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Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War

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Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

War perverts and destroys you. It pushes you closer and closer to your own annihilation—spiritual, emotional and finally physical. It destroys the continuity of life, tearing apart all systems—economic, social, environmental and political—that sustain us as human beings. In war, we deform ourselves, our essence. We give up individual conscience—maybe even consciousness—for contagion of the crowd, the rush of patriotism, the belief that we must stand together as a nation in moments of extremity. To make a moral choice, to defy war’s enticement, can in the culture of war be self-destructive. The essence of war is death. Taste enough of war and you come to believe that the Stoics were right: We will, in the end, all consume ourselves in a vast conflagration.

A World War II study determined that, after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties. A common trait among the remaining 2 percent was a predisposition toward having “aggressive psychopathic personalities.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” notes: “It is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they go there.”

During the war in El Salvador, many soldiers served for three or four years or longer, as in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, until they psychologically or physically collapsed. In garrison towns, commanders banned the sale of sedatives because those drugs were abused by the troops. In that war, as in the wars in the Middle East, the emotionally and psychologically maimed were common. I once interviewed a 19-year-old Salvadoran army sergeant who had spent five years fighting and then suddenly lost his vision after his unit walked into a rebel ambush. The rebels killed 11 of his fellow soldiers in the firefight, including his closest friend. He was unable to see again until he was placed in an army hospital. “I have these horrible headaches,” he told me as he sat on the edge of his bed. “There is shrapnel in my head. I keep telling the doctors to take it out.” But the doctors told me that he had no head wounds.

I saw other soldiers in other conflicts go deaf or mute or shake without being able to stop.

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War is necrophilia. This necrophilia is central to soldiering just as it is central to the makeup of suicide bombers and terrorists. The necrophilia is hidden under platitudes about duty or comradeship. It is unleashed especially in moments when we seem to have little to live for and no hope, or in moments when the intoxication of war is at its highest pitch. When we spend long enough in war, it comes to us as a kind of release, a fatal and seductive embrace that can consummate the long flirtation with our own destruction.

In his memoir “Wartime,” about the partisan war in Yugoslavia, Milovan Djilas wrote of the enticement that death held for the combatants. He stood over the body of his comrade, the commander Sava Kovacevic, and found:

“… Dying did not seem terrible or unjust. This was the most extraordinary, the most exalted moment of my life. Death did not seem strange or undesirable. That I restrained myself from charging blindly into the fray and death was perhaps due to my sense of obligation to the troops or to some comrade’s reminder concerning the tasks at hand. In my memory, I returned to those moments many times with the same feeling of intimacy with death and desire for it while I was in prison, especially during my first incarceration.”

War ascendant wipes out Eros. It wipes out delicacy and tenderness. Its communal power seeks to render the individual obsolete, to hand all passions, all choice, all voice to the crowd.

“The most important part of the individual life, which cannot be subsumed in communal life, is love,” Sebastian Haffner wrote in “Defying Hitler.” “So comradeship has its special weapons against love: smut. Every evening in bed, after the last patrol round, there was the ritual reciting of lewd songs and jokes. That is the hard and fast rule of male comradeship, and nothing is more mistaken than the widely held opinion that this is a safety valve for frustrated erotic or sexual feelings. These songs and jokes do not have an erotic, arousing effect. On the contrary, they make the act of love appear as unappetizing as possible. They treat it like digestion and defecation, and make it an object of ridicule. The men who recited rude songs and used coarse words for female body parts were in effect denying that they ever had tender feelings or had been in love, that they had ever made themselves attractive, behaved gently. ...”

When we see this, when we see our addiction for what it is, when we understand ourselves and how war has perverted us, life becomes hard to bear. Jon Steele, a cameraman who spent years in war zones, had a nervous breakdown in a crowded Heathrow Airport after returning from Sarajevo.


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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 30, 2012 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Sinbad, not all non believers are the same as I suppose not all Muslims and Catholics are the same, but once again stereotyping is so important because generalizing the target is important to make it larger!

As for the Pope, it seems many people need to have someone to look up to in their existence and many their impoverished lives, this seems to be the religious version of the trickle down theory. I know all us lefties have Bill Maher for the tickle bone theory!

Evidently Eloisa, you made some handshaking and very interesting comments which appeared to be coming around to a good interactive discussion, then the rising poking stick of hate reared its ever present head!

Differences in humans have always been caustic for some more than others, those fearing differences inclined fuel the fire of hate while some of watch this on going saga unfolding time and time again.  Personally I think this picking a side thing is highly over rated, though I find name calling lets off pressure and can feel good, but I am giving it up!

Just in case, I have me toes crossed!

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, March 30, 2012 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

I’d be willing to bet that not a single person who reads Truthdig thinks that Milgram’s actors represented fundamentalists, corporate CEOs, or fascists to his test subjects.

Not now they dont!

But its a safe bet that many/most did think so. Leftists think of every aspect of authoritarianism as arising from the Other. There is a tendency for Leftists to think they are above the crowd, immune to the weakness of human nature, beyond the tense intersection between good and evil. For example, some Leftists believe that the terrible authoritarianism arising from Communism came from the “residue” of the old conservative ways. Remember that one, Anarcissie?

It is a rare leftist who locates themself at the level of our common human nature, but I am there all the time. The locus of evil is not ‘over there’ in the Other. The tension between good and evil exists in every human heart.

Milgram’s experiment has been used as evidence of authoritarianism(and we all “know” authoritarians are only found on the right) by Leftists for so long that i think they forgot exactly which type of figure specifically was authoritarian in Milgram’s study.

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, March 30, 2012 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

How arrogant and deviant to see John, The Worst, continue spewing his sophist, evil propaganda against people of Faith!

The irony about this misguided, arrogant bigot is that he adopts the name of “John,” which is, in fact, a name that has a religious connotation and history!

Or perhaps, he means to associate himself with the other bad meaning of “john,” which means “lavatory” or “customer of a prostitute.”

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 30, 2012 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, March 29 at 3:52 pm:

‘... You attribute the power of Milgrams experiment to “authoritarianism” and when you think of authoritarians what do you think of? Be honest!

I have played this Truthdig game ten times, one hundred times, maybe a thousand times before. I know how Leftists think.  You think of “authoritarianism” as the following: Christian Fundamentalism, Corporate CEOs, Fascism. You surmise that Milgram’s experiment proves you are right about this. Well, no, Milgram does not do that at all. ...’

I’d be willing to bet that not a single person who reads Truthdig thinks that Milgram’s actors represented fundamentalists, corporate CEOs, or fascists to his test subjects.

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By elisalouisa, March 30, 2012 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

A handshake is comprised of two hands. What moved me what that Fidel Castro shook the hand of the pope. Fidel who well knows the flaws of the Catholic Church. Fidel Castro who fought for his people risking his life throughout his life. Fidel Castro who stood up to the U.S. and lived to tell about it. If Fidel Castro can shake the hand of the pope I have the freedom to find it moving.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 30, 2012 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

Elisa, See past the photo-ops. The packaging is slick and intended to pull your heart-strings.  Eventually by controlling the poor people, the Vatican gains influences over governments.  This is the pay-off, not getting a few pesos for each of the 11 million people of Cuba. 

Gaining political influence over the country gets the influence to broker real power….the power to exploit natural resources.  This wins the Vatican billions.  That said, the small revenue stream from a poor population can offset operating costs for the Catholic infrastructure.  The Vatican would happily pay all those costs itself, the maintenance of church personnel and holdings, in order to have control over the people. 

The Church keeps the population ignorant, superstitious, and in poverty.  Unable to feed more and more children.  Teeming masses who are concerned with their daily existence are easy to control with table-scraps. 

Your heart might be in the right place elisalouisa, but this is an old and deadly game.  You need to put your emotion aside for a minute and see it for what it is.  The Catholics have a long history of abusing the faith of superstitious poor people.  And these same poor people are the ones who fight each other and die in wars.  Meanwhile, the ‘priest class’, the preachers, the clerics sit back and profit from the carnage.  These papal visits are pure marketing.

