, Murdochs, Saudis and other financiers of this movement - this revived Confederacy - thought they could stir resentment of “smartypants” and use it against their perceived leftist enemies… much as 1860s plantation lords got a million poor, white Southerners to march and die against their own best interests. Or a better example: the Junkers-caste 1930s prussian oligarchs, who thought they could control a populist beast they helped stir into hydrophobic frenzy.

 Surprise, surprise! In its froth, the beast threw its riders and a gifted svengali leaped aboard, grabbing the reins. He is not to be blamed as much as the beastmasters who crafted the infection. You who thought you could control this were not - especially Mr. Will - anywhere near as smart as you thought you were.  History would have predicted this.  If you bothered to learn any.

No, I have vastly more patience with Trump and his followers than with Ryan, McConnell, McCain and the other heirs of Dennis Hastert and George W. Bush - leaders of the GOP who got no mention at all, during the recent Republican Convention. Their whimpers and winces and whines draw no sympathy.  You traitors gelded the United States Congress for 20 of the last 22 years, turning the world’s greatest legislature into the world’s most corrupt and by-far laziest.  You are in no position to lecture anyone.

We want only five words from you:

“OMG, what have we done?”

—-  Oh, read this former head of the CIA, ending his lifelong stance of eschewing politics.  Because an American patriot has to, this time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/05/opinion/campaign-stops/i-ran-the-cia-now-im-endorsing-hillary-clinton.html?ref=opinion
His behavior has left them no more middle ground to keep dancing between embracing him and disowning him.
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LL Pete

Secular Dharma teaching  - 
 
 
Reworking The Dharma: A Code You Can Live By
[A Work in Progress]

I have an ongoing interest in understanding and coming to terms with what is known as the dharma.

To this end I have been influenced by Buddhist writings, most particularly Stephen Batchelor's After Buddhism and Verses From the Center. Thousands of years ago Gotama came up with a profound understanding of the human condition and found a rational path through the confusion - the dharma. But the idea of the dharma predates and is not confined to Buddhism. Among many other descriptions in various traditions, the dharma is known as the Way, the Path of Righteousness, or as Crosby, Stills & Nash sing it, "...a code you can live by."

My interpretation is secular. I emphasize secular because I reject the notion that there is anything beyond the natural world. I also want to avoid off-putting religious, esoteric or specialized language. This is not rocket science, but it can be subtle.

Here is my (latest) take:

The Dharma Restated

Ground yourself in the natural world, and in the light of practical reason.

Watch how the world works, how way leads on to way, the play of cause and effect, contingency, and conditioned arisings.

Let go of fixation and reactions.

See how that letting go eases fixations and allows reactivity to slow, and stop.

Understand the freedom and liberation in this.

Cultivate the path.

Maintain a view of the world that is open minded, expansive, and inclusive.

Practice mindfulness and concentration.

With effort and care, watchful of thoughts, speech, and acts, live a good life.

Abide in emptiness.
Grounded in the natural world.
Guided by the light of reason.

LLP
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LL Pete

Problems of Belief Systems  - 
 
Reworking The Dharma: A Code You Can Live By
[A Work in Progress]

I have an ongoing interest in understanding and coming to terms with what is known as the dharma.

To this end I have been influenced by Buddhist writings, most particularly Stephen Batchelor's After Buddhism and Verses From the Center. Thousands of years ago Gotama came up with a profound understanding of the human condition and found a rational path through the confusion - the dharma. But the idea of the dharma predates and is not confined to Buddhism. Among many other descriptions in various traditions, the dharma is known as the Way, the Path of Righteousness, or as Crosby, Stills & Nash sing it, "...a code you can live by."

My interpretation is secular. I emphasize secular because I reject the notion that there is anything beyond the natural world. I also want to avoid off-putting religious, esoteric or specialized language. This is not rocket science, but it can be subtle.

Here is my (latest) take:

The Dharma Restated

Ground yourself in the natural world, and in the light of practical reason.

