Tuesday, February 27, 2007

theists, watch as i kill your precious “god”

hey theists, you know god is just a word, right? i can kill god, very easily. watch...

god (noun): a supernatural being which is defined in a self-contradictory way, thus rendering its existence completely impossible, illogical, and absurd

see? i redefined the word “god”, and now god is dead! sure you can bring god back, the same way i killed him/her/it/whatever. but first, see why i hate your precious “god” concept so much, and think it is such a bad concept for people to believe in:

you see that? everyone hates athiests! we are even more despised and looked down upon than homosexuals, and it is well-known how deeply despised homosexuals are by such a large percentage of people! and the people who hate atheists are the same people who hate homosexuals! this is why so many homosexuals turn away from religion, because religion condemns them even though they have done nothing wrong. they are the victims, and religion is the oppressor. why believe in a god whose followers are evil and filled with hate?

now i am no homosexual, nor am i catholic, jewish, black, a woman, married 3 times, 72 years old, mormon, or hispanic. but i am disturbed by how much hate there is in this country and how bigoted people are towards anyone who is different from them. what kind of god would tell people that they should hate anyone who isn’t a white heterosexual christian male? you know who was a white heterosexual christian male? adolf hitler. look it up. a lot of other bad people too. can we really handle another white heterosexual christian male as our president? all of our white heterosexual christian male presidents have screwed things up so badly for us as a nation over the years. why did we have slavery for so long? why was it so long before women got the right to vote? why did we continue to have segregation, and a lack of equal voting rights for minorities? why is there still rampant racism, sexism, and homophobia even today, not to mention all of the bigotry towards people of other religious beliefs or nonbeliefs?

i am outraged by all the stupidity out there, especially in the media. who the hell comes up with these polling questions? the media is the ultimate culprit for most of society’s ills, because they are the massive brainwashing force that manipulates each and every one of us who has ever watched a television set or read a magazine or listened to the radio or watched a movie. now, the media is simply a capitalist beast. there are several major media companies that compete in each of the fields such as television, radio, movies, etc. and each of these companies is after one thing: profit. they want to expand the number of people who voluntarily submit to advertising and brainwashing services, by offering whatever gets the highest ratings. often high ratings are achieved not by appealing to the best in people but by appealing to our basest instincts, the lowest common denominator. but they are always too timid to go all the way, since they are large corporations and do not want bad publicity. one of the boldest media conglomerates is news corporation, whose fox television network boldy experimented with doing things that the 3 major networks (nbc, abc, and cbs) considered to be in bad taste and unworthy of the viewing audience. fox got more and more affiliates and gained in ratings and gradually the other networks all lowered their standards in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator and get down to almost the level where fox was, making fox have to go even lower in order to keep its edge over the other networks. and cable networks have also gone in this direction... mainly driven by market forces and capitalism. cnn has continued to get worse ever since other networks started competing against it; back before there was competition, cnn did an excellent job compared to the crap they are spewing now. back in olden times, people did not concern themselves with tabloid nonsense, unless they were tabloid newspapers. news shows on tv covered serious news. i am not even that old and i have still seen a tremendous change over time. and this capitalism crap really screwed with the networks after 9/11. they were afraid of doing any serious balanced coverage of anything, or doing any real investigative reporting or muckraking or questioning of the government, because they thought they would be branded unpatriotic, and then they might lose their precious advertisers! oh noes! not the precious advertisers! the whole reason they acted so ultra-patriotic on the news from 9/11 all the way up until the 2004 election season started was their mistaken belief that the majority of the news-watching public was too immature and stupid to handle real news and would want to shoot the messenger. as for me, i am trying to find real, serious news, and not some tawdry tabloid tidbit tit-for-tat.

one of the things that really gets me is how people keep being “offended” by things, whatever that means, and then complaining about it, and then how it actually gets news coverage. what the hell? this is one of the most annoying things about the media nowadays. they try to look for controversy where none exists, yet the most important and controversial controversies (such as ones involving conspiracy theories) are always swept under the rug. the media apparently thinks that various interest groups have the right to be “offended” by things they see, and that when someone is “offended”, whatever the hell that means, you have to do whatever they say and give in to their demands, or else they will have no choice but to boycott and petition and pressure you into a public apology and other sorts of nonsense. look at it this way. most people are prejudiced bigots, and there is at least one category of person they have a very mean-spirited and unjustified prejudice against. it is very rare to find someone completely devoid of any prejudice whatsoever. we are all bigots. the media is trying to brainwash people into hiding their prejudice and pretending not to be racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-other-religious-belief bigots. they are trying to turn us all into liars, who pretend not to be ourselves! we must own up to our prejudice and admit to it; we must confess any bad thoughts we have towards other groups of people. if we do not do this, then we do not communicate, and every person’s mind becomes a stranded island. most people like to think of themselves as good people, and most people believe they will go to heaven. well guess what? i do not have this kind of view of myself! i am all too aware of the delusions of moral superiority that other people suffer from. that is why i try to view myself, and every other person, as equally good and evil, half of one and half of the other. i think of that as our fundamental “dual core” nature. (sorry about that stupid cpu joke, i had to do it.) if we only allow our good side to speak and keep our evil side silent, this does not mean that we will be as good as our speech. then we would just be self-righteous hypocrites who talk the talk but do not walk the walk, and that is how most people are when it comes to righteousness. when i approach the subject of righteousness, i approach it with neutrality. i want to understand it as much as possible, but i neither support nor oppose the idea of righteousness. i am equally good and evil, and i allow both sides, indeed all sides of me, to speak and not stay bottled up inside waiting to explode as they do in so many other people. i do not distinguish between good and evil the way you distinguish between black and white. i can identify what i think of as good and what i think of as evil, but i also identify the fact that this is just my opinion and is not inherently more or less valid than the opinion of any other human being. but i have the right to express my views, just as others have the right to express theirs, and i can express mine as emphatically as i want, even though, deep inside, i view all of my opinions with humility, acknowledging that i am only a fallible human, that i am just as prone to mistakes as anyone else, and that i could very well be wrong about a number of things. yet i express my views nonetheless, because i perceive there to be a need for these views to be expressed, regardless of whether they are correct or not. i feel a sense that it is important for me to express myself, and that it is important for other people to be able to read what i have written or hear what i have said or think what i have thought. otherwise i am just an isolated island among many other interconnected minds that have built bridges to one another, bridges of communication. i cannot communicate well with others. thus it is my solemn obligation to communicate as much as possible, in order that others may point out what errors i make in my communication, so i may improve the skills, and on a more basic level because of my intense need for human interaction of a level that i never ever get, ever. other people are still a mystery to me, and sometimes i hate or fear what i do not understand, especially back when i was younger (retroactively changing the tense of the sentence from present to past with that latest grammatically incorrect modifying clause).

anyway, do you want god back? you do? oh goodie! i will ressurect your precious god for you, so that god exists again and is back alive again and everything is back the way you probably want it:

god (noun): an entity defined in such a way that he, she, or it actually exists, always has existed, and always will exist, and is also something that most people like so much and find so meaningful that they would be willing to worship it

did you notice how both of my definitions made use of self-reference? each definition referenced itself, or at least referenced another hypothetical definition. this is one order of logic higher than a standard definition. i could use an infinite order of logic but it would be absurd, since that type of infinitely recursive logic is pointless and is commonly referred to as circular logic. here is an infinitely logical definition of god:

god (noun): whatever “god” is defined as

you see? once you look up “god”, you have to look up “god” again to substitute its definition in its place. and then look it up again to substitute that in its own place. and so on. forever. as a human being, you can easily see that this is meaningless, with your nonlinear reasoning abilities (more powerful than linear reasoning but less trustworthy). a computer would go into an infinite loop in this case, and probably crash itself, if it has a limited stack space and is using recursive function calls. here is how god can crash your computer:

function god() {
return god();

that is the god function. it will crash your computer if you actually write that pseudocode in your favorite programming language and compile and run a program that calls the god function. in many ways, this function is symbolic, because it is its own answer, to a question that perhaps nobody is asking: what do you get as a result when you call the god function? if nobody asks that question, everything is ok. but once someone asks that, the computer has to call the god function, which has to call the god function, which has to call the god function, which has to call the god function, ...

i could go on repeating that forever but you get the point. how can you have an answer that makes no sense to a question that is irrelevant, and still have it take an infinite amount of time to get the nonsensical answer to the stupid question? that is kind of what religion is all about. people have stupid questions, and it would take an infinite amount of time to actually figure out the correct answers to them all, so instead, smart people just made up some answers so that the stupid people who kept bugging them with annoying stupid questions would finally leave them alone and stop pestering them, never imagining that the stupid people asking the stupid questions would actually write the answers down in books and teach them to smart people who were stupid enough to think the stupid people who wrote it were even smarter than them.

typical conversation 10,000 years ago between stupid person and smart person:

stupid person: why are there all those stars in the sky, in that arrangement?

smart person: i don’t know, they are just there, so get used to it.

stupid person: no, seriously, why are they there? you are the village wise man, you have to know!

smart person: really, honestly i don’t know. i think that is actually a pretty pointless question to be asking. there are much more important things to worry about than why there are stars in the sky.

stupid person: what, so you really don’t know? some wise man you are! idiot! trying to change the subject to cover up your lack of knowledge!

smart person: ok, ok, you got me. actually, i was just trying to keep the truth secret from you, because it is far too important to entrust just anyone with something as top-secret and mind-bending as why the stars are there. but to be honest, i don’t know if you are ready for the truth, since you just called me an idiot.

