So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

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Duane
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So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Duane » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:27 pm

My facebook page lists "Rational Humanist" as my political party. A relative today asked me what that meant. I wasn't sure what to write (she and most of my other relatives are Tea Party types), so I decided to be as broadminded as possible, and I wrote the following. What do you think? I'm sure I share a lot of the following views with most of y'all here, but I'm curious to know if what I wrote makes sense. Let me know, 'kay? :mrgreen:


It's an umbrella term I use to describe a variety of issues and philosophies I support. Broadly speaking, I want the Human race to reach its full potential. Conservation, civil rights, sustainable economic growth, laws and regulations based on firm scientific footing, separation of Church and State. Think Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Theodore Roosevelt (my all-time favorite US President), even Gene Roddenberry. Politically speaking, think a lot of Democrat, some Republican, some Libertarian, some "outside the box." If we were speaking in person, I'd be able to articulate it a little better.

And, like all living things, it's continually evolving...

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:43 pm

Take away all the chains. That's the best way to shuttle rational humanism onto the oncoming light.

Let people live their lives without restraint from a master. Creative juices lead the gears on. Democracy in its primary nakedness is the ape that sings to us. Can you hear the music Duane?

:mrgreen:

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Duane » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:52 pm

Hey Frank, I have so many awesome facebook posts your head would melt. But, you know... still "awaiting...." :wink:

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby swp » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:24 pm

Duane wrote:It's an umbrella term I use to describe a variety of issues and philosophies I support. Broadly speaking, I want the Human race to reach its full potential. Conservation, civil rights, sustainable economic growth, laws and regulations based on firm scientific footing, separation of Church and State. Think Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Theodore Roosevelt (my all-time favorite US President), even Gene Roddenberry. Politically speaking, think a lot of Democrat, some Republican, some Libertarian, some "outside the box." If we were speaking in person, I'd be able to articulate it a little better.

And, like all living things, it's continually evolving...
I'm not a tea party member, but I've seen one on tv...

You'll be asked for specifics, and to define a lot of the terms you used. "full potential" for example. Where are we now? How do you define progress and what is the scale? Taken the wrong way, your statement could be construed to mean that you think the human race is nearly at its potential and therefore you have a very conservative viewpoint. Taken the other way, we're infants and you have a very liberal/progressive viewpoint. You'll probably have to define the differences between liberal and progressive now that I think about it. So that's a really broad band of philosophies and you'll probably need to clarify it a bit for them.

"Conservation" -- again, its a matter of definition. And if they are like my local yokel tea partiers, at least one will misread that as "conservative" and you'll need to help them a bit. Conservation, to me, is the failed application of "reduce, reuse, recycle" and other things I learned as a boyscout 4 decades ago. They may see it as tree hugging, or saving spotted owls and snail darters. Don't let them narrow it down too much is all I'm saying.

Civil rights -- well, at least you mention MLK so they should get this one. But include things other than race in your explanation, lest they think you hate "fags" or some other such nonsense. Your views on marriage will come into question most likely, so be prepared for that.

Sustainable economic growth -- yeah, pretty solid ground there. Define "sustainable" for me. They will not make any more land, our population is growing at an alarming rate, and the drain on basic resources like potable water is very disturbing. I know you didn't intend to include overpopulation in that phrase, but it's where my mind went first. Theirs could go any number of ways I'm sure.

Laws and regulations based on firm scientific footing -- um ... yeah. You'll get a fight on this one. Whose science? Much like the OJ Simpson murder trial, it's about believing the witness or person delivering the message. Perhaps this argument:
I believe what Professor Hawkings tells me, but my interpretation of that may be different from yours. For example, he says in his recent work that not only can all possible universes exist but that they must exist. Great. Does that mean that God must exist, since in some universe he does?
I expect you'll get this argument as well, or something like it:
But the law shouldn't care what current science knows, should it? 1000 years ago, everyone knew that the king was picked by God. 500 years ago, everyone knew that the world was flat. Just imagine what everyone will know 500 years from now.
Also, what does a traffic regulation need to know from firm scientific footing? I can foresee some confusion on this as well. I'm not saying any of it is not consistent, just that the devil is in the details and you could be misinterpreted without a few examples.