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By elisalouisa, March 30, 2012 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

Of course you are correct Arabian Sinbad. Some have remarked that the Pope went to Cuba to fill the coffers at the Vatican. Yes, the people of Cuba have so much money to give, that’s why the pope went to Cuba. I must say, knowing the aversion that the Catholic Church has for communism and also vice-versa, I was touched by the photo of the Pope shaking the hand of Fidel Castro, my idol. The fact that both would come to this moment was truly moving.

In line with the religious tone this thread has taken recently, I find it rather ironic that there has been comment as to those tortured and killed in the name of religion when the theme of this Chris Hedges column is a solider(s) setting people afire, murdering and torturing women and children in the name of a non-religious symbol, the flag of the U.S.

Nary a peep from the people.

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By theway, March 30, 2012 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

To Arabian Sinbad:
I am so glad that you are writing again even after being so ignorantly insulted.Atheism is no different from any other blind belief. There is so much we do not know and probably will never know. I hope that you will hold your faith in your heart and will not judge those who are trying to provoke you with their hatred.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 30, 2012 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

PErfect example to make the ‘sophists’ points Sinbad. 

Misplaced faith.  The Pope.
Here’s the latest, money laundering for only God knows what…...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9153871/Vatican-Bank-faces-fresh-controversy.html

And as if the Catholic church has been a bastion of decency.  Forget the insignificant pedophilia issues….. the Catholics under this pope have been continuing the anti birth control and anti abortion policies that guarantee continued poverty and the brutality which goes with it. 

Perfect, perfect con-job by the Pope in Cuba.  Sweet words which capture the faith of well meaning people.  Ultimately, to fill coffers at the Vatican and win geo-political influence.  Same scam as the fanatics running all the major religions.

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, March 30, 2012 at 4:19 am Link to this comment

I write this comment to highlight the value of religious-based faith against the sophistry of the few fanatic, faithless secularists, who highjacked this thread lately.

I imagined that those self-absorbed sophists have not even heard or followed the news of the Pope’s visit to Cuba. A visit I consider of great courageous moral value that puts all secular-leaning politicians to shame.

Despite my reservations about some of the teachings of the Catholic Church, and despite of the fact that I am not a Catholic, I consider the Pope’s visit to Cuba a great positive moral act, requiring a leap of strong religiously-based faith. Here we have a leader of a religious community showing open-mindedness, reason, initiative, and courage to visit a country whose rulers represent the extreme opposite of religious faith, to sit with them amicably and interfere on behalf of some political prisoners to be freed.

This religiously-based faith of the Pope stands in contrast with the cowardliness and fear-mongering which dominated the rotten thinking of all the American politicians in the last several decades. This reactionary, close-mindedness and ideological fanaticism of the so-called democratic American politicians have prevented political-military America from having a normal, civilized relations with a neighboring country, opting instead to using fear-mongering, economic sanctions and open hostility which only hurt and restrict the freedoms of the average citizens in both countries!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, March 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

I read many papers, elisalouisa and have digested much.  I am
pleased to find someone else who has read some of the same
material.  I read the Ian Macindoe article some time ago, as I get
the AFA magazine.  I also have the Gopnik Angels and Ages in my
personal library and was interested to see Macindoe cite the book. 
I enjoyed the article immensely.  I thought the quote said what I
myself thought as I have been thinking about this topic for some-
time having been on another TD forum a year or so ago, I forget
exactly when as there are a good number of forums on which I’ve
commented and we had one on faith in depth before. 

I have a couple of Popper’s books and liked the quote Macindoe also
put in.  So I looked it up in Popper’s book In Search of a Better World:
lectures and essays from thirty years
and found it!  The whole quote
is from the section On Knowledge:

“I believe that it is worthwhile trying to discover more
about the world, even if this only teaches us how little
we know. It might do us good to remember from time
to time that, while differing widely in the various little
bits we know, in our infinite ignorance we are all equal.
– pg. 50.

I don’t memorize everything but I do recall where I’ve seen things. 
Having both quotes on my mind, I accidentally put in Popper for Gopnik
then forgot to put in the Popper.  I was keying my post in a rush.  I only
had my conference period to catch up on stuff and do a few other things. 
So you are right!  I did put the wrong attribution.  My apologies.  I have a
membership in the AFA.  If you want you can take a single membership
or if you want to just get the magazine you can do that too.  For an
application, see information at
http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/content/membership.
Rereading the Macindoe article as some time had passed since I first
read it, and found his words considered questions I’ve long had myself. 
When I find someone whose thought I appreciate, I try to put in my own
words what they have said to see if I understand them.  Don’t you do
that?  Anyway I found the long article far-reaching and relevant to what
I was trying to say.  In my haste I did not cite him as the source of my
thoughts.  I rarely do that, but occasionally I do.  I shall have to try not
to do so many things at once.  Life gets busy sometimes.  Again it is
most interesting that someone else has appreciated what I do.  Perhaps
you would like to discuss the thoughts of these thinkers further?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

‘You damn leftest s are all alike, which makes generalizing so convulsively convoluted, myopically comfortable and most especially convenient for entrenched ideas, full of those unhouse broke barking dogmas!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

Fine, I think I have it….“Milgram showed that 60% of the Americans he tested would kill someone who they knew was perfectly innocent for the sake of what they thought was a scientific experiment, because they were in a lab and a person who they thought was a scientist told them to do it.”

*So, they put their trust in the ‘scientist’. 
*The scientist was an ‘authority’, someone who claimed to know better. 
*That is, the scientist was someone the subject placed their faith and trust in to know better, to be an authority. 

Are the statements in that paragraph correct? 

So, the subject placed their faith in the scientist, but do we even know if the subject knows what science is?  Science and a Scientist are two different things.  Do some people treat science as a religion?  YES, yes they do, and these people do not understand science.  If they use the same sort of religious faith, a blind trust, for science, then they are mis-using their faith. 

And, just because 60% of any population does something, that does not make it good, right, just or decent. 

In any case, your logic is faulty as I see it because you are substituting a character dressed as a scientist for science.  But I think you managed to enlighten me nonetheless.  I see that with 60% of the population, we can’t even have this conversation. 

Now, does that make me an elitist?  You ascribe some self-importance, some sense of loftiness?  Not necessarily.  One might be measurably better at some thing than other folks, it does not follow that they are snooty about it of look down on people.  That ‘elitist’ branding is just a way to turn us-against-them.  When the day comes, your comrades will have a lot easier time stealing from those branded elitists and killing them or imprisoning them because of the hateful rhetoric that’s been unfairly applied. 

What you are doing is taking people who challenge your thinking, and herding them together into a category without even asking adequate questions.  Not trial. 

Let me ask you…...you are a born again ‘christian’, right?  Doesn’t that make you better than us poor sinners who haven’t seen the light?  Unlike me and my ilk, you folks publicly proclaim you’re the saved ones, the only ones who are going to heaven.  That says pretty clearly you think you’re better than everybody else.  So, who’s the elitist?

Sorry to get off the subject, but this bashing, bashing, bashing…....what is it for?  All the making of hate?  What is it for?

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, March 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

But OM, which ‘faith’ was involved in the Milgram experiment?  Ultimately the subject had faith in the authority figure.  It shows clearly how faith can be mis-used.  Was that your point?

Not at all.

You attribute the power of Milgrams experiment to “authoritarianism” and when you think of authoritarians what do you think of? Be honest!

I have played this Truthdig game ten times, one hundred times, maybe a thousand times before. I know how Leftists think.  You think of “authoritarianism” as the following: Christian Fundamentalism, Corporate CEOs, Fascism. You surmise that Milgram’s experiment proves you are right about this. Well, no, Milgram does not do that at all. 

Milgram did not base his test on those types of authority figures. He did not have a CEO order the shocks. He did not have a fundamentalist preacher order the shocks. He tested his subjects using one and only one authority figure. The scientist, a man wearing a white lab coat and checking off boxes on a clipboard.