Watch how the world works, how way leads on to way, the play of cause and effect, contingency, and conditioned arisings.

Let go of fixation and reactions.

See how that letting go eases fixations and allows reactivity to slow, and stop.

Understand the freedom and liberation in this.

Cultivate the path.

Maintain a view of the world that is open minded, expansive, and inclusive.

Practice mindfulness and concentration.

With effort and care, watchful of thoughts, speech, and acts, live a good life.

Abide in emptiness.
Grounded in the natural world.
Guided by the light of reason.

LLP
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This is an article for the ages!
Drew Magary wants a word with anyone who's about to be on the wrong side of history.
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I'm not even posting the link to this, because I just hate the idea of helping these snake oil salesmen out with their Google ranking.

Why Atheism Is Dead on Arrival
By Dan Delzell
(Christian Post, 9/18/2016)

It is exactly essays like this that demonstrate exactly why atheists have a hard time taking religious belief seriously, like, at all.

This entire essay is constructed around one thesis: If we don't know something, therefore God-did-it.

Yes, that's right, the God-did-it fallacy, otherwise known as the God-of-the-gaps fallacy - the most popular religious argument, and probably the oldest religious canard, on the planet.

I'm sorry, but every single time a Christian apologist trots out this hoary fallacy, all we can think about is how not knowing how lightning was produced didn't somehow magically conjure the fabrication of Zeus into existence. Seriously, this is the level of stupidity of this argument - yet, just as we observe with the essay here by Dan Delzell, Christian apologists employ this exact fallacy pervasively in their rhetoric, in all kinds of different ways.

Anyway, with rhetoric like this, for the last few years I've started just taking their exact rhetoric and demonstrating how silly it just by substituting the reference to not believing a god (atheism) to not believing in magical invisible fairies, or not believing in leprechauns, or not believing in Bigfoot, or not believing in Lord Ganesha, or the like. And that's exactly what I'm going to do here. Pull up that article by Delzell, then take a look at how easy it is to spoof his idiocy...

------------------------------

Those who don't believe in magical invisible fairies try not to think about the question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Not believing in magical invisible fairies has no rational answer to this fundamental question, and even considering the question has the potential to chip away at the beliefs of someone who doesn't believe in magical invisible fairies.

In addition, not believing in magical invisible fairies has no explanation for the development of the human mind, and no logical rationale as to why man chooses to believe in magical invisible fairies.

Therefore, magical invisible fairies exist.
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I'd love to discuss some of your fantastic ideas sometime. I am no longer a member of the philosophy of religion group. If you want to share the post t public we can continue the discussion. I find it a waste of time to try to carry on a discussion in a group that has obviously biased moderation. When a moderator reprimands a member for verbal abuse that just committed an obvious ad hominem/verbal abuse attack on another member (that just happened to be a theist), the irony was just too much to stomach =) Those groups tend to end up with a bunch of atheist patting each other on the back for a "job well done", and all the theist with a sound argument will just be removed from the group. When are you guys going to learn that you are not automatically right by default? In the case of your post, you are basically claiming that you
can't possibly be ignorant of anything, but we can. 
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In Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos, Brian Cox shows how anyone can see the world like a physicist. Here he explains why he loves changing his mind
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LL Pete

Secular Dharma teaching  - 
 
The Dharma Restated: A Path You Can Live By

Grounded in the natural world,
Guided by the light of reason,
The sage abides in emptiness.

Understanding contingency and conditioned arising,
The sage lets go of fixations and reactions,
And sees them ease, slow, and stop.

Sensing liberation, the sage cultivates his path.

His view expansive -- mindful -- concentrated,
Watchful of thoughts, speech, and acts,
The sage lives his life with diligence and care.

LLP
(a work in progress)
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Chickens are wonderful.
 
