How Large is your Penis?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Love as a Self-Interest

When it comes to love my big problem with people's perception of love is that they treat love as some sort of magical and transcendental experience. A lot of people believe that their love in a relationship is unconditional and will last forever. This is of course not true at all. In fact, a neuroscientist should be able to induce the feeling of love in you towards a stranger, and by a simple rewiring of the brain he should be able to remove your feeling of love from your spouse. This just goes to show how simplistic and entirely reducible love really is. It cannot be magical or transcendental if it follows the same scientific concepts of neuroscience just as every psychological phenomenon in your mind. But I want to concentrate on a different aspect of love, that is couples often see love as a form of genuine love which is not based on people's own interest but rather all based on the interest of the spouse. And this is also not true.

Before I explain why love is not genuine love there are two things we need to understand about relationships. First, everyone is a prostitute, we just have our own prices. Maybe you would not have sex with me if it for $75, but if I offered you $100,000 I am sure you will. Perhaps the price needs to be higher but almost everyone has their own price. Thus, it is fair to say that people are prostitutes with varying degrees of prices. Second, and this is based on the first, is that relationships are just a form of non-monetary prostitution. When a boy and girl enter into a relationship each one does something for the other. The boy may buy gifts for his girlfriend, or take her out to dinner, or repair the sink, whatever it happens to be. But in return the girl will suck on the boy's penis, she would have sex with him, go to the kitchen and make him a sandwich, and so forth. The point is that the relationship between the boy and the girl is an exchange. The exchange is, in a relationship, sexual for possibly non-sexual services. Thus, from that point of view, a relationship is similar to prostitution, except the exchange for sexual services is not provided with money but by other services. This is the key point to understanding why relationships are not based on genuine love. The basis of all relationships is self-love. We find ourselves a spouse because the spouse is able to satisfy our desires well. Therefore, a relationship is based on self-love, the boy finds a girlfriend because she satisfies his interests, while simultaneously the boyfriend satisfies her interests. Hence is the birth of all relationships.

If you still disagree with thinking of relationships are being based on our own self-interests then consider this. A boy and a girl are in a relationship. The girl finds a new boy that she happens to like even more. What will be the reaction of her boyfriend? He would get angry, he would fall into a state of depression, might even break up with her after hearing that. But why?! If he loves his girlfriend genuinely then it must make sense that he would be happy! She is happier to be with a new boyfriend, if he genuinely loves her then it must follow that he must be happy too upon hearing these news from her. But he is not happier, he is angry and depressed. Because she leaves him. And as a result he loves someone who was able to satisfy his interests. That is why he is angry and that is why he is sad. Such a relationship is not mainly based on love of the other spouse but rather on love of the person for themselves.

Consider this one final question if you still disagree with me. I will assume you are straight because that is what more people are. If your partner one day magically turned into a guy would you still "be in love together" (whatever that expression even means to you). Be honest with yourself. And realize that your relationship is based on self-interest.

Monday, July 26, 2010

God is the Worst Kind of Despot

A king or a ruler has a will that he wishes everyone to follow. Those who fail to follow his rule will be punished for disobedience. He wants to limit what people can do to enjoy themselves so that they can focus more on him. He has strict rules for the people to follow. But he lacks something, no matter how powerful a despot it, no matter how tyrannical he is, he cannot figure out how to invade the thoughts of people.

God is the ultimate despot. He is the invader of people's thoughts. People are now judged for the kind of thoughts that they have. Think of North Korea, then think of Bill O'Reilly, multiply those two, and raise to the power of Ann Coulter. God will still be more tyrannical than that. God does not believe in freedom of speech and nor does he believe in freedom of thought. He wants to be in the minds of people everyday all the time. God watches everything you do. Even when you masturbate. God also watches little boys masturbate, does that make him a pedophile?

I think this explains the psychological reasons why religious people are generally opposed to freedom. They are perfectly contempt, happy even, with being ruled and watched over a despot. In fact, it is interesting to note, that subjects ruled by kings and despots where also happy to be ruled by them. Religion still contains the remnants of humanities slavish mentality.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Boy who Cried Racism

As I am sure you know there are people who cry "racism" at any chance they get: Keith Olbermann, Jeane Garlofolo, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, David Blumenthal and so forth. The point of this tactic is to demonize the opposition. So for instance is you disagree with the tea parties instead of calling them to be wrong about what they are complaining about you call them "racist" so that you can demonize the opposition. You search as hard as you can for find anything to do with race and immediately conclude that racism must be the key issue. I clearly have no respect for these kind of people but there is something else which is wrong about these criers of racism. And that is that they trivialize racism. If you complain and call everyone a racist, which is what 90% of what the "news" programs are today, you turn racism into a trivial issue. Because there are times when racism really is an issue, but when it is the same criers of racism that rise up and call it racism then I am immediately discouraged from thinking of it as racism. This is a problem with these criers of racism, they create a trivial issue from an important issue. It is just like these Jewish people who assume that anything not in their favor must automatically be anti-Semitic. The employer hired your goyish partner over you in a promotion, it must be because he is an anti-Semitic, these criers of anti-Semiticism delude themselves to believe. And once in a while, in a few occasions, there can be authentic anti-Semiticism, but when these people tell me someone was anti-Semitic I immediately refuse to listen to that because form my experience they cry anti-Semiticism at any chance they get. Racism, along with other isms when when it comes to hate must not be trivialized, so before you want to cry racism or whatever, ask yourself a lot of questions first.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ban Religion?

I seriously get the impression that people have no idea what "ban" means. What goes through the minds of these people must be something like this: "if we ban something then the people will know that is is forbidden and they will not do it any longer". If someone actually thinks that way then he has absolutely no idea what bans are. It is not a surprise then why you have people in the world who have a big giant hard on for bans. Anything they do not like - ban. Because in the minds of these people if something gets banned then the people will stop doing it. It makes sense that if you actually think of bans this way then you would support them, because you think legislation is sufficient to change people. I wrote some time ago about what exactly bans are and why we need to oppose them under almost all circumstances here.

As a result of the failure of these people to understand what bans in actuality are and how they work there are atheists who support a ban on religion. It would be illegal to be religious or at least it would be illegal to be part of some organized religion. These atheists are in the minority, I definitely hope so, but they do exist, and not such a tiny minority. I am scared that when atheism starts to become more popular there may be countries that will support a ban on religion, perhaps not an outright ban on religion, but a ban on perhaps organized religious activity. I am not sure if this will even happen, but I think this is a problem worth discussing now because it definitely has potential to be a problem in the future. Atheists of today need to understand this situation that can come up in the future so that we will never actually bring ourselves so lowly to ban religion.

I have no idea if Elton John is an atheist or not but he supports a ban on religion because he says that religion is anti-homosexuality. I have several problems with Elton John's argument one of which is the ridiculous proposal to ban religion in the first place, but let us ignore this issue. Elton John would like to see religion banned because it is against homosexuals, but he never mentions that it has been also and still sometimes is anti-Jewish, anti-women, and anti-atheist. That does not bother him so much, the fact that it is anti-homosexual is what bothers him enough to favor a ban of it. The number of Jews, women and atheists who suffered as a result of religion far exceeds the number of homosexuals, so I can see why it would insult some people for Elton John to make such a statement like that. Second of all there are religions that work towards making homosexuals feel more accepted. There are tons of Churches like that. Why should these Churches have to suffer just because there are/were Churches which were anti-gay? Elton John's statement has no sense to justice.

What will a ban on religion actually accomplish? It will lead to an all out war. Religious people care so much about their religion that they would be willing to die for it. I can assure you a ban will not stop them, it will just lead to violence against civilians which will eventually turn into a bloody war. And atheism, for its first time in history, would be blamed for evil. So far atheism has a clean record, let us make sure it stays that way.

The way to fight religion is not by laws or bans, that never works and will lead to terrible murder. But by influencing people. By supporting free speech. By not protecting religion from harsh speech because, "it is intolerant and offensive". Religion is in its death days. The number of people leaving religion behind is growing faster than it ever has, thanks to the internet and speech between people. The people from my generation, late teens and early 20's, have already reach 20% of non-religious population in the United States, the last time I checked this statistic. That is record high, and atheism will only continue to grow. We just have to be patient. Religion will lose its influence and we will eventually live in a mostly reasonable society.

I understand the argument that atheists who support a ban on religion use. They say that religion makes people do evil things, it makes people be homophobic or racist or sexist. Religion is oppressive, they say. And they are correct for the most part. But what they fail to realize is that we cannot fight oppression with oppression. Banning religion is to oppress the religious people. Once we do that we turn into hypocrites, "religion is oppressive, so we will oppress religious believers".

Russia plans to ban "cults (religion is just a big cult). Germany has banned Scientology because it is "not a religion but exploitation". France has banned the burqa on Muslim people. And as much as I hate cults, Scientology and burqas I am exponentially times more bothered by these bans. Russia, Germany and France have all thrown away the ideas of the separation of church and state. Especially France. Shame on you France, be embarrassed of yourself. I always disliked France (like a good conservative ^^) but now I have a good reason to really dislike France for its terrible policy of banning burqas. These stories frighten me because I see them as the beginning steps of actually outright controlling religions or perhaps even banning them.

We just need to learn to be patient and allow reason to prevail over the superstitions of people. It is already happening. But we must be patient and not rush things. Please do not make atheism responsible for the evils that religion was responsible in the past. Think about these things before you propose such policies.