stupid person: no, i didn’t mean it! you are the smartest person i have ever met! please, come on and just tell me already why there are stars in the sky!

smart person: oh, let’s see... stars in the sky... ahh yes... why there are stars in the sky. well, 1,000 years ago there were not any stars in the sky. the only thing that existed was the land we are standing on, but it was not hard land. there was nothing but mud everywhere, as far as the eye could see. well, that was not quite the only thing that existed. there was also our creator, who built us, who built everything. he came from the mud himself. in fact, he was a giant mud monster. but he did not like mud. so he went about separating the mud into water and land. he could not see yet, so he separated the light from the darkness, and concentrated the brightest light in the sun, and the darkest dark in the night sky. but he left muddy drops on everything he touched, and some of the light mud that was supposed to be in the sun was splattered across the night sky, making stars. and some of the dark mud that was supposed to be in the night sky splattered onto the sun, making sunspots. next he created living creatures out of the mud, throwing birds up into the air and fish down into the sea. then he rolled up a lot of little mud balls and threw them in all directions, and these became seeds, which landed in the ground and grew into plants. there was not any mud left around him, and the only mud that remained was the mud of his body. so he used it to create people. first he made a man out of his left foot, and then he taught the man how to make a woman out of his right foot. then he told these 2 people how to continue to make people out of the mud of the rest of his body until there was nothing left, and told them that they should make pairs of one man and one woman each out of the mud, and send each couple off to a different place to live, far away from each other. they did so, and it was easy, because the mud of his body was magical and alive, and could be molded into any shape and still be alive. so once his body was gone, there were a lot of couples, which then followed his orders of spreading out across the world. each couple then gave birth to the ancestors of each of the tribes of this world. our tribe, of course, is descended from the first couple, who were the best of all of the couples. the woman was very strong and the man designed snazzy outfits out of animal furs and plant materials.

stupid person: wow, you explained a lot more things than just why there are stars in the sky! but, i thought i heard a different explanation for where people come from. the last time i asked that, didn’t you say that people were created in the future and then sent back in time to the past?

smart person: well, yes, but i forgot to mention, the giant mud monster is still alive, and he is watching you, and will punish you if you behave badly. but someday he will take himself apart and turn himself into couples, who will all go back in time to the past, and they will be our ancestors, which already happened.

stupid person: what? the future already happened? how did the couples go back in time? that doesn’t make any sense.

smart person: for us, time goes forward all the time. it is like an object falling towards the ground. but once you hit the end of time, it is like a bouncy ball that hits the ground and bounces back up. they went back in time because they hit the end, so the only way to go was backwards, and they kept going back, back through the future, then the present, then the past, until they hit the beginning of time and got stuck there. the beginning of time is like something sticky, and once you get stuck there, time stops. so they actually never got to leave the beginning of time, and they are still there. but their children got to experience time as we do. so they all had lots of children.

stupid person: wow, that’s amazing! you really tied the whole thing together! it all makes sense now! i can’t believe how smart you are! how do you know so much?

smart person: i eat brains. by the way, i am a zombie and i eat brains. did i mention i eat brains? oh, and could i please eat your brain, if you don’t mind?

stupid person: aaaah! help! [runs away in terror]

smart person: what an idiot. i am laughing out loud, perhaps even rolling on the floor laughing my ass off. wait, did i just say that crap out loud? what the hell is wrong with me? i need to learn to watch what i say or i might get friggen crucified. or, if not me, maybe someone else will be in a similar situation, say, 8,000 years from now. oh, who am i kidding, making up these wild predictions? what a joke!

years later, the stupid person would recount the whole story the smart person told them as a joke, and get some of the details wrong, and miss the whole point, but it would still get passed down for generations as the truth, and maybe even written down once writing is developed. this same scenario of smart person-stupid person interactions of this type would continue happening many other times in other tribes, each time leading to different myths becoming folklore and perhaps even the basis for a religion. just remember what jesus said when he was on the cross:

“oh god, why have you forsaken me? do you even exist? i thought i had earned your favor with my magic tricks, since i called them miracles and gave you credit. i should never have quit my day job as a carpenter. oy vey! some jew i am, telling people they don’t have to eat kosher! no wonder the rabbis had the romans put me up on this cross! i was the only one with the chutzpah to point out that they were all schmucks! now who is going to pay them to inspect the food at the deli and approve it as kosher? and what is with this judas bastard? i knew he was going to betray me! i fricken told him last night when we had supper for the last time together! i thought he might take a hint and fuck off! oh god! this is more painful than the fricken dentist! why haven’t any of my 12 apostles helped their master out and taken me the fuck down from here? i hope those bastards burn in hell! the one time i really needed them, they failed me. what a bunch of losers. i hope nobody ever follows their teachings. they’ll probably get everything wrong like they always do. the only person who ever really understood me was mary magdalene... too bad i had to pay for sex. maybe someday people who never saw me will draw pictures of me where i am not as butt-ugly as i look in real life. ha ha... an amusing thought, at this time, when i am dying. i heard that after a man dies and he goes into rigor mortis, he gets an erection. so even if i am not ressurected, i will be res-erected! ha ha! oh... that hurts... can’t breathe... laughing too hard at my own jokes... even though they aren’t funny... we jews don’t seem to be too good at comedy... at least not yet... maybe someday... i’m about to die from laughing too hard and it’s the funniest thing ever... ghahahaaaaaaaaa...”

momentarily dead, jesus was resurrected about 30 seconds later. he looked around quickly to make sure nobody had noticed what he just said before his first death, and then, when it was ok for him to die again, he made sure to die when people were watching, so there would be witnesses, and the 2nd time he got his lines right and did not screw up like before. he stayed on script and the director did not need to re-shoot the scene. later, lazarus showed up and thanked the dead jesus for resurrecting him (lazarus) earlier. lazarus asked dead jesus why he did not simply resurrect himself or make himself immortal. no response. a few days later, jesus came back from the dead, and came over to lazarus’s place for a cup of coffee, and they got to talking, and jesus said how he had an obligatory death scene, and he had to make it seem real by actually dying instead of just pretending to die. lazarus told jesus that he was really getting into this part and was a fine actor and might make the big screen someday. then the director yelled “cut” and they yanked that scene too.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

hey congress: good job!

so far this year, congress has done an awesome job, especially speaker nancy pelosi. by congress, i mean the house of representatives, of course. the senate has been more lackluster, with the republicans preventing much of anything meaningful from being accomplished with their obstructionist tactics. and the senate democrats keep having really stupid ideas about various resolutions or bills to express disapproval of bush’s troop surge or to actually prevent it or even bring some troops home. here is an idea, one that many democrats in congress proclaim that they agree with, including nancy pelosi:


now, of course, the politicians all disagree about how to do that. and us regular citizens also disagree about how to do that (if you limit the debate to only include people who agree with that objective). but here is a novel idea about how to end it:


yes, the house of representatives has the power of the purse, and controls all of this country’s money. nancy pelosi needs to use her ultimate weapon, her ultimate trump card, against this president. now some jackasses are saying that supposedly we lost the vietnam war because of congress cutting off all funds, or that somehow it was a mistake for congress to cut off all funds, or that it had negative consequences.


that was the best possible way to end the vietnam war by that time. it allowed the north vietnamese to conquer and defeat south vietnam as quickly as possible after we pulled out, reunifying the country. if you visit vietnam today, it is a very nice, well-run country, and better than ever, or so i have heard. so, that whole vietnam war was pointless since we were fighting against having that country be run by the people who would be most likely to do a good job and actually have the support of their own people. in iraq today, what does it take for an iraqi politician to have power? you need the backing of a powerful militia, with many men who are well-equipped! what do you need?


guns, bombs, and cash don’t magically fall out of the sky for the iraqi militias to use. they have to obtain them somehow. the more people join your militia or political movement, the bigger it gets, and the more guns, bombs, and cash you have. the bigger your army. and once it gets really big, like the mehdi army, you can kick some serious ass.


by choosing which militia to back financially or join and fight in, or who to equip with weapons or who to build your bombs for, you can democratically voice your views about who you want in power in iraq, through the barrel of a gun, as a regular iraqi. forget elections! they hardly ever happen and they are fixed by the money funneled in from the united states and iran and other nations that want to meddle in internal iraqi affairs. but iraqis have the ultimate trump card: they can fucking kill you! if 75% of the public supports the shiite-led government and allied militias, then 75% of militia members end up in the shiite militias who share the government’s agenda. if 41% of the public supports the sunni militants of al qaeda in iraq, they can give 41% of the money that goes to militias to al qaeda, and 41% of the members of militias can join al qaeda. it is the ultimate expression of the people’s democratic will!


and whoever is most powerful is obviously the same as whoever has the most public support, and represents the largest constituency of the iraqi public. then they can crush all opposition, restore order, and everyone can get electricity and running water and security on the streets once again. the oil pipelines will be flowing again and everyone will be making money hand over fist. but this can only happen if we allow the iraqis to fight it out amongst themselves, just like we sat back and watched the north vietnamese conquer south vietnam. the iraqis may not end up with a pro-american government, but who cares? most people in that country hate america anyway! the fact that the current iraqi government has to pretend to like us shows how undemocratic they really are.


