Monday, December 23, 2013

Jesus Christ!!!

A new Harris Poll indicates that the number of Americans who believe in a Big Mystical Kahuna (aka "God") is dropping at 1% a year. It is now down to 75%, from 82% in 2007.
Young people are especially prone to not "believe."
I'd like to think it's because the young people are doing a little beach-reading with the Bible and are dumb-struck by the God-murders (for not being a virgin or cussing at your parents or being homosexual or being the child of a bad person or for not believing or for working on Sunday or for being part of the human race or for lying or for lust, etc.).
But, really, I would imagine the young folks are just bored with it. It gets in the way of Twitter and Facebook and working and playing and, well, you know, LIFE. As a child, only one thing bored me more than "public schooling, and that was the pastor. He was SO serious (I guess I'd be serious, too, if I knew I'd been lusting a little and knew it could mean DEATH). When he smiled, he didn't look happy.
Religion ain't fun. A philosophy of life should be fun. It should be about how to have as much fun as possible in our playground, in our sandbox. It should guide us on how to govern ourselves and treat other people properly so they can have fun in their sandbox, too.
But the Bible is not about sandboxes. It's about Hell and eternal damnation and extraterrestrial whimsy that could allegedly strike you down at a moment's notice for who-knows-what!
Maybe young folks are getting this. Hope so. If so, we might just be outnumbering the mystics in about 26 years.
Can I get a "Jesus Christ" on that?!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chase-ing my tail

So, I'm standing at the checkout counter at Barnes And Noble with my daughter, Livy, and the lady behind the counter says my debit card isn't valid (I got plenty of cash in bank). I said, please try it again.  Same result. Shaking my head, I pay with cash. I figure it's gotta be a BN computer glitch.
I go to Target with Livy. Same thing. I pay with cash. Now, I'm pissed.
I call the number on my Chase debit card. Wait 25 minutes, cussing Chase for the last 20 minutes. POU (person of uninterest) finally says hello. After usual lengthy "verification" of my identity, POU says that 47 million Chase card users' identity may have been compromised by hackers who broke into Target's data system between Thanksgiving and mid-December.
The POU then says that my card may have been one of those cards and that Chase put a limit of $100 ATM withdrawals on my card and $300 in purchases per day. When I asked why Chase didn't tell me about this, the POU says, "We did it to protect you." I said, "Bullshit, my account is insured by Chase on these kinds of issues, and I couldn't have lost one penny, no matter how much was stolen by the ID theft. You guys did it to cover your own asses, and that is fine, but why the hell didn't you notify me by text, like you do on other matters, like when you're fricking sending me advertisements." After drilling her for another minute, she finally (exasperated) said that Chase would be notifying customers "soon."
When I told her I was stranded at BN and Target (had I not had cash), she just says, "Oh, we are sorry you were inconvenienced. You know, you can go to a nearby Chase branch to get a new card."
So now I (more furious) go to a nearby Chase branch (instead of finishing my shopping with Livy), and I get even MORE attitude from the Chase "officer," who tries to feed me the same "protecting you" bullshit. She says I can't get a new card on the spot (though I found out later with the bank manager that I could've gotten one on the spot at another Chase down the street that is set up for just such occurrences). So the officer lied to me.
I ask the "officer" if she's getting attitude with me (she's just staring furiously at me when I'm asking questions). This is what goes down:
Officer: I don't have attitude. It's YOU that has attitude!
Me: I have a right to have attitude here. You have attitude with me.
Officer: So? What are you going to do about it? (smirk on her face)
Me: (while I stand up and lean toward her) Watch.
I find the bank manager, who treats me with respect and apologizes profusely and explains things well and gets me what I should've gotten at the beginning of this debacle.
Then the bank manager asks: "Mr. Elmore ... what do you want me to do with Ruthie (the officer)?
Me: I think you know what I want done. If she were my employee, she would have 120 seconds to gather her belongings and leave forever.
Manager: I understand.
Me: I know you understand. But will you do it?
Manager: I will have a talk with her and ...
Me: So you won't be firing her, will you?
Manager: Mr. Elmore, I'm sure you understand that I can't discuss what the bank will do with Ruthie.
Me. I understand that you won't be firing her. If my customer for my business got treated that way, I would tell the customer that I'd be firing the employee. In fact, I would fire the employee right in front of the customer and ask the customer if he was satisfied, and then I would give the customer a little something extra and free.
Manager: I understand, Mr. Elmore.
Blah blah blah blah blah.
THAT is modern "customer service."
Oh, and Ruthie actually said "happy holidays" to me and Livy as we were leaving the bank branch. Neither Livy nor I looked at her, but I know what I wanted to do to her. I read it once in an Inquisition history book.
But as badly as I imagined some torture, it was nothing compared to what I imagined I could do to the swill-sucking cowards ("hackers") who barged into 47 million lives and stole time and money from innocent people. I have a special spot in the dank torture chambers for such pale scum.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stardust and our universal playground