In case you do not believe me here are some YouTube videos supporting a ban on religion. I would like you to look at the number of people who like the video and the number of people who dislike it. More like it than dislike it. First, check out this video. Read the comments on this video. Some are nice to read, but some are sad that do support this idea. Actually, there was a sad and equally funny comment by evergladepictures which reads:

"i love the video man..!!!! amen..! ban religions i say..for they are nothing
but destruction and branwashing shits... i am gonna make a video soon buddy to
ban religions!! do not give up we gotta ban em! for G-d himself is not part of
religions he didnt even made them for christ sake..they are man made...G-d is
mother nature ...doesnt need a fucking religion..".

Of course this is a sad admission by him to want to ban religion but it is also so funny! First of all he appears to be Jewish by using "G-d" instead of "God". Second of all he vindicates my argument that environmentalism is a religion. I have accused environmentalism as being a religion on a few occasions and he confirms it for himself with the statement, "G-d is mother nature". Or consider this video. You will come across several comments that do advocate a ban on religion. Again, I am sure that these kind of atheists are in the minority, but they do exist, and not by very small numbers. This is why I am scared that atheists have a chance to commit evils in the future.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Never Mentioned Secret of Judaism

Most Orthodox Jewish people do not really believe in Judaism. No reasonable adult can possibly believe in that kind of stuff. So what Orthodox Jews actually do is pretend in what they believe. Why? Because they want to maintain a Jewish identity and they realized a long time ago that religion is the most efficient means of securing that identity. But Jewish people never talk about it because they have kids which they pretend what they believe in is real. Jewish parents know that if they simply told their kids that Judaism is make believe then the kids will not be serious. So what parents did was told them that Judaism is real so that it will motivated the kids. And the children keep the restrictions and obligations of Judaism because they think it is real. However, once they become adults they realize that Judaism is really false but they still maintain a Jewish identity because that is what they are used to. And they stay silent, no one talks about it. When they finally have children of their own they teach them these lies at first so that they can become just like their parents. And this has been going on for thousands of years. No one talks about it.

There are two kinds of outcasts on this never mentioned secret. The skeptics and the yeshivash guys. The skeptics rebel against Judaism because they noticed it is not true, but they fail to noticed that Jews also know it is false but just pretend it is true. This is precisely why Orthodox Jews despise skeptics because the skeptics are close to breaking open their secret. But in actuality the skeptics and Orthodox Jews believe in the same thing. And then there are the yeshivash guys. Yeshivash the guys are just so stupid that they never realized that Judaism is false. At between 18 and 20 Jewish people start to realize this secret of Judaism, except the yeshivash guys. They are the dumb ones who never got this message. So they are so devoted to Judaism because they think it is real. While the normal Jews they know it is not real so they are not devoted to it. If you watch a normal Jew daven and a yeshivash guy daven you will quickly note the difference. The normal Jew only davens not because he believes but because he is maintaining his Jewish identity. Since he does not believe he cannot be serious and there is no devotion at prayer. The yeshivash guy is full in devotion because he actually believes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is Spanking a Good Idea?

One does not need to experience something to speak about it. I have never been in the military but I am anti-military. I do not have to experience the military to form my ideas about it, experience certainly helps but it not a prerequisite. I bring this up because I am not a parent, I have no kids, nor any adopted ones either. I do not have to be a parent to say what I think about spanking. Besides every parent at one point was not a parent, at that moment the parent had some ideas about spanking, then they simply cared over their own pre-parent ideas with them once they became parents. Thus, being a parent has little relevance here. Those who support spanking probably have supported it before their kids were born.

To answer the question of whether spanking is good or not we should be more specific and ask what is it good for? It all depends on what you want to achieve as a parent. If your goal is to create obedient little children who follow every single command from you with no disagreement then perhaps spanking is a good idea. I can see how it will work. Johnny does not want to make his bed, so take him and hit him enough times until he feels the pain and does what you say. Eventually, Johnny will learn to fear you and do what you tell him to do. So if your goal is to create obedience and authority in your children then perhaps spanking is the way to go.

Such parents are not good parents. These kind of parents teach little to their children, their primary lesson is obedience to all what the parent says. Good parents teach to their children important values. A good parent will teach his kids not to steal, to stay away from dishonesty, to share, to be friendly, and so forth. Such a parent is teaching his kids proper values. If your goal is to teach proper values to your children then spanking is bad idea.

Spanking does not teach children values. Spanking does not teach children anything except obedience. A child who cleans the house because you tell him so is not doing it because you taught him values that made him do that but rather that he is afraid of you. That is not teaching him anything. If you were not present he would not do it, that is the entire point. He does so only because he is afraid of your presence. This kind of parenting fails to teach proper values to children.

So I do not think parents should spank their children. Or even yell at them or scream at them in an intimidating way to make them scared of you. Because fear is really the same approach as spanking, make the kids do as you say because otherwise they will fear the consequences. Parents should explain to their children what it is they want them to do. I think it is good for parents to argue with their children. I know some parents hold the no-argument policy, what they say goes. But I think these parents are making a mistake. It is good for your kids to argue with you. It shows they are thinking and not accepting what you say simply because you say it. They are being skeptical. This is great, something to be encouraged even more, not to be avoided. Children are capable to think also, they are humans after all. They can reason and comprehend, even young kids. Parents should argue with their children. But not a shouting argument of ad hominem attacks. Rather teach your children the correct way to argue with reason. Explain to them why their reasoning is wrong. And if they find a mistake in your reasoning, which will happen, rarely, but should happen, admit to them that you were wrong and they were right after all. This will make them respect you a lot more and teach them to be thinking skeptics at an early age. Parents should also show disappointment, anger, and other negative emotions, to make their children feel why they are wrong, rather than intimidating them with fear or spanking.

One will object to me that my method is inefficient. Even if you convince a kid that he is entirely wrong he might go and do what he wants anyway, that is just how kids are. True. I do not deny that. But so what? Parenting is not supposed to be about efficiency. Parents should be about teaching kids proper values. This can only be accomplished in the manner I described. You do not teach by spanking, even if it is more efficient at making them do what you want. At least the method I describe will teach them values. Even if they do little of what you say they will do something, and what they do will be from their understanding of it rather then following obedience. Furthermore, this kid will learn to think more clearly and be more skeptical. All of this will make him much better than spanking would ever accomplish.

Parenting is not supposed to be an easy job. It is hard. It will be filled with a lot of challenges. And part of the challenges is teaching kids proper values even if they refuse to follow them. Spanking is for bad and lazy parents, parents who do not want to struggle to teach values, rather to make their kids do what they say. Spanking is supported by the people who are lazy or unwilling to do their job as a parent. This is exactly why I oppose child spanking.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Generalized Harmonic Sums

Let $$\alpha$$ be any complex number which is not an integer. Then we can define the sums:

(i)$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n+\alpha}$$ and (ii)$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty}\frac{(-1)^n}{n+\alpha}$$

The double infinite sum is taken to be the Cauchy principle value,
$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} = \lim_{N\to\infty} \sum_{n=-N}^{N}$$

Indeed, we have to consider the Cauchy principle value because (i) does not even convergence in the traditional sense, it is harmonic after all, only (ii) will convergence by Leibniz's alternating series test.

These are interesting sums, they sum to trigonometric functions.

Notice that $$\sum_{n=-N}^{N}\frac{1}{n+\alpha} = \frac{1}{z} + \sum_{n=1}^n \left( \frac{1}{\alpha + n} + \frac{1}{\alpha - n} \right)$$

Thus, (i) is equal to $$\frac{1}{\alpha}+\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{2\alpha}{\alpha^2 - n^2}$$.
Similarly, (ii) is equal to $$\frac{1}{\alpha}+\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{(-1)^n2\alpha}{\alpha^2 - n^2}$$.

Now we need a result from complex analysis which can be found in any standard textbook on complex analysis.

Theorem: Let f be a meromorphic function with finitely many poles at $$\omega_1,...,\omega_k$$ none of which are integers. Define g to be $$\pi f(z) \cot \pi z$$ and h to be $$\pi f(z) \csc \pi z$$. Let $$g_j$$ be the reside of g at $$\omega_j$$ and $$h_j$$ be the reside of h at $$\omega_j$$. Assume that $$f(z)=O(z^{-2})$$. Then,
$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} f(n) = -\sum_{j=1}^k g_j$$ and $$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty}(-1)^n f(n) = - \sum_{j=1}^k h_j$$

In our case we will let $$f(z) = \frac{\alpha}{\alpha^2 - z^2}$$. Clearly, $$f(z) = O(z^{-2})$$, that is, there is R>0 large enough so that $$|f(z)| \leq A|z|^{-2}$$ for some constant A. We also see that f(z) is meromorphic with the only poles at $$\pm \alpha$$ none of which are integers. So the theorem will apply.

Notice that,
$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} \frac{\alpha}{\alpha^2 - n^2} = \frac{1}{\alpha} + \sum_{n=-\infty}^1 \frac{\alpha}{\alpha^2 -n^2} + \sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{\alpha}{\alpha^2 - n^2}$$
This simplies to,
$$\frac{1}{\alpha}+\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} \frac{2\alpha}{\alpha^2 - n^2} = \sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n+\alpha}$$
Thus, we see that,
$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty}\frac{1}{n+\alpha} = \sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} f(n)$$
$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty}\frac{(-1)^n}{n+\alpha} = \sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} (-1)^n f(n)$$

It is easy to compute, $$g_1=g_2=-\tfrac{\pi}{2}\cot \pi \alpha$$ and $$h_1=h_2 = -\tfrac{\pi}{2}\csc \pi \alpha$$.

