Our World

It is the year 2016, United States of America, land of the free, etc. The country is well over 200 years old now and humans as an “evolved” species have been around for thousands of years (even by the non-Darwinian evolutionary  Ken Hahm time table, it’s a few thousand). We have gotten over the hump on many a battle for civil rights over the years; though sadly these battles are still being fought in many parts of the country but, for the most part, most of us conduct ourselves in a relatively educated and “evolved” fashion when it comes to dealing with each other and seemingly routine things are of issue, one is gay marriage; just plain old “marriage” to the rest of us reasonably evolved humans.

“Gay Marriage” is a really a simple concept- two people who happen to be of the same sex, love each other, or want to establish their relationship on more formal and legal grounds, want to marry. Easy peasey. Get a license, say the “I do”, kiss kiss, party, and done. Another happy couple joins the ranks of wedded bliss. And it’s just like any other marriage in this modern age.

I honestly don’t see what the issue is. What is your argument against ?

“It violates the sanctity of marriage” – How exactly ? Marriage in this day and age is both a religious union to some and a legal one for everyone. As long as they get a license, that “sanctity” is observed from a legal standpoint. Is it the “religious union” issue? We have freedom of religion here in the US, and a lot of religions to choose from; or not to choose from, so that may or may not apply to every marriage. I got married and it was not a religious service as I am non-religious so..does that make my union any less of a marriage ?  I got the license and as far as the law was concerned I was legally bound to another. Did I miss out on the sanctity that many refer to ? Was that on the bridal registry and I missed it ? Crap.

To be fair this is also a country where a rule prohibiting family members from marrying is on the books, and that isn’t in every state (ref here)- is that the sanctity you are referring to? So we’ll let family members marry but not two unrelated people..? Or are you more of the arranged marriage persuasion ? Many cultures still practice this and the goal of the marriage is usually not love but rather status or some other non-love/religious related motivation. Is that sanctity rooted in ye old history ? Kings and queens, princes and princesses were wed, under “god” in “holy matrimony” for political or some other gain throughout history. Royal families brokering peace or a land/power grab was fairly standard; and yes many were even christian and sponsored or endorsed by bishops and/or popes depending whom was being wed together.

How about procreation? If the main purpose is to pump out offspring then why were there roughly 415,000 children in foster care in 2014 or 702,000 children in this country who were victims of abuse or maltreatment. (source with ref links from there) By all means let’s keep breeding because we are doing such a bang up job of taking care of those fruits of our blessed union and clearly we need more. It is the divine covenant of marriage after all. Gay marriage just barely became legal so those numbers can’t be blamed on gay marriages (never mind the obvious physiological constraints on childbirth). That’s all the result of  heterosexual relations and god abiding unions.

Maybe it’s the low divorce rate of your standard run of the mill hetero marriage..? Or the fidelity..? (ashley madison leak info- here) Here are some numbers for marriages/divorces – click here . Just to put it out there, neither the infidelity or divorce issue has anything to do with gay marriage.

I’ll stop there because the rest of the arguments are religious in nature or based on junk science in my humble opinion. But I will say this, your religious beliefs are great, for you, your marriage, etc,. If what somebody else does in their lives, like getting married, has an adverse effect on you or your marriage, then your marriage or you have a problem. That really isn’t anybody else’s responsibility, just like what somebody else is doing their private lives isn’t yours. If you are right with your god then let it stop there.  (other sources of argument against..linklink.) A good procon .

Here are some questions I think the people who oppose gay marriage need to ask themselves:

How, specifically, does it effect you ? Not your feelings, your perceived slight, or injustice to your god, but you, as a human being, how are you impacted by it directly?

Two people you don’t know, never meet, maybe see them on the street in a public park or on a drive through the city but are otherwise complete strangers to you decide to get married, does it have any impact or effect on you or your life ?

You decide you want to get married and somebody you don’t know, probably will never know, never meet, or ever interact with says you can’t and fights to make sure you can’t, how do you feel ? What would you do about it ?

Civil liberties are personal guarantees and freedoms that the government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation without due process. They are basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed — either explicitly identified in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or interpreted through the years by courts and lawmakers. Discrimination has been on the books for a long time and is a big no-no. I do not have the right to deny somebody else a civil liberty because I don’t like what they do. If I don’t like gay marriage then I guess I won’t be marrying somebody of the same sex. My dis-like for whatever reason does not in any way give me the right to deny you the option of getting married. Say I don’t like hispanics, or blacks, or asians, or canadians. Then I am well within my rights not to have those people in my personal life. It does not give me the right to deny them any rights as a human being. I am not allowed by law to discriminate against them. Two people of the same sex want to have sex, I am not ok with that. I guess I shouldn’t have sex with somebody of the same sex. It does not give me the right to tell them they can’t do that. It doesn’t matter if my religion damns them to hell or condemns them to burn for eternity, that is their problem with their maker, not mine.

