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Sunday, March 28, 2010

HealthCare Bill is a Failure

There are two common ways to form a view with regard to healthcare. One is to rationally propose a way to fix it. Another way is to get emotional about it and simply pick an opinion which makes you feel good. The standard liberal approach to healthcare is nothing but feel good politics. It is an opinion formed around emotions. The standard liberal argument that I hear over and over again is that, "it is wrong for people to pay for healthcare, and it is bad that people have no health insurance, profits are evil, no one should profit from sick people, therefore healthcare should be available to everyone". Okay, that is very nice to hear, but I want to hear an actual proposed rational solution to fix healthcare. Emotional arguments which are not based on any rational considerations are dangerous. For example, consider if I was to say the following argument, "many Africans have no healthcare whatsoever, we do, therefore it is the moral thing, the kind thing, to send them aid for healthcare". So I was to propose sending all our money to Africa instead of spending it on ourselves. Would that be a terrible policy? Of course, it would bankrupt the entire country. It is certainly based on feel good politics but the implications of such a policy would be disastrous if it was to actually happen. Therefore, with regard to healthcare we need a rational argument, it is not good enough to propose a feel good argument. We can talk about how kind and moral it is to provide everyone with healthcare or health insurance but that does nothing whatsoever to defend whether or not this policy would be good for the country. What I want to hear from anyone who supports this bill or universal healthcare is a rational argument not feel good politics. I want to give one more example of feel good politics. There is this atheist on YouTube, I do not really watch him, but I have heard of him a long time ago, he usually makes videos with regard to atheism, but once he made a video on healthcare. Watch this video. This video makes me want to commit suicide. I watch through the entire video without seeing a single rational argument proposed. This kind of liberal argument of feel good politics is not an exception, it is common, I hear this often.

I am not saying that there are no thought out arguments in favor of universal healthcare or a single-payer system, I am simply trying to show that many people who support such policies do so only because of emotional 'reasons', not thought out economics arguments. Let us then examine some of the economic arguments that supporters of universal healthcare or single-payer system or Barack Obama's plan use, moral arguments (the most common kind of defense of these systems which comes from the left wing) are irrelevant without an economic justifications.

A common defense of government involvement in healthcare (whatever system it happens to be) is by comparing the United States healthcare system to other advanced countries. Something like the UK, or Sweden, or Cananda, and so forth. What supporters of government run healthcare (or health insurance) do is mention that in these countries healthcare is better than in the United States, therefore we can see that government run healthcare is a good idea. I call this fallacy the "foreigner's fantasy fallacy". Foreigner's fantasy is by looking at another country, seeing an improvement over his own country, and concluding that the other country is better than his own. Furthermore, what often is done is a huge bombardment of statistics that supposedly justifies his fantasy. Let us get statistics out of the way first. I do not have much respect for people who bombard their arguments with statistics, i.e. like Paul Krugman. Statistics are fine to use, the problem is when statistics become too complicated. When statistics are too complicated we need to question how the numbers were actually collected. It is very easy to deceive with statistics. This is the caution that we must be aware of. This is why I am not comfortable around statistics, especially the more complicated they get. Simple statistics are fine. It is more difficult to deceive with simple statistics. But even with simple statistics we need to be careful. Let us return back to foreigner's fantasy. Many liberals like to point to Canada and say they have a superior healthcare system than our own. The problem with this argument is that it does not look at everything. I agree that in some ways the Canadian system is better than the one in the United States, but at the same time, the system in the United States is better in some ways than the system in Canada. This is why I call this fallacy a fantasy, because the foreigner looks at the positive side of a forgein healthcare system and not on the negative side. A way Canada's system is better than the United State's system is that everyone in Canada is insuranced. Therefore, no one in Canada ever has to be worried about that he will be unable to pay for healthcare. In the United States there is a worry that people have with paying off their medical bills. In that way, I agree, the Canadian system is better than the United States system. But to make a fair comparison look at a negative side of the Canadian system. In Canada a lot of people have ended up on waiting lists. I am not trying to spread fear around here, I am not saying that Canadians have to suffer because they have to wait. Canadians live healthy lives and get healthcare, but what I am saying is that a lot of Canadians ended up on waiting periods because there was not enough supply. This is not the kind of problem found in the United States. In the United States one can find himself a doctor very quickly. The United States also is the largest innovator of new drugs. (Yes, I realize that I used a statistic here, but I think this statistic is innocent, I would take it back if someone can tell me why it is unfair to use this statistic.) Therefore, we should not look at Canada, see a superior side of it, and conclude from that that Canadians are better with healthcare than the United States. Nor, (this is what conservatives do) look at the United States, see an advantage and conclude the United States is superior to Canada. I am not saying here that the United States is a superior system to Canada, nor am I saying that Canada is superior to the United States, all I trying to show here is that we need to be careful when we fantasize about other countries and our own country, we need to focus on their negative sides as well and compare it to ourselves. Indeed, this forgeiner's fantasy might get so severe that some liberals (Michael Moore for instance) actually believe that Cuba has a superior healthcare system to the United States.

Now let us actually concentrate on the bill that got passed since this post is after all about Barack's bill and not government run healthcare in general. Throwing away the emotional 'reasons' and concentrating only on the emoconomic ones, the supporters of this bill claim it will insure all citizens and reduce the costs. Let us concentrate on these two claims.

First, let us consider the claim that it will insure all citizens. Of course, "all" means something like 98% or 99%, but whatever that is a trivial observation. Nearly ever single citizen will become insured under this new policy. Is that therefore not a good thing? We have insured so many more people, how can it not be good? The people who had no insurance now have insurance, who can possibly object to that other than the greedy capitalist pigs? The answer is that, it is not necessarily a good thing. To illustrate what I mean consider the following exaggerated example. Suppose that every person became insured but the insurance policy is now ten times the ammount of what it was. Is this an improvement over our healthcare system? Of course not, it damaged it. The percentage of insured and uninsured people is irrelevent if the costs are high. This bill can only be a success if it will bring down the costs.

This brings up to the second claim, the fundamental claim, that the cost of insurance will go down. This immediately raises the question. Why would the cost come down? What reason is there to think the cost will go down? I can only think of two reason that people think of when they say that costs will go down. One is that the government said that this program is going to reduce the costs. Second is that the government will pass laws on the insurance companies to set their prices.

Politicians who support this bill certainly claim that it will reduce the costs, but why should we trust them? This is not the first time politicians say that a government program will be successful and it is not. We heard the same thing with Medicare when it was first introduced. We heard the same thing with Social Security. The claim was that Social Security will support itself. It does not support itself. It is a big giant ponzi scheme that is bankrupting the nation. So why should we trust the claim by the government that says that this new bill will lower the costs? The truth is that the government does not care about you. It could not possibly care less about you. It is a Leviathan that only cares about the accumulation of more power for itself. The government has problems with providing aid to its own citizens, but when it comes to spending more money on the military and on its own power, it has no problem. If the government actually cared about its citizens and if it cared about life then it would end the unnecessary war in the middle east. Not just saving United States soldiers but saving the lives of the innocent Iraqis. With all the money that is saved, at least one trillion, it can spend that money to help the citizens with their healthcare. Does the government do that? No, because it does not care about you. We need to be realistic about this point. Thus, there is no trust and credibility left in the government to trust when it claims that the costs of insurance will go down. I repeat the question again, why trust the government when it claims that costs will go down?

What if someone says that the government will lower prices? Does this not mean that the costs would be lower? To answer this question consider the following question. If people are depressed can the government pass a law against depression and everyone would be happy? There is no person who would tell us that such a law would be successful. Because the government cannot pass laws against reality. The market price is reality. It is almost like the laws of physics. It cannot be manipulated. No person can know the price, only the market. There are various economic laws that determine the market prices. The government cannot decide what the correct prices have to be any more than being able to decide what the gravitational constant needs to be. Laws that violate reality do not work.

It is not only economic laws which are violated if the government tries to change the prices, but it is also probability laws within an insurance plan. Insurance is all about discrimination. One does not need to know much math or probability theory to be able to understand that insurance companies are build around discrimination, just basic common sense. Consider a fire insurance company that did not discriminate. If my house is on fire I can call up the insurance company and tell them I would like to buy insurance. They would ask me the condition of my house. I will tell them it is half burned down. They would obviously reject me. They discriminated against them. They have to discriminate against me. Otherwise they be giving away money. Insurance companies that do not discriminate will simply not be in business. Sorry if that makes any liberal reader feel bad but that is how the math works out, sometimes the truth is not pleasant. It is all about discrimination. Now suppose that the government requires every insurance company to insure every citizen no matter what. Then insurance rates must go up. This is not the matter of what the law is, it is the matter of how the mathematics works out. If everyone can get insured including all the people who are already sick then the insurance rates will have to go up. If the government fixes the prices then the insurance companies would be losing money since the costs would exceede the prices. This is why when Barack Obama said that "it will not be subsidized by the taxpayers" is a big huge error. That is just not how insurance policies work. One does not even need to know much math, just basic common sense.

There is one and only one way to reduce market prices. That is by having a competitive market. I want to make it very clear that I do not support the healthcare system we have in the United States at the moment. I am very much against it. Just because I am against government run-healthcare (or insurnace) does not mean that I support the system we have know. What I support is a market based solution which will lower the prices and improve the quality of healthcare. This is why I favor a competative healthcare system, but it is too late, very few people would be on my side on this, so it is never going to happen.