Milgram did not go into a church setting to test authoritarianism. He did not go to a Tea Party rally or a board room. He did his experiment in what the subjects thought was a lab, which is to the modern mind a holy temple.

What did Milgrams experiment find out could happen when the common man finds himself in the ‘holy of holies’(laboratory) of science? Please read this next part slowly and carefully:

Milgram showed that 60% of the Americans he tested would kill someone who they knew was perfectly innocent for the sake of what they thought was a scientific experiment, because they were in a lab and a person who they thought was a scientist told them to do it.

Please read that last part slowly a few times. I condensed Milgram to one sentence there, and it is packed full of precision and fact.Please scroll up and read it again until you understand all or it.

Now you cannot say that Milgram proved that people will give shocks because of their faith in God. You cannot say that confidence in a preacher or hope in religion is what carried the test subjects closer and closer to murder. You cannot say that Americans will administer shocks for any of those things.

Milgram’s test worked off one authority and only one authority: the sterile and efficient authority of a scientist. Milgram worked on one faith, and only one faith, the serene and thoughtless confidence that Americans have in science.

Faith in science is of a different cast from religious faith.

No, its the same thing, only the authority of science is more widespread and perhaps worse.


Dear reader, consider the common level of human nature, and for a moment look upon the great mass of ordinary humans, and if you consider yourself to be above it all(and I know that you do), then at least you will look down upon the ordinary man, for that is where i dwell.

Down here at the foundation, the bottom line, I observe that there is only one human nature. The only way you can maintain the illusion of your elite upper tier of humanity is by hypocrisy and double standards.

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By elisalouisa, March 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

The link below leads to an essay by Ian Macindoe entitled, “Faith
is (probably) the problem; Doubt is (possibly) the solution. There are striking similarities between Ian Macindoe’s essay and Shenon’s post March 29 3:05 am.
A mental telepathy thing I would assume, another phenomenon that science cannot explain, more likely. grin

Macindoe attributes the quote:‘There is no struggle between science and art or between evolutionary biology and spiritual faith; there is a constant struggle between the spirit of free enquiry and the spirit of fundamentalist dogma. That struggle is the story of human intellectual history … Nothing is a guarantee of humane conduct, except an insistence on it.’to Adam Gopnik, not the philosopher Karl Popper. Shenon. Who is correct?  The first part of the phrase is especially striking, “There is no struggle . . . . . between evolutionary biology and spiritual faith.” So true. As Macindoe goes on to say, “Perhaps the world
would be better off without faiths, perhaps not. Religious faith certainly has much to answer for, for stultifying human development, to persecution, to unspeakable torture and deaths” . . . .Shen tell us. Consider whether or not the world would be better off without faith.” Macindoe goes on: “Whether an increase in doubt would alleviate many of the ills of faith is worth thinking about. At the level of individual humans struggling to think clearly about their lives and the world, doubt is probably extremely healthful. A society permeated by doubt about beliefs and faiths is possible one solution to the negative aspects of faiths.
I must say Macindoe puts his thoughts together in writing quite nicely. Also, Macindoe is most tolerant as to people of faith. One much bear in mind that the website is the “Atheist Foundation of Australia, Inc.” Therefore much of his audience is atheist.

Added Note: what Macindoe does attribute to Karl Popper (perhaps) “While we differ widely in the knowledge that each of us has, in our infinite ignorance we are all equal.”

Thank you Macindoe, for those wise words.  I just may visit this website again.

http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/articles/faith-probably-problem-doubt-possibly-solution

John Best: it is disrespectful to the language and to a danger to all who rely on it to co-mingle the words ‘faith’ and ‘science’ without great care.  Otherwise one abuses the religious faith of decent people by encouraging them to mis-apply that faith.

Thank you John Best for that very considerate comment.

As Shenon quoted Bertrand Russell, “We must be careful in how we think, if we are not to deceive ourselves.”

Dear Reader, kindly ponder on that thought.

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By theway, March 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

To Ed Romano (March 29)
Thank you for you wise words. The intolerance expressed in some of the comments here was frightening.
Everyone’s “original self”(before conditioning) is good. Generalizations are dangerous.
I like to mention Jacob L. Moreno’s suggestion: “I take your eyes and place them instead of mine and I’ll give you my eyes to use them instead of yours”.
It would certainly encourage mutual understanding.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Not to get on a tangent, but the uncertainties at the limits of our current science aren’t even uncertain in the way religious uncertainty is uncertain.  1-uncertainty=certainty, or something like that.  Even the uncertainty is predictable and not something for the completely different faith which is religions faith.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, March 29, 2012 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

There is theory and then there is practice.  We can talk until the
moon turns blue about the theoretical open character of scientific
activity…and the closed systems of religion.  But as was pointed
out, perhaps theory is not the reality, the physical reality of how
science works.  Challenge for either theory or practice does for the
most part work in the scientific realm of human activity.

There are cases where knowledge is available such as in closed
systems, and as noted in an earlier post on religious faith.  That
does not mean that it is about absolute knowledge in the open
system or abstract sense of absolute of not needing further condition
for truth. 

As self-explanatory statement, human achievement is based on collective
intelligence, no accomplishments in advancing man’s march to true opinion,
other wise called knowledge is done as a solitary effort.  The saying goes
successful feats of arts and science stand on the shoulders of giants.  No one
invents or creates great works or theories, whether in the arts, sciences, social
studies, even religions, in a vacuum. 

Science thrives on doubt, professionally invites it.  Science writer Hugh G. Gauch
says in his highly rated book “Scientific Method and Practice” in the chapter on
Science’s Powers and Limits, “The most obvious limitation is that scientists will
never observe, know, and explain everything about the physical world.” 

But we who have had any interest in science know Heisnberg’s uncertainty principle
is a testimony to that as well as Godel’s theorem, and chaos theroy show fundamental
limits. 

All science that is worth its work publishes its findings in journals, books, argues in
conferences, etc.  There are websites that list various projects that have been opened
up for challenges.  Zombal is one such site. 

Open Science: an introduction to achievements and challenges | Esteban Romero is
another site that invite challenges.

Unsolved problems are always on the docket for anyone wanting to test the theories. 
Sometime theorems are not solved for decades or even centuries.  But at some
unspecified time, they will be taken up again as a challenge.  A great list is on a WikiP site,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsolved_problems in the sciences and philosophy.

Several books discuss the limits of science, Edward Caldin (1949), “The Power and Limits
of Science.” Michael Ruse, (2011) “On Science and Faith: Seeking Mutual Understanding,”
“The Limits of Science” by P.B. Medawar (1984).  Unlike religion, scientific advances are
alway open for peer review, see “How Scientific Peer Review Works” by William Harris, John
Horgan’s October 1993 Scientific American article, “The Death of Proof”, claimed that the
growing complexity of mathematics, combined with “computer proofs” and other develop-
ments, were undermining traditional concepts of mathematical proof. The article generated
“torrents of howls and complaints” from mathematicians, which perfectly describes the open
order of scientific investigations.  Someone is sure to come along to dispute his theory.  Just
a taste of N. Resher’s fascinating article “Contingency and the Limits of Science” - “Is it
plausible to imagine science pacing on into the future, forever posing new problems and
answering new questions, never coming to a halt? There are two main threats to such a
scenario. The first, obvious one is the threat of perplexity, of unanswerable questions.” at
http://transcissions.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/contingency-and-the-limits-of-science/

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 29, 2012 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

But OM, which ‘faith’ was involved in the Milgram experiment?  Ultimately the subject had faith in the authority figure.  It shows clearly how faith can be mis-used.  Was that your point? 

You are right that at some ‘levels’, as you put it, the word ‘faith’ is used in both contexts, religions and science, and it is comparing apples to oranges. 

Scientific ‘faith’, is the confidence<i> that something can be repeated, or reliably predicted. 

This is completely different from the <i>hope of having confidence, or the hope that something will occur.  This is what religious faith is.  Or, religious faith might be trust. With many instances of scientific faith, you can bet your life on the outcome.  Not so with religious faith.  This is only one reason religious faith should not be mis-used or abused. 

