Monday, December 03, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #445 (November 30th, 2007)


Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist

1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.

2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.

3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.

4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.

5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.

6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.

7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.

8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.

9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.

10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.

11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.

12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.

13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.

14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.

15. Legislature Seats must be allocated to women and women must be allowed to bypass the democratic winnowing process in order to guarantee female representation and, thereby, make democracy fairer.


Einstein is quoted as saying:

There are people who say there is no God, but what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views.

Well, if it walks like an atheist and flies like an atheist and quacks like an atheist…This seems sincerely disingenuous to me but I think in the long term it will just be seen as systemic and endemic to the mid-20th century: that people couldn't see that belief in a Neutral Force God who was uncaring about and uninvolved in human affairs isn't a new form of deism but rather a more virulent form of pernicious atheism particularly as it pertains to questions of morality. If God isn't fully engaged then there is no persuasive argument against any form of immorality. As an example, you can have sex with a relative as long as she's on the pill since the only problem with incest is pregnancy. I grew up in that context. If it feels good do it. If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice…consider the possibilities".

Most of the problems in our society can be attached to the Einsteinian abandonment of God. That generation had a residue of religious background to keep most of them relatively close to the straight and narrow, but you don't have to go too many generations past that to see what happens when people grow up completely without a sense of God as anything but a myth and a fairy tale. Childhood obesity is a good one. All that actually exists is the pleasure centers in your brain so your job is to stuff as much sugar and fat in your face as you can. If it feels good do it. There is no sense of gluttony as a pejorative, as a sin, no shame attached to being dozens if not hundreds of pounds overweight. Why would there be if all you are is a big bag of chemicals with pleasure centers in your brain that need to be stroked continually?

What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos.

But, I don't think that's genuine humility or perhaps, a better way of putting it, a practical humility. It's not just the "secrets of the harmony of the cosmos" – that's just window dressing, that's just a dramatically extended fireworks display Writ Large -- the Much Larger Question, it seems to me, is the reason behind that extended fireworks display which I see as the hatching out of the conflict between God and the Seminal YHWH that goes all the way back to the Big Bang. The question back then and back there was the same question as it is here and now: God or YHWH, He or he/she/it? Choose God would be my best advice.

Secrets -- whether attainable or unattainable – have no discernible gender. The mysterious Dark Matter that makes up most of what we know as the universe could be He Dark Matter or She Dark Matter or It Dark Matter. Or Dark Matter could be all three. Whatever factual information we can gather over the next few centuries about what Dark Matter is I think I'm safe in saying that it won't specifically exclude either gender or non-gender and it is, consequently, YHWHist in nature. If that's what you want to explore, by all means, go take a look and pitch in on a project that will, I suspect, still be turning up blanks five hundred years after you're dead, but while you're doing that, my own best advice (and advice Einstein couldn't bring himself to give) is render God His due in the form of worship, acknowledgement of His sovereignty, submission to His will and alignment with His teachings.

The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who – in their grudge against traditional religion as the "opiate of the masses" – cannot hear the music of the spheres.

This seems pretty awkward as theology goes since it presupposes that organized religion constitutes the same relationship to men that chains do to the slave. I really don't think the evidence supports that view – for every human atrocity that has been perpetrated in the name of organized religion (and they are legion), the civilizing effect of organized religion far, far outweighs it. It is only the inherent cynicism of atheism that blinds atheists to that truth. The Soviet Union and Mao's China are perfect examples of what happens if you attempt a wholesale God-ectomy on your society. There is no equivalent of the Stalinist, Pol Pot or Chairman Mao purges in Christendom. Christians simply can't murder millions upon millions of their own people or other people in cold blood without Christian doctrine ultimately pulling in the reins. And the sense of scale is important. If you want to indict Christianity for the Crusades or the death of native populations in Africa or North America (much of it inadvertent through disease they didn't know they were carrying to which the native populations were susceptible), there is no question that they took place and they constitute an indictment of Christian doctrine gone bad (as does the Holocaust), but it is nothing compared to what Marxist dictatorships perpetrated as a daily given.

I think "the music of the spheres" is more directly analogous to the "opiate of the masses" than Einstein intended and therein lies a core problem with overt atheism. In my view, you have to separate Scripture from the organizational edifice constructed upon it. The most potent intelligence communicated in a society is going to have the greatest imaginable impact and where that's true, the impact is going to be both positive and negative. Personally, I think it's self-evident that the prodigious wealth housed within the Vatican doesn't represent the greatest strength of the Catholic Church. The greatest strength of the Catholic Church is the greatest strength of Protestant Churches and all Christians sects, the gospels of Mathew Mark Luke and John. The gospels civilized the world wherever they arrived and they also made possible the eradication of whole cultures and the Holocaust. But the former was an infinitely larger effect than the latter. Nothing invented by men can stake that same claim. Mao's Little Red Book led to genocide and misery on a much larger scale than any improvement it could claim. It's only its abandonment which has led to improvement.

If you make the "music of the spheres" the focus of your faith, within a decade or so, people are going to declare Joni Mitchell is God (as, presumably, virtually all of my audience would consider to be a good idea – a prospect that I suspect would have horrified Einstein but which I see as a direct implication of his efforts in the Anything But God camp as enunciated here).

Science can be created only by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Tomorrow: What's wrong with that first sentence there?


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