The effects of Barack Obama's bill will be disatrous. It is a complete failure as explained above, but moreover it is a disater. This will bankrupt the country even further. The United States is already in massive debt. Debt it will never repay. Medicare, Social Security, the massive military empire, the war, have bankrupted the country. We cannot continue to borrow money. And we cannot continue to print (counterfeit) more money, that only creates an illusion of more wealth. This bill will bankrupt the country even further. This country is finished. And it is not Barack to blame. I do not hate Barack, no not at all. There is nothing bad about him. He cannot be made into a scapegoat, he is just representing the people. The United States was in a lot of trouble a long time before Barack took office. The country failed to have been fiscaly responsible. And now the citizens are paying the price. If an individual exhausts all his credit, by buying and buying and buying, by borrowing, by taking loans, and so forth, without an ability to repay, he will be indebt forever, he will never escape his fainacial debt. So what makes up think that if the United States keeps on borrowing, printing, ponzi scheming the debt around that it will ever go away? It is too late now. George Carlin was correct when he said that the United States has long jumped off a cliff and now is in free fall mode. The question is when will it hit the ground?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why Jews are Jews

When I say someone is "Jewish" I mean to say he is a religious Jew. One can be Jewish by ethnicity, but I am not talking about this here. The question I want to ask is why someone is a (religious) Jew? There really are only two answers to this question if you ask people around. One answer is that the Jew was born into a Jewish family and he learned his religion so he followed it since then. Another answer is that one converted to Judaism because he found the religion very beautiful.

I am just going to guess at the numbers. My guess is that 98% of all Jews have been born Jews and that only 2% are converts to Judaism. Every Jew, or nearly every Jew, is a Jew because he is either following traditional beliefs or that he found the beliefs beautiful so he followed them. What is interesting is to ask the same question regarding science. There are conflicting ideas behind abiogenesis, it is still an unconfirmed science. Ask a biologist why he has one particular stance on abiogenesis. He will tell you a detailed explanation and justification for his own views. The same is also true, but to a much lesser extent, with politics that people have. Ask someone why he has particular views regarding an issue and he will give you an explanation for them.

Scientific views are based on an argumentation process. Political views, to a much lesser extent, are based on an argumentation process. That is, we ask questions, we try to find answers, we defend those answers, and so forth. This is true with many other views too. Ask me why I am a determinist and I will tell you an argument. I can tell you I am not an determinist because of tradition, I did not came from a family of determinists, I was not taught determinism as a kid, and so I do not continue any tradition. I am not a determinist because I thought determinism was beautiful but because I thought it was true (I happen to think it is elegant but that was not why I became one). My determinism is the result of argumentation, not tradition or appeal.

Judaism (and religion) is different. It is either tradition or else it is appeal. People like Judaism so they convert. Doing something because you think it is beautiful is fine to do with art, but that is not fine to do with truth. The truth does not need to be beautiful. People are Jews, for the overwhelming majority, because that is how they been taught as children. Not because of argumentation or reasoning but simply because they continue their tradition and are used to it. This does not make it true. As for the converts, who converted because they like Judaism, where is there argumentation? I never heard a convert say that he became a Jew because it was able to answer important questions and furthermore justify those answers. Instead, I hear converts talk about how they had questions about life, they found Judaism, it answered those questions, and they loved the answers, so they found meaning. Not that they heard the answers and saw the justifications behind them. That is never mentioned. Conversion happens because of appeal not because of argumentation.

Judaism and religion survive because of traditional and appeal. Not because of argumentation. When there is an entire belief system that is entirely based on tradition and what appeals to people rather than being the consequence of argumentation then we need to be extremely skeptical to what this belief system is. We need to be skeptical to its truth claims.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

HealthCare and the Constitution

There are many arguments for Barack Obama's healthcare reform and many arguments opposed to it. I am not going to address any of these arguments. Instead I am going to focus on the Constitution and whether or not this healthcare reform is justified by the Constitution. I would like to talk about this because this is something I do not hear people talk about much and I think that constitutionality is an important question to ask. So this entire discussion will be focused on whether or not this particular healthcare reform is constitutional and whether or not universal healthcare (which is what some people are striving towards) is constitutional.

Let us first focus on the two most common opposing sides, the liberals and the conservatives. Do these people base their policies around the Constitution? When liberals and conservatives support something do they do that because that is what they want or because that is something they can constitutionally defend? It is pretty obvious to me that neither one of these two sides really cares for the Constitution. I think it is about time that we take the Constitution rip it up and throw it away into the fire. Because we do not care what it says, we never read it, we never check whether or polices are constitutional or not.

It would be helpful for me to give an analogy. Consider Orthodox Jews and the Liberal (or Reform) Jews. The Orthodox Jews stick to the Torah, the Torah says something and they follow it. The Torah prohibits something and they abstain form whatever that is. The Orthodox Jews are clear to follow, they follow the Torah. What about the Liberal Jews? Do the Liberal Jews follow the Torah? Well, they will certainly claim that they follow the Torah. But let us examine what they follow and test whether or not that is consistent with the Torah. In Leviticus 19:18, it says to "love your fellow as yourself". This is every one's favorite verse, who can possibly object to something like that? The Liberal Jews say that they follow Torah's commandment to love other people. But the interesting thing is to go to Leviticus 19:16, just two verses before this one, where it says to kill homosexuals that have butt sex. Yet there are Liberal Jews who set up organizations for gay and lesbian Jews so that they can live together in a Jewish lifestyle (do not misunderstand me, I am not saying what these Liberal Jews do is a bad thing, it is not, it is a very loving and good thing that they do, what I am focused about here is the consistency of this act to the Torah). And what do these Liberal Jews say? How can they possibly reject a clear and obvious interpretation from the Torah? They say, "love your fellow as you love yourself". They say, the Torah says to love everyone, so we have to love our fellow gay and lesbian friends. The problem is that the Torah says, clearly, to kill homosexuals who have butt sex, yet they completely overlook this because they do not like it. This is an act of astounding cognitive dissonance by the Liberal Jews! It is astounding to me how someone can look at something which is completely opposed to their views and claim that is supports their views! This is not the only issue the Liberal Jews reject, there are prohibitions and commandments within the Torah, one after another, that the Liberal Jews interpret and re-interpret in their own way. In a way that they know is contradictory to the Torah. This act of cognitive dissonance of Liberal Jews is absolutely amazing, to reject something which is so clear and obvious for what they want and yet claim to support the very book (Torah) that they reject. Let me ask this question. Do the Liberal Jews actually follow the Torah? No, of course not. They follow their own wishful interpretation of it. They follow what they like and throw away things they do not like. Instead of deriving their set of values from the Torah, the Liberal Jews already have their own set of values and only use the Torah as a "justification" for their own values.

Let us look at the conservatives. Do they follow the Constitution? To answer this question let us just look at what they tend to support. They tend to support a federal ban on gay marriage, they support a federal ban on marijuana, they support a war which was not approved by Congress. Do any of these things have to do with the Constitution? No, of course not. Conservatives have a cognitive dissonance between what they actually want and the Constitution. Instead of asking whether or not something is justified by the Constitution they manipulate the Constitution for their own way of thinking and claim it is constitutional. The Liberal Jews in the above analogy manipulate Torah passages for whatever they believe and in the process reject an obvious interpretation. Conservatives are the same. They have their own values, for example that marijuana is evil, and then hire constitutional "scholars" (who I like to call the "constitutional apologists") to find whatever ridiculous interpretation they can find. They ban marijuana through the commerce clause. Can one reasonably ban marijuana by using the Constitution without some twisted messed up interpretation? No. It is not possible. But the conservatives have no problem doing it. The level of cognitive dissonance is astounding! To look at something so obvious and reject it entirely!

Let us look at the liberals. Do they follow the Constitution? To answer this question let us just look at what they tend to support. They tend to support a federal ban on handguns. Does this have anything to do with the Constitution? No, of course not. Liberals have a cognitive dissonance between what they actually want and the Constitution. Instead of asking whether or not something is justified by the Constitution they manipulate the Constitution for their own way of thinking and claim it is constitutional. Just like the Liberal Jews and just like the conservatives in the above examples. Liberals tend to not like handguns. They want to ban them. They reject the second amendment which is starting at them and openly denies a ban on guns. The level of cognitive dissonance in these people is astounding! Just like the Liberal Jews, the liberals manipulate the second amendment into what they want. The entire amendment is clear, it has an obvious interpretation. Do they accept this interpretation. No, they pretend that it is not so simple. They come up with a ridiculous justification to why it is not referring to hand guns. They claim that the gun rights are referring to a militia not the people. It is amazing how someone can take a clear interpretation and twist it into some ridiculous non-sensical interpretation and yet claim to be following the interpretation. What is even worse is that what the Founding Fathers wrote regarding guns is clear. If one has any confusion over guns he just needs to read what the Founders said referring to guns. It is clear, obvious, what the Founders meant by guns rights. Do they listen to the clear interpretation? No. They reject it because they do not like what it says.

The interesting thing is what when a Liberal Jew would not agree with something he should say "this is wrong, this is against the Torah, God would not approve" despite the fact that he fails to even follow the Torah. The same phenomenon can be seen with liberals and conservatives. When conservatives do something unconstitutional, like trying to ban gay marriage, the liberals rise up in protest and say "this is unconstitutional". The liberals are correct in this instance. But when the liberals want to ban guns, the conservatives rise up in protest and say "this is unconstitutional". The conservatives are correct in this instance. That is what is so astounding, how these people can object to so much in these documents and yet at the same time claim to be their supporters!