Thus, we have derived that:
1)$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n+\alpha} = \pi \cot \pi \alpha, ~ ~ \alpha \not \in \mathbb{Z}$$
2)$$\sum_{n=-\infty}^{\infty} \frac{(-1)^n}{n+\alpha} = \pi \csc \pi \alpha, ~ ~ \alpha \not \in \mathbb{Z}$$

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

World Cup FIFA 2010 Review

I wanted to post a review of what I thought about the World Cup. I am a big fan of the World Cup, EURO, Winter and Summer Olympics. Watch it obsessively. I never watch TV. But it is during these events that I am so into these games. I am also not a sports fan, never watch of play sports, but I just love these four events. They are fun to watch but also I love the idea of peace. The goal behind the championships of soccer and Olympics is to promote peace over war. Whether it really succeeds or not is a different question but as far the idea goes it definitely has my support.

Before I give my review I wanted to tell how well I made predictions. I made some predictions back here if you want to look at them again. But before FIFA even started I made the following predictions (some of them are explicit in my June post). My first prediction was that France will embarrass itself without Zidane, he was what made the team great. I was correct, most people were wrong. My second prediction was that Brazil, unlike as many or perhaps most guessed, will not reach the semi-finals. I was correct. My third prediction was that Italy, Spain and Germany will reach the semi-finals. I was almost correct, Italy did not even get out of group stages, surprisingly. My fourth prediction was that, depending on the playoff chart, Germany will take either 2nd or 3rd place. I was correct. My firth prediction was that the US will embarrass itself. I was almost correct. The US was a bad team, as I said, but it earned by respect, it has some great moments. My sixth prediction was my grand prediction, I predicted that Spain would win the World Cup, despite the surprise of many people after they heard my prediction, I was correct. What does this all mean? It means I know my soccer well, I know what I am talking about.

FIFA should be divided into two halves the first two weeks and the last two weeks. The first two weeks were terrible, the last two weeks were great. The problem with the first two weeks was the refereeing. Terrible, embarrassing at the decisions the referees made. It is about time that we looked at all the terrible decisions by the referees and realized that we need to install cameras to judge the game also. Every other professional sport has cameras to look at the plays from all different angles, only soccer is so backwards that we rely on the ancient practice of using referees to make all the decisions without any cameras and without any replays. This lead to so many disastrous decisions, here are just some examples that really bothered me: 1)Miroslav Klose (Germany) receives a red card for the simplest of all fouls, Germany is one of the smoothest playing teams, they never get red carded, for Klose to be red carded is ridiculous, the commentators watching the game were all shocked and angry at the referee's decision, just ruined Germany's game against Serbia. 2)Thomas Muller (Germany) receives double yellow card for a handball, even though it was an accidental handball, Muller is sent off from the next game in the semi-finals, that ruined the Germany team for the semi-finals. 3)United States got denied a goal against Slovenia. This was just ridiculous on all levels. The United States, behind 0-2 to Slovenia after the first half had a miraculous second half when they caught up to Slovenia 2-2 and then scored a goal in the 86' minute, wow, that is amazing. But for some retarded reason the referee did not give them that goal, it was not even explained, no offside, no foul, clean goal. At least the referee got fired. 4)United States got denied a goal against Algeria in the first half. The goal was a clean goal and what is surprisingly is that this is the second goal in the row to be denied to the US! Luckily, in a dramatic finish, the United States managed to score a victory goal in stoppage time. 5)England got denied a goal against Germany. In the first half England scored a goal that bounced over the line and then out of the goal again. From every camera angle it was clear that was a goal. But the referees did not see. So a goal was stolen away from England. Again, this is the reason why we need cameras. 6)Argentina scored an illegal goal against Mexico, their first goal. Clearly an offside goal. Everyone watching FIFA on their TV's was easily able to see the offside goal. All the replays show an offside goal. Argentina scores an illegal goal. Mexico starts complaining to the referee against the goal. Instead the referee checking on camera to see if he made a correct decision the referee ignores all of their complaints and gives Argentina a goal. There are more of these dumb calls, but I guess these are enough examples. This FIFA was a perfect demonstration of why we cannot rely on old fashioned referee "technology", we need to use cameras so that referees can rejudge their decisions immediately.

Not let me get to the parts I liked and disliked about FIFA.

I disliked that Klose was robbed so many opportunities to scored one more goal, a goal that would have tied him with Ronaldo (Brazil) for the most number of goals. First he gets red carded unfairly. Second he misses the next match against Ghana form his red card. Third the coach for some pathetic reason did not put Klose to play in the 3rd place match against Uruguay, why not?! That was the man's final match! Let him play. Let him score. We all wanted to see Klose score that one more goal. He really got robbed of so many opportunities. He scored 4 goals in 4 games he played, quite positive that he would have scored at least 5 goals in all 7 games he should have played.

I loved the play by Suarez (Uruguay) against Ghana in the last second. I know a lot of players are saying that Suarez cheated but they are being stupid. It would be cheating if Suarez did what he did without anything happening to him. Suarez got red carded. He got banned from playing in his next game. Ghana received a free penalty kick. And they missed. How is that cheating? That is exactly what should have happened. Suarez was the man of the match in that game. Nicely done, he did what he had to do.

I disliked Germany's final game for 3rd place against Uruguay. Yes Germany is my favorite team and they won but they won with a brand new team. About 80% of everyone playing on that team was the substitute players. Even the goal keeper. Coach replaced Neuer with Butt, yes that was his name, Butt. And he sucked as a keeper. Neuer is alright as a keeper, Neuer should have played. Besides Germany looked bored. Uninterested in playing their 3rd game match, not very serious about winning.

I really liked Thomas Muller from Germany. Just 20 years old and he won the golden boot award for most goals! And he was given the best young player award of 2006. I am sure that Muller will be a big player for Germany in 2012 in EURO and 2014 in FIFA again. I think that when Klose retires Muller should be put into the striker position. He would score lots of goals.

And I was so happy when I heard that Diego Forlan from Uruguay received the best player of FIFA award. Absolutely deserved. Forlan was outstanding. Any list of top ten goals in FIFA must include 3 or 4 of his 5 goals on that list. That is just how awesome of a striker he is. He is the main reason why Uruguay got so far as they did.

I really enjoyed the Uruguayan goalkeeper Muslera. He is so sexy! It was pleasing to the eyes to watch him play. When he bended over to pick up the soccer ball I had some sexual thoughts haha. Any girls agree with me here?

Finally I was glad to see Germany reach the semi-finals for the third straight championship. Germany was never the #1 soccer team in the world. They were the world champions three times but that, I think, is because they had a little luck in winning the finals. What Germany really is the #3 soccer team in the world. But Germany is by far the most consistent soccer team I have ever seen. No other team can match the consistency of Germany. Year after year for the past 50 years Germany has ended up in the quarterfinals. Ended up in the semi-finals 12 times, far more than other other team. That is outstanding consistency. Other teams rise and fall it was only Germany that has maintained their consistency all these years. And in the end it was their consistency that paid off and made them win those three times in FIFA. I hope to see Germany again in the semi-finals in 2014 and probably in the finals in the European championships of 2012.

Oh I forgot to mention the best part of FIFA. Those were the vuvuzelas! Those things are awesome. I should have got one, but never did sadly. They look really fun to blow.

So thanks for Africa for hosting these funs games.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Overpopulation Non-Problem

A lot of people are scared that overpopulation will be a problem. Their reasoning is certainly understandable. There is a finite amount of land, a finite amount of resources, but there can be a continually growing population of people. So eventually people will have to exceed the available land and the resources that we have. To understand why overpopulation is not a problem requires a lot more imagination, an ability to see beyond our intuitive notions. It would help if you read what I wrote regarding emergent complexity here and the relationship between evolution and markets here. These are the key ideas to understand why overpopulation will not be a problem.

First I want to begin by saying the world is nowhere near having too many people. Just drive from New York City to Los Angelos. What do you see? Nothing. It is just empty. People just choose to live at the coasts to be near water. All that space can be made to use. So the fear that we are nearing the last days of a sustainable population is unjustified. We are far from it.

Now to get to the overpopulation hysteria that has many people worried. In mathematics there are a pair of equations, known as the Lotka–Volterra equations, here. These equations (actually they are used as a classic example of non-linear system of differential equations) describe the relationship between predators and prey. The idea is that predators feed on prey. If there is an abundance of prey then the predators will have plentiful of food to eat and therefore increase in their size. There are now even more predators to feed on prey. So the prey population will have to have a higher rate of death than it had before. This will continue to happen until there are few too prey left. But once there are too few prey left, the prey need to be rationed between the predators. And so the predators have difficulty satisfying their need for food. As a result the predator population will start dying out. Once the predator population is low the prey population will now be able to increase in size because there are few predators hunting them. Thus, just like a cycle, we are back to where we started. A small predator population with abundance of prey. And this cycle repeats over and over again. Thus, the predator and prey populations will be periodic functions of time. The Lokta-Volterra equations describe these populations sizes in more mathematical terms. But this is essentially the idea behind the predator-prey cycle.

Where do these periodic population sizes for predators and prey come from? Is there some central planner deciding how much prey to feed to the predators or when the predators eat too much? No. This is all emergent. The basic rules of predators and prey, described above, come together to create a rather complex system of population sizes for the predators and prey.

The question of overpopulation should be analyzed in the same manner as the model between predators and prey. Think of human beings as predators and the resources we use as prey. Now it is true that some of our resources are not renewable, like oil, but our primary resources, like food, are renewable. So there will be a difference between how renewable resources and non-renewable resources operate in relation to our growing population. Prey after all are a renewable resource to the predator, so when we consider non-renewable resources the situation will be a little different. But, as we will see, irrelevant in our conclusion that overpopulation is not an issue to worry about.