Just finished watching the terrific 8-part Discovery series "How the Universe Works."
And I'm currently reading Charles Darwin's second great book: "The Descent of Man" (written after the revolutionary "On the Origin of Species," which I read many years ago).
For 22 years, I've been reading and applying the works of the objective philosopher Ayn Rand (morality is discovered through reason and applied via reason).
I've been studying evolution, astronomy, geology and other sciences for 30 years.
Got me to thinking: Do Christians and other mystical peoples EVER watch and/or read this stuff? Do they CARE to know about reality? Do they enjoy living in the dark? Are they afraid to be human? Do they really think there is a Devil who is horny (has horns).
'Cause if they did read/watch all of the above, and they were honest, they could NEVER be Christians.
Our universe began with a "big bang" almost 14 billions years ago and is expanding rapidly (we have proof of this via the Doppler red shit and blue shift of galaxies and stars that were first discovered by Edwin Hubble).
All early primitive people, including Christians (Jesus included) thought (without proof) the universe was just some "stars" and "planets" hanging a few miles above the Earth), and that was it. They all also thought the "heavens' were fixed into place.
The universe is 13.7 billion years old. (we have proof of this number via photon red shift and exploding neutron stars at different distances in the universe)
Many Christians say it's only 6,400 years old. (no proof). Some don't "believe" it's that old.
Our Milky Way galaxy is 12 billion years old, and our solar system (sun and planets) are 4.6 billion years old (we have proof via elemental half-life dating and samples from our Earth, the moon, other planets, asteroids, etc.)
Many Christians say it's all 6,400 years old. (they say that if you count the generations in the Bible, they add up to about 6,400 years). These myopists think everything only began with some certain people being alive about 6,400 years go.
There are currently trillions upon trillions of events occurring in the universe every second that humans can't possibly detect all at once, including exploding volcanoes ever second on the moon Io around Jupiter, spinning neutron stars, exploding supernovae, millions of neutrinos going through your body as I write this, hydrogen turning into helium inside stars, trillions of comets and asteroids dancing around space, dark matter pervading the universe and causing its expansion and ultimate perishing, black holes spitting out gamma rays, gold and silver being created by exploding giant stars (no, it's not Jews who make gold).
Darwin and subsequent scientists have proved that evolution is real and that humanoid type individuals began separating themselves from apes about five million years ago (small amount of time on the cosmic scale, but a large amount of time for the 6,400ers). Modern humans (home sapiens) have only been around for about 200,000 years. Our paths out of Africa are now well known, via the proof of genetic testing (mitochondrial DNA, etc.).
Please see "myopists" comment above for those zany little Christian beliefs in 6,400.
Home sapiens have a rational faculty that was finally understood by Rand, who discovered that that faculty is capable of understanding everything in the universe, including the rational faculty itself. It is capable of hegemony, of running itself perfectly without the aid or intrusion of an outsider (an alleged greater being). It is capable of understanding its own goals, its own means of achieving those goals, of honoring others' rights to their own goals, of realizing that happiness is supposed to be the ultimate meaning for life, of understanding that all things real and good must have a basis in the facts of life (proof).
Christians, et al, think humans are incapable and "fallen," that they need help, that they must surrender their rational faculty to verbiage written or spoken by an alleged being that has no physical form or proof. They believe life is a train of hopeless transgressions, instead of a series of satisfying accomplishments that were humanly and willfully designed.
When supernovae explode, they create nucleosynthesis and spit out the primary elements (what sane person doesn't love the Periodic Chart?) in the universe that are vital to life: hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon, iron, gold, nickel, platinum, zinc, neon, silica, silver, uranium, etc. This is the "stardust" they spit out. The oxygen and hydrogen fuse together and populate the universe with water (usually ice crystals in space), huge amounts of it. These ice crystals (usually in the form of comets) bombarded the early Earth about a half-billion years after formation and gave us our oceans and fresh water.
This is the genesis of life, despite the crude and primitive ejaculations of the Bible.
We are the stuff of stars (carbon, water, iron, etc.). We are stardust. And, as evolved rational animals, the universe is now our playground.
It is not the place of make-believe worlds of "good" and "evil." There are no gods in the machine. Our very old universe couldn't care less about what primitive Christians or any other mystics (Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc.) have "faith" in. The universe gets the last laugh.
But us rational stardust-folks get to giggle a good bit along the way to the playground each morning when we arise.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Get to high ground immediately!