Now let us finally return to the new reform proposal. Is what Barack Obama proposes constitutional? No, of course not. The conservatives are correct here. For one thing, every citizen is required, by law, to buy insurance. This itself is already a breach of the Constitution! And yet amazingly, astoundingly, there are people who think what Barack Obama is doing is constitutional. Barack Obama swore to uphold and defend the Constitution when he became the president. It is astounding at the cognitive dissonance to reject it like that! When the Liberal Jews do not like about what the Torah says about killing homosexuals who have butt sex they go to extreme lengths of rejecting what they do not like. The same thing is true with people who support this reform. They say, that people have "a right to life" therefore, as they conjure up, this means that people "have a right to healthcare". It is just what the Liberal Jews do. They do not like something in the Torah and say "love your fellow as you love yourself" while in the process rejecting a clear restriction within the Torah itself.

I need to ask this question. Can we just take the Constitution, rip it up, and throw it into the fire? We obviously do not care for what it stands for. Because at least that would be consistent, at least that would get rid of this astonishing doublethink. Remember we have an income tax in the United States, that was put in place in 1913. It is clearly unconstitutional, indeed, we had to put it into the Constitution to pretend it is actually part of the Constitution! We been ignoring the Constitution for over a hundred years. I think it is about time we just take it and throw it into the garbage. We can just say it is no longer applicable today, if we want a justification to destroy it, but whatever we say, can be please just throw it away? Because it hurts me so much to see these ridiculous "justifications" liberals and conservatives have to go through to support their own views through the Constitution. By the way, the same applies to Liberal Jews. Can you throw away the Torah already? You obviously do not care for what it stands.

The Torah and the Constitution are used as some sort of magical transcendental documents to defend your views. If a Liberal Jew makes a moral point, after making it, he may jump into the Torah and say the Torah supports it. If a liberal or a conservative say what their policies are, they might once in a while jump into the Constitution and say it is supported. As if that matters. Stop treating these documents as some magical transcendental documents. Personally, I would be interested to go back to the Articles of Confederation, but that is just me.

In conclusion, no, this healthcare reform, and universal healthcare, are opposed to what the Constitution stands for. If you still support this kind of healthcare it would intellectually honest for you to take the Constitution rip it up and throw it into the fire. But do not dare tell me that you are constitutional, because you are not, and you do not care what it says.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nihilism is not Depressing

I explained back here what I mean by nihilism. There is a guy (atheist) that I know of whom I "converted" to nihilism. Every since then he keeps on telling me how depressing everything is. The thing is that being a rational skeptic and a nihilist does not lead to depression. I am perfectly happy even though I recognize that my life is meaningless.

I do have an explaination to why many nihilists become depressed. Consider this analogy. A rich man loses millions of dollars and now become an average man. He will be very depressed. But why should he be depressed about, he is still not poor! The reason why he becomes depressed is because he had something and then he lost it. If one is poor and stays poor throughout his life that is not going to depress him because he does not lose anything.

Children are nihilists. They do not believe in any purpose to their lives nor do they even care. Tell a child, "you have no purpose to be here". Will the child care? No, he shall ask if he can play with his toys. That is exactly my position to nihilism. I reoognize the truth, but the truth does not bother me. It does not bother me because I do not see myself as losing something.

Adults, however, are the ones that get depressed. They create imaginary values and transcendental morals by their own madness. Once they realize their delusion they shall become depressed. They have something to look up to.

I see a big black empty screen. Most people put imaginry pictures in front of this screen and live their life around this new picture. Once this picture is shattered and they realize the empty dark void behind it only then do they become depressed. Depressed because they have lost something that they strongly valued.

This is the only reason why nihilism can be depression, because of the imaginary value lost. However, it need not be depressing. It doth not depress me. I live with it everyday and I am fine.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Since When is America a Democracy?

The impression I got from high school and college is that America is a Democracy. Democracy is great, and the world should become more democratic. I hear people talk about the democracy in America all the time. On TV, in classrooms, by politicians, in the news, and so forth. I am not sure where this myth emerged. Perhaps, as I wrote here about how textbooks can misrepresent history. However this myth emerged, it is wrong, America is not (or it not supposed to be) a Democracy, it is a Republic.

We need to understand the important difference between a Democracy and a Republic. A democracy is a government ruled by the majority will. A republic is more difficult to explain, in order to explain it we need to understand where "rights" come from. A "right" is just a fancy word which means being able to do something or not do something, that is to say, "the person has a right to do this and this and this and has a right to refuse this and this and this". A republic is a limited government set up to protect rights, rights are inalienable, rights cannot be taken away. A democracy has no rights. In a democracy there are "privileges" there are no "rights". A person does not have a right to free speech, instead he has the privilege to 'free' speech. A privilege is something granted by the government. If rights can be voted upon or if rights can be taken away or if rights can be regulated then they are no longer rights. They become privileges. In a republic people have rights, the government and no majority of people, can take them away, because in a republic, the function of a government is to protect the rights of the people. In a democracy, the majority can decide what to be a privilege or not. In a democracy, if people are not happy with guns then they can decide to ban them. In a republic, no matter how many people hate guns they cannot ban them because the people have the right to self defend themselves. In a democracy, if the people want to ban 'hate' speech, then they can ban 'hate' speech, speech, in a democracy, is a privilege, not a right, it can be regulated, and it can be taken away. In a republic, people cannot be prevented from saying 'hate' speech because people have a right to free speech, this would mean no majority can prevent these people from speaking. The distinction between a democracy and a republic is the following. A democracy is a government ruled by the majority. A republic is a limited government whose function it is to protect the rights (which are inalienable) of the people. A republic can vote for senators and representatives but voting does not imply a democracy, because these senators and representatives cannot take away the rights of the people. Majority will is fine, in a republic, as long as it is limited and does not infringe on the rights of the people. This is why a republic can have elections and still be non-democratic.

America (the way it is supposed to be) is not a democracy. Democracy is completely contradictory to the idea of America. Indeed, the word "democracy" is never used anywhere within the Constitution. The Constitution itself is a document for the Republic.

It is a good thing that America is not a democracy. Democracy is evil and unjustified. Democracy is nothing but mob rule, where 51% control the other 49% (to paraphrase Jefferson). Democracy leads to despotism and tyranny, eventually democracy commits suicide (to paraphrase Adams). And as Benjamin Franklin humorously said, "democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner, liberty is a well-armed lamb". What I so much despise about democracy is that it convinces the people that they are free. No kind of slavery is as terrible as the kind of slavery where the slaves believe they are free. Supporters of democracy talk about how free people are in a democracy. They say, "you are in control". Well, if you really think you are in control then do this experiment for me. Buy yourself some LSD and use it, see what happens if you get caught. What does LSD affect? It affects you mind, it affects your thoughts and feelings. How dare one say that they are free if they have no permission to control their own thoughts and feelings. In a democracy, you are not free, you only have the illusion that you are free, you have the illusion that you are in control. Being able to decide a vote does not make you free. If slaves on a plantation were able to vote for their slavemasters every four years, they would not be free, they would still be slaves. Choosing your masters does not imply freedom. This is what I so much despise about democracy. That it is treated as a virtuous government.

My question is, why is America called a Democracy?

(By the way, this does not mean you have to vote Republican. The dispute between Republicans and Democrats has nothing to do with anything I described above. That is a totally separate issue. I just have to state it here before I get accused for being a Republican.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Texas Textbooks

Apparently a lot of people are upset about what Texas is doing to their history textbooks. Texas wants to put more emphasis on people like John Calvin in the founding of America rather than Thomas Jefferson because Jefferson supported a separation of church and state as well as was an anti-religious person. And Texans do not like that. They want to change some other details in history so that students would more likely be conservatives.

Now I am not going to be defending Texans because clearly there is nothing to defend. They are changing the subject of history for their own goals that they would like rather than it being history as it is. There is nothing virtuous in what Texas is doing. So I want to make that very clear that I am not going to be defending Texas. What I will show is that there is a certain level of hypocrisy, that we do not even realize, when we get angry at what Texas did. That hypocrisy happens when we say Texas textbooks are bad while our textbooks, which are currently used, are good.

What Texas did to their textbooks is not very different to what the Department of Education did to other textbooks in other public schools. Do you really believe that the textbooks that are currently being used in public schools accurately describes the history of what happened in America? In many cases they do, but there are very important cases which they misrepresent or they completely omit. Thus, it is not just the fault of Texas, the entire education system has the history textbooks written in a certain specific way.

I will give three examples that illustrate what I am trying to say. But before I give those examples I do want to say that I am not in favor of public education or any centralized system of "education". There are many reasons for that which I do not want to get into, I will just give one relevant reason. That reason is exactly what happened with Texas. When you have an institution that can control education then it can misrepresent textbooks and mandate that every public school use these approved textbooks. The danger is that when there is a centralized body it can decide what kind of "education" children get in schools. In George Orwell's 1984, there is a line which says, "he who controls the past controls the future". Maybe different people interpret it in different ways but I have interpreted it as saying that those who can control what history (past) represents can make the people of the present strive towards a particular goal in the future. This is a dangerous kind of a power that should not be centralized.

Now I will give three examples of the history that we have been taught in schools themselves that either omit or misinterpret past events. The first example is how we have been taught about the "robber barons". What we are taught to know about the "robber barons" is that these are the industrialists that have became rich by the expense of the poor and as a result grew enormously rich. They were monopolists who managed to control everything in the economy and as a result they got rich off everyone while in the process doing a lot of harm to the people. No one else was able to compete against them and so their products got worse, again harming the consumer of these products. And it is precisely because of the anti-trust laws that we have implemented were the people finally released from the enormous power of these monopolists.