If people begin to exceed the available renewable resources then they are essentially predators living off the resources. In such a case there will be a shortage of available resources. Which means that resources would have to be rationed. As a result prices will begin to rise (if the economy is market oriented, not a socially planned market) to adjust for scarcity. In addition, there will not be enough resources to consume so that the rate of human population will decrease. It will continue to decrease at a faster rate as long as there is a growing number of people. Eventually, just like with the predator prey model the human population will start dying out at a faster rate then they are being born. Once the human population is much lower the renewable resources would be able to adjust themselves appropriately and the market will adjust itself appropriately by lowering its prices. Humans will now be able to increase their rate of birth with the abundance of new resources. Thus, it is expected, the relationship between human and renewable resource population will be an increasing-decreasing periodic function of time. Place special attention about the part in which the market will adjust its prices accordingly, this is very important. The relationship between prey and predators does not involve any economics, but with humans there is an additional feature of the market that will remove all danger of overpopulation, this is the adjusting market prices, as we will soon see why.

Now the situation with non-renewable resources is different. Non-renewable resources would not come back. However, as people consume more of these resources the market will adjust to its consumption. As a result there will be raising prices. This is precisely why oil will never run out. Yes, there is a finite amount of oil. But we will never reach a point where everyone is using oil one day and the next we have no more oil anymore, that is just silly economics. Rather oil prices will start raising so high that people will have to more away from using oil as a method of energy. So there will always be oil, but it will not be worth it for extraordinary high prices. The raising prices will impose a cost on people for over consumption. It will become a lot more expensive for people to sustain whatever non-renewable resource that it is. Because of high costs people would not have an incentive to reproduce at the rate they did, and the birth rate will start falling back. Therefore, in both the renewable and non-renewable cases the imposed costs will make people reduce their birth rates.

The market is what comes to our rescue here. People who are worried about overpopulation should have a reason to support free market prices. Market prices tell us if we are over consuming or not. Consider this example. Say people start to use too much paper. There are not enough trees and we begin to lose our forests. So people start to complain, "how dare these paper companies charge us so much money, they are greedy, they are taking advantage of us, prices must be less". So the Federal Reserve maintains artificially low paper prices so that paper is priced the same. But the problem is that the artificially low prices would encourage even more people to engage in over consumption of paper. If prices were allowed to be set by the market they will automatically adjust to the scarcity of paper and as a result the cost for using paper will be too high. People will be careful in how they use their paper. People will now indirectly care about saving the trees by reducing their paper usage. Or perhaps going with plastic paper because it would be cheaper. Whatever the course of action people will take it will move people away from over consuming paper thereby allowing the forests to regenerate. So if you happen to be scared by overpopulation then please realize that the market is on your side here. Allow the market to set prices for resources not the law. Prices really tell us something important.

I know some people even support population control, as scary as that sounds. I doubt they want to go so far as cutting off the penis from all men, but they probably support some tax or fee on people who have many children. But this is not necessary. If there is a population problem then a high cost will be imposed on people who have more children. People will just have no incentive to have many children if it becomes so expensive. And so there is no need to impose fees on them. Of course, if we have a welfare system that would support families than no costs would be imposed by the market on such families removing the incentive not to have children. In today's age with birth control and condoms parents will move away from having many children if they get imposed the market costs for less available resources. So in effect large families are being financially punished for having many children, but without any actual fees. This is why population control is not necessary.

I am not scared of overpopulation. Overpopulation is not a problem in the animal kingdom and will likewise not be a problem with people. These population models all arise from emergent complexity. If in addition we are careful about relying on the market rather than socially planned economies or welfare programs we will incur large costs which will create an incentive for parents not to have many children or possibly none at all. Our values are different today as well. In the past people believed marriage is all about having kids, not anymore, now we value love. I am more scared of being struck by lighting while I masturbate openly in the middle of Lakewood than I am of overpopulation.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Free Markets and Evolution

This is really a continuation of the previous post, which can be found here. Evolution is the finest example of emergent complexity, but it is not the first such example. The first idea proposed that was based on emergent complexity was free market economics influenced by the ideas of Adam Smith.

Evolution follows a few basic laws of biology, that when put together emerge into an extremely complex structure, the life around us. Free market economics follows a few basic laws of human interaction between one another, that when put together emerge into an extremely complex structure, the market around us. Here are some of the laws behind free markets. First, people want to maximize their revenue and minimize their cost, basically put, people want to get as much possible for the least amount of work. If I sell female sex dildos I would like to sell each dildo for a million dollars, I would be so happy if I can make such a revenue. But the problem is that the women also follow their own rules of economics, that is why wish to pay as little as possible, they would love to get those dildos for free. Therefore, there needs to be some sort of compromise between penis hungry women who want dildos and money hungry me who wants to sell them for a million. I realize that at a million dollars no one would buy. But if I give them out for free, or sell them at a dollar, nearly every women would buy, but then I make no money, in fact lose money because my revenue does not pay off my cost. This brings up to the second rule. People act to maximize their profits. The first rule is more of a wish, what we all want, the second one is really how people act in relation to other people around them. Let us return back to the dildo example. If my prices are too high then I will have few buyers, so my total revenue would be the few buyers multiplied by the price per dildo. If my prices are too low then I will have many buyers. My goal, as a profit maximizing individual, is to maximize the function of price multiplied by number of buyers. It will turn out that the price at what I sell my dildo's will have to be some sort of reasonable price, it will not be able to be too high for that will diminish my profits. Even in a primitive economy where there is just one seller not subject to the rules of competition he will still be controlled by these rules of economics, he will have to sell his products at a price that will determine his profit maximization, not his own desire. The third rule is competition, similar to the competition of the species in evolution. Competition are buyers choosing their selection from the people who can best suit their interests. Sellers who cannot satisfy their buyers sufficiently well will die out, as species do in evolution. So not only do sellers have to compromise with buyers they have to battle against each other for survival. The fourth rule is perhaps supply and demand. There are more rules but these are among the most important ones. When these rules are put together the individual members of an economy will emerge into a very complex market system. Just consider the stock market. Notice how so rapidly the price of stocks are changing. No one person is controlling those prices, rather these prices emerge and change based on the complexity created by buyers and sellers coming together in the market.

Of course, this is a model for how people act, not a perfect description. Not all people are subject to these laws. These laws are in the worst-case scenario if all people were selfish greedy people. In actuality, people make other kind of decisions based on their values too. The wages of labor from employers to their workers will be determined by the market not by how little an employer wants to pay or how much the workers want to be paid. Even in the worst-case scenario of a selfish greedy employer who lives for the purpose of exploiting the workers will not be able to set the wages of labor as little as he pleases if his goal is to maximize his profits. But in actuality most employers are good people that have some respect towards their workers. So they would lean a little in the benefit of the worker. The rules above would aplply to the kind of society which consists of only evil employers. In actuality, life is a little better than the implications from the free market rules above.

In this regard free market economics is really identical to evolution. They are really the same theory just applied in different ascepts, both of them are specific examples of emergent complexity. The main point of evolution is that there is no central designer behind life, in fact bottom-up complexity will do a far more successful job at this than any central designer can. Free market economics is similar. The main point of free market economics is that there should be no central planner. Evolution implicitly rejects God, free market economics implicitly rejects Gov. The complexity of the market will emerge by itself and that any attempt to plan the market with a central designer will lead to less efficiency than otherwise would have happened, because the market is too complex for any planner.

I write this post both towards any atheist liberals reading this or any religious conservative who reject evolution that may be reading this. For the religious conservatives who reject the theory of evolution, you should think of evolution as the same concept as free market economics (yes, I know, conservatives are not really in favor of free markets, they do support anti-trust policy and the FDA along with other regulations, but they at least have some understanding and support for free markets). You agree that government is inefficient and that markets should be the way to go. So now think of evolution as being the same concept. Life does not need a central designer just like an economy does not need a central planner. It can emerge by its own structure. If you can see how the market can operate in absence of a central planner then try to understand and see how evolution can operate in absence of a central designer. For the atheist liberals the same advice applies to you too. Try to understand the reasoning behind free market economics. Do not just dismiss it as some crazy insane non-sense theory. It is counter-intuitive, I agree, but at first evolution is counter-intuitive too, try to see past your initial intuitive feeling and try to understand how this market complexity can emerge from within in absence of central planners.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Emergent Complexity

It is understandable why when people see complexity they imagine their needs to be some designer behind all of it. Consider the computer. The computer is very complex with all of its components. The computer had a designer behind it, a mind, that knew exactly what it was doing to put all the pieces of a computer together. Or consider an orchestra. All those instruments come together to produce complex music. There is a designer behind all of it, namely the conductor. The conductor gives instructions to the orchestra and they follow through thereby producing music. It therefore makes sense to us when we see something which is complex we imagine that there needs to be some designer behind all of it. This kind of complexity is known as "top-down complexity". There is someone on top who transmits the information down below, the one on top is the designer, the one who created the complexity.

Now consider Conway's "Game of Life". The Game of Life is a computer simulation developed by the mathematician Conway, still living. It is a very simple game. It consists of a grid with each square either on or off. It follows very basic rules. If a square is isolated by itself, lonely, it will sadly die out (turn off), if a square is near another square, they will have sex and reproduce another square (turn on). If there are too many squares next to one another, they have an overpopulation problem, and some will die out (turn off). These are not the specific rules but just enough to tell you the idea of this game. What is interesting is that certain arrangement of squares will produce some very complex patterns. Sometimes it creates simulations as if their is a living organism, for example see this this. The Game of Life is an example of "bottom-up complexity". There is no designer in the Game of Life. There is no programmer who is making this simulation run. It runs by itself. The squares follow a few basic rules of life and when these squares get together they creates a complex pattern.