the countries of europe lost their empires around the world, sometimes fighting losing wars to try to hold onto the remains of their empires. some great nations have suffered even worse defeats, like germany and japan after world war 2. germany and japan are doing fine now! great britain and france lost gigantic empires that they fought to keep, and guess what? both those countries are fine now too! it is hard to find examples within the last few centuries of any great empires that were crushed and where the central country did not recover completely. the soviet union collapsed, but russia is doing fine now, with a thriving middle class in moscow, new alliances blossoming with many other countries, and more advanced weaponry than ever before. after the collapse of the ottoman empire, turkey emerged as a powerful nation under the leadership of kemal ataturk. and the collapse of the austro-hungarian empire was not that bad in the long run; both austria and hungary are now thriving pro-western democracies. the most prosperous nation in europe and perhaps the world is the grand duchy of luxembourg, a small nation between germany and france that has been invaded and conquered twice in the 20th century alone. if the united states suffers a military defeat in a country on the other side of the world that we wanted to conquer, does that really damage our nation in the long run? no! the best course of action is to accept defeat and move on!


so i support congress and their efforts to help us lose this war faster, because we already lost this war long ago, and all that is being debated is how long we prolong our humiliating defeat. all that is being debated is how long we continue getting our asses kicked before we realize we are wasting our time, and let our soldiers come back home, while our enemies bask in victory. let us hand a great victory to our enemies, because then they will become complacent in their victory and think themselves invincible. and in the long run, that will weaken them more than anything else could. the more deluded and crazy our enemies become, the easier it will be to defeat them, by being smarter and much more logical than them. the best way to prepare for our next attack is to withdraw our troops so that we can re-equip and replace damaged or destroyed equipment, and give them some time to rest before the next time we fight a war. and nothing could be better than allowing the terrorists to establish a safe haven in part of iraq, and having that part ruled by terrorist allies. then we can just wait for all the terrorists in the world to congregate there, and carpet-bomb the whole area all at once. whoops! no more terrorists in the entire world! sorry about that, osama!

Monday, February 12, 2007

what is with valentine’s day?