Were there people that are known (I take offensive to this term) as the "robber barons"? Certainly, that part is true. Did they get enormously rich? Yes they did. Were they monopolists? Yes they were. Were there such things as anti-trust laws? Yes. Did these anti-trust laws break up the monopolies? Yes they have. This part of history is all fine. The problem is how these events are all put together in textbooks and made to put a important interpretation point. The point that is implied here in this interpretation is that it is the government that has saved us and it is the anti-trust laws of the government that protect us. What really happened? Well, those events did really happen. But they need to be interpreted the correct way. Let us take someone like John Rockefeller. Rockefeller should be treated as a hero not as a villain. What did Rockefeller do? He managed to reduce the price of oil so much, to such a small cost, that nearly everyone was now able to afford themselves oil. Not only that, he kept on improving his quality of oil for a lower cost every year (this is contrary to what we have been taught about monopolies). Furthermore, he came up for hundreds of new inventions for the garbage which is produced when oil is produced. He was a monopolist, but why was he a monopolist? Monopoly is an economic situation when there is only one supplier. He was a monopolist because his products were great. Not only the quality but the price as well. This is why no one else was able to compete against him, because he was the best. Consumers were not hurt by Rockefeller. They were benefited by him. The main group of people who were upset at Rockefeller were the competitors. They failed to be as good as he was, so they used the law to punish his success. He was a rich person, that is true, perhaps the richest ever. By why is that necessarily a bad thing? If someone puts so much work and effort into improving the world he should be rich for his accomplishments. Rockefeller got rich but not at the expense of the people. The people were benefited also form him. Both were better off. Now what these anti-trust laws really do, what the real intention of these laws are, is not to protect the consumer. Consumers did not need to be protected from Rockefeller. Their real intention is to be used as a cheap attack by competitors against other competitors from preventing them from growing too large in size.

The second example is the Civil War. The way the North presents the war is differently from the way the South presents the war. It turns out that the North's version has some very significant problems with it. The impression I got of the Civil War when I first learned it was pretty much the following: The North were the good guys, the South were the bad guys, the North wanted freedom for slaves, the South did not, there is a war over this, so Abraham Lincoln, the greatest president ever, comes along and frees the slaves. Again the details of history is mentioned in textbooks but the interpretation of history is flawed. The Civil War did happen and there was a president called Lincoln and he did free the slaves. But what actually happened with these details? First, the Civil War was not a war about slavery, it had nothing to do with slavery, it was a war about economics, the freeing of the slaves was only a consequence. Second, Abraham Lincoln was a terrible president. He abused his presidential powers as if he was a tyrant. Third, Lincoln was a white supremacist. He has said that he does not care about blacks and if he can win the war without freeing the slaves he would do that.

The sad thing is that when I graduated high school (which was a private school, but the textbooks had to have been approved by a central body) I considered Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest president and Thomas Jefferson to be the worst. I also thought Jefferson was a bad guy, we owned slaves after all. It was not until in the future when I really learned what was going on with Jefferson and his slaves, until I realized the situation he was in. Jefferson was not a white supremacist and he did not hate blacks, he even tried to get freedom for slaves, yes he should have tried harder, but he wanted blacks to be free also. Now I have a completely reversed view. I do not care about Lincoln anymore, while Jefferson is not only my favorite president he is one of my biggest heroes of all time, the amount of respect I have for this guy is equivalent to how a Jew treats one of the "great" living Rabbis. Actually, Thomas Paine is the only founding father I hold to a higher hero status than Jefferson. Paine actually managed to free some slaves and do some absolutely amazing things (was this taught in history books?). It is interesting how history can be taught to make a person think in a certain way.

The third and final example is the Great Depression. What are we taught? We are taught that in around 1929 there was a terrible economic crash. The free market was responsible for the crash. And it was FDR with his anti-free market New Deal program that got us out of the Great Depression. Was there a president FDR? Yes. Was there an economic crash? Yes. Was there a New Deal program? Yes. But the problem is the interpretation of this historical event. Did the New Deal get us out of the Great Depression? No, it only prolonged the effect. The goal of such an interpretation of history if of course to make people think that free markets do not work. However, textbooks omit another economic crash of 1919! In 1919, there was a big economic crash, possibly even bigger than that of the Great Depression. The president at that time took more of a free market approach by allowing businesses to fail. After a half-a-year to a year in 1920 the economy became healthy again. Why is this important event completely omitted from textbooks? Because it contradicts what supposedly happened during the Great Depression.

Public school textbooks have a twist to them. Their message, hidden behind the historical interpretations, is that the government intervention is good. A Christian school would use textbooks which presents Christianity as a force of good. Why would a Christian school use a textbook that would make itself look bad? Public schools are run by the government. Why would the government ever use textbooks that shows itself to be bad or clumsy? The people behind public education obviously see government as a force of good and so they would present a version of history that shows government intervention being beneficial.

In conclusion, it is not just Texas, it is everyone. We all made this mistake.

Here are some videos expounding on what I was saying about history:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4 (50 minute lecture video).
Link 5 (Hitchens on Paine)

Atheism and Liberalism Correlation

It is easily noticed that a very large percentage of atheists are liberals. What I want to try to do is explain where this correlation comes from. One can say that atheists are smarter than theists, liberals are smarter than conservatives, therefore the correlation exists because atheism and liberalism are for smarter people. This is the kind of response your would probably hear from a liberal. And I think this response is completely wrong.

The reason being to why I think that response is wrong is that I do not think that liberals become liberals because of economic issues. In the same manner, conservatives are not conservative for economic issues. Economic issues are often the last thing on the mind of a liberal and a conservative. I mean, of course, the typical average liberal and the typical average conservative. If we pick a liberal at random and a conservative at random the chances would be that they have the views that they have not because they carefully studied the economic questions but because these parties are more in line with their social values.

It is not economic questions that make a typical average liberal a liberal and a typical average conservative a conservative. It is really social values that these people have. There are liberals and conservatives who really are concerned about economic questions but that is not very common in both parties. So what really separates the two parties are social values.

I speak from experience here. I know that when I started to leave Judaism I thought of myself as a liberal (Democrat). Politics was not something I thought much back then (I still never think much of politics, there is a difference between politics and political philosophy, what I am very interested is political philosophy not politics, back in those days I did not even think anything about political philosophy). The reason why I considered myself a liberal was simply because of social issues. I never thought about economic issues. What I saw was that the liberal party and the conservative party had conflicting social values. Because I was no longer religious I did not share with the standard social values of the conservative party. I had no problem with gay marriage. I had no problem with people smoking marijuana. I had no problem with women having more opportunity. I did have a problem with religion mixed with government, so I supported separation of church and state. I did not think that just because a person was different from me I have to treat him any less. And so forth. These are liberal values, the opposite are conservative values.

Thus, I called myself a liberal by simply looking at social issues and seeing which ones suited me more. The problem with such an identification is that it was groupthink. Because I called myself a liberal what I did was that I supported the liberals in what they did. Thus, whatever economic views they had I supported not because I had any economic opinion but more simply they represented a group that I supported. The religious conservatives do the same thing. Take a typical conservative and ask him about why he is a conservative. He will talk about social values. He would be opposed to gay marriage, or to marijuana, or to abortion, or to illegal immigrants, his religious views are more in line with his social values and so he identifies himself as a conservative. Conservatives also groupthink. They identify themselves to a party and they support the economic decisions of this party even though they themselves might not have much to say on economic issues. Indeed, from my interaction with conservatives I realized that conservatives are not fiscal conservatives. They are not opposed to government spending if the government spending is going into something they want. This is not very fiscally conservative of them to do. The point is that your typical conservative does not care about economic issues but social issues.

This is why such a large percentage of atheists are liberals and why such a large percentage of (more fundamentalist) theists are conservatives. There are liberals who are strongly concerned about economics and there are conservatives who are too but those are the exceptions to the rule.


I keep on hearing people say that bias is something bad, bias is something that needs to be avoided. Furthermore, some people say that people cannot really have an objective viewpoint because they are biased on everything. My question is why is bias bad? What is the problem with bias? No one really tells us why bias is a bad thing, we are just told it needs to be avoided, especially in places like college. Why do we have bias towards bias? Let us first understand what bias is, to answer a question like that. Bias is an established point of view for a person. An example is religious bias. A religious person would be biased towards different points of view. Because a religious person already has an established way of looking at the world and when some new idea which interrupts his religious beliefs he would very likely reject this idea. That is to say, he leans towards his religious point of view more than to other points of view. This is a standard example of bias. Obviously this kind of bias is bad. But bias does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. I am biased against the supernatural. I do not believe in things like ESP, or telekinesis, or mind reading, so forth. I do not believe in these things because I am a skeptic. My skepticism prevents me from believing in these supernatural beliefs. Therefore, I am biased against the supernatural. If some "psychic" was to tell me, "I have ESP abilities" I would not believe her. I would immediately be biased towards what she has to say. But is this a bad kind of bias? No, not at all. The reason being is that my bias is justified, it is based on rationality and skepticism. If, however, my bias was simply something that I developed as a kid or if it was something that I just preferred without a reasonable defense of my view then my bias would not be justified. My point here is very simple and short. There is nothing wrong with bias whatsoever. It only depends on the kind of bias that we have, bias which is thought through in a rational or empirical manner is fine to have. In fact, bias in such a case is good because what such bias serves is an intellectual filter to throw away all the wrong ideas before you even seriously consider them in your head. So it is serves like a mental garbage can. Thus, the next time something say "everyone has a bias" do not think of that as a bad thing. Such as statement is the same as saying "everyone has thoughts". Yes, everyone has thoughts, what is that good or bad? Nothing wrong with having thoughts. It is just that some people have retarded thoughts and some people have smart thoughts. It is the thoughts themselves that determine if having thoughts is good or bad. Likewise, it is the manner in which a bias is developed which determines whether it is okay to be biased or not.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

All Arguments for God: Refuted

This is something that I realized that many people do not mention. What most atheists do is refute each argument for God (ontological, cosmological, teleological, transcendental, fine tuning, watchmaker, and so forth) one by one when they get it from a theist. They do not have to do that. Because every argument for God is one big logical fallacy which already self-defeats itself even before the argument is presented. Namely, every argument for God is an argument for deism not theism. Thus, the logical fallacy that the theist commits is a nonsequiter. There is a very huge gap between deism and theism. What the theist does is use an argument for deism and jump from that into theism.