If we continue to use the word ‘faith’ in a scientific context, we are fools, and are deceiving people into thinking their religious faith is as foolproof as some science or engineering act that has been conducted thousands of times with the same result each time. 

I say, it is disrespectful to the language and to a danger to all who rely on it to co-mingle the words ‘faith’ and ‘science’ without great care.  Otherwise one abuses the religious faith of decent people by encouraging them to mis-apply that faith.

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By truedigger3, March 29, 2012 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

Re: By Shenonymous, March 29 at 3:05 am

Shenonymous,
This is an excellent post.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, March 29, 2012 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

Science has built-in a “protection” against what is called magisterial dogma or a tyranny of thought.

There is no such protection in real life. You are still idealizing about “Faith in Science”. We must compare competing claims on a level playing field or you arent really comparing anything at all.

You are still up in the clouds. You speak of the idealism of “Faith in Science” while looking down upon the common person’s “Faith in God”.

I dwell in the basement of existance with the lowest class, with the common man, and here I work to get to the bottom line, where the nitty gritty of life happens. If you really want to make a comparison between “faith in science” and “faith in God”, you will have to come down here to my level. Otherwise you are like an archer who hits everything else but the target.

There is an experiment which tests “Faith in Science” and examines it at its foundational level, down to its bottom line, which is the level of existance and not idealism. It is only at the basement level, the nitty gritty of life, the common man, that we can make a fair comparison. Now, let us find out where “Faith in Science” can truly lead.

Please set aside your bias. Take the time to watch and understand the experiment on Youtube. Or you can just read it through at the wikipedia, which is the second link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W147ybOdgpE&feature=related


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

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By Leefeller, March 29, 2012 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

Seems to me the word ‘faith’ is used conveniently and blindly by those who feel the need to believe in something, which appears as pure superstition to me. Faith in science seems to suggest to me, the silly concept of accepting or at least accepting facts instead of superstitious dogmas?  The weakness in my view, seems to be expecting people to accept truth over belief, hence the necessity of the hedging absolutist word faith! As John mentions, faith seems very like hope, but to a special club, except difference bing hope does not seem as absolute?

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By Shenonymous, March 29, 2012 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

A couple of problems with the repost of my quote with my apologies
and I feel I must re-repost the correct version!  The intrusive question
marks happens when copy/pasting from a post that had been format-
ted to fit the texting space. Oh well, we must still love technology even
when we are foiled by it.

I found I also had to make a huge correction of the word I’ve bolded
in this repost.  It changes the force of my intention. Faith in science
is of a different cast from ?religious faith.  Scientific knowledge knows
it essentially is conjectural ?or hypothetical.  Unlike faith as it exists in
the absolutism of religion, ?science knows it is fallible and a strong
measure of skepticism protects? it from dogma.”

Science has built-in a “protection” against what is called magisterial
dogma or a tyranny of thought. 

Again I apologize for the need to revise.

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By Ed Romano, March 29, 2012 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

Michael,  Your post started out to be reasonable, but in the end it became just another ozarkism. First, please reread Heteromaniac’s answer to me.If that looks a reasonable reponse to you I can understand better the scurrilous manner in which many of your posts procede…. At your request I am going to try to add something to what I wrote about The Psychology of Power, just as though I was dealing with a sincere person…. The basis of almost all my thinking, political, social and spiritual .....is that every   human being is valuable. Many are misled and do evil things, but this does not mean that the humanity from which they spring is not worthy of reverence…From this belief it is an easy step to understanding that any philosophy or action that attempts to use a human being as an commodity or object for someone else’s selfish purpose is evil. It’s really pretty simple, as most truth is. I think it is a sign that something is wrong with an idea if it requires a massive amount of argument to support it. But this is just the thinking of one of God’s monkeys. The question that R.V. Sampson asks is .... is it better to love our neighbor, or take advantage of any weakness he has to use him for our own ends ? To me that’s really the basic question underlying all the discussion going on here.  Onward.

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By Shenonymous, March 29, 2012 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

“Scintific[sic] knowledge” cannot “know itself” at all. There
is no such person as “scientific knowledge”  which knows
itself. There are only imperfect people who have “Faith in
Science”.

This response does not read my post at all correctly, but it is done with
personal prejudice.  Quoting myself:

A society pervaded by doubt about ?beliefs and faiths is possibly one
solution to the negative aspects of ?faiths.  This includes conclusions in
science.  It is not exempt…. Faith in science is of a different cast from
religious faith.  Scientific ?knowledge knows it essentially is conjectural
or hypothetical.  Unlike ?faith as it exists in the absolutism of religion,
science knows it is fallible ?and a strong measure of skepticism protests
it from dogma.”
 

What is called scientific knowledge is qualified as always provisional. 
If something is provisional then it cannot be knowledge in any absolute
sense such as religionists claim about their catechisms.  If there are
imperfect people who have “Faith in Science,” there are also imperfect
people who have “Faith in Religion.”  But then if ever there was a truism,
it is that there are no perfect people, for who would be the standard
against whom all would be measured for perfection?  Some abstraction? 
Then it is only “real” in a recondite sense and one would be relegated to
residence in the world of abstraction.

The argument that Faith in Science” might be dangerous might
be irrational in an essential way since scientific faith is qualified as
holding temporary status until such time as new information comes
along and makes a better case toward that virtue the ever elusive truth. 
In science, belief is encouraged to be held tentatively. Scientific knowledge
contains the idea that it knows it doesn’t know unquestionably in any
epistemological sense.  But then we are repeating ourselves aren’t we? 

It is not the case with faith in religion. There is no latitude for revision,
for if there were, the religion would become a schism and the former
cease to exist or there would be two religions born of the one.  This is
given illustration in the more than 400 religions that exist in the world. 
Each religion is absolute unto its own ironclad tenets. Love it or leave it
is a commandment.

The one rule of faith that applies to both religion and science and
provides a level playing field is the following: Faith involves a stance
toward some claim that is not, at least presently, demonstrable by
reason, which manifest as a kind of attitude of trust or assent. It is
ordinarily understood, therefore, to involve an act of will or a
commitment on the part of the believer.

Religious faith is dependent on beliefs that make some kind of reference
either implicit or explicit to a transcendent source. The basis, then, for a
person’s faith is understood to have its source from the authority of
revelation.  Revelation is either direct, through some kind of being
directly imbued, or indirectly from the testimony of another or through
a catechism. The religious beliefs that are the objects of faith can thus
be divided into those what are in fact strictly demonstrable here the
Latin scienta applies (the same root word for science) and those that
inform a believer’s virtuous practices or sapientia (sapience) that has the
implication of the appearance of wisdom. This kind of faith is viewed as
demonstrated (but this is in a qualified way also and is strictly an act will
of the religious believer).  It is and usually is possible to hold a religious
belief on the basis of faith alone or by one’s own reason alone.  Oddly
enough, one could even lack faith in God or deny His existence (be
atheistic), but still find comfort in the practice of religion.  Its ritualism
has a consoling effect.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 29, 2012 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

OM, science is repeatable.  You can drop a brick and your ‘faith’ in the science that it will fall can be demonstrated over and over and over to have been well placed. 

The other faith, religious, it’s more like hope.  ‘Faith’ the word shouldn’t be used in both places.  Actually, a better word might be ‘confidence’ in science, not ‘faith’. 

How about we all just use ‘confidence’ and ‘hope’ and forget the term faith when speaking in mixed company?  Faith is a great word among the faithful.  But beware ye faithful of those who use your faith for devious designs.  I wouldn’t care if misplaced faith (hope) just screwed those who misplace it, but it spills over to all of humanity.  This might be the most repeated lesson of history.

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By OzarkMichael, March 29, 2012 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

Faith in science is of a different cast from religious faith.  Scientific knowledge knows it essentially is conjectural or hypothetical.

To properly compare “Faith in science” to “Faith in God”, one must keep the comparisons on the same playing field and apply the same rules to both. Allow me to explain and please try to suspend your prejudice about this for a moment.