what is the deal with this stupid valentine’s day holiday? this is so retarded. i am trying not to use swear words here but i am quite pissed off. why should i care if other people are in happy relationships? i don’t care about them. if they are happy and i am not, i’m jealous. and if they are not really happy, then too bad, i don’t care, it’s snot my problem. i have been searching high and low for a potential mate, evaluating the situations at the various things i regularly go to such as my job, the quaker meeting, and democrat meetings. anyway, i have not found any reports that indicate that there is a single single woman that exists on the entire planet, at least not one that would be willing to date men. i do know of a few single women who are planning on staying that way, or at least that is what they have told me. i have resolved the status of almost all young women that i encounter on a regular basis. at my job, most of them have babies and are married or have boyfriends, except for 2 that are single and want to stay that way. a few do not have babies. anyway, currently there are only 3 girls that i know of that i see regularly who might be potential mates, at least in my mind. one of them, the only potential mate left at work because i have eliminated all the other possibilities by finding out about the status of all the other attractive girls, is an attractive young woman who recently joined the company whose much less attractive older sister also works there, and has done so for quite some time. this particular girl i consider a total long-shot, since she is way too hot, and she does not say anything to me unless i say something to her first, but she is very talkative, but only to her friends at work, who are all girls except for this guy who sits near her now since they moved her because she used to sit near me but i talked to her too much so they moved us apart. anyway she is very social and smokes cigarettes a lot and is on her cell phone a lot and it is kinda obvious she can have any guy she wants and i don’t know if she has a boyfriend or not but i don’t think i have any chance. that is one of the 3 with unresolved status. the 2nd is from the local democratic party youth group, a young lady who has only been to a few recent meetings, who works for the county legislature and used to intern for the united nations, pretty attractive and also into politics. earlier today i was at a meeting of that democratic club and she was too and before the meeting i was planning on asking her out but i ended up changing my mind because for some reason i got a bad feeling and felt like it was some kind of subconscious signal she might have sent via body language in some pseudo-telepathy nonsense but i just sort of felt like, ok, maybe i should just not ask her out after all and maybe that was a bad idea and i should just shut up then and not show any signs i have interest. she came to that meeting and to a thing the day before with this guy she was just friends with, and i had asked about if they were like, dating or something, and he said no, she was like a sister to him, and while all the other young ladies at some point mentioned having boyfriends or husbands or whatever (since there was a discussion on like, the economy and how well each of us was doing in our jobs and stuff like that and everyone included significant others when discussing themselves with the group) she didn’t mention anyone. and she has mentioned her “ex” a few times. so i am getting a hint, but not sure about it, that she is probably single, but not sure. i am just very cautious; i don’t want to seem too eager or too interested, because i am afraid i would scare off anyone i act that way towards. that is not an unjustified fear. i have scared girls off. like especially the time i told a girl “i’m gonna kill you” in an online chat after i asked if she would be my girlfriend and she said no and i lost my mind. that was 6 years ago but i still cannot get over how foolishly i acted then, when i was a freshman in college. i try to avoid situations that could result in bad outcomes. now of course, i am nonviolent and would never harm anyone, and only meant to scare the girl, 6 years ago, but it was a rather curious sort of thing. i had lunch with her twice a week at the cafeteria in the middle of campus and had a class 3 times a week where i sat next to her and i thought of us as friends. she later told me we had never been friends, only acquaintances, whatever the hell that means. i learned an important lesson: not to assume anyone else will return your romantic interest, and not to insist that other people act according to your wishes when they are under no obligation to do so. and threatening to kill them and threatening to commit suicide are both equally useless when the other person knows you are full of shit and totally bluffing. the weird thing is, if she had reported me to the cops and i had gotten in trouble, maybe i would have gotten some good psychological help back then when i needed it most. things ended up turning out fine, but it took a long time for me to find some semblance of sanity. so now the lesson i have learned most of all, is not to fall in love with someone i barely know, or with someone who has not already made known to me that they love me in that way. i learned not to love anyone unless they love me first. to be emotionally detached, and not prejudge what somebody else will decide in a situation. and this girl ended up dating my roommate for a while, which really made me insane for a while. so i totally try to avoid asking out girls who have boyfriends. i know some of them have psycho boyfriends who would totally go nuts and might try to kill any guy who takes their girl away from them. i can sympathize with those guys firsthand, and i could never feel right about taking away a girl who rightfully belongs to another guy because he had dibs first. ok so anyway the third girl is a freshman in college who needed someone to drive her to the local quaker meeting since she is a quaker and went to the one in her hometown all the time so i drove her there once and supposedly she wants to have me drive her there again but there was miscommunication this week and i was waiting to pick her up to drive her there but she never showed up since apparently she doesn’t want to go every week or something, how should i know, i’m not a fricken psychic. i keep thinking she is like, too young for me, cuz i was a freshman in college 6 years ago, but, i dunno, i see guys twice my age dating girls younger than me, like the fricken mayor of the city i have a job in, so who really cares about that shit anyway, if middle-aged guys can date girls younger than me? i mean i don’t really know how precisely it would be morally or ethically wrong for me to date someone of that age, and i try to strive for the highest moral and ethical standards as much as possible, as i always have, which is difficult for someone who has as much evil in them as me. and why do i have evil in me? it is because evil is a communicable disease and i caught it from other people who were mean to me when i was younger, and it infected my soul, and the infection got worse and worse throughout high school. i have been trying to gradually purify my soul with righteousness, but i still feel such a detachment from other people emotionally. it is hard, when i have a job where all i see is paperwork concerning people injured or killed on the job, and most interactions with other people do not go the way i want, at least in the ones with the opposite sex where i am trying to increase the level of relationship and it is spectacularly unsuccessful. i mean, having asperger’s syndrome puts me at a profound disadvantage for empathizing with other people and being able to communicate with them. and i am a perfectionist so i find the repeated failures worse than intolerable, and i have found it is much easier and more rewarding to give up completely than to keep trying at something that never seems to succeed. the difficult part is to start trying again, when your outlook is so overwhelmingly negative, it seems like the whole world is against you or out to get you, or at least it did back in my younger days of high school when i was quite paranoid, but nowadays, it is more a sense of apathy about my own life, a sense that even if i do get what i want, what is the point? it is pointless. why even bother? it seems the part of me trying to prevent any progress is willing to use any sort of intellectual argument or emotional blackmail inside my brain to prevent me from taking any action that would succeed in progress on anything important in my personal life. at some level, i still think of myself as that evil bastard who once threatened that girl with the prospect of murder, and i think i am undeserving of ever having anything good happen to me, but the only person left to punish me for that anymore is me, since everyone else has long since moved on to other matters. and that is just one of many evil things i have said, done, or even just thought about, throughout my life, a life of evil. i mean, ok, maybe there has not really been that much evil, but why do i still feel like such an evil person, and feel so guilty and like i have wronged so many people? sometimes i think, i was voted most likely to succeed back in high school when i was valedictorian, and maybe, if i had played my cards right back then, i could have gotten a girlfriend or gotten laid or something. but since i was such a neurotic paranoid socially isolated antisocial shy loner, i found that more impossible than going faster than the speed of light. but now i think, wouldn’t something like that have also benefited the girl in question, the other party in question in a mutually agreed upon relationship or set of actions? if it is mutually agreed upon, and i certainly see that it would have benefited me greatly and perhaps the girl as well, then i see now way it could harm either of us, it would only cause benefit to both. so what am i guilty of? opportunity cost! opportunity cost is the term from economics. when you fail to do something, that is just as bad as not doing it, or as actively preventing it from happening if it would be a sure thing otherwise, or undoing it if it already happened. so like, all the times i did not give such and such amount to charity, or spent such and such amount of time helping people out, i was actually doing the exact opposite, and harming everyone else. the absence of help is not neutral; it is harm. when i was a kid and i got picked on and nobody came to my aid or defended or befriended me, most people were neither innocent nor guilty, they just sat by idly and watched what happened and did nothing. to which i say, all who act in such a manner are guilty. this is why all of humanity was once my sworn enemy. because i had observed on many occasions how the rest of the public school i went to either actively mistreated me or observed it and did nothing to help me, and in either case, i had little use for any justifications that i might imagine people making if i actually had the guts to question them on how they treated me. no, i had seen the true, evil nature of humanity, how people have evil in them, and some of them act on it and do evil things to others, while others just witness it and fail to do anything to prevent it or stop it or report on it or help the victims, instead just, through their inaction, offering tacit approval for the evil taking place. so i had reasoned that, since public school represents pretty much everyone from all walks of life, or at least a wide variety of people, and i had seen such a widespread evil among my fellow students, that they represented humanity as a whole, that our entire species was so astonishingly evil as to be practically worse than satan, despite satan being just a contrived non-existent being just like god. and since god and satan were obvious fakes, humanity was pretty clearly the most evil thing ever, at least as far as the history of planet earth is concerned. and so i decided, out of hatred for my fellow students, and out of feeling inferior to all of them and like they were all better than me and i was just a loser that nobody liked, i decided, at the height of my hatred at the world and my complete paranoia about everyone, that i was going to dedicate my life to revenge. and my revenge was going to be pretty simple: i would go to a really good college, do really well, get a really good job, rise up through the ranks, become a billionaire or super-wealthy or maybe even wealthiest person in the world, and then maybe hire the mafia to kill everyone else who went to my high school. or maybe i would even make myself world dictator someday and officially order them all executed. after a while this paranoia and hatred of everyone else and delusions of grandeur started to fade away, but i was still having plenty of paranoia and hatred and delusions of grandeur well into my sophomore year of college, and losing almost all the friends i had made there. only gradually did i come to realize that i could have a more positive view of other people and of myself and of my own life and that i might be able to eventually develop social skills and that maybe i was not going to be ridiculously successful like i had always thought. it was kind of strange, all