This is what emergent complexity is all about. The idea that complexity can emerge from bottom-up components that follow very few basic rules. Emergent complexity is not uncommon, on the contrary, it is all around us. Consider walking in New York City. It does not have to be New York it can be any place which has many people walking in the streets. If you look at the movement of people from a bird's eye view, from high above, you would see a pattern emerge. You will see a direction of movement one way and another direction of movement in the opposite way, these two directions will never cross each other. One might imagine that there is some designer behind the movement of people which produces these patterns if he sees this complexity but that is not the case. There is no designer in the movement of people. The complexity emerges from bottom-up based on a few basic rules of human movement. These rules are so basic that most people do it on a subconscious level. The first rule is that people follow the person in front of them, the idea is that if there is a person walking already in front then there is nothing in your way to stop you from walking ahead, so we naturally follow the person ahead of us. The second rule is that we never get too far back from the leading person, lest someone else, from another direction, can get in the way. The third rule is that we never get to close to the person in front of us. These simple rules, when put together, just like the Game of Life, produces some complexity, not very complicated, but there are patterns nonetheless that direction motion of people. You see even more complicated patterns emerges when bird fly together. They stay together and operate, if seen from far away, as some giant intelligent organism. The formation of bird flying is also the result of emergent complexity. There is no leader bird. Rather they follow some basic rules. Do not get too far away, do not get too close, fly away from danger, and so forth. None of these birds imagines itself to be making intelligent choices to create this complexity, it happens naturally. Likewise, as with the New York example none of the people imagine themselves to be making an intelligent choice to create flow complexity, it happens naturally based on the simple rules of the components.

Perhaps the finest illustration of emergent complexity is evolution. We have incredibly complex species of animals. Millions and maybe even billions of different kind of species. Where did they all come from? All of them are so many times more complex than the most advanced computer we can build. We might imagine that there had to be a central designer behind all of this life (God). And this was the common held view. But it turns out as we know today that all the life around us was not centrally designed, it emerged from bottom-up. Life follows a few basic rules that everyone would accept. First, offspring have variation from the parents. Second, parents pass most of their traits down to the offspring. Third, the traits most capable of surviving in an environment are more likely to be passed down to the offspring. The third statement is essentially saying there is a competition between the species to which one is more able to survive in the given situations. These are the rules of life. Put them together with the ever changing environment and wait millions and billions of years and you have some absolutely amazing complexity. There was no central designer, it was all bottom-up. Even deniers of evolution accept these basic rules. They just deny that these rules can come together and by emergence construct the complexity of life that we see. Some deniers of evolution, even Kent Hovind, after enough talking, will admit there is truth in evolution. They just call it "micro-evolution". In fact, the complexity of life only suggests that there can be no central designer. For a central designer to put all of this life together, in the exact environments that they belong to, the amount of knowledge and work involved in such a project is enormous. It is just so incredibly unlikely that some central designer would have such skill and intelligence. Thus, it happens to be more plausible to argue for the complexity that we see in life not from central design but from bottom-up design, by complexity that emerges itself from basic rules of the components (individual organisms) follow.

Most everything that we see in the universe is the result of emergent complexity. The planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, and so forth, none of this was centrally designed, it has emerged from the simple natural laws which govern the universe. The number of people living in a certain area, the way people walk, the shape of snowflakes, just about anything we can imagine is actually the result of bottom-up complexity. It was not mandated above from some person and it cannot be for the problem is just too complex, rather it all is the result of the emergence. Thus, it is more appropriate to ask the question, "what is centrally designed" or "what have we or can we design ourselves", because central design is an exception to complexity.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BP Oil Spill

Doing damage to the environment, killing out the sea life, causing billions of dollars in property damage is certainly terrible. But what is more terrible is doing even more property damage and killing out human beings in the hundreds of thousands and enslaving about a million people. This is my problem with the news coverage of the BP oil spill. For the approximate past two months the most popular story (with exception of a few stories from FIFA, like Landon Donovan's goal) has been BP. But I have a question. Why is there absolutely no coverage of operation Iraqi "freedom"? Why is there no coverage of people in the hundreds of thousands that were murdered by the US government? Why is there no coverage of the dehumanization that takes place in the military to other people? Why is there no coverage of the millions of our own citizens enslaved in jails for crimes which should not be crimes in the first place? Why does the news never tell us the number of people killed in Iraqi ever since we wanted to spread peace there with a military occupation? The news quickly is happy to tell us how many American soldiers got killed, 3000, 5000, oh my Science, it is just so huge when you compare it to 100,000 or 200,000 people. But hesitant to tell us or never tells us how many Iraqis get killed. Why are these cruelties against other people by the US government not covered in the news? Once in a while we might see a leaked video of the dehumanization that takes place. But that is just one incident among thousands that take place every day. Why are the news happy to cover BP but ignore the worse evil? All what this news coverage accomplishes is a diversion from the actual problems that face the world. When we hear about BP all day long we forget the massacre and enslavement the US is doing every day for the past many years. BP is just a diversion along with other news stories from the real problems that are present.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why Family is Unimportant

I realized this when I was still a little kid. And very few people that I have discussed this with actually agree with me. We have been taught, perhaps brainwashed is a better word, that our family is the most important thing for us. When I say "family" I mean to say what the word normally means, that is, your relatives who share the same family tree that you have.

I have heard so many people say throughout my short life, so many times that I cannot keep track of it, "I love him because he is my blood", or a variation, "we must love our family because they are part of our blood". I despise this dreadful comment against the intellect. What does relations to another person have anything to do with the virtues of another person? The fact that I am related to someone does not imply that he is virtuous, and so it follows I cannot consider him more important than non-relatives or strangers.

Two brothers do not have to love each other despite what society has taught us. Just because two brothers are the same blood is entirely irrelevant. All what "we are the same blood" means is to say that we both came out of the same vagina. That is it. Or perhaps not from the same vagina but that somewhere along our ancestors they came out of the same vagina. Why should I love someone more because he came out of the same vagina? I am not trying to be erotic, well that is not true, I am, but the real reason why I bring up the vagina argument is because I want to show how absurd the "we are the same blood" argument is.

Family is therefore unimportant. What is important is friendship. Friendship is the result of cooperation and agreement between people not the result of some mere accident of birth depending whose vagina it was. I really hate to get Biblical but I want to try to appeal to my religious readers. In Proverbs 18:24 it says, "sometimes a friend is closer than a brother". Rav Hirsch comments on this verse saying that friendship is the result of choice, therefore, friendship can far exceed people's blood relations.

Instead of people telling their good friends, "you are like family to me" (I hate this phrase so very much), people should tell their families, "you are a friend to me". I am not saying you should hate your mother now. I love my mother. But I love my mother not because she gave birth to me, but because she is very important to me. She is a good mother who helped me very much. That is why I love her. My "family" happens to consist of so many unrelated people. No one in my family have a same last name. That is how biologically unrelated we are. But it never bothers me. Blood relations are meaningless to me.

If a relative of yours invites you to a meal and a good friend does also. Give your relative a middle finger and go over to your friend if you are not close with your relative. Why should you come over to his house? Just because it is social norms? Screw social norms. It is time to have a revolution in social norms. Friendship. That is were it is all at. Not family.

I love my friends because they have proven themselves to me to be virtuous people. What has ever my blood relatives every done to deserve me love? What have they done that proves their virtuous character? Nothing at all.

Yes, this means you do not have to come over to a funeral of some relative who died and you did not really know him. I am not supportive of funerals. I think they are a waste of time because they are essentially based on the idea that there is life after death. And even the secular funerals are a waste of time. Dead do not need to be honored, only the living, because they are dead and do not exist any longer. But even if you disagree with my position regarding funerals you should agree with me that you do not have to go to relative funerals any longer. It all should be the funerals of friends.

Nationalism, racism, and family are all the exact same fallacy extended to the various sizes of people. Nationalism is based on which country people are born. Racism is based on the relationship to one another as a species. Family is based on whose vagina we came out of. All of these three things are just as stupid. It is good that most people see racism as repulsive. And some people already agree that nationalism is repulsive. But few still see the concept of family blood relations as repulsive. Hopefully, in the future there will be a revolution in the ethics of people that will make them realize the error of their ways.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Jewish Nationalism

This is a follow-up post to my previous one. I have a big problem with nationalism. I am an individualist. I judge the virtues of people based only on their accomplishments. I could not care less who they are. Children are not responsible for the sins of their parents, nor do children inherit the merits of their fathers. Children are responsible for what they do themselves. People are not responsible from what nation they come from. A German cannot be condemned for the evils of Nazis. Even a German alive in Nazi Germany cannot be condemned for the evils of the Nazis. Because he can be against Nazism himself. A person must be virtuously judged for what he did himself. Not his origin or nationality or whether he has a penis. This is exactly why I despise nationalism. It is a form of collectivism. We put a giant group of people into some group and we judge the virtues of these people on the group they come from.

Part of my problem with Judaism was when I was religious is the nationalistic aspect of it. I was required, by Jewish law, to love Jewish people more than non-Jewish people. What a repulsive thought against the intellect! No. I refuse to lower my intelligence by this sort of bronze-age thinking.