Good governance starts with self governance. I may not like your religion, the way you dress, who you are shacking up with, how you play golf, your particular skin tone, the music you listen to, the food you eat, but none of those things gives me the right to tell you that you can’t do anything or deny you basic liberties I enjoy as a human and citizen on this planet.

End of story.

 

canstockphoto2602484Depending on your view point climate change is either a real problem we have to do something about now or you believe this is a bunch of trumped up alarmism flooding the media. The subject has been a hot bed of debate back and forth for quite some time.

Al Gore touted the issue and made a major stride in getting the message out back in 2006 with the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” but the issue has been on the science radar for much longer. In the 1800’s  scientists were theorizing and investigating changing climates and the subsequent effects on the world. In the 1820’s Joseph Fourier found that the atmosphere was what kept the planet warm and thus postulated what is now known as the greenhouse effect. Several scientists would take this further in the decades to come. A good timeline can be found here. Science has been observing, measuring, and reporting on climate change for centuries and yet we as a species have done very little in the way of accepting, at least in part, that we have affected changes on the natural order of things on our planet. For a bit of reading, here is an IPCC report from 1990, NASA

I would think any reasonable person can understand and accept that we live on a huge interdependent biosphere. We interact with other things around us all the time and have an effect on those things, good, bad, or indifferent, all the time. So why is it so hard for some to accept that we might have had a negative impact on the climate of our planet ?

We are still spending a lot of time going back and forth and much of the debate, in the media view, has been either flat out denial or “we are beyond saving”. We have politicians overseeing governing bodies of science and study stripping funding and shooting down any attempt at promoting additional research (Jim Inhofe,  Ted Cruze, Todd Akin…) . We have politicians in some states banning the mere utterance of the words “climate change” . And we have various players on the religious right claiming there is no way god would let this happen and that man is not powerful enough to damage the planet this way (queue Jim Inhofe). ( fun page of quotes here) People are spending money on debunking scientific facts, ad campaigns, and investigations into who was bought off by whom for which study. Meanwhile, the problem is still here.

I am truly failing to grasp why this is so hard to get a grip on. Most people who made it through basic science in grade school can look at scientific discovery for the last 200 years and piece together that things have indeed changed and there are some rather specific causes with measurable results. We could quibble endlessly about the details but the fundamental point is that the planet we inhabit is going through changes and we have had an impact in the way those are playing out and it is not heading in a good direction. I’ll re-iterate – the blue ball we as a species exist on is having problems, more so than had we not contributed, and it is serious.

I’m not trying to be alarmist about it all but if you’re in your house and it is burning, do you take a time out and  argue with your neighbor about the height of the flames, or what will or won’t burn depending on where it is in your house, or how long it will burn and if it will spread to his house ? No. Do you spend time debating about how it started or where ? No. Do you stand there looking at your coffee table in flames and flat out deny that it is on fire ? No. Do you stop and pray to god for help and wait for him to come down and rescue you? No. You get out and call the Fire Department to put it out.

Our problem is that we have nowhere else to go, though NASA is trying, there is nobody to call, and thus far praying hasn’t stopped anything. We are here for the foreseeable future so…shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to make sure we have a decent place to exist ?

Doesn’t it make more sense to move to green energy? Let’s use sources and processes that don’t put “potentially” hazardous gases, chemicals, and pollutants into our environment. Again, we could debate till we are dead about how much can the planet handle, is it really having an effect, etc. but my question is why find out, if there is an alternative that won’t pose a problem.. ? A bullet “might” kill me but I’m not going to shoot myself to see if it does. Are we really “those” people that will spend more time trying to find out how to hold the gun a special way, aim the gun and pull the trigger in just such a way that there is a good chance we might survive, or design a smarter gun so that if you do pull the trigger… ? Really? Does anybody ever consider not picking up the gun at all.. ? I don’t know about you but I could do just fine without knowing whether or not I might survive getting shot, when I do know I will for sure if I don’t play with the gun at all.

The planet sustains us in every way. If it dies, we die, fairly simple. Obviously things are not quite right and could be much better so why not do something that is good for the planet, and us.

UCSUSA

GCCA

Energy.gov

DSIRE

Before the flood

One Way Sign creates Cross Shadow - Vertical Let me define the word zealotry: noun- fanatical and uncompromising pursuit of religious, political, or other ideals; fanaticism. Excessive zeal.

Clearly the perception of what could be defined as zealotry is open and a fluid dynamic since this perception can influence how the definition is applied. Some would say terrorists groups like ISIS are an example. ISIS and the like would say it is the west/America, or Christians. Jews might say Palestinians and vice versa.  Christians might say non-Christians. Every side claims beyond doubt they are in the right and anyone opposed is going to hell, an infidel, is damned, or should die. Every side is constantly on the war path and beating the drum of fire and brim stone; or some other version of burning /hell related torture. Your salvation can be only be gained by converting to our savior and prostrating yourself before our god and asking for forgiveness from whomever that savior/god may be.