“Scintific knowledge” cannot “know itself” at all. There is no such person as “scientific knowledge”  which knows itself. There are only imperfect people who have “Faith in Science”. Instead of acknowledging this, you are proposing an idealism about science as if its a real person, which is okay if you did the same thing with faith. But you didnt. You compared your idealism of Science to the practical reality and mundane actions of people of faith.

As a practical matter, “Faith in Science” might be very dangerous. As a practical matter it is almost impossible to correct a person with “Faith in Science”. It is a thankless and fruitless task.

If one wants to come to a valid comparison between “Faith in God” vs “Faith in Science” one should get them both on a level playing field with the same rules for both. Otherwise you are arriving at what you think are ironclad conclusions, but in fact your conclusions are based on on ever present Leftist double standard which is what scientists call ‘bias’ and Christians call ‘bad faith’.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 29, 2012 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

Shen, One of the best TD posts of all time.  Not just because I agree with it.  Rock on.

OM, you might be right about the Rorschach test aspect of Bales, Merah, and Zimmerman (BMZ).  That said, and this topic is slightly different than ‘faith’, the us-vs-them training we get from an early age seems to this amateur to be relevant. 

I looked at the psychiatrists summary here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik I think he’s not an outlyer on the same scale as Bales, Merah, and Zimmerman.  Breivik seems physiological?  Bales, Merah, and Zimmerman (BMZ) (and I may projecting my opinions) seem to be part of a normal distribution of “aggressiveness towards outsiders”.  My thinking might be wrong, but I think everybody has some degree, ranging from slight aversion, to extreme hatred, toward those outside what they perceive as their ‘group’.

I think BMZ are typical of those at the extreme ‘hatred toward outsiders’ end of the spectrum, and there are people who are just this side of taking those extreme actions (the killings), and we will see more of this sort of expression of their hatred/frustration as pressures on the population increase. 

I do think we’ve been engaging as a society in pastimes which heighten our aggression, and draw sharper distinctions between us and them.  I think Jesus was on to something regarding a movement which recognizes mankind’s natural tendency, perhaps innate quality to be nurtured toward us-vs-them.  I do think Christianity had a tremendous potential to ‘evolve’ mankind, but sadly, I think it has been hijacked by those who would mis-use faith to take us in exactly the opposite direction of Jesus.  We are going toward intolerance.  BMZ I think are examples. 

I could be wrong.  Do you have an idea?

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By Shenonymous, March 29, 2012 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

The debate going on in this forum about faith can’t but catch the
attention.  It seems that the essential difference between believers and
non-believers is that believers crave certainty and non-believers are
comfortable with uncertainty.

Believers accept what they are told without skeptical questioning; non-
believers are doubtful and question what they are told.  Faith provides
that sense of certitude and firm conviction gives confidence.  The
principle difference is more central than the commonly pointed out
difference between the scientific and non-scientific distinction.

The philosopher, Karl Popper once said and it seems true, that “There
is no struggle between science and art or between evolutionary biology
and spiritual faith; there is a constant struggle between the spirit
of free enquiry and the spirit of fundamentalist dogma.  That struggle
is the story of human intellectual history ... Nothing is a guarantee of
humane conduct, except an insistence on it.”

Consider whether or not the world would be better off without faith.  In
spite of any protest, religious faith certain has plenty to answer for, from
retarding human development, to persecution, to unspeakable tortures
and deaths.  If looked at from that viewpoint, faith appears to be an
issue.  It might be worth thinking about whether a rise in the quantity of
doubt would reduce many of the ailments of faith?  At the level of single
human beings struggling to think clearly about their lives and the world,
doubt can be extremely helpful.  A society pervaded by doubt about
beliefs and faiths is possibly one solution to the negative aspects of
faiths.  This includes conclusions in science.  It is not exempt.

Even though science has been extremely beneficial for the health and
wellbeing of uncountable humans, and gradually has come to function
as the arbiter to establish fact from fiction, since there are no absolutes,
it must itself equally be put to the test of the strain between doubt and
belief.  It must always remain open to revision. because the sum total of
human knowledge is meager by comparison with what is there to be
known in the universe.  It can be given perspective if it is thought of to
be much like a drop of water in an ocean.

Bertrand Russell, that lofty fellow, once warned that we must be careful
in how we think if we are not to deceive ourselves. So the danger of faith
is not being able to check what one believes.  One of the main illnesses
of society, in my view, is that few ever seriously think about what one
takes on faith. 

Faith in science is of a different cast from religious faith.  Scientific
knowledge knows it essentially is conjectural or hypothetical.  Unlike
faith as it exists in the absolutism of religion, science knows it is fallible
and a strong measure of skepticism protests it from dogma.

Jacob Bronowski, the great British mathematician, biologist, and historian
of science, recognized that science “...must protect independence.  The
safeguards which it must offer are patent:  free enquiry, free thought,
free speech, tolerance.”  These are the same freedoms that must also
define a politically healthy society.

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By OzarkMichael, March 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

You see the problem with freedom of speech is that so many folks who have nothing to say avail themselves of it.

Just the same I thank God for it. Besides, you never know when someone will say something worthwhile. For example, your post on “the Psychology of Power” was unexpectedly pretty damn good. Whether you realize it or not I was trying in a gentle, indirect way to make you consider a very important problem about the concept of the “morally right” prevailing.

hetero came right out and said it to you directly and thats nothing to be upset about either.

You brought up something important and we both brought up the same objection. Is the discussion of your important concept already over?

Its a shame if you stop now. There is a paradox there and i havent untied it yet. Its a problem I am constantly solving/failing to solve. I was hoping you would think about what i said and clarify or modify your position because it might teach me something.

Foucaldian is working on the same problem but in a different way and for different reasons. I find what you were saying to be more accessible. I hope that you continue and maybe Foucaldian would also comment.

On the other hand Ed, prior exchanges between us give me no reason to believe anything good will come from this olive branch. Probably your one good post was just an accident, a random occurance, a bit like when monkeys type and type until one of them accidently produces the Gettysburg Address.

Long live freedom of speech. Even for Ed ‘the monkey’ Romano! You never know when the monkey might say something worthwhile. Maybe he is going to prove more than a monkey. Or maybe he wants to cover his mouth, his ears, and his eyes instead of responding to hard questions.

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By OzarkMichael, March 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

No, perhaps it wasn’t faith that set off Bales, Merah, and Zimmerman, but somehow it seems to me they all had to decide they were justified in killing the ones they killed, that it was OK, and that their victims were not like them seems relevant.

I dont know enough about a single one of these cases to know if that applies to a single case, let alone all three. It is interesting what we see in these killers. It is like a Rorschach test. Are we taking our own pet peeves or our political opponents faces and pasting them onto the killers?

I know if i did that the Truthdiggers wouldnt let me get away with it And they shouldnt. Unfortunately i do not have the same power over all of you. It wasnt that long ago that the killing spree by Anders Breivik allowed Truthdig to begin a witch-hunt against “Fundamentalists” for no reason whatsoever. 

By the way, the Norwegian Court psychiatrist recently found Breivik to be paranoid schizophrenic.

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By Ed Romano, March 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

You see the problem with freedom of speech is that so many folks who have nothing to say avail themselves of it.

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By Shenonymous, March 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

John, to clarify I did not say you suggested, “if the rest of us,...do
not pay humanitarian attention to these people,...” It was my liberal
observation.  Of course we need better educated, and that means
somehow getting all the people educated.  How do you propose to
do that?  Shall all the schools be privatized?  Some in the American
society are strongly advocating that.  And sure it seems a noble cause
to develop a better “attituded” population committed to slow growth
to zero
, if we know to what the slow growth to zero is exactly? 
Population, economy?  Maybe you mean social programs abolished, or
privatized as well?  Immigration?  It is not clear what you mean.  By the
way, Susan Jacoby was as brilliant as her book, on the Chris Hayes show
“Up” last Sunday.  Weren’t you the one who recommended The Age of
American Unreason
?