Let us examine in detail the source of the fallacy. Assume that a Jew is using one of those arguments for God. First, "God" is defined to be some initial cause or some primary creator to the universe. But then once the argument is completed "God" is the master of the universe, who cares about us, who watches over us, who answers our prayers, who give afterlife, who wants a relationship with us and so forth. That is the problem right there. What the theist has done is switched the properties of "God" from before the argument to after the argument. This is why it is a fallacy.

For the sake of argument let us assume that one of the many arguments for God are correct. Say something like the cosmological or argument from fine tuning are correct (we safely ignore arguments like the transcendental and ontological because those are completely failures). All what we have demonstrated so far is that there is (or was) an initial creator responsible for the universe, let us call it "God". But whatever "God" is we do not know. We have a very long way to go before we come to theism. We need to demonstrate that "God" has/wants a relationship with people. We need to demonstrate that "God" watches over the universe. We need to demonstrate that "God" controls the universe as opposed to just having the universe operate by its own Laws of Nature. And so forth. Where are arguments for that? If all we can demonstrate that "God" exists by those arguments then we might as well live as if there is no God because that kind of a "God" is not really a God.

From my experience what Jewish (and other religious) apologists do is they use one of the arguments for God. Then from their they jump to talking about the Torah and how we can show the Torah is true. This is why all these arguments are flawed. They are nothing but nonsequitar logical fallacies.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Is it Wrong to Cheat on Taxes?

One who makes a positive claim has to justify it. One cannot demand an argument against a positive claim from the skeptic. This not how reasoning works. For example, assume a friend of yours comes over to you and tells you, "I was abducted by aliens yesterday". You tell your friend, "I do not believe you". He tells you, "can you show that I am wrong?". Do you see what you friend did? He shifted his responsibility of defending his claim to you, he shifting from defending a claim to denying a claim. A claim does not need to be denied if there is no argument in support of it. Thus, if you friend is to ask you, "can you show that I am wrong?" all you have to say, "it is not my responsibility to show you are wrong, you are the one that needs to defend the claim". Likewise, I cannot be asked as a skeptic by a Jewish believer, "why do you not believe in Judaism?". Because Judaism is a positive claim. The believer who claims Judaism needs to supply the argument in defense of Judaism. Then and only then do I respond back to his defense and say whether it is a good defense or not. This is the correct way we need to think with regard to claims that people make, we need to demand their justification, if no justification is provided we may just ignore the claim.

The same attitude as above needs to be taken with regard to moral questions. It is not my responsibility to say why cheating on taxes is fine. It is the responsibility of the one who says that cheating on taxes is wrong to supply an argument. Consider this example. I do not have to ask myself, "is it okay to put on my right shoe before my left shoe?". Because, just like with undefended claims, I can do anything that I want if there is no defensible objection to it. If someone is to come along and say, "putting on your right shoe before your left shoe is morally wrong" then I will just ignore the person. I will not try to defend why putting on a right shoe before a left shoe is fine to do. Since the person who said putting on my right shoe before my left shoe is morally wrong and he did not justify his argument I can ignore his statement. Therefore, I demand an argument from one who says cheating on taxes is wrong. It is not my responsibility to say why it is okay. But if one who made the claim that it is morally wrong and gave a defense of his claim then it would be my responsibility to refute his defense or acknowledge he was correct.

It follows from what was demonstrated above that one who says, "cheating on taxes is wrong" needs to defend that statement. Let us look at the most common 'defense'. It is wrong to cheat on taxes because you are stealing money from the government. This moral argument says that it is wrong to take what is not ours away from other people and since this is what tax evasion does it follows that tax evasion must be morally wrong. There is just one huge problem with this argument. The money is yours! Taxation takes away the money that the citizen has earned, not the other way around, the citizen takes no money from the government, it is rather the government that takes money from the citizen. This defense of why tax evasion is wrong is a failed defense. So the defender of why tax evasion is wrong would have to try around to defend his moral claim.

Perhaps, the defender of this claim can use the following argument. Is it wrong to cheat on paying your bills? I agree that it is wrong to cheat on your bills. Why? I cannot use the argument that, "I am stealing money from the company", because against it is my money. It is wrong for a different reason. The company provided me with a service, I agreed to pay for their service, they provided me with a service, but I did not pay, I did not carry out my side of the contract. So I lied to the company. The company did something for me but I did not return them the favor. This is why it is wrong. Therefore, the defender of the claim that tax evasion is wrong can try using the following defense, "tax evasion is wrong because you need to pay back the government for what they did to you."

This is definitely a stronger defense of the claim than the first failed attempt, "you are stealing money from government". But this defense is still a failed attempt. Consider that you never use the government service. You simply do not want to use them. Then this defense is no longer applicable. One can no longer say, "you need to pay back for what they did to you" because it is no longer applicable, you never used them for anything. I agree that it would be wrong if a person is aided in his life by the government, past or present, and then decides not to pay for its help. However, I am talking about a person who does not rely on the government, rather relies on private enterprise or himself or whatever other external subject. We need to understand that we are taking about income taxes. Income taxes are taken away from a person for the income he earns for himself, the government comes and takes away a portion of his income. If this person is not associated with the government then the person can deny payment of his taxes, in this case it would be fine to cheat on taxes. Now there are other forms of taxes. There are local taxes. The local area in where this person lives has roads, police, fire department and other services, since he uses these services it would be wrong for him not to pay his local taxes (unless he really is an outcast and never uses anything), however, it is not necessarily wrong for him to pay income taxes because he may be disassociated from the federal government.

The defender of why it is wrong to cheat on taxes may use one more argument after seeing why his first and second defenses were failed defenses. He may say, "being a citizen comes with certain protections, like having a military to defend the country, so people need to pay for these protections and safeties". There is a problem with this argument. Consider this example. Say you have a neighbor who has a lot of private security guards. You are certainly more safe as a result of extra security. Can your neighbor demand money from you because his own protection benefits you also? No, he cannot. Because there is a difference between "direct benefit" and "indirect benefit". Direct benefit is the benefit derived purposely for the person, the neighbor has direct benefit from the security guards because he purchased them for that purpose, you, however, have indirect benefit, you do benefit from his security but only because its benefit extends into your zone. Repayment can only be demanded in the case of direct benefit. Therefore, even though it may be true that a non-taxpayer receives indirect benefit by being a citizen his income cannot be demanded by the government for that reason alone.

Back here I wrote about the difference between what is legal and what is moral. I happen to believe that if you are not satisfied with the way tax money is being spend by the government then you should be civilly disobedient and not pay your taxes (of course that would also mean to disassociate yourself from the government and not rely on their aid). I am opposed to the war. I think it is a great injustice the United States preforms everyday. Therefore, I do not have to give them my money, I do not have to support them, and I do not have to support what I think is evil. So the answer to my question, "is it wrong to cheat on taxes?" is "no" (though it would be wrong it you cheat but rely on government help at the same time).

Legal vs Moral

It is important to understand that what is legal and what is moral are two separate issues. Many people confuse the two. Not only is this a mistake it can be dangerous. I have heard people ask "is that even legal to do?" and they ask such a question in regard to a moral issue, what they do is confuse moral with legal. No, moral and legal are completely separate concepts. The goal of law is to be promote moral justice but there are a huge list of laws which are immoral.

Consider this thought experiment. Marijuana is illegal in the United States. One day it becomes legal. What did this do to the question of whether or not marijuana is moral or not? If you are a person who thinks that legal is equivalent to moral and illegal is equivalent to immoral then there is a puzzling question. All the days before when marijuana was illegal it was immoral and then when it became legal it became moral. How can it change its morality status like that?

The above question illustrates the problem with identifying law with morality. However, for a great deal of human history the identification of law with morality could be made. Thousands of years ago morality was used as a tool to control people (in fact, it is still largely used to that effect today). To control a population of people you needed to make them develop morals in such a way so they obeyed the law. Morals were build around the law rather than the other way around. The Torah is a good example of this. It is not the case that the Torah was written as a book of morals and then laws developed to suite these morals. It is the other way around. When the primitive ancient Israelites had their state they had laws. To make the people most obedient to the law they said that these laws came from God, that is, they were identifying the law with morality. So in the minds of the Israelites the laws were manifestations of God's commandments, hence this is why they were careful not to break the law. But in truth it is the other way around. Morality (of the Torah) was developed as a way to suite the ruling laws in ancient Israel.

We must remember that there are lots of immoral laws. Just consider the Fugitive Slave Act. It is our responsibility to break the immoral laws. This is what civil disobedience is about. I am not saying to necessarily get ourselves with trouble with the law (that would be unpleasant) but I am saying to ignore the laws in secrecy as much as we can if they need be immoral laws.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What is Religion? Part 2

Now I will give three examples of non-supernatural beliefs that happen to be religions. This may be surprising and funny at the same time.

