This is a sounding board and open forum run by a secular humanist and a nihilist pretending to be a secular humanist. The primary focus is on the pursuit of meaning, the observation of the absurd, and most importantly of all- comedy.
Aaron,This was yet another excellent, concise post. I rather liked the boy from the first video; he was a superb speaker, although his presentation was clearly affected rather than heart-felt. He seems like a Xerox machine to me, faithfully replicating the dogma that one must naturally assume his parents have indoctrinated him with. (How else could he have become this way?)(Perhaps, underneath the confusion of Buddhist metaphysics, the core belief is that genes, not individuals, reincarnate.)Did you know that Xerox sponsored Professor Ian Stevenson's work on cases suggestive of reincarnation? Yours.
Aaron,I am watching live video from Illinois on CNN.The changing reads:"Five people were shot during a Sunday morning church service in Maryville, Illinois. Worshippers subdued and overpowered the gunman."I'm sure that the details will be clarified over the coming days. If this isn't justification for a ban on all personal handguns (not to mention assault rifles and so on), I don't know what is. We know that a certain percentage of people find the environment of the casino absolutely titillating. Others of us--I among them--find no attraction whatsoever. This appears to be genetically mediated. Similarly, I think that it's safe to say that individuals within a sample population vary along a (probably) normal distribution curve in sociopathic tendencies. For the purposes of public safety, it's important that those who fall in the upper quartile of the distribution be monitored and prevented from injuring others. The best way to prevent an adverse outcome is to prevent a situation from arising in the first place."Freedom" in America means, as near as I can tell, freedom from (political) oppression. "Freedom from" is a term used by Erich Fromm. He goes on to distinguish it from "freedom to," which is the capacity to do something. An elderly gentleman cannot win a 500 m Olympic sprint. His body limits him. He does not have the "freedom to" do this, although in America, he has "freedom from" discrimination for being black (at least theoretically). To live together successfully, I think that we need to look for ways to balance these freedoms successfully. We need massive amounts of information about each individual, particularly focused around the genome and environment, not to mention adverse events in the individual's life history. Presumably, this, coupled with vast data sets and massive computing power, will allow us to improve the quality of life for everyone.Imagine, Aaron, a society where a vast network of computers monitors well-being and raises alerts whenever the risk threshold for any particular outcome is exceeded. We could prevent suicides, ensure that cancers are caught in their early stages and cured, and so on. That's just at the individual level. At the collective level, our lives would similarly improve, and because we are a social species, at the social level, I expect that the effects on the individual would be amplified. We really are living in primitive times, but it's sobering to reflect on what life must have been like for previous generations, stretching back to when Homo sapiens sapiens first emerged.Five individuals were assassinated in Maryville, Illinois today. CNN is off to a "good" start.Yours.
Aaron,Were you aware that Derren Brown is...http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-7459.htmlYours.
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