What surprises me is that there are a lot of secular Jewish people who still follow a form of Jewish nationalism. I can understand why religious people embrace this form of nationalism, but I cannot understand why non-religious Jews still can embrace this form of nationalism. I was speaking with a gay secular Jewish guy online. The fact that he is gay is irrelevant but I like to be descriptive. What we were doing together online, well, I leave that up for your imaginations. It could have been simulated futt bucking or an actual intelligent conversation, that is for you to figure out. So the topic of Israel came up. He told me how much he loves Israel and all the nationalistic non-sense. He also mentioned that he has a special connection to Jewish people because they are like an extended family. He asks me why I do not support Israel. I gave him my reasons and he still was unable to understand. He kept on telling me how Jewish people are like my extended family and I must, as a Jew, not necessarily religious, support them no matter what. Whatever, this really bothered me. The point is that there are secular Jews who really think this way. This is the kind of Jewish nationalism I really hate.

It is time to end all forms of nationalism. Nationalism is just like racism, just extended to whole nations instead.

Judaism and Zionism

I could not care less or more for Israel. It does not interest me. Israel has never been an interest for me. What happens to Israel and the Middle-East interests me just as much as what happens in Ghana. It is not on my interest list. This does not mean to say that I am negative towards Israel, I am neutral, I have nothing positive to say about it either. I have no problem with Israel existing in the Middle-East. But at the same time I hate the Jewish (perhaps "Zionist" instead of "Jewish") attitude that Israel is innocent. Israel is not innocent and neither are the Arab neighbors, but just do not pretend Israel is always the good guy.

What has surprised me about Judaism and Israel is the negative correlation between one's religious observance and Zionism. It is counter-intuitive. One would imagine that the biggest Israel supporters are the most religious Jews, but this is exactly the opposite position. The more religious Jews get the more they are anti-Israel. The biggest supporters of Israel and the proud Zionists turn out being secular Jews. I guess I am an exception to the rule of being pro-Israel as a secular Jew, though this position has really to do with not giving an interest. Some Jews, like Rabbi Weiss, part of the Ultra-Orthodox movement, want Israel to be abolished.

I wanted to ask is where exactly does this negative correlation come from? Why are the most religious Jews anti-Israel while the secular Jews pro-Israel?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Venus Project

You can find out more about the Venus Project here. Basically, what the Venus project is a goal to build an automatic society, where there is no war, there is no excessive work, people are freed to their own hobbies, products and services are available to everyone, no crime, and no poor people. The Venus project has been having a lot of support from the world, but I am going to condemn the Venus project. All what the Venus project is, is a dream, a fantasy world. That is part of the reason why lots of people like it so much. It is nothing but a Utopian fantasy. I am going to show the problems with this project.

On the Wikipedia page, Fresco, the founder of this project, says that:

According to Fresco, poverty, crime, corruption and war are the result of scarcity created by the present world's profit-based economic system. He theorizes that the profit motive also stifles the progress of socially beneficial technology. Fresco claims that the progression of technology, if it were carried on independently of its profitability, would make more resources available to more people by producing an abundance of products and materials. This new-found abundance of resources would reduce the human tendency toward individualism, corruption, and greed, and instead rely on people helping each other. Fresco believes it is now possible to achieve a society in which people would live "longer, healthier, and more meaningful lives." Fresco believes the monetary system and the processes associated with it, such as labour and competition, damages society and holds people back from their true potentials. He states his ideas would maximally benefit the greatest number of people. He claims some of his ideas stem from his formative years during the Great Depression. Fresco believes the current global economic situation, being similar to —though not as severe as— the Great Depression, will lead people away from free-market economics and capitalism and make them lose confidence in the monetary establishment. Fundamental to the project is the elimination of the current money-based economy in favor of a resource-based economy.

Let us examine the stupid ideas from this one paragraph one by one.

1)According to Fresco, poverty, crime, corruption and war are the result of scarcity created by the present world's profit-based economic system. The first thing I want to concentrate on is being poor. Poorness is not created by anything. Poorness is the natural condition of man. The natural condition of man is misery and suffering. This is the way people lived for 99% of our human existence. The only reason why we have been able to escape this terrible state is by trade and the division of labor. How can one say that poor people are created? Poor people is the way things are. We should rather ask why are there rich people, or people with some reasonable standard of living? That is the proper way to phrase the question. Now let me talk about corruption, crime and war. Crime is often caused by people's self-interest, not all the time but often enough. Some criminal wants more money so he figures that he can rob another person for his money. The criminal's self-interest is more money and he robs that money from other people. The reason why people for the most part act good is partially due to our system of values or the fear of dealing with the consequences. Even though we may have a self-interest to rob we hold ourselves back, sometimes our self-interest for theft can really be strong and we ignore fear or values and act on our self-interest motives. The same with war. Crime is self-interest for individuals, war is self-interest for states. Wars happens become one state wants more power or more wealth, some wars are acts of self-defense, but most are not. So I agree that self-interest is responsible for crime and war, but it is ridiculous to say that a profit-based economy is responsible for crime and war. Let me ask this question. There is not self-interest in a Marxist economy? You really think people never want to earn money in a Marxist country? Of course they do. It is human nature to act in self-interest. It does not matter what kind of economy it is, self-interest will always be present. So this criticism of profit-based economics (I guess he wants to say "capitalism") by Fresco is a pathetic criticism.

2)He theorizes that the profit motive also stifles the progress of socially beneficial technology. How? This is just stupid. It is the profit motive (oh no, "profit", such a dirty word!) that has created computers, TV's, and basically all of the technology that we have. This does not stifle anything, this is progress. If you ask me to name a piece of technology developed for making a profit I can think of ten in five seconds. But if I was to ask you to think of a piece of technology developed for non-profit reasons, I doubt you would be able to think of even one. This point by Fresco is rationally and empirically stupid.

3)This new-found abundance of resources would reduce the human tendency toward individualism, corruption, and greed, and instead rely on people helping each other. I believe that the human species will one day live through a new economic revolution. Machines will replace most of the main labor that people have to do. This way people would have time to enjoy life and pursue their hobbies. This would be the period of our time when our standard of living is astronomically high, perhaps there will be no poor people anymore because products and services are no longer based on earning profits for they are performed by machines. I have no objection to this kind of society, obviously, I hope we can reach it one day. The way we reach this stage is not by some dumb Utopian fantasies which do not even make economic sense, but by a profit-driven competitive markets which will produce these machines that will work for us.

4)Fresco believes the monetary system and the processes associated with it, such as labour and competition, damages society and holds people back from their true potentials. Wow, this is complete stupidity. I wrote about why a monetary system is good and necessary back here. Being against money is to fundamentally be opposed to trade, Fresco obviously does not realize this. Besides, why are labor and competition associated with a monetary system? Regardless if it is a monetary system or not labor will always be associated with it, work needs to be done. But the part that really surprises me is when he says "damages society". How does Fresco conclude that competition damages society? Competition is the reason why technology is improving. Why everything gets cheaper and why quality is going up. How can he possible be against competition for this reason then? I do agree with him that labor holds people back from their true potentials. A person who has to work has little time to philosophize or to pursue his hobbies. It is sad that this sacrifice must take place. It certainly would be better if we did not have to sacrifice our hobbies for our labor, but the world is not this way yet, and we have to. Work needs to be done.

5)He states his ideas would maximally benefit the greatest number of people. I do not care what he states, I care for his justification. Anyone can state anything they want. Every person will state that his ideas are superior, obviously, otherwise they would not form their ideas in the first place. Stating your own position is useless unless it is defended. And thus far, Fresco makes no economic sense at all.

6)Will lead people away from free-market economics and capitalism and make them lose confidence in the monetary establishment. I am surprised at how many people think that the world operates under free-market economics. Hardly anywhere in the world is free market capitalism practiced as an economic system (I believe this has to do with people's ignorance of the subject matter). But what I can say is that capitalism cannot be replaced. Capitalism is derived from the concept of trade between two people. Money is derived from trade itself. To abolish capitalism or money will mean that we need to move towards a system in where no trade ever takes place. That sounds like a terrible system ... but hey, at least no worker gets exploited!

So this is what I think of this dumb Utopian fantasy filled with economic fallacies after another. Fresco might be an engineer but he is an economic retard. To plan for such a society, that he wants to achieve, probably requires some understanding of economics. And once someone knows a little bit about economics, one learns that, surprisingly, such societies cannot be planned, and they cannot have a central planner, they will have to arise naturally and spontaneously. So the goal of removing labor from people will not be achieved by central planners but by the natural evolution of humans themselves.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gaussian Integral

We will prove that $$\int_{-\infty}^{\infty} e^{-x^2}dx = \sqrt{\pi}$$. The common trick that is shown is the use of polar coordinates over the plane. My problem with this method is that it needs a lot of justification. We need to know the justification behind Jabcobi's theorem and how it applies to this integral, we need to know the justification behind Fubini's theorem and how it applies to this integral, these justfications take place over a finite integral that in the limit it taken over the whole line. So there is a lot of mathematical justifications that need to be done to prove such an integral. The polar trick is easy but it has a lot of hidden work behind it. Here is a method that does not have hidden work behind it, all the work will be presented, but the actual derivation takes more work. This is the method I prefer because it is complete unlike the classic polar coordinate trick.

Consider the two curves $$te^{\pi i/4}\pm \tfrac{1}{2}$$ for $$-R\leq t \leq R$$, one with a positive sign for 1/2 and one with a negative sign for 1/2, R will be taken to be a really large positive real number. These are clearly lines in the complex plane. The slope of these lines is $$\tan \tfrac{\pi}{4} = 1$$, so these lines are parallel with $$y=x$$. The first line has x-intercept at -1/2 and the second line has x-intercept at 1/2. So these are a pair of parallel lines. Now connect $$Re^{\pi i/4}-\tfrac{1}{2}$$ and $$Re^{\pi/4} + \tfrac{1}{2}$$ with a horizontal line. Likewise do the same with $$-Re^{\pi i/4} - \tfrac{1}{2}$$ and $$-Re^{\pi i/4} + \tfrac{1}{2}$$. We have constructed a parallelogram. The horizontal sides are always fixed with length 1 and the sloped parallel sides are very long when R is taken to be large. So our parallelogram is a very thin parallelogram. Now let $$\Gamma_R$$ represent this contour with parameter R.