Geez, watch how seriously a high school coach takes a particular
game.  Or the mothers on the little league bleachers.  We are out for
blood over any little thing, any slight.
– No, John, it is not “we.”  It
is “a” coach or “mothers of little leaguers,”  not all of us.  By the way,
do you count yourself as one of the one out for blood over any little
thing?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

She, with respect to, “If the rest of us, .... do not pay humanitarian attention to these people,....”  I suggest no such thing.  We need a better educated, better ‘attituded’ population committed to slow growth to zero.  This is an enormous challenge.  Imagine our generation building an infrastructure and attitude so the next generation can be so productive as to support this one when it retires, plus educate the next one, and have some time and money left over to enjoy?  It’s a thousand moon-shots rolled into one, but the ugly alternative shows new manifestations every day. 

But with respect to the preceding paragraphs of your post, sometimes you just get a feeling from little samples in day-to-day life.  Just because it’s tough to professionally quantify doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.  Everybody who is subjected to advertising and the general tenor of the ‘infotainment’ likely experiences some anxiety.  Does it accumulate?  Does it run off their backs like the duck?  Don’t know for sure, but I’d prefer to err on the side of caution, and act conservatively.  Assume we are getting ‘hyped up’, ‘wound too tight’ and try to change direction a little.  Geez, watch how seriously a high school coach takes a particular game.  Or the mothers on the little league bleachers.  We are out for blood over any little thing, any slight.

OM, to answer your question, “Are you setting up a situation where we need faith control laws similar to current gun control laws?”, the answer is no, no, no.  You ask, “What sort of changes do you want to make in society that will keep faith out of the wrong hands?”  Well, that’s not the way I see it.  It’s more like, how do we keep people from abusing and using the faith of decent people?  And heck if I know.  If only those who let themselves be used paid the price, I’d say fine, but these people let flag-waving, baby-kissing politicians get away with murder on a large scale.  And there are lesser politicians all about.

No, perhaps it wasn’t faith that set off Bales, Merah, and Zimmerman, but somehow it seems to me they all had to decide they were justified in killing the ones they killed, that it was OK, and that their victims were not like them seems relevant.  Perhaps I’m just picking bad cases? I don’t think so.  I think we are subjected to a lot of us-vs-them friend-foe sort of thinking and it gets very reinforced in some of us, so when things don’t go our way, we lash out at ‘them’.  I think that’s what these three had in common….too much us-vs-them conditioning.  Isn’t that what Jesus preached against?  He said ‘Love your brother as yourself’.

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By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

——-“....What is morally right cannot be pragmatically wrong or politically wrong
or invalidated on the grounds of apparent futility”.

specious never goes out of style.

from the Children’s Crusade to the war to end all wars…. some buffoon will try
crying “the day is ours because good in on our side!”

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By OzarkMichael, March 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano quoted Ronald V. Sampson:

“....What is morally right cannot be pragmatically wrong or politically wrong or invalidated on the grounds of apparent futility”.

Ed, i see how badly you want that which is morally right to prevail. I see how earnest you are about it. 

On the one hand I appreciate the thought. I appreciate the effort you made to introduce “Psychology of Power”. I mean that. But on the other hand, your position is one which my kind left behind(or have tried to leave behind) hundreds of years ago, and we are contstantly tempted to go back to it. If it isnt good for me, it might not be good for you either. Think about it.

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By OzarkMichael, March 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

Now OM, this is a serious point.  The mis-use of faith.  If you’re speaking here in good faith, you should acknowledge the issue, not necessarily agree, but the issue, ‘the mis-use of faith’ is on the table.

You ask directly and I am compelled to answer directly: Yes, I acknowledge the issue.

But, I backed off from the lash-out I made at Arabian Sinbad, and I accept the good need for faith.  However; you don’t acknowledge the least bit that peoples faith is abused, and that sometimes, perhaps well-meaning people use their faith when they should be asking hard questions instead.

I can agree with that. So let me set aside my faith and ask you a hard question instead…

Faith is like a gun.  (And I like guns, I like to shoot, I’m a gun totin liberal like the founding fathers)  Anyhow, faith is like a gun.  In the right hands, it’s a great tool.  In the wrong hands, or used carelessly, and you get needless heartache and bloodshed.

Are you setting up a situation where we need faith control laws similar to current gun control laws? What sort of changes do you want to make in society that will keep faith out of the wrong hands?

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By Shenonymous, March 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

And no doubt the Pharaohs thought they were the 1%.

John Best offers his opinion,

“I bring up Merah, Bales and Zimmerman again only
because they are symptomatic of underlying issues
of “...our culture,” which drives “our votes, our tax
money, our not-talking-about-them”.

I contend they only “seem” to be symptomatic of underlying issues”
of the American culture. Otherwise more proof than declarations by the
media and partisan extremists is necessary.  Polls often do not survey
the poor, for instance.  And often it is reasonable to assume the lower
middle class are too busy making a living to have ‘underlying issues.’
And how can we be sure that not only red neck lower middle class are
interviewed? 

Without extant confirming data, all such concluding about the “masses”
is inductive and therefore deals only in probabilities.  Perhaps that is
where those who like to argue from the shadows like to shoot from, and
pretend conclusions are factual.  Seems like the conservatives argue this
way all the time.  They never have facts other than the ones they have
concocted.

The mental state of the population is ostensibly based on the set or
percentage of those who rage and rave on blogs, or are selected to
answer pollsters’ particularly crafted questions that elicits particular
emotionally charged answers, or who wind up on political talk shows
either as guests or as hosts.

assume we all collectively look someplace else for our
cultural leadership, how long does it take for cultural
inertial to get going in a better direction?  Especially in
light of the inability to address the fundamental underlying
issue of population and per-capita demands on resources. 
How is any discussion justified without addressing this issue? 
Everything in Hedges article grows out of population pressures
due to the mental state of this population.

I think you are on to something here, John Best.  There is an important
fluid inverse ratio between people and resources and their attitudes
about the government on which they alarmingly rely.

If the rest of us, who may not be poor, do not pay humanitarian attention
to these people, according to religious creeds and according to secular
morality, that commands we care about our fellow humans, isn’t it true
that we become reduced in our humanity?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

And OM, we’ve never been under the total control of either ‘side’, left or right.  As was intended, we’re always been heading in the direction set by an amalgamation of left, right, and other opinions.  Mostly, we’ve been led by people looking to farther their personal interests. 

But the larger issue is that the whole left-right smokescreen and rodeo-show is just a distraction from the real leadership…....folks feeding at the public trough.  From corporate interests to welfare bums to medicare scamsters, etc, etc. 

I’m not afraid of the dogs turning on me, I am one of the dogs, who, is turning on the duopoly of elephants and donkeys who have overgrazed the commons.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

OM, perhaps I did go a little too far, with regard to “but if you wish to make faith/religion the scapegoat,
well…”

But, I backed off from the lash-out I made at Arabian Sinbad, and I accept the good need for faith.  However; you don’t acknowledge the least bit that peoples faith is abused, and that sometimes, perhaps well-meaning people use their faith when they should be asking hard questions instead. 

Faith is like a gun.  (And I like guns, I like to shoot, I’m a gun totin liberal like the founding fathers)  Anyhow, faith is like a gun.  In the right hands, it’s a great tool.  In the wrong hands, or used carelessly, and you get needless heartache and bloodshed.

Now OM, this is a serious point.  The mis-use of faith.  If you’re speaking here in good faith, you should acknowledge the issue, not necessarily agree, but the issue, ‘the mis-use of faith’ is on the table. 

As for pride in faith?  Should I have pride in a fine firearm?  Well, if I made it, perhaps yes, but if I just bought it?  Not me. 

Anarchissie pointed me toward faith in money…...and faith in Wall St. is where I went.  Is that faith good?  What did they do with that faith?  Ripped us off for how much?  That was faith where we should have known more about human nature. Anyhow, I’m pretty sure God was not involved in that deal. 

So I’m finding faith is like everything else…....partisan, a game without a point.  The value of the discussion is only had when people are willing to speak the whole truth.