Separation of Church and State -- ok. If they are really tea partiers then I expect they will use the Sarah Palin quote about that exact phrase not being in the US Constitution. They will call Jefferson's 1802 letter to the ephesians, er ... the Danbury Baptist Association, a minor and should-be-forgotten missive of no importance otherwise it wouldn't have lain unknown and out of the public eye for so many decades. As tea partiers, they will even go so far as to say that Jefferson didn't write the constitution but rather that he cribbed notes from other statesmen of the age and used their ideas and just put them all into one place without any original thought of his own. (Yeah, I've heard that recently, can you tell?) Just be prepared.

Like all living things, it's continually evolving -- oops. They may call you on this one. "Living things" don't evolve, species do. With these people, if you stray from your basic core facts or are in the slightest way inconsistent then they will jump all over you for it. At least, my local yokel variety does. Be prepared, be consistent, and stick to your guns. You are not wrong, you have a well formed set of opinions based on the facts as you know them. If their "facts" are different, be prepared to discuss them without attacking the messenger.

That's my two cents. But that they are willing to talk about these things to try to understand is your biggest victory no matter what.
swp

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Duane » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:20 pm

Hey swp, all good points; thanks. Fortunately, most of my relatives know where I stand on things, and their arguments are familiar to me. Others who aren't are free to ask for clarification.

However, if one of them brings up the "species evolve" vs. "living things" (by which I meant that my ideas are open to continued analysis and refinement), I'll congratulate him or her on their knowledge of evolution, and ask that they please pass their knowledge on to the less informed. That'll get 'em! ;)

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:26 am

Do you really think tea partiers will pick up on a subtle point on evolution?

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:22 am

...my ideas are open to continued analysis and refinement...

And you have the nerve to call yourself an American!
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Moderator » Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:42 am

Steve Evil wrote:Do you really think tea partiers will pick up on a subtle point on evolution?


I tried that one. I was talking to NeoCon Jim's son once (Jim was also listening) when the kid -- then fifteen-ish -- said something about evolution. I said that not only does evolution exist, but there are millions of examples going on all around us. He balked, so I brought up the evolution of dogs just in the last thousand years. Human-led evolution, but evolution.

His response, almost angrily, was "yeah, but they're all still dogs" as if I was a complete idiot. "Yes," I said, "but in a million years you won't call them dogs anymore because they'll have evolved into a whole variety of different species."

"No -- they'll all still be dogs because they're dogs NOW!"

This went on until, in a moment of frustration, I blurted out "Boy, you don't think much of God if you deny God the ability to conceive of evolution and carry it out across hundreds of millions of year. That shows a very small God."

Jim and I didn't speak for a month or so, and I haven't seen his son in a couple of years.
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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:14 pm

I got an e-mail joke the other day full of all kinds of silly examples of the English language, and of little amusing conundrums (my favorate was "if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant, what do you do?"). But number four was "If we all evolved from monkeys and apes, why are there still monkeys and apes around?". It was the second time I've seen this question asked on two different - albiet similar- internet memes, and I suspect they must have been taped on by some smug creationist. Who else asks such stupid questions? Unlike the others, this is a very straightforward question that has been thoroughly addressed and answered ad nauseum since the theory was first proposed.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:19 pm

Barber, best that you break it off with Jim for good, bud.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:42 pm

I am sure Jim is a decent man.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Moderator » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:52 pm

Jim is a great guy. actually. Politics and religion are where we've agreed to disagree.

As regards the monkeys and apes thing, I keep correcting folks that we are not descended from them, it's that we share a common ancestor.

Or, put another way -- harkening back to the Schwarzenegger/DeVito film TWINS -- we got the GOOD genes.
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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:29 pm

Bring Jim here, I will set him straight.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Lori Koonce » Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:06 pm

Barber wrote:Jim is a great guy. actually. Politics and religion are where we've agreed to disagree.

As regards the monkeys and apes thing, I keep correcting folks that we are not descended from them, it's that we share a common ancestor.

Or, put another way -- harkening back to the Schwarzenegger/DeVito film TWINS -- we got the GOOD genes.



Steve

Toss this one Neo-con Jim's way and see what he does with it.

Biologists at Stanford have discovered that a gene, which is common to both chimps and humans, has caused very different things to happen in both species.

The Natural Killer gene (or NK for short) has functions that are common to both, but before birth the same gene is responsible for making sure that the chimp ends up with a robust immune system and controlls the in utero blod flow of the Human female so that we get the bigger brain.

I'll post a link as soon as I can find it.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Duane » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:35 pm

If someone ever flips that "why are there still monkeys?" canard at you, counter with this: When you were born, did your parents die? Then walk away hurriedly so you don't have to stand there and explain to them how every generation is a very tiny microstep in the evolutionary process.


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