So where does that leave us ?

This fighting has been going on for thousands of years so far ( or 6000 for you die hard non-evolutionary folk). Guess what ? Nobody has won yet. Not a single one. No religion has finally been hoisted above all others as the great and ultimate truth. No one group or people has been exalted to the highest of high and held out to be better than any other. No divine nanny nanny boo boo uttered as of yet. Quite frustrating for all I am sure. I wonder why ? What’s the big wait all about? Why hasn’t “god” finally just set the record straight and put an end to all of the blustering ?  (Hold on to your “end times are here”,”judgement day will see us risen above all” thoughts for a moment).

Maybe, just maybe, it is because “god” has nothing to do with any of it. I know, I know, outlandish concept and I am surely going to burn in someones hell for even thinking this but what if? What if god; the omnipotent creator of all things known and unknown, has nothing to do with our religious zealotry..?

Here is a perspective to think about. What is god? According to most religions- A being/entity/force that is supposedly responsible for creating existence as we know it, all things, everything. Let’s contemplate “existence” for a moment – scientists have estimated (counted with reasonably good data to work with) that our observable universe contains at least one hundred billion galaxies. That is just observable and this is limited by our current technology – still a huge number- a HUNDRED BILLION. This “god” blinked over one hundred billion galaxies into existence. Think about that for a moment and how completely gigantic that actually is.

Now let’s consider us, people, we humans. Our world population is at around seven billion. Seven billion singularly unique individuals. Seven billion completely different human beings on one tiny blue marble floating in a sea of over one hundred billion galaxies that contain countless other marbles. Out of all that; multitudes of multitudes, this being is going to pick one tiny marble out, and on that tiny marble this being is going to single out one group of the even tinier beings living on that marble and make them the supreme right out of everything; the others be damned.

Yes, yes, I hear you..”god works in mysterious ways”. But seriously? Out of all that, your particular belief system is right, above all the others..? And with this “divine right” you are entitled to lash out against other groups, legislate your morality, judge and condemn, and at times bring death and destruction to other people because “god” said your group is best..? This is the premise from which you operate ?

This is the type of thinking and belief that will continue our wars, continue our killing in the name of “god”, and never allow a peace on our tiny blue marble. This is the type of thinking that justifies atrocities across the expanse of our little blue marble and throughout the whole of human existence.

Has anybody ever considered that religion is a very personal path ? That you and you alone embark on your journey toward “god”? That it is something internal to and for you? It is great to find others in your community who share that same choice. Outstanding. By all means, get together and enjoy sharing the knowledge that you are not alone on that personal journey. If you find something out in the world that goes against your personal belief then by all means, do not choose it, do not partake in it, do not let it into your internal personal space. That is your right and your choice. Your personal, internal journey shouldn’t go beyond that. To bad we can’t seem to keep our own choices our own.

Historically every religion on the globe has had its shining moment of crazy. They all step back and point out the atrocities other religions commit yet ignoring their own blood stained history. Every religion on the globe has murdered, maimed, schemed, raped, pillaged and generally acted in heinous fashion at some point, if not at several points in history in the name of “god”. Every. Single. One. Some more than others. Some to this day.
Is murder only ok if it is in the name of your god ? Is maiming, raping, and pillaging another religions people ok as long as it is your religions people doing it in the name of your god ?

I could be wrong but I don’t think that is what “god” had in mind for our tiny infinitesimally small blue marble in the middle of the huge gigantic expanse of everything.

iStock_000000484993XSmallWith Fukushima quite literally hot on everyone’s radar, nuclear power is getting a lot of attention. It’s fascinating how a major disaster has to happen before people seriously consider the ramifications of any technology. As a global species we have had a few nuclear “accidents” over the last several decades. There have been some that weren’t; by popular definition, horrible and then there were “disasters” like Chernobyl in 1986. (list here)

Chernobyl is a good example of how this technology can render a huge amount of our world effectively unusable for decades. To this day there is an exclusion zone covering 1,660 square miles. The clean up is still ongoing and the cement cap used to bury reactor #4 is eroding. While this disaster was human error, Fukushima was not. Either way, the resultant damage is deadly and long lasting.

 

So why do we continue to use this technology ? I’ve read several arguments from supporters on how safe it is and how cheap it is compared to fossil fuels, etc. I don’t think those financials include the decades of after-effects and impact to heath. And how safe can something that wipes out our world in the blink of an eye be? I can see how an immediate ROI looks great but if one thing happens all the benefit is lost. I still have to ask why.

With all the great minds we have constantly working on viable solutions to our ever growing energy needs, can’t they come up with something that won’t destroy us and the world we live in ?
There really isn’t anything better ? Solar, wind? Something ? It’s almost like we keep building new things to catch the road runner, and we all know how that turns out.

I implore the great minds to stop spinning cycles on nuclear tech and instead push beyond the known and find a solution that will truly benefit us all without killing us when it blows up, either by our hand or mother natures.