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By Ed Romano, March 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

One of the things that has been driven home to me in these forums is how people seem to think that morality varies according to political opinion. I have been rereading The Psychology Of Power by Ronald V. Sampson. Sampson has probably been more influential in my thinking than any other writer. He also wrote The Discovery Of Peace, a masterwork that also delves deeply into the nature of power. In the introduction to The Psychology….he writes something that I think might be well to post at the head of this forum….
  “....What is morally right cannot be pragmatically wrong or politically wrong or invalidated on the grounds of apparent futility. ...The moral law rests on the fact that it is possible for every human being to develop in greater or lesser degree in one direction or another. He may seek to order his life and his relations with others on the basis of love or on the basis of power. The two forces are antithetical , but are directly related to each other, in so far as it is impossible to develop in both directions at the same time. To the extent that we develop our capacity for power we weaken our capacity for love:; and conversely, to the extent that we grow in our capacity for love we disqualify ourselves for success in the competition for power. To the extent that the forces of love triumph over the forces of power, equality among men prevails. And to the extent that the forces of power prevail over the forces of love, domination and subjection characterize human relations. The former is good and leads to human well being. The latter is bad and leads to human suffering and strife.”
  This is from Sampson’s introduction. The rest of his book explains why the preceeding is true…. Looked at from this point of view it becomes possible to see that the organized religions claiming to represent the teachings of Christ are mostly bogus. It also lends a bit of strength to my belief that Jesus Christ was probably more anarchist than anything else…. Sampson seems to makes a similar claim in The Discovery Of Peace.
  If we start from a foundation that says each human being is a unique, one of a kind creature who should be treated with love and justice when and
wherever possible….we will have a tough time trying to prove that any system that proceeds by exploiting him/her, by using him/her as an object or commodity ....a tough time proving such an argument is valid. Because this is not possible defenders of the status quo must argue that the system does none of these things. This is self abuse in a real sense, abusing one’s own mind rather than admit what is plainly evident. Onward.

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By OzarkMichael, March 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

If you’re not going to read what I write, then there is not much point in my reading what you write, is there?

I read what you write, taking your point of view to be heartfelt but sometimes careless. For some I remember your words for a long time.

This, as I said, is not a justification, but if you poke a dog long enough he’s liable to turn on you if he gets the chance.

How true! Lets all learn from that, shall we?

What I do here with words has a specific purpose. I am not attacking you because i am personally threatened or endangered by what you say. Frankly, that would be beneath me even if i was endangered.

I am writing because you need to understand what you are doing, and where it will lead. I push back hard right now so you might learn something… and maybe you wont have to go through the terror of having the dogs turn on you later.

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By Ed Romano, March 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Persecution is always a terrible thing to witness whether it comes from the right or the left,and I would not try to justify it on the left just because I am persuaded in that direction. But can we ask why the persecuters act in the manner that they do? For example, left leaning governments outlawed and executed religious people in the last century in Russia, Spain and Mexico. Why? Because in each of these cases in the time before the left came to power ( I would argue that the Bolsheviks were not true leftists ).... the church sided with the rich, ruling classes in grinding the people down. This,as I said, is not a justification, but if you poke a dog long emnough he’s liable to turn on you if he gets the chance.

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By Anarcissie, March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, March 28 at 10:14 am:

‘... Now Anarcissie, i hope you understand that when you and your radical Leftist friends ponder the foolishness or evils of faith….’

If you’re not going to read what I write, then there is not much point in my reading what you write, is there?

As for Lenin and company, who you seem to be on about, they had all kinds of faith.  By 1917, Marxism had long since turned into not just a faith but an organized religion.

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By OzarkMichael, March 28, 2012 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

The financial-masters-of-the-universe 1% are somewhat different from the leftist 1%.  ‘Yes; they have more money,’ as Ernest Hemingway used to say.

Sometimes the Leftist 1% has the power. What a misery that was. Hopefully we can avoid that situation ever happening again. I would not mind talking about the immorality of war, but if you wish to make faith/religion the scapegoat, well… you got another thing coming.

Now Anarcissie, i hope you understand that when you and your radical Leftist friends ponder the foolishness or evils of faith, that it is natural for me(or elisalouisa) to speak up and defend what we think is a good thing. I hope you understand that when Truthdiggers speak of faith the way Hamlet spoke of life: “to be or not to be?”, I will not let that stand. Why? Because I know that in the last century wherever the 1% Atheistic Leftists gained power, they promptly decided that faith was “not to be”. What a horror that was. That is why in response to the Leftist ‘to be or not to be’ towards faith I will push back pretty hard.

It seems that you(whoever reads this, i write this to you) think that the terrible history of the Leftist Atheistic 1% in the past century has nothing to do with either your own politics or the radicalism that we read here every day on Truthdig. Instead you blame that very terrible past on the Right, on faith, on capitalism, on “residue” from the old system… 

Dear reader! it is not possible for me to anticipate the degree to which this applies to you individually. I cannot write every post with divisions for each degree and type of Leftist. To make matters worse, in every one of my posts there is development(a few turns and changes), and thus i would need to explain the divisions several times in each post. So instead you will have to decide the following: To the extent that you have an understanding that the Left has had its share of governing fiascos, then to that very extent please exhonerate yourself from what i have said. To the extent that you are angry with what i have said because you are a so very pure and very good and so very Leftist… please take every word i said as if i am talking right to you.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 28, 2012 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

I bring up Merah, Bales and Zimmerman again only because they are symptomatic of underlying issues of “...our culture,” which drives “our votes, our tax money, our not-talking-about-them”.

Mr. O is incidental, unless you were the object of a drone attack or some other ‘ultimate expression’ of our culture. 

Yep, ‘culture’ is a big thing, but it is responsible for the quantities and types of things we expend energy to ‘consume’.  Culture slowly and continuously changes.  There are drivers of all sizes and sorts.  Within the context of relatively cheap energy over the last near century, we have allowed it to bob along on it’s merry way to where we are now.  We are becoming more anti-social in an environment which is close to treating we humans to a population collapse. 

I’ll speculate the ‘cultural drivers come from the ‘extremes’.  On one extremes, we have the so-called ‘conservatives’ who take a head-in-the-sand approach to things, and on the other extreme they have their heads-in-the-clouds.  The vast majority of ‘cultural manifestations’ happen in the middle, but we still look to the nut-cases on the extremes as our style leaders.  Our fashion cues, our consumer trends.  It comes from the extremes.  Head in the sand or clouds. 

So, assume we all collectively look someplace else for our cultural leadership, how long does it take for cultural inertial to get going in a better direction?  Especially in light of the inability to address the fundamental underlying issue of population and per-capita demands on resources.  How is any discussion justified without addressing this issue?  Everything in Hedges article grows out of population pressures due to the mental state of this population.

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By Ed Romano, March 28, 2012 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, Regarding more women in government. It’s my thinking that political power makes its own demands on people regardless of whether or not they possess male accouterments.Women can be ,and often are,just as ruthless and war mongering as men .....witness Margaret Thatcher and our own dear Michelle Bachman.

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By Leefeller, March 28, 2012 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

“I’m concerned here with the slaughter of the innocent.  Why do so many people believe in it and condone it?”

It may be most people condone it by their lack of opposition, which seems to be a programed and indoctrinated mind set. The Germans did not oppose the war but in any cases if they did, look what happened to them. I am becoming suspicious there is something about the conservative war monger mind which may have a screw loose, which dost not explain Obama’s war hawk stance, except in case it may be more a survival of the smarter politicer?

I suspect if the war was on the silent condonees door steps they would be more inclined to be being opposed to the needless slaughter of war. I would suspect most people who have been in war would be opposed to it, but even my suppositions appear weak, when one looks at McCain’s Bomb Bomb Iran comment several years back.

War and slaughter, guns and sexism may be a macho male hormone thing, maybe having more women in government would be a huge step in the correct direction towards achieving more peace in the world?

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By Anarcissie, March 28, 2012 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

I’d be more interested in discussing the murders of Mr. O, actually.  And of his predecessors.  I don’t know why these are acceptable but Merah, Bales and Zimmerman cause great excitement.  Hedges says the latter derive from the former, and of course the former derive from our culture, our votes, our tax money, our not-talking-about-them, too, in a way.

