Friday, April 19, 2013

Richard Carrier's responses upon rereading the Bible as an adult

From his autobiographical essay, From Taoist to Infidel,
I could go on at length about the many horrible passages that praise the immoral, the cruel, as the height of righteous goodness. It does no good to try in desperation to make excuses for it. A good and wise man's message would not need excuses. It follows that the Bible was written neither by the wise nor the good. And the New Testament was only marginally better, though it too had its inexcusable features, from commands to hate (Luke 14:26) to arrogantly sexist teachings about women (1 Timothy 2:12), from Jesus saying he "came not to bring peace, but the sword," setting even families against each other (Matthew 10:34-36), to making blasphemy the worst possible crime, even worse than murder or child molesting (Matthew 12:31-32). It, too, supported slavery rather than condemning it (Luke 12:47, 1 Timothy 6:1-2). Worse, its entire message is not "be good and go to heaven," itself a naive and childish concern (the good are good because they care, not because they want a reward), but "believe or be damned" (Mark 16:16, Matthew 10:33), a fundamentally wicked doctrine. The good judge others by their character, not their beliefs, and punish deeds, not thoughts, and punish only to teach, not to torture. But none of this moral truth is in the Bible, and the New Testament had none of the humanistic wisdom of the Tao Te Ching which spoke to all ages, but instead drones on about subjection to kings and acceptance of slavery, while having no knowledge of the needs of a democratic society, of the benefits of science, or the proper uses of technology. It even promotes superstition instead of science, with all its talk about demonic possession and faith healing and speaking in tongues, and assertions that believers will be immune to poison (Mark 16:17-18). It is plagued with a general obscurity and ambiguity, and illogicality, which I had already noted as a child, and though I did understand more and saw it as less confused than I once had, the improvement was minimal and not encouraging. It still taught a morality that is unlivable, and above all contained not a hint of humor or a mature acceptance of sexuality or anything distinctly and naturally human at all.
Cool, the links transferred over.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Where've you been all my life?

I've never heard of Dave Hitt before.  I'm impressed.

r · b>c: Nature Says: Keep Your Family Close.

The Altruism Equation, by Lee Alan Dugatkin

r = genetic related-ness
b = benefit
c = cost

That's the rule William Hamilton figured out in 1964 to explain altruistic behavior.  It's been tested and upheld in many experiments and studies since.

Humans, of course, have Reason and can overcome genetic heritage, but I think we're generally foolish to try.  That is, we should not try to overcome our tendency to love our family (unless they prove themselves unlovable), nor should we expect altruistic acts of others outside of their families.

Quicky thoughts.  I can't imagine I'll stop thinking about this, so you can expect more on it when I have time.

One thought right now: families are natural - institutions aren't.  I see a use for this knowledge in the Homeschooling movement.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Note to self: check out Alan Watts

An Objectivist take on Dawkins

Richard Dawkins trapped in Ill-Information of Economic and Political Memes

The author needs to reread her writings before she posts them.  The thoughts are brilliant - the execution leaves something to be desired (though I've seen much worse).
In 2001, Richard Dawkins was invited to express his ideas for Foundation for the Future. In his speech, Dawkins acknowledged that one effective way to abort any global crisis and tragedy of commons is to respect property rights of individuals and individuals should not only get all benefits of their property, they should also be responsible for the costs and losses; he suggested that recognition of property right as a natural right can be said as one of the reason for success of human species. Obviously, he was supporting the libertarian idea of individual rights and free market4 . At that point, it seemed that Richard Dawkins has clearly overcome the economic meme of socialism and cultural meme of altruism as a supreme good. However, he was still confused with the illogical information he attained through irrational memes as in 2008, he suddenly changed his view and in the documentary, “The genius of Charles Darwin,” he mentioned that “paying taxes” is an example of human altruism and it is good5

It was pretty clear at that instance that Richard Dawkins not only failed to refine the illogical economic information he had attained through irrational memes, he also failed to refine the illogical and ill-philosophical information he attained through those irrational memes.
In his documentary, Nice Guys Finish First, Richard Dawkins successfully explained that co-operation offers better chance than selfishness with the help of the computer program ‘Tit for Tat’ whose basic four conditions were mentioned by Richard Dawkins as13
1)Unless provoked, the agent will always cooperate.
2)If provoked, the agent will retaliate.
3)The agent is quick to forgive.
4)The agent must have a good chance of competing against the opponent more than once.

A close analysis will establish that the program Tit for Tat exactly establishes the libertarian theory and principle of Non-Aggression Principle. Non-Aggression Principle14 is the base of Libertarianism which suggests that kindness, charity, co-operation, compassion, and forgiveness are essential characteristics of a libertarian. However, Non-aggression principle also asserts that if provoked or attacked, or aggressed, the individual will retaliate and may counter-attack. The idea of free market libertarianism is essentially based on the condition that unless provoked, a free market producer, supplier, consumer, will cooperate with each other and the whole society. This is the reason why Anarcho-capitalists suggest that there is no need of monopoly over initiation of force because initiation of force is strictly immoral and unacceptable.