The first one is enviromentalism. When I say "enviromentalism" I am not referring to an enviromental scientist or a person who wants to find alternate energy. I am talking about the radical enviromentalists who turn it into a religion. The kind of enviromentalist I am talking about is the one who believes we are going to destroy the planet by driving cars. This is an insult of common sense. The planet been in existence for 4.5 billion years since that time it has been bombarded with numerous huge asteroids that would have completely annihilated the human species with a single impact. The planet has survived through all of that for billions of years. It was only 100 years since we had cars, and we think that driving them is going to destroy the planet. How does this make any sense? I see enviromentalism (this radical form as I described it) as an analogue to Christianity. What is the message of Christianity? That once everything was great and perfect, then man comes along, the sinful evil man, he sins with the original sin and that messes up everything. Later God sacrificed himself to himself to forgive men of his sins. The way we gain this gift of salvation is by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus. Enviromentalism is very similar. Enviromentalism says that once everything was great and perfect, everything was nice and green. Then one day man comes along, the sinful horrible creature, with his existence he damages the beautiful excellent planet. Christianity has a message of an acopalypse, so does enviromentalism, we all going to die! The way we redeem ourselves with our terrible lifestyles is by living green. Let us check whether of not enviromentalism satisfies those conditions of being a religion. First, it is a set of beliefs with an end goal, that is to achieve being green and loving to earth. Second, it promotes a lifestyle by creating a list of morals, actions that are green are considered as favorable while actions that are anti-green are considered evil. Third, it has a strong emotional attachment to the followers, enviromentalists who do something anti-green often feel guilty, may get very angry with anyone who is not green, and has a lot of satisfication by living as enviromentalists. Fourth, if any of the enviromentalist beliefs are challenged by Reason or empiricism they would get very angry at you and not change. For example, if someone proposes that maybe we should not too scared about global warming and provides the arguments for it they would not listen, or if someone says that the enviroment is better today than it was in the past because we have cleaned up pollution they would still continue to preach how the enviroment is continuially getting worse and worse. These kinds of enviromentalists do silly things. There are enviromentalists who have lived an entire year without using toilet paper, they were praised by their fellow enviromentalists. Just like religion praises certain crazy lifestyles so do these enviromentalists. There are enviromentalists who have sat in the middle of a forest crying for some dead trees and praying for them (see here)! How is this not a religion? I am certainly open to hear new ideas about enviromental issues but please do not turn it into a religion. Enviromentalism at this level is dangerous, it has hurt the Africans so much, it has hurt these people by preventing them from developing technologies that could have helped them immensely only because these technologies are not green enough.

The second example is extreme vegetarianism. I am not talking about a vegetarian who does not like meat or a vegetarian who does not want to support the meat companies because he find them cruel. I am talking about the hardcore ones, like the ones from PETA. It is a set of beliefs with a final goal, to release all the animals. It promotes a lifestyle to its follower, they start to see live their life in way that follows their vegetarian morality. With their new view of morals they have no problem putting pictures of dead chickens right next to pictures of Jews in the holocaust because for them it is just as morally bad. They have no problem putting pictures of slavery right next to animals in a farm because for them, with their new set of morals, they see the world that way. They have a very emotional attachment to animals and to their beliefs. Finally, their beliefs cannot be contradicted by Reason or empiricism. For example, certain PETA followers say that animals have no business being used in medical research, they deny completely that animals are vital to developing medical research. They refuse to listen to whatever argument an outsider from their beliefs was to tell them. PETA has also participated in terrorist acts. They have blown up research centers that used animals because they objected to the use of using animals. PETA is dangerous.

The final example is feminism. No feminism is not the idea that women should be treated fairly like men, it is a pseudo-scientific belief based on sexism and on the hatred of males. There is a very big difference between women's rights and feminism. The problem is that people confuse the two and think they are synonymous with eachother. I do not want to discuss feminism here because I have had a debate over feminism on another site, if anyone is interested they can read it here. Let us see if feminism is a religion. It is a set of beliefs with a final goal, their final goal is to attain at much as they can for women (in fact, even if it means harming men). It promotes a new lifestyle for feminists with a new morality code. Indeed they start seeing everything in terms of males vs females, anyone who does not agree with them would be called a "sexist", which for them, is the equivalent of "evil". This is why it is not a surprise why a feminist can watch a cartoon like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and write a paper about how sexist the movie is. Because the mind of the feminist has been hijacked and enslaved with their religion, they cannot see things in another other way. Clearly, feminism is a very emotional issue for feminists, they can get angry and sad with anyone who does not agree with them. Feminists do their missionary work by making young girls angry about women issues, that is how they get them converted, they do not reach out to them in the name of Reason, but through primitive feelings and emotions. Lastly, feminists are willing to deny Reason and empiricism whenever their views are contradicted. For example, one tenet of faith in feminism is that the reason why there is a wage gap between men and women is because of discrimination in the workplace. Notice what happened. The took an issue, wage gap, and then they applied their religion to it, and conclude it must be because of discrimation. They did not even attempt to explain or justify their own position. However, there are people that have been able to explain the wage gap in a rational manner, for example Warren Farrell from the CATO Institute has explained the necessary components that create a wage gap. Do the feminists listen to him? No, of course not, because he is being rational and looking at the evidence, they do not care about that, they only care for keeping their religion the way it is. Feminism is dangerous because it wants to enforce its own view of the world onto everyone else through the use of law. Many feminists are part of the anti-porn movement, they actually want to ban porn. This is a dangerous and radical religion.

The problem with religion is not that it is wrong, it is dangerous. People are wrong all the time. I am wrong about many things. But I am willing to change. I have changed. And even people who are not willing to change are not necessarily dangerous. Astrology is wrong, but it is not dangerous. Believing in ESP, ghosts or aliens is wrong but it is not dangerous. These superstitions and silly beliefs are not dangerous because they are not religions, they do not enslave the mind of the believer to change the world. Religion is different. Religion is dangerous because it is willing to go to extreme lengths to change the world into what it thinks the world should be. As Voltaire said, "those who are willing to believe absurdies are likely to commit atrocities". Many of us see that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have an evil dark side to them as religions, but much fewer of us can see the dark evil side behind (radical) enviromentalism, (PETA-like) vegetarianism, and feminism. These three religions are dangerous they have damanged the world and are prepared to damage the world for their own sake.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What is Religion? Part 1

This is actually not an easy question to answer. The difficulty is that it is hard to come up with a good definition for "religion". Most definitions of religion do not go out far enough, meaning, there are beliefs that we would like to call religious but we cannot because the definition prevents us from classifying it as religious.

Let us begin with the simplest definition for religion. Religion is a belief in God or gods. This is the most common definition that people use. But it has a lot of problems with it. It is true that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are believers in God, but that is not what makes them religions. Not all religions believe in God. For example, Buddhism and Scientology. I do not know much about Scientology but I do not think they believe in God, they believe in the evil lord Xenu who blow up all the aliens with an H-bomb inside a volcano something like 75 million years ago. I may be wrong about Scientology, maybe they do believe in God, but I doubt it, because they never mention God anywhere. Buddhism does not believe in God. There is no concept of God in Buddhism, it is a religion based on the reincarnation process of striving towards enlightenment. So immediately we have two religions that are not based on God or gods. This means that the simple definition above, that is, that religion is a belief based on God or gods is not a good definition. There is a second problem. There are people who believe in God, but they have nothing to do with religion. Back here I explained what deism is. For instance, Thomas Jefferson was a deist. He believed in God, but for him "God" was some abstract philosophical concept representing the First Cause, and that was essentially it. This is why a lot of atheists would support Jefferson's position towards religion because Jefferson himself was not religious, he was anti-religious. Thus, he is an example of someone who believes in God, but is not religious whatsoever. Again this illustrates that the definition "religion is a set of beliefs based on God or gods" is a bad one.

Deists do not believe in afterlife, while religions do, so perhaps we can define religion as "a set of beliefs concerning an afterlife". This is actually a stronger definition than the one above but it still has problems. Not all religions have an afterlife! Let us return back to Scientology. Again, I may be wrong, I do not know much about Scientology but I never hear them talk about afterlife. Scientology is about purging your body from thetans (dead alien material in your body) not about afterlife. But one can even use Judaism itself as an objection to that definition. Back here I wrote about my question concerning afterlife in Judaism. From what I understand originally Judaism did not have an afterlife, Rambam (Maimonides) himself writes that when people die they get resurrected in the future to live a second life, but life is NOT eternal. Thus, it seems that according to Rambam there is no eternal life upon death, while ancient Judaism seems to imply there is nothing after death. Therefore, defining religion as being concerned with an afterlife is not a good definition.

So what would be a good definition? I think I have found one. It is a complex definition. It is has many components to it. Religion is a set of beliefs so that: there is a end goal to be achieved, it promotes a way to live one's life (that is to say, it induces a moral code), it gives an emotional attachment to the believer, and if challenged by Reason or empiricism it shall not change its beliefs.