the contradictory yet strongly-held beliefs i had all that time. only after i graduated cornell did i finally start to realize how little a cornell education meant, how worthless i really am, and how all my delusions of grandeur or of being someone who was going to be really successful were all bullshit. other people had often been complicit in telling me i was going to be really successful someday since i was so smart or whatever. eventually i realized that this was all lies, or at best uninformed hype. i eventually realized i was an inferior, inherently worthless individual. i had actually believed that all along, but i had also believed the exact opposite at the same time, at least with respect to my intelligence and some of my talents. but as i realized how deeply flawed i was and looked back at my life of evil, my hatred for everyone else transferred onto myself. i was the one who was really to blame for all of my problems, problems i had blamed on others. it was not other people who went to school with me who were deserving of being hated and despised, it was me. of course i had always hated and despised myself. but getting rejected again and again, not by girls anymore since i had thrown in the towel and given up since my fragile emotions were a complete train wreck from the rejection, i was rejected time and time again not by girls but by potential employers that i applied to. actually the number of times i have made actual romantic overtures or things of that nature towards girls is very very small. the first time it ever happened was in my freshman year of college in the second semester, and i have gone long periods without ever doing any romantic overtures at all towards anyone, without asking anyone out or complimenting anyone, and the few times i did were few and far between, and i always did a half-assed job and if i had actually looked at it from the girl’s point of view i would probably have rejected me too, since i always went about things all wrong and phrased things in a bad way and didn’t sound good and i was just a real weirdo about the whole process, and technically there were a few times i was not actually rejected but actually had the opposite response, but this number is quite small, even smaller than the number of times i asked girls out, well obviously, but to tell the truth, my success rate is actually not that bad, since i can count at least 5 times i had the positive response off the top of my head, 4 of which led to something and 1 where i changed my mind after her dirty whorish response totally grossed me out because i realized she had been with like a million guys and probably had aids, syphilis, ghonorrea, human papilloma virus, hepatitis c, crabs, herpes, and every other sexually transmitted disease in existence plus i thought she was too young and it was just wrong, not a little wrong, but like, more wrong than summoning satan from hell and asking him to torture all of the people on earth just as bad as in hell and make earth a part of hell. anyway, 2 of those positive responses are actually not really ones where the girl considered it a date, definitely for one, i think probably for the other, so maybe those were just doing things with “friends”, if i can even be said to have a friendship with a female (something which seems absolutely ludicrous at the present when i have no female friends and have never had any except during freshman year at college, for just that 1 year). and the other 2 positive responses actually led to sexual stuff and they were both with the same girl, the only one i ever did anything sexual with. so those are the 5 positive responses i remember. but actually it is 8 since one of the 2 that i am counting of ones where i was just doing stuff with a friend, i was actually doing stuff with this mexican girl when i was in mexico for a month, and i went on i think about 3 “dates” with her, not the romantic kind, more like 2 friends hanging out, kind of a disappointment for me in that respect because i would have preferred more than that. eh, whatever. so, 8. but i am trying to only count times i asked the question to someone for the first time. ok, so 4. yeah, ok, 4. dammit. and there were other ones, like one who said yes but later changed her mind, and one who was indecisive and was like maybe but seemed to be leaning toward yes but later changed her mind once i said things that inexplicably alienated her because of my lack of understanding of other people or how they interpret the words i say or write in an email or whatever. dammit. ok so i can’t count. i think i had sex once, 1 time. i think. i don’t actually know what sex is, like what precisely is defined as sex, what counts. i am 99% sure what i did counts as sex, since my penis was in her vagina with a condom in between. but, it did not work correctly and i was a failure, so in that respect i did not have sex. because real sex is sexsexful, i mean successful, and does not end in failure. i think it was my stupid anxiety problems. during a panic attack hardly any blood goes to the extremities such as hands and feet, and i think perhaps the penis might be included. so even a light panic might disable the penis from functioning correctly, even if it works perfectly when the only partners are a hand and an image to look at. all of the medications i take on the warning labels have negative sexual side effects, too. i am not drugged up as much as anna nicole smith but my 3 prescription psychological drugs all have the same sorts of effects, or at least one of them does, the clonazepam. clonazepam is a sedative, a tranquilizer, a benzodiazepine, extremely effective against anxiety, with the unfortunate side effects of slowing you down, making you sleepy, sexual side effects, etc. it is like alcohol. other drugs in the same category that are pretty much the same include valium and xanax. anna nicole smith was on valium and xanax and got very very very drunk. and died. very predictable response of the human body to those inputs. same thing would happen to anyone who had those same quantities of valium, xanax, and alcohol. except she had developed a high tolerance for all 3 of those substances so they had less effect on her so she had to have more of each to get anything out of it but that makes it more toxic. i go light on everything i take, and am very conservative about how much medication i take, just like i am very conservative about how many times i ask girls out or how often i leave the house to go do things other than what i am required to do. life has become an intolerable messy situation that i refuse to get out of because although i know better, i resent having to change my behavior in any way, and strongly oppose and resist any attempts by anyone else to influence me to improve how i live my life or how i behave. i hate being under the control of others or allowing them to have any control whatsoever over me. hardly anything pisses me off more. anyway, i have long ago recognized the hypocrisy that although i realized the malignant effects of neglecting to correct a problem where someone is mistreated, and how inaction of the masses has a malicious effect even if the intent is not malicious, i was not condemning myself for my inaction on the suffering or mistreatment of others. that is why i had to condemn all humanity including myself, because i saw in myself the same flaws that made other people not help me out when i was being bullied and picked on constantly for all those years. i was just as evil as everyone else. but my evil is perhaps the greatest, at least in my own mind, because i have the greatest understanding and knowledge and recognition about how much evil there is and how pervasive it is, but i do pretty much nothing to solve it, and rather than using my victimhood for good ends, i wanted revenge, and my heart still bears a grudge of malice against many who have either wronged me in the past or done nothing to stop others who did so. i could never believe in god for so many reasons, but especially because i saw other people as too evil for him to even contemplate saving, and myself as a noble-hearted innocent victim who deserved to be the only person let into heaven, while all other humans deserved hell. i did realize the folly of my judgement after high school, and have realized how human nature is really a total mixed bag of equal parts good and equal, the same amounts given to everyone, and we all use it as we choose. i still think anyone who denies their essential evilness is either a liar or (much more likely) ignorant about their true nature and in denial. it takes a great deal of introspection to own up to the bad stuff that you try to hide from yourself. in a way, i am the worst person of all, because of my arrogance, at least the arrogance i once had in the past, which i do believe is gone now. to think, i was the only good person, and everyone else was evil... why do i even bother posting something all of you can read? it is because i have come to realize there is just as much good in everyone as there is evil, and if you speak to the good, it will respond, just as if you speak to the evil, it will respond. by speaking to the good in each other, we can perhaps temporarily disable the evil in at least some people. and as for those who think i am foolhardy to believe in good and evil if i am atheist, you know what, everyone has to believe in something, or else they would have nothing to think about except things they considered fictional and thus irrelevant. good and evil are essential concepts for human beings to have and believe in, for society to function, so my belief in them is predicated not on their actual existence but on the necessity that i believe in them if i am to be a functional part of human society. anyway, i find it quite irritating to be reminded of all the happy couples out there, and i think of not just myself but other unhappy singles, and perhaps some couples where one person is abusive towards the other or they are miserable but won’t admit it and where the holiday is a bitter irony even for many of those in relationships. i think perhaps only a small fraction of people are in happy relationships. well maybe not that small of a fraction, but still less than half of humanity. 49%, maybe. whatever. it is a bitter holiday, not just for me, but for many others. for me, love is a joke, one with no punchline, where you are left hanging, waiting for the answer, and then the person telling the joke walks away without finishing, and you are left all alone, and it starts snowing, and it is cold, and you feel empty inside, and realize how evil and twisted you are and how you do not deserve anything good this world has to offer, and that everyone else is the same but in denial... you wonder why we humans do not have sharp fangs or claws or horns on our heads, why our bodies are not designed to kill other animals. nature did not want to make it too easy for us, because even if we have soft, smooth-shaped bodies without spiky sharp pointy things sticking out to impale or scratch or tear open the flesh of others, we can still use our wits to devise amazingly powerful methods to destroy others. at least we are not as evil as cats. how could anything be as evil as a cat? they are vicious killing machines that look nice and pretty but all they ever think about is murder. they kill every bird, squirrel, mouse, rabbit, or other small creature they come across, and they even attack us people pretty viciously. especially me. cats attack me. that is why i avoid them now, because they only attacked me after i petted them or tried to pet them. i hope girls are not as vicious as cats. i think they are probably even more vicious, just not physically. of course girls are nice too... sometimes. just not at the times you would like for them to be nice to you. only if you have nothing to ask of them. i am just very defensive, because everyone else is so offensive. i do think girls are much better than guys though; we are definitely more evil and vicious than girls could ever be. men are responsible for all of the wars in the world, not women. we ought to let people with breasts and vaginas make important decisions of war and peace, instead of the people with penises who have proven themselves as a gender to be unfit for public office. still, i think women have it easier than men in life, generally speaking. there are just so many ways this is true... they always have the upper hand. nobody has ever been able to determine why that is, why no matter how sexist and male-dominated a society is, the women end up secretly controlling all of the men behind closed doors. i think president bush probably takes orders from his wife laura. it is all a conspiracy. ha ha. i make funny. i guess in a relationship 2 people just agree to settle for each others’ imperfections and never try to find a better mate ever again. what a sad and pathetic state of affairs. imperfections are for losers. everybody who is anybody is completely perfect in every way. duh. still, i think anyone stupid enough to settle for my imperfections is an idiot and a loser. so, that is exactly the kind of girl i am looking for. i don’t want one smart enough to realize it is a bad idea to waste her precious time on me. too bad most of them are at least that smart.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