Let $$f(z) = \frac{e^{\pi i z^2}}{\sin \pi z}$$. This is a meromorphic function on the complex plane with simple poles at the integers. The only pole which is inside $$\Gamma_R$$ is at $$z=0$$. This is a simple pole, so it is simple (pun) to compute the residue by $$\lim_{z\to 0}zf(z) = \tfrac{1}{\pi}$$. Therefore, by the residue theorem we have that:

$$\oint_{\Gamma_R} \frac{e^{\pi iz^2}}{\sin \pi z} dz = 2i$$

We will compute this integral by definition, that is, by actually integrating it out. First, we will focus on the sloped sides which are parametrized at $$te^{\pi i/4}\pm \tfrac{1}{2}$$ for $$-R\leq t \leq R$$. Before we write down the integral out let us make some observations:

i) $$\exp \left[\p i (te^{\pi i/4} \pm \tfrac{1}{2})^2 \right] = \exp \left[ -\pi t^2 \pm \pi i e^{\pi i/4} t + \tfrac{\pi i}{4} \right]$$. Which can be further written as $$e^{-\pi t^2} e^{\pm \pi i e^{\pi i /4}t} e^{\pi i/4}$$.

ii) $$\sin \left[ \pi (te^{\pi i/4} \pm \tfrac{1}{2}) \right ] = \pm\cos \pi e^{\pi i/4} t$$.

Therefore, it follows from (i) and (ii) that we have:

$$-f(te^{\pi i/4} - \tfrac{1}{2}) + f(te^{\pi i/4} + \tfrac{1}{2})$$ =
$$\frac{ e^{-\pi t^2} e^{\pi i/4} \left( e^{\pi i e^{\pi i/4} t} + e^{-\pi i e^{\pi i/4} t}\right) }{ \cos \pi e^{\pi i /4} t} $$

By Euler's identity $$2\cos \mu = e^{i\mu} + e^{-i\mu }$$ and so we get that:

$$-f(te^{\pi i/4} - \tfrac{1}{2}) + f(te^{\pi i/4} + \tfrac{1}{2}) = \frac{2e^{-\pi t^2} e^{\pi i/4} \cos \pi e^{\pi i /4} t}{\cos \pi e^{\pi i /4} t} $$

So all that mess reduces to just:

$$-f(te^{\pi i/4} - \tfrac{1}{2}) + f(te^{\pi i/4} + \tfrac{1}{2}) =2 e^{-\pi t^2} e^{\pi i/4}$$.

Notice that when we take the contour integral over $$\Gamma_R$$ we go counterclockwise. So the contribution of the line segment $$\left[-Re^{\pi i/4} + \tfrac{1}{2}, Re^{\pi i/4} + \tfrac{1}{2}]$$ is positive, while the contribution of the line segment $$\left[ -Re^{-\pi i/4} - \tfrac{1}{2},-Re^{\pi i/4} -\tfrac{1}{2}\right]$$ is negative. Therefore, the two integrals when combined together around this counter give:

$$e^{\pi i /4} \int_{-R}^R f(te^{\pi i/4} + \tfrac{1}{2}) - f(te^{\pi i/4} - \tfrac{1}{2}) dt$$

Which, by our above simplifications, reduces to:

$$2e^{\pi i/4} \int_{-R}^R e^{\pi i/4} e^{-\pi t^2} dt = 2i \int_{-R}^R e^{-\pi t^2} dt$$

If we can show that as $$R\to \infty$$ the horizontal integrals go to zero then we have established that:

$$2i \cdot \mbox{PV} \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} e^{-\pi x^2} dx = 2i$$

This would complete the proof because we can drop the Cauchy principal value condition here, it is equivalent to integral convergence.

Of course, the proof is not complete without showing why the horizontal integrals go to zero. It is boring, but I guess I have to do this. Let us just do it for the upper horizontal integral. The line is parametrized by $$Re^{\pi i /4} + t$$ where $$-\tfrac{1}{2} \leq t \leq \tfrac{1}{2}$$.

Notice that, $$|\exp \left[ \pi i (Re^{\pi i/4} + t )\right]| = e^{-\pi R^2 -\pi \sqrt{2} R t } \leq e^{-\pi R^2 + \pi R /\sqrt{2}}$$.

By the basic inequality, $$|\sin (a+bi)| \geq \sinh b$$ we have that:

$$|\sin \pi(Re^{\pi i/4} + t ) | \geq \sinh (\pi R/\sqrt{2})$$


$$\left| \int_{-1/2}^{1/2} f(Re^{\pi i/4} + t ) dt \right| \leq \frac{e^{-\pi R^2 + \pi R/\sqrt{2}}}{\sinh (\pi R/\sqrt{2})}\to 0$$

So this is the proof. It might be a lot messier than the polar trick but the polar trick has a lot of stuff to do before it is a complete proof. This one is not so bad. Just some easy but messy estimates which are bound (pun) to come up in analytic proofs.

What is Money?

Everything I am about to say can be found in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations". I wanted to make a post about what money is because it is an important and interesting concept. It is also one of the more interesting chapters in the Wealth of Nations (if you ignore the long boring digression on the different value of English currency preceding 1776).

Before we can get into understanding what money is we need to understand what the division of labor is (which is actually what the Wealth of Nations starts out with the pin makers). Basically, to keep things short, division of labor is the specialization of labor for different people. For example, consider a very primitive economy that consists of a few hunter-gathers. One man hunts for animals, another one makes the weapons, one prepares the meat for consumption, another one makes fur clothing, one builds tents for the tribe to sleep at. Each man depends on his fellow. If every man was by himself he would have to make the weapons, hunt for animals, prepare the meat, make the clothing, and build a tent all by himself. That is a very complicated task. So people realized that if they divide their labor among themselves they can improve the efficiency of their labor.

Trade is one of the most important tools man has, perhaps even the most important, though it is hard to say, maybe language gets the first spot, though one can argue that language evolved from the necessity for trade itself, but whatever, trade sits all the way on top of the list of human tools. Division of labor exists precisely because of trade. Division of labor entirely depends on having trade. What good does it do to the hunter-gatherer to make weapons if he does not get clothing, housing, or food? And what good does it to to the hunter-gatherer to hunt if he was no weapons? None at all. So these men have to depend on one another. Each one depends on his fellow by trade. The weapon maker gives the weapons and receives back food, the tent maker creates the tent and receives the clothing, and so forth. Trade is what leads to the division of labor, and it is division of labor that makes more complex life possible.

But the hunter-gather society described above is a very simple society. It is known as a "barter society". Barter is when two people have to trade directly what they want. If I want a spear to gather food I need to find the spear maker and offer him my food for the spear. The problem with barter is that trade has inefficiency. Consider the following modern world example. I want to get myself a sex toy because I am a loser who cannot find myself some pussy or butt. So I need to find a person who has a sex toy he is willing to trade (hopefully it is not a used sex toy). I have a computer that I am willing to give away. So I find the sex toy trader and tell him I am willing to exchange my computer for a sex toy. He tells me he has an excess of computers and is not interested in computers, he wants a iPoD. So I need to find someone who owns an iPoD and is willing to accept my computer for it. I trade my computer for his iPod and then and only then I trade this iPoD for the sex toy. This is rather complicated. And it can gets even more complicated if I need to go through more than two people to complete my trade.

Hunter-gatherer societies were able to be barter societies because they were very simple. A few men who knew each other and worked together for their own survival. But once man has settled and developed more complicated societies with more people trade ran into the problem of this inefficiency that I described. There can be hundreds or thousands of people, many of whom you do not know, with different preferences. Barter is inefficient. It will work, but it will be inefficient.

So humans came up with a very smart idea. They introduced a medium of exchange. What the medium of exchange was really depended on particular societies and their preferences. A medium of exchange is what people traded for to trade for what they wanted. Let us consider a bronze-age society that highly valued cows, sheep, and other life stock. Say I want to get a bow but I only have bread. Instead of finding a bow maker who is willing to accept my bread, I rather exchange my bread to a farmer who will give me cows or sheep or chickens. The reason why I exchange for life stock is because in this bronze-age society life stock is something valued by every member and so I know almost everybody will be willing to exchange for life stock. Once I have life stock I go to the bow maker and exchange life stock for his bows. The problem of barter is eliminated from this society. I believe the term for such a society is a "commercial society". Trade is a lot more efficient in such a society because I no longer have to find a third or possibly fourth trading partner as in a barter society, now all I have to do is exchange what I have for life stock. By the way, this is a little of topic, if you read the Bible a lot of exchanges take place in terms of life stock. Life stock was very valued back then.

Other societies can have different mediums of exchanges depending on what they value or prefer. Salt was used as a medium of exchange too. Salt is actually more effective than life stock. Because life stock cannot be divided into smaller units. I cannot buy something for a half-a-cow. Or if I want something really cheap I cannot sell thousandth-of-a-cow. I must sell cows or chickens or whatever other life stock alive and so I cannot divide them. Salt has the division property. We can divide salt into various proportions to make more accurate exchanges. But a potential problem of salt is that salt might have really low value. So if I want to exchange something of considerable value I must trade mountains of salt, which is quite a big problem. So salt can only be valuable in societies were salt is scare and therefore highly valuable for people. So as I said what the medium of exchange is depends on a society. If a society highly values salt it can be their medium of exchange, if it has an abundance of salt it will not use salt as a medium.