Repulsive Chickens

It seems that volatile chemicals derived from chicken feathers repel certain mosquitoes (An. arabiensis).  The chicken smell that surrounds a live chicken is derived in part from these chemicals. It is not offensive to humans but triggers an avoidance behaviour in some mosquitoes indoors perhaps since chickens predate on these mosquitoes.  Until such time as a repellent product is created, keeping a live chicken in a cage near the bed at night may help in reducing the incidence and spread of malaria in certain parts of the world.

When the odor smelled like chickens, the team found "about 90 to 95 percent reduction in [mosquito counts]," says Ignell. A similar experiment with live animals showed that suspending a caged chicken from the bedroom ceiling was nearly as effective, with about an 80 percent reduction in mosquito counts.

More here: http://goo.gl/UgmoIK

The host census and blood meal analyses demonstrated that An. arabiensis strongly prefers human blood when host seeking indoors, while it randomly feeds on cattle, goats and sheep when found outdoors. However, An. arabiensis avoids chickens despite their relatively high abundance, indicating that chickens are a non-host species for this vector. Eleven bioactive compounds were found in the headspace of the non-host species. Six of these were species-specific, out of which four were identified using combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. When tested in the field, the chicken-specific compounds, isobutyl butyrate, naphthalene, hexadecane and trans-limonene oxide, and the generic host compounds, limonene, cis-limonene oxide and β-myrcene, significantly reduced trap catches within the house compared to a negative control. A significant reduction in trap catch was also observed when suspending a caged chicken next to the trap.

Paper (open): https://goo.gl/1jW84P

Image: Kassahun Jaleta http://goo.gl/4XW9iA
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Story
Tagline
I haven't aged since 1976. Curious.
Introduction
I was born at a very early age, on a dark and stormy night, at the height of Empire.

Think orders of magnitude and the number four (4). 
- Geologically speaking the earth has about 4 billion years left, then it's toast -- literally. 
- Biologically or evolutionarily speaking, our species might last another 4 million. Might, maybe...who really cares? 
- 400,000 years and homo sapiens will be as homo erectus (?!?) or homo sapiens archaic seem to us now. 
- 40,000 years and homo sapiens will be culturally more like Neanderthals were then. That will be a good thing. 
- In 4000 years our era will seem like the Egyptian Kingdoms do to us now: gate, gate, para gate, para sum gate
- 400 years -- everything is politically, culturally, economically, and environmentally -- drastically, dramatically, different!  USA no mas! 
- 40 years?  Modern industrial civilization is in collapse even as we speak and has 40 years left in the tank, max. Then Mad Max! 
- Politically, for the United States the next 4 years will mark a sea change.  
- Me, I figure I got 44 years, 4 months, 4 days, 4 hours, 4 minutes and 4 seconds left, give or take.
- I will live to see the first and most dramatic stages of collapse. You should be so lucky. 

In the meantime, "Never clean; after four years it doesn't get any dirtier. Just don't lose your nerve."

*The Way I See It* -- as of January 1, 2016

The Universe is almost certainly infinite. The very idea of an infinite Universe boggles the mind but I cannot conceive of a finite universe. There has to be a before and a beyond. The universe we know of may well be limited or finite with edges and a beginning and an end, but it came into and is part of the infinite Universe beyond about which we can know nothing.

Maxim #1:
Nature bats last.

Maxim #2:  
Tribal identity and belonging is the highest human value. Everything else is an epiphenomenon -- posturing, posing, and window dressing.

Maxim #3:  
There is no supernatural, anything. Never has been; never will be. Ever. The natural world is everything that ever was, is, or will be. It is enough and far more than enough.

Maxim #4:
The supernatural is an uncontrollable variable that negates reason. 

Maxim #5:
Identity ideologies have the utility of promoting tribal identity. The downside is, they imprison the mind and make you stupid.

Dixi.

Bragging rights
I could brag about a lot of things, and a couple are true.
Education
  • YouTube U.
    present
    YouTube is probably the world's greatest resource for learning just about everything about anything.
  • Hard Knocks
  • Easy Street
  • Formal education 20 years -
  • 21 if you count kindergarten
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I don't have a lazy bone in my body; it's my muscles.
LL Pete's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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