atheism and god

i recently attended a conference on nontheism among friends (a.k.a. quakers). now, i am a self-proclaimed atheist, or at least, that is what i was when i went there, and i am also someone raised in the quaker religion (also known as the religious society of friends) who still attends quaker meetings from time to time. i left that conference knowing that there is a place for me in quakerism, that quakers need people like me, and i need people like them, too. what they believe, whether it is all correct, that is not what is most important. nobody is perfect and nobody has perfect beliefs. quakers are good, peaceful, nonviolent, honest, nonjudgemental, tolerant, loving people, the kind whose moral values are much better than the “religious right” (you know, those who believe that curing diseases is bad, global warming is false, gays go to hell, and all that other good stuff). but i have never been quite at ease with the quakers, or really known if i was a quaker myself. for one thing, quakerism was started by george fox, an extremly devout believer in god and follower of jesus christ, and early quakers were, like him, the most devout christians ever. our nickname comes from the fact that we were said to have so much faith, our bodies would quake with the power of god. i am still not capitalizing god, but for different reasons now. god is just a word, at least to me. at least, if you are talking about the english word “god”. so i am not disrespecting any diety with this lowercase, which was my intention in previous posts, where i was trying to show disrespect for the god that i proclaimed my disbelief in. but there are many gods, or at least many possible gods that could be spoken of, even if most people only believe in one and disbelieve in most others. but a few gods cannot be disbelieved in. some people think the universe itself is god. well, i believe the universe exists. some people believe all living things, as a whole, are god. well, i believe in living things. some people believe god is love. well, i believe in love. and so on. those are the gods that nobody can dispute the existence of, but people can cast doubt on whether those things actually are gods or not. but what of the one true god, the only one who is worthy of the title of god? is there such a being? well, i still believe in my proof that the all-powerful, all-knowing god cannot exist, because when he predicts the future, that precludes him from having the ability to act in any manner deviating from the course he predicted. christian fundamentalists, and fundamentalists of other monotheistic faiths as well, all believe in this type of anthropomorphic god, a humanlike figure who is far superior to any of us because of having unlimited powers and knowledge. that is the god i do not believe in, the god i am an atheist with respect to. but many people speak of another god, defined differently, as the one that they believe in, and when they hear the word “god” spoken in a monotheistic context, they interpret it to mean whatever they have come to believe in as their god. i do not have a god, or at least, not one that i believe in. for me, the word still means an anthropomorphic, omniscient, omnipotent diety, one that cannot possibly exist, so i can still call myself an atheist. but i could just as easily say that i believe that god is nature, that god is life, that god is the universe, that god is the laws of physics, or that god is the universal set from set theory. then i would believe in such a god, and therefore be a theist. so, based on this situation, it seems reasonable to declare the whole debate over god’s existence and the dispute over theism, atheism, agnosticism, etc., that whole debate is meaningless, unless the word god is defined. and the word “exist” also has to be defined too, by the way. without specific definitions for each of the words in question, ones that everyone can agree on, the question “does god exist?” is utterly meaningless, so the only reasonable answer is “define all 3 words in the question thoroughly enough, and then i will be able to provide the correct answer.” the debate over god’s existence then is rendered a useless semantic game with people arguing over definitions. i have encountered this phenomenon in discussions with other people on this matter. so from that context, it is meaningless to state that i am an atheist, unless i specify which god or gods i am denying the existence of. nevertheless, calling myself an atheist is a useful enough way to describe my point of view to people who are too simple-minded or too practical-minded to ever think about such abstract matters. i have realized that human language by its very nature has a divisive effect, since people cannot even agree upon what words mean, due to the limitations of the human mind and of our means of communication with one another. human language has to categorize and label everything, and is unable to capture the complexity of many things it attempts to describe. each of our finite minds has to know many words in order to communicate with others, both for understanding as much input as possible and for producing quality output. but our flawed minds only know data that has already been inputted to them through the 5 senses or deduced by the mind. the process by which we learn what words mean and how to understand language is not perfect, and leaves every one of us with a flawed understanding of our own native language, and even less understanding of other languages we study. and words carry connotations and sometimes are associated with images, sounds, tastes, smells, and/or emotional content. this effect is most easily observed by seeing how dogs are trained to follow commands that are spoken in human language. the dog learns to associate hearing the sound of the word with behaving in a certain way, after being trained through pavlovian conditioning. the same process takes place in humans, except at a much more advanced level than in the primitive dog brain. only the human mind could even come up with such a complex idea as a god. all lower animals are by definition atheist, since how can they believe in a god when they cannot even understand the very concept of what a concept itself is, let alone what the concept of god is? no matter how you define god, it is still a concept, still a word, still beyond the reach of a primitive animal brain. perhaps a gorilla that knows sign language or some other advanced creature may be able to understand god, but it would be quite a feat to teach a religion such as christianity to any of the beasts of nature. religions and ideologies are very complex systems, built of words that symbolize ideas whose meaning is meaningful to people. i do not believe any such system, built from the human imagination, could be correct if it is not scientific, and not provable. and by correct i mean, completely correct, or infallible. however, i do believe that some processes for finding the truth are superior to others, and i believe in processes like the scientific method. so, while the fruits of science are not infallible, they are closer to infallibilty than any other information available to humanity. everyone knows we humans have a penchant for writing fiction, novels, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. that is what movies are all about, and what most books are about. all products of the human mind are tainted with our penchant towards fantasy, our almost irresistible urge to avoid dealing directly with reality the way that it is. the main process of science, the scientific method, corrects for these errors, and other processes in science, like having other scientists independently perform the same experiments to verify the results, make the likelihood even higher that science finds the truth, or at least something close to the truth. religion and most ideologies, however, have much of the same basis as novels, movies, and other stuff that is made up. an interesting argument i have come up with is, if a movie or tv show is live-action, and you can actually see the characters (or the actors playing them) saying things or doing them or whatever, then is it not true that whatever you see in the movie or tv show really happened? i mean, it was actually filmed, and the movie or tv show is documented proof of what happened, right? how can anyone deny that what happened on an episode of seinfeld actually really did happen? the truth is, all that stuff did happen, but the people were not living their daily lives, they were actors, and behind them was a set, not a real apartment. that does not take away from the truth that what was filmed actually took place, however. you just need to understand it in the proper context. each episode of a show is actually some sort of made-up story that is acted out, with some sort of message or parable, or at least some sort of entertainment value, or something that makes people want to watch it. it is in this sense that you can read a book such as the bible, or the holy books from any other religions out there. not everything in those books necessarily happened like those books say, but someone did think about those things happening and write them all down exactly the way they thought. were they thinking about things that really did happen, and then writing down their accounts of what had occurred? or were they making up stories, like novels and such, or like the tall tales of american folklore, little tales to teach children (and/or adults) lessons? children have santa claus, the easter bunny, the tooth fairy, and jack frost... adults have god, jesus, the holy ghost, satan, angels, demons, and the lands of heaven and hell. we have tales of virgin birth and resurrection, of water turned into wine, and many other miracles in the new testament. frogs raining down from the sky, the nile river running red with blood, manna falling from the sky for the hebrews to eat in the desert, and many bizarre supernatural things like that are in the old testament too. and almost all other religions have similar sorts of stories. greek and roman mythology was blessed with an overabundance of such stories, many of which still survive to the present day. but people need not believe in such stories. properly understood, a religion is actually just an organization of people gathered around common beliefs, a sociological phenomenon, a type of mass movement. in a way, this makes it no different from an activist organization or political party, but a religion concerns itself primarily with how each of its members live their own lives. if a religion seeks to change the outside world, this is only a secondary goal, secondary to the goal of having each member live according to the beliefs and practices of that religion. an activist organization or political party primarily seeks change in the outside world, and focuses on specific things it would like to see done, the lists of which are always changing, and people are in such organizations out of commonality of purpose, in order to achieve common objectives. religions are more about finding a purpose than actually going out and achieving one; they are more about teaching you what to believe and how to act than actually carrying out the process whereby people act upon their beliefs. most of them try to program you to be a certain type of robot and then set you loose upon the world. political and activist organizations, on the other hand, try to bring in people who have already been programmed as robots earlier in life, who share compatible programming, and together they set out to achieve objectives compatible with what they were programmed to value and believe in, earlier in life. they also try to broadcast propaganda to reprogram other robots (the metaphor i am using for humans) to believe in other things and to switch sides. but for religions, there is much more focus on brainwashing those who are very young, and trying to make sure existing members stay, than any focus on getting new members to join; too many new members could foul things up by letting them all bring in new ideas, so the primary focus is to keep the existing ones in line and make sure children raised in the faith end up sticking with it the rest of their lives. political parties, on the other hand, want as many new members as possible, and do not care about it destroying any unity of belief that previously existed, because any expansion in size strengthens them. anyway, it is most likely the case that human nature is such that people would be utterly uncivilized and barbaric if they were not brainwashed into behaving themselves as young children. currently, religion plays a vital role in civilizing people. but people do not need a belief in the supernatural or a religion in order for this to occur; societies without religion can still raise children and teach them to be moral. religion fills this role for the uneducated masses, those who are not yet sophisticated enough to understand the basis for morality. the true basis for morality is human society. any human society needs a set of moral rules to live by or it will fall apart completely. religion provides a justification for moral rules, but they could also be justified by logic or practical concerns, or they could simply be enforced strictly enough to make it pointless to try to argue. now, for an example of a religion that is structured in such a way that it is quite difficult to evolve with the changing times, i shall of course point to islam. unlike other major religions practiced today, islam has not adapted its beliefs significantly in order to agree with the changing customs and beliefs of modern society, nor are they willing to reconcile themselves with modern science. they hold an unquestioning devotion to the prophet muhammad and the koran, and to various other things such as the hadiths or even sharia law sometimes. the exact theology is not always the same, but all muslims accept the prophet muhammad’s unquestionable greatness and the infallibility of the koran. to do otherwise is blasphemy, and it is not allowed; anyone who does so has committed apostasy, the punishment for which is execution. christianity used to be like this, several hundred years ago, but it has evolved past this stage, in no small part due to the fact that jesus was very nonviolent and accepting of people from different backgrounds, preaching a gospel of peace and love. of course, people bastardize the message quite often in order to use christianity for evil purposes, but at its core, the original message is basically good. most religions are like this. and in most religions it is ok if people question things, at least nowadays, in today’s world, and this does not mean execution. islam has not evolved to the same stage as christianity yet, and part of the main reason for this is probably the fact that its leader, the prophet muhammad, was a violent general who killed people and raped women, according to the koran that he himself wrote (with some help from allah and the archangel gabriel, of course). for people to worship this bloodthirsty warrior, who commands them to kill infidels, as someone they should model every aspect of their lives after how he lived... well that is just asking for trouble. we can’t all go around acting like atilla the hun or ghenghis khan or the vikings or the janjaweed of today’s darfur, but that is exactly what islam is asking its followers to do. islam is a religion of war, exactly the kind of religion a general would want each of his (or her) soldiers to believe in, in order to maximize their usefulness on the battlefield. quakerism, on the other hand, is a religion of peace, and pacifism and nonviolence are central testimonies of quakers. also, quakerism believes in continuing revelation, and that people can always find new answers, a better way, and that not all the answers are written in old books from the past. continuing revelation is one of the most central parts of quakerism. it is why quakers no longer dress in funny clothes or address everyone as “thee” and “thou”. that was once a required practice for all quakers, but eventually quakers realized it was archaic and made them seem like out-of-place outsiders from the past, so it was done away with. and quakers have no required dogma that all members subscribe to. quakers have democratic processes, instead of having an elitist hierarchy that dictates everything to its members. quakerism is one of the most progressive religions, if not the most progressive one, and not even god is a requirement to be a quaker. so, the religious society of friends is a social movement, a religion, that is capable of evolving to change with the times, probably even capable of doing so faster than almost all other religions. it is a religion that makes no claims of being the one true religion, that recognizes that it has no claim on infallibility, and does not disrespect other religions by claiming their followers will go to hell or that they cannot find the truth no matter how hard they try. even islam may someday reform itself, but it is structured in a way diametrically opposite to how quakerism is structured. that may also help explain why there are so many muslims and so few quakers in this world. quakers are often ahead of their time on many issues, such as slavery, women’s rights, racial equality, and gay rights. or even when they are behind their time on something, it is usually less so than other christian denominations. but quakerism is not even necessarily a christian denomination, although that is its origin. it is not set in stone what quakerism is, and members are free to explore all paths to the truth. so while i am still convinced religion often acts as a negative force in this world, i also realize the importance it plays in teaching morals and such to people who would otherwise be like barbarians. unfortunately, all too often religion helps people justify being barbarians, and sometimes even makes them more barbaric and cruel towards their fellow humans. quakerism is one religion that cannot be used to justify violence. (another is jainism, but that is another story.) and so, someone like me can decide to be a member, despite my so-called atheism and lack of belief in god as i have defined that word. i can always define it differently, as many others have done. it seems the only word that can bring out more emotion in people than god is fuck. or maybe nigger. or other negative swear words with bad connotations. but other words that bring out good emotion in people? perhaps the name of a loved one. maybe that loved one is god incarnate. maybe we are all god incarnate, since god might be what makes us alive, and if god is defined that way, it would be impossible for life to exist without being god incarnate. such a god would be a fragmented god, in many separate pieces. it is puzzling to me what would bind those pieces together into a single entity. or what if i defined god as that insect i smushed last night? if that insect was god, then i killed god. good riddance. that was one annoying, awful insect. i hope that insect was not god. maybe god is the one who will kill me the way i killed that insect, smushing me with his giant thumb that comes down out of the clouds. please don’t smush me, god. i was only doing the insect a favor by ending its pointless little life, and preventing it from spreading disease and leaving behind disgusting waste products and creating more horrible offspring to infest the world. now i suppose you could say the same things about me when you smush me, but there is a difference. unlike that insect, i can think verbally about abstract concepts, which means i can actually understand what is going on when i am being smushed. sometimes i have torn legs or wings off insects and observed their stupid insistence on continuing to move their existing limbs as if nothing had happened to them, unable to figure out how i have partially destroyed them. having no central nervous systems or capability for emotions, insects are indeed living things, but have next to nil moral value, especially since there are so many of them and they breed so profusely and have such short natural lifespans. a tree has much more moral value to me than an insect, even though a tree cannot think at all. now, i do think that fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals all deserve a much better kind of treatment. those 5 types of vertebrates are all capable of the same suffering a human being like you or me can go through. i only kill invertebrates, although i eat the meat of vertebrates. it is natural to recycle the bodies of the dead by consuming them as food, as long as they are of another species from one’s own. it is a type of recycling, which means it is good for the environment. :-) all animals are going to die anyway so what is the harm in having it happen early, if it is done in a humane way? it is different for people, of course... killing a person is wrong because it is disruptive to society, so society has established that rule and kept that rule for thousands of years, if not longer. so perhaps, we could say that today’s moral norms have evolved from those of the past, much like real evolution. but it is strange how nowadays, the fundamentalist churches are gaining numbers and so are the atheists, while the people in between the 2 extremes grow less and less in number. if moderation is not defended, we could all be drawn into a senseless conflict. so i see value in moderation and avoiding conflict, because when the passions cool, people can become more sensible, and then the religious right can be convinced that they were wrong, and we can all move on. the religious right, the fundamentalists, have alienated everyone else, and are driving many people out of religion altogether, even turning a reasonable percentage into complete atheists like me. like the islamist terrorists, the religious right feels it is necessary to fight against modernity, against science, against social progress. and anyone who opposes modernity, science, and progress must be defeated, so that humanity can advance further, without anyone getting in the way. that way, we can finally let science do its work unimpeded, to provide maximum benefits for the rest of us. that way we can cure diseases, develop ever more advanced technology, and do more and more research to find out all there is to know about the universe. not all religions oppose science, and it would be nice if those who doubt science would shrink in numbers each year instead of growing. science is the truest path to truth that humanity has ever found, and it would be nice for people to stop questioning that fact.