The curious aspect from the above definition, as we shall see soon, that religion can be something completely natural. And some supernatural belief can be non religious. For example, people who believe in the non-sense of astrology believe in some supernatural influence of the stars in the heavens over our lives. So let us check the list if astrology is a religion or not. It only satisfies only one requirement out of four. That is, if astrology is challenged by Reason or empiricism then the follower will ignore it because he likes to pretend astrology is true. That is the only component out of the four astrology satisfies. So even though it is a very irrational belief and supernatural based it nonetheless is not a religion. One can object to me and say that astrology promotes a way to live one's life. Strong believers in astrology follow what their made up horoscopes tell them. But even this component of the definition is not fully satisfied. This is because even though it promotes an astrologer a way to live a life it does not really create a moral code. An astrologer only follows his horoscope because he believes that will bring him good luck not because he has created a moral code to follow his horoscope. In some cases the emotional aspect in belief in astrology can also be satisfied. Regardless, astrology at best only satisfies two out of four requirements to be a religion, so it is not a religion.

Another example are people who believe in life after death but are not religious people themselves (that is, they do not follow any particular religion they just believe they will go somewhere after they die). This is NOT a religion. It certainly is not based on Reason or empiricism and if challenged few believers would actually reconsider their beliefs. It clearly has a strong emotional attachment to the believer, these people want to know they life on after they die, it gives them much comfort. However, it has no final end goal. These people are not striving towards anything. Nor do these people have any sort of moral code that promotes a way to live one's life. The same can be said about people who believe in ESP or people who believe in ghosts. These are silly beliefs but they are NOT religious.

Judaism is a religion. It is a set of beliefs that has a final goal, namely to follow the commandments of God so that he can send a Messiah to rescue the Jews from the Diaspora. It promotes a way to life one's life based on a moral code, which is the Torah and what the Rabbis say. Jewish believers have an incredible strong emotional attachment to their religion, sometimes tears will go down their face during the prayer of Yom Kippur. Finally, very few Jews will change their beliefs if someone carefully explains to them the problems with their beliefs based on Reason or empiricism.

Buddhism is a religion. It is a set of beliefs that has a final goal, namely to break the cycle of reincarnation by achieving Nirvana through enlightenment. It promotes a moral code to lives one's life, that is, the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path. It has a strong emotional hold on the believer of Buddhism. And finally it will not bow before Reason or empiricism.

Scientology is a religion. I will not go through the list again, it should be clear to the reader how to put it all together at this point.

Deism is not a religion (even though it believes in God). It is a set of beliefs, but it does not have any final goal. Deists do not try to attain anything they just live their life as if what they believe was non-existent. It does not promote any moral code. There are no prophets or holy books in deism. Deists and atheists together both follow a secular lifestyle which is usually based on just being a nice person to other people. It has no emotional attachment whatsoever, God does not answer prayers, God does not intervene with the world, there is no afterlife, and so on ... there is nothing emotional to be gained from deistic beliefs. And finally if challenged by Reason or empiricism deists would "convert" to atheists. Deists themselves say that something like the big bang theory points to that there has to have been a starting point, that is a First Cause, or they just use the First Cause argument to try to conclude that there has to be a starting point. Even if they are wrong about God they are at least rational about it.

What about atheism, is atheism a religion? There are some theists who say some atheists go too far and turn atheism into a religion. And it is true, some atheists do go very far. There are a lot of atheists who want the world to consist of atheists only and care about what religious beliefs a person has on a very important level to them. For example, there are plenty of atheists who said they want to have an atheist president. I think that is a stupid factor to have, having an atheist president does not mean anything about him, he can be a retard when it comes to economic issues. If having an atheist president is so important then one can elect themselves the next Joseph Stalin. What a person believes should not be the primary determining factor. What these atheists do is make it a primary determining factor. So, yes, they do go far with their atheism. But is it a religion? No. It does have a final goal, and that is for everyone to be an atheist. It does have a moral code, kinda, that is, those who are atheists are "good" and non-atheists are "bad". So they seek to "convert" everyone to atheism. But it has no emotional attachment and it cannot be called by Reason or empiricism because it is something based on Reason and empiricism. In general, atheism satisfies 0 out of 4 requirements, but the "atheist missionaries" only raise it to 2 out of 4, so it is not a religion.

I do want to add that just because "atheist missionaries" satisfy 2 out of 4 requirements it does not make it a 50% religion. No, that is not have this definition works. Something is either religion or not. It needs all four components to be satisfied. Having 3 out of 4 does not make it closer to a religion than 0 out of 4.

Monday, March 8, 2010


When I and other skeptics say that circumcision is an unnecessary barbaric ritual supporters of circumcision tell me, "it is good for the boy, it reduces his risks of getting STDs". That response is full of failure for many reasons.

The first obvious question is, "does it really reduce the risk of STD's?". I do not know. Let us assume it does for the sake for argument.

Boys are not supposed to be having sex without condoms (unless it is with someone they can entirely trust). So it is useless whether one is circumcised or not. As long as a condom is worn, it should be alright. We certainly do not want boys to be having unprotected sex with a circumcised penis. What we want is boys to be having protected sex, once it is protected it does not matter if the penis is circumcised or not.

Here is another problem with that argument. Modifying the body should only be done in the case that it is necessary. For example, pulling out dead teeth, or performing an operation to save a life. Body modification should be avoided if the body is healthy. A boy with a normal penis is just as healthy as a boy with a circumcised penis. So there is no point whatsoever to perform an unnecessary operation. Saying that "it reduces the risk of STDs" is a silly argument, because you might just as well cut off the entire penis and claim that "this eliminates STDs by one-hundred percent".

Defenders of circumcision forget that circumcision started out as a religious act and still do this date continues as a religious act. We can be positive that that ancients from 3000 years ago did not worry about STDs, they had something else on their mind. When one says "circumcision reduces STDs" he diverts the attention from the real reason why circumcision is practiced. The real reason why circumcision is preformed is because Judaism (and other religions) hates sex, so they want to harm the act of sex as must as possible. Since the penis is the symbol of sex, Judaism cuts around this penis to symbolize that people should abstain from sexual enjoyment. This is the real argument behind circumcision, it has nothing to do with "reducing the risk of STDs". If one drops the whole "reducing the risk of STDs" argument because it is disingenuous then one is left with an ancient barbaric ritual to limit boys in having sex for enjoyment. This is why skeptics see circumcision as a barbaric ritual.

Finally, remember how circumcision used to be preformed and how it is preformed today. The chasidim are in line with the more traditional manner of circumcision. The way they do it is that there is a moel (the one who circumcises the boy) who performs (as Christopher Hitchens calls it) the genital mutilation without any modern equipment. After performing this, he puts his mouth on the bloody penis to take in the blood into his mouth. Let me repeat that for you again in case you did not pay attention: the moel preforms oral sex on the baby by sucking on his bloody penis! This is what circumcision has made people do, it has made normal people do barbaric things only because they believed that this is what God wants them to do. Modern day circumcision from the non-chasidim is very different from how circumcision was preformed in the past. Not to mention how many boys died from this historically unsafe procedure.

That is all I have to say on circumcision. I do also want to point to an interesting phenomenon. I make the statement that, what "morality" really means to the masses is simply what is social consensus and tradition. Circumcision illustrates the point very well. Imagine we lived in a world were there was no such thing as circumcision whatsoever. Then someone came along and said, "my religion is for the Rabbis to cut penises of boys and suck on their bloody penis". The whole world would be shocked. The world would call it "barbarity". However, in our world not so many call it that, because it is social consensus not to think of circumcision as something worthy of respect.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Human Law vs Natural Law

Our world is controlled by two forces. The natural law and the human law. The natural law controls our world by its own derivation from Nature. If I jump outside the window then I would die. This is natural law. It is a control on me. I cannot fly, this is also part of the natural law, it restricts me from doing something that I want to do. There is also the human law, it is a restriction imposed by other people. If a person wants to kill another person, another person or several other people would go after the attempted murderer and prevent him or at least try to prevent him from killing the innocent person. There is no natural law that would prevent one person from killing another but there is a human law that interferes with such an action. A major mistake that I have noticed that many people make is that they think (perhaps without even realizing) that human law can triumph over natural law. This is not true, human laws cannot change natural laws. Any attempt to do so would end up in failure.

The function of human law is to seek justice. We cannot rely on Nature because it is neither malevolent nor benevolent. But whenever we want to pass a law to attain justice we need to ask a question of whether it is in accordance with the natural law or not. If the law that we are passing is not in accordance with the natural law then the human law would be a failure. I will give two examples of what I mean.

Consider murder and a human law against murder. A large majority of people believe that without laws we would be killing ourselves. I admit I used to have the same view also when I was younger. Back here I wrote about how religions devalue human beings. Religion sees man as a terrible creature that would do anything evil if he can get away with it. What is also sad and devaluing of people is the belief that without laws people would be going around and killing each other. This is simply not true, in that link I demonstrated that human nature is mostly good. The sad thing is that a large majority of people all over the world actually believe that laws is what makes man good. Suppose that we get rid of all laws tomorrow. Would people be going in the streets and killing each other? No, of course not, that is a slippery slope. And to anyone who disagrees with me, I have a question for you. If there was no law tomorrow, would you be going around the street killing, pillaging, raping, and stealing? Of course not (what is also sad is that many atheists believe in that laws make people good, even though they are the first ones to say that humans do not need God's laws to be good). I do not deny that there would be an increase in crime, that will certainly happen, but nonetheless it will not be chaos all over the streets for the simple reason that human nature is not to do these things. My point of all of this is to explain why human laws against murder are successful (at least to a big degree). A law against murder in society is not contradicted by human nature, human nature is not to murder so when humans pass a law against murder they are not violating the natural law since it is not part of the natural law for humans to murder.