I was asked to take over a terrific company in April 2011 and then take over another terrific company in January 2013. I'm running two companies.
Ergo, only three blog posts in over two years.
My god I miss it, and my idea banks are filled to capacity and overflowing.
To relieve the memory levies, I must SPEAK. I'll be blogging a lot. The words will flow.
You might want to get to high ground -- for safety's sake!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Children Have Rights

You and your soulmate are walking in the woods behind your home. She's bitten by a colorful, exotic spider. One hour later, she's woozy. Two hours later, she's almost delirious.
At the hospital, she falls into a coma. It takes doctors 24 hours to pinpoint the illness.
She was bitten by a rare african spider. The implications are awful, say the doctors. After looking at cases in Africa, they give the husband the following prognosis:
Claire will be in a coma or semi-comatose state for one year.
In year two, she'll come completely out of any comatose state, but won't remember anything of her past or anything she ever learned and will have to learn all over again. Her rational mind will begin kicking in again rudimentarily. She'll be able to perceive things and make some causal connections and begin rudimentary speaking. But she'll often attempt to harm herself by arational actions.
From the third to fifth year, she'll begin getting higher concepts and start talking fluently, but she'll have tantrums occasionally because of frustration and will still attempt to do some harmful things.
From year 6 through 10, Claire will learn how to read, do math, wrestle with and digest high concepts, and she will get back almost entirely to where she was when she was bitten, with rare occasions of still grappling with honesty, justice, integrity and pride until about the 12th year -- at which time, she should be fully back to her vital former self.
You and Claire had planned for potential catastrophic occurrences before the spider bite, but neither of you could've imagined such a state of conditions.
You grapple with your values, but you decide, yes, you will care of her during those 10 years, being her caretaker, changing her diapers at first, stopping her from harmful acts, providing tutorials when asked, lengthily explaining causal and moral matters when she's ready and willing, etc.
As I'm sure you, my reader, have figured out already, the above scenario is essentially the scenario, mutatis mutandis, of a child in her first 10 years: complete incapacitation to near full mental growth.
Claire would not and did not surrender her individual rights. She ascribed her protection and care taking over to someone she trusted. She would want her soulmate to keep her healthy, stop her from taking action against herself (even with temporary force if necessary), and provide a moral and robust environment for mental growth.
If she chose not to go to a formalized school, she would not go. Etc.
Children have the same individual rights. Their "smallness" and "babbling" and harmful value pursuits (running into street) do not make them inferior, nor do they mean a surrender of rights, and nor do they mean that they are somebody's property. They are in caretaker status. They will set their own values at an early age and pursue any knowledge related to those values. They are quite ambitious, like Claire, if left alone in value-pursuits.
Children should be seen as our friends, our dear friends -- always! Seeing them as friends with full rights puts the context of the relationship in clear focus and prevents reflexive harmful attitudes and actions against them by rational parents.
If they could talk at birth for a brief moment, they might say: "Hey. Howdy. Good to finally see some good lighting. Look, I'm going to need you to please take care of me for a good bit, keep me from doing harmful stuff, clean me up, give me some tasty, nutritious food (that umbilical was getting OLD), and, well, you know the rest. I hope to value you one day, and I know you wouldn't have gone through all this if you didn't think I'd be a high value to you. I'll be calling you mommy and daddy soon. Please be patient. I got a whole hell of a lot of things in this exciting world I'm gonna want to do. I hope you'll honor my right to pursue those things totally. Thanks a lot. See you around."
All children are "Claire."
Her husband would never think of spanking her or hitting her. He would honor her. He would honor her right of self-direction, and when she was "acting like a child," he would gently and rationally help her with explanations -- sometimes possibly for hours, until she figured it out. He would love her, and he would look forward to loving her more, and he would hope that she would love him for his gentleness, his firmness, his values, his morality, his forthrightness.
As I hinted at above, there is never a case for parental/guardian coercion in child-rearing. Coercion is the initiation of force against another human and/or their concrete values (things). It is only when the child takes action against herself (harming herself and harming the parent's value) that a parent can retaliate with mild physical restraint, if necessary, to stop the destructive action. All such instances are "retaliation," not "initiation" of force. The parent is mildly retaliating (picking up the toddler heading for broken glass on the floor, etc.) against the child's unknowing harm of a value. There is never a place for punitive measures with Claire or children. (I'll expand on punitive measures in another post.)
Claire's case (and the case of children) are a special case in coercion because of their caretaker status. Conscious, rational adults can, of course, commit destructive actions against themselves and destroy any value they have of themselves and any value they may be to others. But adults in caretaker status (and young children) temporarily proxy their hegemony over value protection. This does not undermine their rights, and they are not property. They simply have a rational-mind proxy until they get their own faculties fully formed.
It is not, ipso facto, harmful for a child to choose not to go to school. It is not harmful for the child to eschew any learning that the parent wishes, outside of morality, but morality cannot be force-fed anyway. It has to be practiced by the parent, and it will be absorbed by the child via example and explanation, when she seeks explanation. Only a truly rational parent can become the beacon for a child.
All children are "Claire."
They start with nothing but a mental capacity (rationality), and they slowly learn to run it, practice with it, use it well, be happy. Any coercion by a parent, in any regard (even manipulative exhortations to do something the parent wishes), hobbles the child's own value system (I'll expand on this in another post). And, more important, it violates their rights to their own volition, their own body, their own mind.
Children have rights.