Monday, February 5, 2007

2008 presidential election candidates

ok, so people are announcing bids for president in 2008 right about now. i’d like to say that as an ardent democrat, i will support the democratic party nominee, whoever it is. i have not decided on who to support/endorse/whatever. but here are my thoughts on the candidates in both parties:


hillary clinton: please somebody make this woman go away, she has caused enough embarrassment for the democratic party already, what with being the wife of bill clinton and all the many personal attacks and all, and her politics and positions on the issues are far too centrist. the left-wing activist base will never support her, even though the right-wing activists in the republican party believe her to be a far-left chameleon who is only pretending to be centrist. but mainly the problem is, nobody trusts her at all, since she is always too scripted and focus-grouped and cautious to ever take any political risk by expressing a point of view that might be unpopular. and it is presumptuous of her to expect women/feminists/open-minded men to all support her just because of her gender. bill clinton was not that great, and she would be a return of the old guard, the second act in the clinton dynasty, and we have all seen how badly that worked out with the bushes.

barack obama: who is this guy anyway? ok, so he was elected to the u.s. senate in 2004 and took office in 2005. the only reason he is a candidate at all is because he is black, and people for some reason feel that it is necessary to make up for hundreds of years of oppression by electing a light-skinned black man like him who is not some pimped-out playa in the hip-hop culture. what i am saying is, white voters certainly wouldn’t vote for a black man who talks the way most famous black men talk; he has to be much more refined and well-spoken than some rapper or basketball star. and even black politicians sometimes have a problem with how they talk, such as the mayor of new orleans, ray nagin, who speaks the colloquial language instead of the polished language. now if he were white, at this stage in his career in politics, he might be running for president, yes it is true, but he certainly would not be anywhere near being front-runner or even in that league. only 2 years in the senate (yes he is charismatic but so are many other politicians, it is pretty much standard). so the fact that we are making him a major candidate really shows how racist our country is, more than it says anything about him. it shows how we are going out of our way to pretend to show how non-racist we are, but it is just an act, and really we are still a racist society. al sharpton had hardly any support when he ran in 2004, even though i found his speeches to be excellent, always hard-hitting and telling it like it is. barack obama is just getting mainstream support because the powers that be have analyzed him and found that he is not a threat to the white establishment, that he is like a democratic version of condoleezza rice or colin powell. he is not a left-wing radical; he would just put a new face on the same old politics. he wants to unite people of both parties, and this means centrism.

john edwards: well this guy certainly is a well-spoken southern gentleman, a former senator who decided not to run for re-election because he knew he could not carry his own state a second time, a multimillionaire trial lawyer who talks about helping poor people all the time. it is hard to know if he is for real or if he is just putting on an act. he has done nothing since losing in 2004 but campaign for 2008. he still looks youthful despite his age, which is in the mid-50s, i think. i like him, but there is a strange “i’m just a simple country lawyer” quality to him. it is just a little too hard to swallow that he is such a big advocate for the poor and helping get rid of poverty when he is so wealthy and recently bought a very nice $6 million mansion. i mean, he seems honest to me. but, then again, i used to think hugo chavez was a good guy, a few years ago, and now i think hugo chavez is exactly like bush. still, we ought to give john edwards a shot at the presidency, since he seems nice enough.

al gore: nobody is sure if he is even running yet, but he might. who knows? i liked his movie, the one about global warming, although it scared me shitless. if he runs he had better do better than in 2000. that means winning the popular vote and the electoral vote, by overwhelming majorities. he seems to have really found his voice in these last few years out of office, and i have enjoyed watching the show futurama on cartoon network and hearing his voice acting in several of the episodes. it is incredible, though, the transformation he has had over the years. when he first ran for the senate, he was conservative, and anti-abortion, and he strongly supported the first gulf war. he has gradually morphed into a diehard liberal, over all these years, especially after the 2000 election was stolen from him after he rightfully won it (both the popular vote and the majority of voters in florida). he really proved ralph nader wrong and showed the idiocy of nader’s political philosophy that democrats and republicans are the same thing, tweedledum and tweedledee. al gore would not have invaded iraq, especially after hans blix and the other u.n. inspectors reported that there were no weapons of mass destruction. even if gore had done the same stuff as bush up to that point, which would have been highly unlikely, at that point, their paths would have diverged, gore would have accepted the conclusions of the u.n. inspectors, and not invaded. al gore gave impassioned speeches against the war, even when that point of view was unpopular, for crissakes! so we know where he stands nowadays.

other candidates: chris dodd is an old liberal senator from connecticut and nobody ever heard of him and his best friend is the other senator from that state, joe lieberman, which means hardly anyone will support senator dodd in his presidential campaign. wesley clark is a former military commander who never held elected office and whose ties to the democratic party only began in 2003, quite recently. dennis kucinich is still just an ohio congressman and is farther to the left than almost anyone in congress, and probably any of the other candidates for president. joe biden is a senator from delaware who is always trying to fix things in iraq, since he is chairman of the foreign relations committee, and he actually has a plan for iraq at planforiraq.com. (neil cavuto at fox news lied when he said none of the democrats had plans for iraq, and that website is proof fox news is nothing but right-wing propaganda!) but biden voted for the war, and we saw what happened to john kerry, another senator who voted for the war. bill richardson is the hispanic candidate who has talked to north korean dictator kim jong il on multiple occassions, with a lot of diplomatic experience as well as being a former cabinet secretary and current governor; he has a lot of solid experience and substance to him but it might not be good to have a candidate who has been seen meeting with the north koreans. tom vilsack is a former governor and a dlc stooge who wants to dumb down the party with centrist policies. and mike gravel is someone nobody has ever heard of, who wants to bring the troops home now, and he is very old; he might be the only real adult in the room at the upcoming debates.


john mccain: this guy is so weird, he is like hanoi john, except he really was in hanoi, as a prisoner. he spoke out against people like jerry falwell and pat robertson back in the day but now wants to cozy up to them. he led his “straight talk express” and campaigned for campaign finance reform, but lately i have heard a lot of doublespeak from this guy, who helped bush get re-elected in 2004, even though bush did a very low blow to mccain in 2000 in south carolina. what is with this guy? why is he such a strong supporter of increasing troop levels in iraq, such a neoconservative on foreign policy? and yet he has often done things to alienate his party’s right-wing base. i think he is some sort of chimera, like joe lieberman. i can’t imagine the republican party choosing him as their candidate, after his refusal to tow the party line on so many occasions. plus, he is getting quite old.

rudy giuliani: if it were not for 9/11, he would have gone down in history as one of new york city’s most unpopular mayors, because that is all he was until terrorists attacked us on september 11, 2001. sure he reduced crime a whole lot, but that was also due to other factors besides what he did, and his policing tactics were a bit harsh and brutal at times, like the shooting of the immigrant amadou diallo. i remember at that time he was estranged from his wife, and i think there was a gay couple living in the same building as him, paying him rent, or something like that. so, on things like gay rights, he is totally out of step with his party’s conservative base. he simply does not agree with them on a lot of the issues, or at least he didn’t back when he was mayor, so if he does now, it is out of political expediency. now this guy is going to try to milk 9/11 for all it’s worth, because that has been his career ever since retiring from being mayor, but i am not sure if that sort of one-trick pony will be able to win.

other candidates: mitt romney is a fricken mormon from massachusetts... yeah right, like he has a chance... a lot of churches have pamphlets about how mormons are not christian, so good luck with that. sam brownback is an actual right-wing conservative republican, the real deal, and he is a senator from kansas, so maybe the true believers might unite behind someone like him instead of someone who is less right-wing socially. mike huckabee is a former arkansas governor who used to be fat and lost a lot of weight, and that is his main and only claim to fame. chuck hagel is a senator from nebraska who has been defiant of bush foreign policy for quite some time, so he has little chance of winning a primary in a party run by bush acolytes. and newt gingrich is a well-known hypocrite who cheated on his wife and left her when she was sick in the hospital, but still managed to impeach bill clinton for a little fellatio.

so... right now i am thinking barack obama, just for the hell of it, because we might as well have a black president, and he is better than hillary or the other bozos running. apparently barack obama has a perfect attendence record so far in the u.s. senate, so he is actually doing his job. and he has many years of legislative experience in illonois, having served as majority leader of its state senate. he might not be as far to the left as i want, but maybe he can win more votes than, say, someone like dennis kucinich, who i ended up voting for in the 2004 democratic primary after howard dean dropped out of the race. i was going to vote for howard dean before he announced he was dropping out of the race. but after he dropped out... sorry, i don’t vote for losers, or people who have already announced that they lost. barack obama has a much better chance of winning the final election than hillary clinton, for sure. i think the only candidate with more negatives than hillary clinton might be newt gingrich, but he is a long shot. i hope giuliani is not the republican candidate, because i have heard enough about 9/11 and i wish politicians would stop exploiting it already. but really, i have not made up my mind on who to support yet, i am just thinking about it tentatively.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

killing is wrong, right?

it seems pretty obvious that killing another human being is always morally wrong, right? i mean, who could argue with that? but, not so fast... it turns out things are a lot more complicated than that. here is a rundown:

1) if you are a soldier, you can kill an enemy soldier (at least if you are operating in accordance with your rules of engagement), and you are considered a war hero, a role model, someone for people to look up to.

2) if you are an executioner, executing someone who has been sentenced to death, you are simply doing your job, and it is ok, because somebody has to do it.

3) if you are a police officer, and you kill someone, and you were not found to be using excessive force or violating your police department’s guidelines, it is ok, since part of your job is to kill people, when it is necessary, of course.

4) if you feel your life is in danger and another person is going to kill you, you can kill them first, which is considered legitimate self-defense and is legal (unless the other person is a police officer, of course).

5) if you are a president or a military officer, you can order people lower down in the heirarchy to kill other people, and you can still be considered a hero, someone to look up to, even though there is blood on your hands, because you are defending the nation, and without someone to defend the nation, the people would be at the mercy of anyone who wanted to kill them.

6) if someone has a living will, and it says they do not want their life artificially prolonged, you can kill them by pulling the plug, which is not only legal, but something you are legally required to do if the living will says so.

7) if a person has not been born yet, they are just a fetus and not a real human being, so it is ok to kill them, which is not even really killing, it is just an abortion.