The best medium of exchange turns out being precious metals like silver or gold. Rome used copper and bronze, I believe, but they are not so precious. Metal is such an excellent medium because of its properties. It can be divided into correct proportions, it is valuable, and it lasts for basically forever. It can be stored for excessive periods of time. The main problem with metal, like gold, is the problem of purity. How do you know when someone exchanges gold it really is gold? Perhaps it is pirate? Or perhaps it is a mixture between gold and other less precious metals? There are checks for this. You can do the old Archimedean trick of computing its density and confirming if it matches the density of gold. But one way to achieve this security against false purity is by introducing currency. Instead of carrying gold around with you, you have currency which represents gold, this currency can be exchanged for gold in a bank. The banks check for consistency and purity to improve the security of knowing that gold transfer is honest by giving you a note from the bank, that is currency. Currency is also easier to use than carrying heavy gold around with you.

In the past people used coins. Coins are not the best form of currency, paper currency is better because it is much more difficult to counterfeit paper currency. And this is what money is. Money is the paper currency that is used which represents amounts of gold that can be exchanged for in a bank. Currency is the most secure and efficient means of trade. People who trade with one another do not have to worry about impure gold and they do not have to deal with the barter problem. Besides money is easy to carry around with you.

I do want to make an important note here which is a little relevant. Today in the United States money operates differently. From 1776 to 1913 the United States was based on the gold standard as I described above. In 1913 the Federal Reserve was set up. The Federal Reserve is a private bank that uses "fiat currency". Money no longer represents gold. Rather paper money is kept in circulation but the gold standard is removed. Now what money is paper that maintains it value from the past existing value it obtained from the value of gold. The idea behind the Federal Reserve is to inflate or deflate the money supply of the country. Inflation is a form of a tax. If the government needs more money it can tax its citizens. But it can do it in a hidden manner of inflation. It can inflate the money supply by printing more money through the Federal Reserve, as much as it needs and spend that money in the economy. This does reduce the value of money because there is more money now in circulation. I bring up the Federal Reserve to explain how the current money system differs from the gold or silver standard system described above.

The point of all of this is to say that money is good! There is absolutely nothing wrong in and of itself with money. Money is exactly what makes trade efficient. Without money we would be living in barter societies with really slow trade. I know it is popular with some Marxists or communists to talk about their kind of society that is not obsessed about money. But these people are ignorant of basic economics. Even me, who is a semi-retard when it comes to economics, is capable of understanding what money is. Money is fundamental to a developing society. Get rid of money and destroy its economy. It is stupid to blame money as evil if bad people strive for money. It is not money that is inherently the problem, it is people who act wrongly. Calling money evil is like saying gravity is evil because it was responsible for a plane crash. Or calling guns bad because some insane guy went on a killing spree. No guns are not bad, it is people who use them wrongly. Money is the same. Money is not bad, in fact, it is good from the above explanations. Money is the result of trade. Being against money is to be against trade. If you think money is evil you must then explain why trade it evil, but I doubt you will ever be able to do that.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Theory of Conflict Part 2

I was not planning to make a second part to this topic but a YouTube video (here) that I saw yesterday after I made that post inspired me to write a follow up one. We have established that conflict arises from the imposition of our will, but where does the will to impose comes from? This will comes from morality.

I have came to the conclusion, quite a while ago, that morality is used as a tool to control people. Morality does not exist. There is no objective morality. Rather what is "good" and "bad" is a way to instill control in people. A mental mechanism that influences the way people act. I have wrote about this topic, a little bit, back here. But I want to say more on it because it is connected to the question of where does the will to impose comes from.

A lot of atheists say, "you do not need God to be moral". But I say, "you do not even need morals". We can be "moral" without having any morals. Compassion, altruism, and kindness have little or sometimes nothing to do with morality. Friedrich Nietzsche's important contribution to the question of morality is the realization that history is not continuous. The problem with the evolutionary explanation of morality, as Nietzsche called them, "English psychologists", is that they incorrectly think of history as being continuous. What was moral thousands of years ago is no longer moral today, what is moral in one geography of the world is not moral here. Where do all of these major distinctions arise from? Evolutionary theory cannot explain this, it can only explain the "morals" or altruism and kindness, but as I said, these are not really morals.

What morality rather is, is a means to instill obedience to authority in people. Religion is really a specific kind of morality. And religious birth, as explained here, includes a set of morals to make the followers obedient to authority. Morality that exists today is either the direct birth of obedience to some kind of authority (religion) or either the continuation of morals that once served as obedience to authority. If people are taught "good" and "bad" then it is easier to impose controls over them. Morality served as a tool to instill in people behavior that to conform so that rule over them becomes more efficient.

People who are moral suffer the problem of imposing their will. Morality is what gives people a will to impose. It is the amoral people (not immoral) that do not have have this problem, or at least reduced by a lot. It is morals, be they religious or secular, that make people object to actions of two men having sex or a man engaging in bestiality even though there is no reasonable objection to these actions. Therefore, it precisely those people who have morals that shall have a will to impose. The people with morals are the ones much more likely to see the imposition of their will on what they consider to be "immoral".

A step beyond atheism is nihilism, where the very notion of morals is rejected. It is a step closer to freeing the human mind. It is most certainly possible to do acts of kindness with absolutely no morals. If I ever do an act of kindness to another person, I never think to myself "this is what God wants", nor do I even think to myself, "this is good and moral". I rather think, "I should help that person because it is just nice to help people". Morals are not necessary and they should be rejected because they have a negative side to them in the way explained above.

If we wish to greatly reduce conflict in the world we need to severely limit our imposition of will. But a way to come to such a mentality shall require us to give up the entire concept of morality, because morals is about imposing mental controls over people which in turns leads to the imposition of will.

Note: I know there are going to be people calling me a hypocrite. I reject the ideas of "good", "bad", "evil", "moral", "immoral", and so forth, but I nonetheless use them all the time in my discussions with people online. But I use them not because I accept them but because they are useful expressions to use. Useful expressions to make the people with morals to understand me. I also make reference to Zeus and Poseidon, this does not mean I believe in the Greek pantheon of gods, it is just an expression. Two atheists who have sex and say "Oh my God", are not saying that because they think God is observing them have sex, but because they use it as an expression of awesomeness.

Theory of Conflict Part 1

Where doth conflict in the world cometh from? It seems that the most common response that most people would give is that conflict arises because of disagreement. But I have a problem with such a response. Disagreement is a necessary component of conflict, but it is not a sufficient component. Suppose I enjoy vaginal sex and you enjoy anal sex. Why would we ever have conflict over our disagreement? We just have different preferences. However, in almost all cases that one can conjure, conflict involves disagreement, but disagreement in and of itself does not lead to conflict. I have a different answer to this question.

First I want to mention that my theory will not always be applicable, sometimes conflict is not even the result of disagreement. If two people hate their personalities and insult each other or fight against one another that is conflict not from the result of disagreement. However, we can get out of this dilemma by saying that two individuals fighting against each other simply because they despise one another is not conflict, it is "dispute". Conflict is a more serious term applicable to large groups of people not angry individuals for whom the term "dispute" would be more applicable. By making such an adjustment my theory should then explain the major cause of the conflicts in the world.

Conflict does follow from disagreement but disagreement is not enough. More needs to happen. Consider religion. Religion has been the source of major world conflicts and in many ways still is. Different groups of people have different religions. In fact, even the same religion has many different denominations. There are a lot of major disagreements. But here is the interesting thing. In the United States religion has not been a source of much conflict. We did not have fighting groups of people in a war against one another. Why? The separation of church and state definitely played a big role in this. But what about the separation of church and state helped calm the conflict or in some cases abolish it? Consider the situation today in the United States. Three friends go to lunch. The topic of religion comes up. One friend says, "I am a Catholic", another one says, "I am a Muslim but I will still be your friend", and the last one says, "I am an atheist and I do not care what you believe, you are my good friends". What just happened?! A Christian, Muslim, and an atheist sitting together peacefully talking, laughing, enjoying themselves, and in the end hugging one another before departing? How? How is this even possible? This would have never happened hundreds of years ago. There is clearly major disagreement among three people. But there is no conflict at all. Why not? But why was there major conflict in the past bloody history?

The answer as it seems to me has to do with the imposition of will. In the past religion and the state were together. Religion was a set of beliefs and the state was a means of imposing those beliefs. One group had one set of beliefs and another had a conflicting set of beliefs. The one in authority imposed its will on another group. The other group rebelled and this imposition of the will lead to conflict between groups of people. This is the major source of conflict in the world. Thus, my theory behind conflict is that disagreement is necessary for conflict, but the imposition of will is sufficient for conflict.

Today in the United States, in the three friend example I described above, no one friend imposes her will on her other friends. Likewise, her friends do not impose their will on her. They respect each other's wills and do not let their will impose their will. There is disagreement, but this disagreement does not develop into conflict because there is no imposition of will.

Now consider a different question. What is the biggest source of conflict today in the United States? It is not religion and it has not been religion. It is the politics that people have. That is where the conflict comes in the United States and in Europe. Why? Because politics is all about the imposition of will. The Republicans have their own views and the Democrats have their own views. They seek to get into authority and impose their views on the disagreeing group of people. The differing group of people rebel against this imposition of will and thereby create conflict.

The world would be a much more peaceful place and thereby a better place if we learn not to impose our will. If the imposition of will is greatly reduced the conflicts that arise from this imposition around the world will go away, just like religious conflict has mainly went away from the more secular countries like US or Europe.