Now consider sex and a human law against sex. Assume that there is a country that decides to pass a law against people having sex before they are 21 years old. Unlike murder which is not part of the natural law, sex is part of the natural law. Humans are sex machines. It is part of human nature to have sex as much as they can. A human law against the natural law of humans having sex before 21 years old would be a complete failure. Human laws against sex would never work for they will always be contradicted by the natural law. This law would be the most failed law in all of history. Whenever a human law is passed we need to ask a question to whether or not this law is contradicted by the natural law. Do not misunderstand me I am not saying that if a human law is consistent with the natural law then it would be a just or a successful law, I am not saying that. I am saying the inverse of the statement, that is, I am saying that if a law is contradicted by the natural law then the human law is doomed to fail no matter what its just intentions even are. This would explain why the prohibition period that was present here in the United States during the 1920's was such a failure. Humans like themselves some alcohol, it is now part of the natural law for people to drink it, to pass a human law against that would not change human nature. It cannot undo what the natural law already dictated. This is why prohibition was a failure, and why crime arouse to supply the demand that people had.

We need to keep the distinction between the natural law and the human law in mind. Sometimes it is hard to see how a human law is contradicted by a natural law, I gave two simple examples above to make my point but I want to give a much more complicated example. This is something that would make a lot of people uncomfortable but as I said a free minded person will investigate this question even if it means being disliked by the masses. I am talking about child labor laws. I am opposed to child labor laws. Not because I support child labor but because I realize that any human attempt to prevent child labor would be contradicted by the natural law for the need to have child labor. Nearly everyone is against child labor. The rationale that people use is that child labor is wrong so we need to have laws against it. I certainly agree that child labor is not a pleasant condition. But the problem with "it is wrong so let us ban it" is that it not a very deep intellectual statement. No one ever asks the question of why the children are working in the first place. People just say that child labor is wrong and the discussion is over. But we need to ask more, we need to ask why children are working. Once we can understand that we would understand why child labor laws are a failure. What would ever make a family send their children to work in a factory? The answer is that the family (in these regions of the world which have child labor) is so unproductive, so poor, that their children working is the only way that they can make a small profit for themselves. There is a simple principle about human action which is very important to understand. If a person has several choices this person will choose what he thinks is the best for himself. Apply this principle to children working in factories. The family has at least two choices, either their children work in factories or their children do not work in factories. The fact that many poor families in this part of the world make the choice that their children should work implies that this is the better out of the choices that are available to them. Do not misunderstand me, I am not saying it is a good choice, I am saying it is the best from the bad choices that they have. The point that is being made is that child labor is part of the natural law. Thus, any human law passed against it is doomed to fail. Indeed, that is the case, laws against child labor has either made many families starve or made them go into child prostitution. As bad a working in a factory is I am sure we can agree that child prostitution is worse. Therefore, when a human law was passed to intervene with a natural law, it failed, and misdirected child labor elsewhere. The reason why we have no child labor here in the United States is not because we have laws against it as many people wrongly believe, but because there is no need for them. There is no natural law to have them. Our economy is productive enough that parents can support their children, and their children can play and do what children do. But if our economy was to collapse one day to an extremely low point then child labor would appear in the United States. It will happen regardless if there are child labor laws or not, these human laws would be all unsuccessful against the natural law.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Human Nature

A lot of people have the view that humans are terrible creatures who are evil and only care about themselves. I can certainly understand why these people think this about other people, I used to have such a view myself just two years ago. This is completely wrong, and I will demonstrate it below.

There is going to one guy who is going to tell me, "you never defined what evil means". I just know someone would come along sooner or later and tell me that. In that case let me explain what "evil" means. It means exactly what you think it means. "Good" is being loving, helpful, concerned, so forth, and "bad" is the opposite, stealing, lying, cheating, and so forth. I do not use the word "holy" because of its religious connections so I may interchange "virtue" or "just" for "good", and interchange "evil" or "vile" for "bad". The understanding of the usage of good and evil is something which is very straightforward over here.

I also want to say one more thing before I start discussing human nature. I have no problem with pessimism. In general I look at the world in a pessimistic way. That probably has something to do with the fact that I am a nihilist. I despise optimism, as Voltaire said, "Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable". Therefore, I would have no problem whatsoever agreeing to that humans are terrible evil creatures. But I cannot bring myself to such a view because it is just wrong.

Sing to me, Muse, Astraea holds the scales of judgement. Let one side be dominated by evil and the other side be dominated by goodness. Angels outweigh the scales completely to the good and demons outweigh the scales completely to the bad. If an average human is placed on the scales, he shall not reside with the angels nor with the demons, the scales shall not dominate one side. The human is not entirely evil nor entirely just. But the scales of judgement shall be in favor of justice. The mortal shall not go to the valley of Hades.

This is what people are, we are mostly good, not completely good. Indeed, our history books are soaked in a lot of blood. However, the problem is that we look at the bad things that happen and overlook all the good things that have happened. That is actually part of human nature, to look at the bad and oversee the good. But we need to look at the both the good things people do and the bad things people do then it is no doubt that the good things outweigh the bad things. I will give a very simple example. I live in New York City. Every day, or almost every day, I hear in the news about how some person murdered or shot another person. That certainly is a bad thing, and some people would get the impression from this frequent list of murders that people are terrible. The problem is that we need to compare these bad people to the good people in New York City. The fallacy that many people commit is that they only look at the bad. What we need is to look at both and compare one against another. One person may have been killed yesterday but compare that now to how many people not-killed yesterday. There are about 11 million people, so we have one murder, and millions of non-murders approximately each day in New York City. It is a huge fallacy to look at numbers like that and make the statement "humans are murderous creatures". This is the first reason to why human beings lean mostly good on the scales. Thus, remember that when we make a statement about the virtues of humans we need to compare it against all people. I am not making the statement that we are angelic, because that would be wrong, neither are we on the side of being demonic, that would be an even bigger error, but we are on the side of being good.

There is an evolutionary reason for this. Human beings have been able to progress and develop over the many epochs precisely because humans were good. It is an evolutionary advantage to be good. A society which consists of good members is far more likely to survive than a society in which the members are bad. This is because good people are able to cooperate together and solve problems that way. A society without good members would be dysfunctional and a failure. Humans are the most empathetic and sharing animals. Humans will cooperate together if they have to share their rewards, other animals, like monkeys do not do the same. It is true that monkeys share but their sharing skills are not as evolved as that of a human. But at the same time people have self interest, they think about themselves first. Though I do not think that this is necessarily a bad thing. We should think about ourselves first. If we do not think about ourselves first then who will? We need to think about ourselves first otherwise we would have been dead as a species, it is a necessary evolutionary trait that we have self interest. I consider it to be fine to have self interest, I see nothing wrong with self interest, nothing to be embarrassed about, we just need to have concern for other people too and not just ourselves. Humans certainly evolved in that way, we mostly care for ourselves, but we also care for others, which is part of the reason why we are the most successful species on the planet.

This should be contrasted with the religious point of view. Religious people often think of people in a negative way. This is perhaps why two years ago, when I had some Jewish beliefs, I thought that about people. I thought that people were savage evil creatures that only destroy themselves. Why? I think it is because that is the way religion looks at people, especially Christianity. That we are sinful and we should be ashamed before God who is the ultimate source of good. The religious view is that we act good not because we are good by nature but because God told us so. This frightens me very much. I have heard numerous times at this point religious people telling me that that without God they would not know good from bad. Without the Torah (or the Bible, or whatever) they would not know not to kill. I even ask a question to them, "if there was no God and there no Torah, you would be going around killing, stealing, pillaging, and raping people?". To my surprise many of them say "yes". How am I supposed to respect a person like that? How can I possibly respect a person who has just confessed to me that he does not see why killing, stealing, pillaging, and raping is wrong and furthermore admitted that he would do it if we can get away with it? I have many problems with religions, this is one of them. The way it devalues human life. This is why I am not so surprised that people like Pat Robertson can see what happened in Haiti as being the fault of the people because he does not put the same value on their life as a normal person would.

I have a similar problem with animal lovers that go too far. I have no problem with people who like animals, I like animals too, I have a dog and a cat. I am talking about the kind of people who value animals more than people. PETA, for example. I have heard this throughout my life, "look at the animal kingdom, look how great they are, if only people can be as good as the animals". No, animals are not good. Nor are they bad. They are neutral, they cannot be responsible for their actions. The human being has an intellect. This is what can enable him to be good or bad. People can use their intellect for terrible things, as we see in history, and for great things too. A human is capable of being worse than any animal. But in general, a (good) person is far superior and better than any animal. To think otherwise is complete stupidity and the same devaluing of human life that religions often do. Simply compare what a human does to what an animal does (of course, humans are animals too, but I am separating the human into a class all of its own here). Humans have worked to benefit animals, not for the sake of themselves but for the sake of animals, only because humans were empathetic and wanted to spread their goodness over to other creatures. If a human sees an animal starving in a forest, he may give his own food to the animal. I wonder how many animals would do that same to people. I understand that they are bad people who do abuse animals, I know that, but I am talking about a kind of person who is against animal abuse. Such a person is far superior than any animal in existence. Just listen to the stories of how a friendly person worked with animals his entire life and one day got killed by them. The point is that a good person is far superior than any animal. And a bad person is worse than an animal. This is because humans have intellect they have the capacity of doing good and bad. Animals are just neutral not responsible for their actions. But to say that animals are good and people are bad, as many radical animal lovers imply, is stupidity and the same devaluing of human life that I see in religion. This is why I am not surprised that you have animal groups like PETA put pictures of dead chicken in a slaughterhouse right next to pictures of Jews in the holocaust, because for them human life does not have so much value.

What I think is important is to teach people values. We are already good by nature. But we can be an even better species if we learn good values. I think humanistic and liberal values is what will make humans even better.