8) if you accidentally kill someone but it is unintentional, and you were not being negligent, and had no homicidal intent, you have not committed any crime, and it is not really your fault, even though technically it really is your fault, but not in the eyes of the law.

9) if you are a doctor and you accidentally screw something up and cause a patient to die, it is ok, as long as you are not found to have committed malpractice.

10) if someone asks you to kill them, and they need your help, it is ok, because what you are doing is really just assisted suicide, not really murder.

11) it is also ok to commit suicide because even if it is wrong, what are they going to do, arrest your dead body? besides, people ought to be able to make their own decisions, and if someone does not want to go on living, it is their right to make that decision and carry it out, without anyone else interfering.

12) according to many religions, it is ok to kill someone for many other reasons, such as heresy, apostasy, being an infidel, committing adultery, homosexual intercourse, and many other more obscure ones, such as cooking a lamb in its mother’s milk.

13) if a person is killed by natural causes, or if a person’s death is because a supposedly benevolent supernatural being wills it to be so, it is also ok.

so, you might not agree with all 13 of those. i certainly don’t agree with all 13 of those exceptions to the rule that killing a human being is wrong. but, almost everyone will agree with at least one of them. so, in morality, you see, there are no absolutes. and everybody has different viewpoints on morality. there is no one list of rules of morality, of what is right and what is wrong, what is permitted and what is prohibited, what the punishments for various offenses should be, there is no one such system that everyone can agree on. in fact, it is almost impossible to come up with a system that even 2 people could both agree on, since each person is bound to find at least one small detail in the other person’s system of morality that they disagree with.

so in a nutshell, what we have is a system where there are no absolutes, where there is nothing that everyone can agree on, and every moral rule or value is open to debate. that is because each human mind is free to decide for itself, and is physically disconnected from all other human minds in its thought process, only able to communicate with other minds through verbal processes such as speaking and listening or writing and reading, processes that are much slower and less efficient than thinking. verbal communication is also linear, one word after another, in series, which is highly inefficient. in the human brain, every brain cell simultaneously processes information and sends it from one cell to another in an incredibly intricate network, in a complex system made up of neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, and electrical currents, a system that is dynamic and always modifying itself to adapt to changing circumstances. in other words, processes that happen within one human brain are far too advanced to convey from one human to another in something as inefficient as verbal communication. therefore, communication, while far from useless, is nowhere near good enough to allow people of differing viewpoints to all come to a consensus, generally speaking.

small changes in initial conditions can create completely different end results. this is how fractals work, the basis of chaos theory, the underlying theory of nonlinear dynamic systems like the human brain. so, teach a class of almost identical students of the same age, same race, same gender, from the same socioeconomic background, raised in the same town, and each one will have different test scores and learn different things. even if they were all clones who shared the same dna, raised by the same parents, this would still happen. at every instant in time, somewhere in the universe, there is an event that occurs one way that could have turned out another way, at least according to most interpretations of quantum physics. in the many-worlds interpretation, the universe actually splits apart into parallel universes every time this happens. most other interpretations involve some sort of process to end up with having one decisive outcome, and having all other possibilities that once existed cease to exist. once this process is complete, an event is no longer in the present, and is in the past. the future is full of events whose outcome has not been determined yet.

so, 2 identical twins in the same universe operate on a similar basis to 2 copies of the same person in parallel universes. so without resorting to science fiction mumbo-jumbo, we can actually see how identical twins really do turn out differently, despite having very similar initial conditions. i personally know a pair of identical twins who majored in computer science at cornell. one chose to do it in the college of engineering, the other in the college of arts and sciences. one is christian fundamentalist, the other atheist. who knows why these things happen? the true reasons for all things are hidden. quantum physics teaches that humanity, or any other race of macroscopic beings in this universe, can never hope to understand what goes on at the subatomic level, or the true reasons for things, because, as beings made up of many tiny atoms, each atom by itself contains mysteries beyond our comprehension, because of the heisenberg uncertainty principle. it is impossible to even figure out what is going on for a single subatomic particle. so imagine how much more impossible it is to determine the outcome for a large collection of many subatomic particles that are all interconnected with each other. the complexity is mind-boggling. each particle constantly exerts forces on all the others, and all of the values are impossible to precisely calculate. so, this makes it impossible to predict the future. most notably, you may have realized that it is impossible for even the best meteorologists or computer models to predict the weather.

what does chaos mean for the human mind, and for morality? chaos means that human beings will undoubtedly always have disagreements, because even if they start out at the same initial conditions, believing in the same sets of facts, something else will undoubtedly enter into the picture and introduce a discrepancy between both minds in how they process the ideas, with the end result being a difference of opinion, or a different emotion, or a different behavior pattern, or whatever. it is what makes us unpredictable! we are beings based on chaos. while science thrives on order and we design electronics and computers based on the principles of order, we ourselves are based on chaos, and could not function without it. computers can never hope to have anywhere near the intelligence that we humans have, unless they too are made to be chaotic instead of orderly. computers nowadays are nothing but 1’s and 0’s, and always do exactly what they were programmed to do, following each line of machine code in order, exactly, to the letter, never questioning anything, never having any independent thought or emotions. as long as they are based on the principles of order, this will never change, and they will always be pathetically inferior to us humans. and introducing a small amount of chaos is not enough. the human brain is a gigantic array of chaotically behaving nodes all hooked up to each other in a network that is even more chaotic. every person has one of these magnificent brains in their heads. so who is to say whether there are any exceptions to the rule that killing a human being is wrong, or what those exceptions are? 6 billion people have opinions on that topic.

but you know what is interesting? each computer, whether it is turned on or turned off, is sort of like a neuron being on or off, whether it is sending a signal to other neurons or not. the neurons in the brain operate somewhat similarly to the computers on the internet. so, the internet, as a whole, functions as one big, gigantic brain. why? because each of its components (the computers) is chaotic, like a neuron, and they are connected in a similar sort of fashion. human beings, which are chaotic, control each of the computers, and this introduces tremendous amounts of chaos into the system. all of the combined chaos in this network produces, collectively, the world’s most powerful brain: the internet. the internet operates as the mass conscousness of all humanity, or at least all of us who have become networked into the system. once we take the plunge and become hooked up, it consumes us, by feeding us information and inducing us into putting information of our own out on the internet, either by sending an email, making a website, or becoming a member of some blogging or social networking or forums site and posting stuff, or by joining a filesharing or instant messaging network, or a massively multiplayer online role playing game such as world of warcraft. once this outcome of having one more person participate is achieved, the internet achieves yet a higher level of consciousness because its brain capacity has increased by 1. but the internet, like every brain, is fallible, because when presented with an equation for a strange attractor, one can often find many locally optimum points that chaotic systems may converge upon and declare to be the answer. finding the globally optimum solution to a problem is often a near-impossible task, since one can devise problems where finding the global optimum would take many times longer than the age of the universe, even if you combined together all the computing power on the planet earth. this will never change.

finding the correct rules of morality is actually the problem of finding the optimal set of rules for a society, i.e., the global optimum. this is exactly that sort of problem, the type that would take longer than the age of the universe for all the computers in the world to come up with the best answer for. the process of having a democracy with free speech is capable of converging on local optima, and the chaos in the human brain also helps societies diverge from a such a course, to look for better optima elsewhere. by recording history, we can retrace our steps, and this type of algorithm is actually probably the best one to determine the answer to this problem. it is similar to something called “simulated annealing” in computer science. combine that with the fact that people are constantly dying and being born, and how genetics and environment combine to determine how each person turns out, and you have an even more dynamic algorithm, a simulated annealing algorithm that is mixed with a genetic algorithm. and each person has a neural network inside their brain. so, in effect, all the algorithms used in artificial intelligence are combined together into one meta-algorithm to rule them all, the most advanced algorithm ever. so, in a way, the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy books are right, about the planet earth being a very very very advanced computer, or perhaps a very very very advanced brain, or something superior to either of them that combines the best aspects of both by including many copies of both and combining together all results. human society is currently the most advanced part of this system, but if we recall the evolutionary aspect, we could easily die out, but this dynamic system is so advanced, some other species would evolve and become intelligent and replace us to fulfill the same role we are in now. and even if that did not happen, the same thing would happen successfully on some other planet, far away, and progress further. the significance of this is beyond the comprehension of any of us, because we do not know what possibilities exist. the whole reason the future is impossible to determine is because quantum physics makes the present impossible to figure out completely, and makes everything, at its core, chaotic. and that, in turn, is why you cannot predict the stock market; the stock market combines together many chaotic factors and amplifies them to create an even more chaotic result. because it is finite, the stock market is not infinitely complex, and from time to time people are able to figure out ways to consistently make money, but the system adjusts and dynamically compensates for these effects through the mechanics of people copying each others’ behavior, making each strategy for beating the market become useless once enough people know about it. the stock market, therefore, is constantly evolving, since whenever someone figures it out, the stock market eventually evolves past that person’s understanding into an even more chaotic state.

ideas are like that too. once someone thinks they have it all figured out, something new comes along to confuse them. no brain can comprehend the correct answers to all the moral questions. there are no correct answers. what are we trying to optimize anyway? it is impossible to find universal agreement on that. having the species survive as long as possible? having as few conflicts between people as possible? having as prosperous an economy as possible? having as much happiness and as little suffering for people as possible? having a set of rules to live by that are as clear and simple as possible? how can you solve a problem when you cannot even determine what problem needs to be solved? this is why the question of morality is so impossible, and why nobody ever agrees on anything. and that is why politicians will never be able to find and implement all of the best policies. it is simply an impossible task.