As for faith, people believe all kinds of things.  Look at the money system, if you want an example of ‘evidence of things not seen’ contrary to actual evidence, logic, and indeed contrary to common sense and simple reason.  But that’s a different rant.  I’m concerned here with the slaughter of the innocent.  Why do so many people believe in it and condone it?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 28, 2012 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

I’m sorry?  The question of ‘murder or not’, justified killing, moral or immoral killing comes down to ‘justness’.  This is bolstered by morals, and if we are to use the morals of our leadership instead of our own as individuals, it required faith. 

If this discussion of faith in war is not on-topic, then what is? 

I’ll say it’s possible Mohammed Merah, Robert Bales and George Zimmerman all mis-placed their faith.

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By Leefeller, March 28, 2012 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

During WWII, Britons religious leaders promoted to their flocks promoting with faith God was on their side, which in Germany the German religious leaders promoted to their flocks with faith God was on their side.  guess faith can is something like hope you take your chances and hope your side wins?

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By elisalouisa, March 28, 2012 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

But now necessarily lower than me.
should be: But <b>not<b> necessarily lower than me.

“But not necessarily lower than me” should be “but not necessarily lower than I am.

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By elisalouisa, March 28, 2012 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

“But, anyway, we’ve almost completely succeeded in avoiding—zero-
percenting—a discussion of the subject of Mr. Hedges’s article.  Congratulations on that!  Otherwise we might have to impugn Mr. O’s moral defensibility.”

Of course, congratulations. Even some Truthdiggers do not take an interest in these murders, I suspect one reason may be because they are muslims. All sorts of excuses are being dreamed up for Bales. Isn’t that great?

Mr. Hedges, your efforts are not wasted, for many do understand.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 28, 2012 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

But now necessarily lower than me.
should be: But <b>not<b> necessarily lower than me.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 28, 2012 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

OM, you make the assumption that by simply taking about ‘the lower classes’ one thinks they are ‘above it’.  Not true.  That is a leap you can’t take. You and I are in the ‘lower classes’ I would say.  Well, economically, not the poorest of the poor, or even poor, but there are many ways to classify, as you know. 

In a theocracy, everyone below the priests is in the lower classes, and this has nothing at all to do with the economic class.  It has to do with gullibility?  Persuadability?  pass the plate, amen?

I will be honest though, as a fundamentalist, if you are a true believer in half the crap the elites (your ministers) expect you to believe, then you are indeed lower than them.  But now necessarily lower than me.  I’m just sitting out that whole church based class structure, so I’m not high or low on that scale.

Hey you do make a very good point about the need for faith with respect to technology and various things we can;t understand.  The problem is though that faith is mis-used for political and monetary gain of the upper theological classes.  That’s my whole beef with the thing….it’s misappropriation.  That is what ruins faith for me. 

You don;t ‘reveal youself’ much when it comes to going to a war of conquest based on faith though.  No need to be defensive, I’m not talking about any war in particular.  Plenty to go around.  But in the end, the foot soldier is asked to have faith that the war is just, correct?  They need faith that their leaders have identified the enemy correctly. 

You know, sometimes I think people don’t even care if a war is just.  They just want to share in the spoils, so they hide behind their faith to pass personal responsibility up to the leaders.  I’m not saying it happens in every case, but I’m sure it happens.  Faith is a double edged sword, and it is a sharp SOB.

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By Anarcissie, March 28, 2012 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

There are different 1%‘s, I guess.  Away back in the 1960s, some Hell’s Angels called themselves ‘the 1%’, probably referring to social deviance. 

The financial-masters-of-the-universe 1% are somewhat different from the leftist 1%.  ‘Yes; they have more money,’ as Ernest Hemingway used to say.

Evangelicals are not a 1%.  Last time I looked, they were about 25 or 30 percent.  It’s difficult to say exactly because there are different definitions of ‘Evangelical’ and adherence. 

But, anyway, we’ve almost completely succeeded in avoiding—zero-percenting—a discussion of the subject of Mr. Hedges’s article.  Congratulations on that!  Otherwise we might have to impugn Mr. O’s moral defensibility.

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By Leefeller, March 28, 2012 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Stereotyping is so damn convulsive and down right convenient, I find it real handy when talking about all as in lumping every Republican/tea bagger and evangelic so called charlatan, especially when they can be realized as most cretin absolutism’s!

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By OzarkMichael, March 28, 2012 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

If faith is going to be used as it is by the extremists, I say, Faith no more.

Can you imagine a world without faith?  Why wouldn’t that work?

It wouldnt work because faith is necessary to trust something that you dont completely know or understand. Without this trust a complex technological society would not be possible. For example, most people dont understand how an airplane works. Even if you do, you dont keep track of the inspection schedule, you dont monitor all the part replacements upon the aircraft as you board it.

We also might not know how a microwave works. We dont directly know very much in the complexity of society. So we must trust if we are to act… we thus act ‘on faith’, not on knowledge. We step on the airplane, we fire up a microwave, we cross the bridge.

A serious answer to that question might reveal a few things about how the ‘lower classes’ are ‘governed’.

Careful Leftists! The more some of you talk about class the more confident you become that it detemines everything and everyone else…. except yourselves. Thats a double standard. Listen. There is only one human nature. There is only one humanity. How many times have i laid that down, but its a rare Leftist who dares risk an amen!

It didnt take long for your conversation to reveal that you consider yourselves to be outside the determinates of class, above the whole thing.

As a fundamentalist Christian, a member of what you consider to be the lowest of the low class, I know where I stand here on Truthdig. I also have observed your opinion of yourselves, that you consider yourselves to have obtained superiority to the all believers of every religion, every era and every age of mankind, a superiority which i never claimed to have. You are the person who stands above and outside. I do not, I can not, i will not… in spite of your invitations. No, I am merely one of them and thats all i am. Suddenly a new concept arises that i want to express: We are the 99%, and you who place yourselves outside and above us are the 1%.

The contempt which the 1% holds for the 99% is palpable. The concern that the 1% expresses for the 99% is phony, and the presumption of superiority by the 1% over the rest of us is a conceited illusion.

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By elisalouisa, March 28, 2012 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Perhaps but then again, perhaps not. For now we see through a glass darkly   .  .  .

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By Leefeller, March 28, 2012 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

She, great quote from Russel.  I had faith my font problem would dissipate and it did,... I am quite a prioritizer in me own right!

elisalouisa,now I am not an expert on realizing, but it seems to me one can surmise a realization and be wrong or or not be right in what they may have realized?

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By elisalouisa, March 28, 2012 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

The best quotes are the ones the speak to our values and views.

“Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books, but lives
in our very blood?”

Carl Gustav Jung
Life Quotes | By Sanjeev Dhiman |

Who has fully realized that the probability of dimensions unknown to the intellect do exist?  Who has fully realized that upon the dropping of the body one’s essence is attracted to those dimensions or perhaps again experiences the wheel of life? Does the intellect go there?  No. Can some be so inflexible, for want of a better word, as to assume that if it is not known to them such elements do not exist? Yes.

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By Leefeller, March 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Whatever font someone changed to, I find it really difficult to read the posts,.... so stop it!

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By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

She—- russell was one of those people who sought to find the larger truths….he’s
worthy of your admiration and that was a great quotation that you cited.

thanks for that.

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By Shenonymous, March 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Loving Bertrand Russell, Heterochromati, he also said of faith, in
Human Society in Ethics and Politics, “Where there is evidence,
no one speaks of ‘faith’. We do not speak of faith that two and two
are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we
wish to substitute emotion for evidence.”

Anarcissie, March 27 at 8:10 am – Can’t say I ever really “enjoyed”
talking with proselytizers, but they seems to wind up at my front
door periodically and I also ask them about their “religious” experi-
ences and how they came to their beliefs, and if they tolerate other’s
beliefs.  Then I ask them if they would mind if I gave them some of my
literature?  Which always elicits a “No, thank you, we have to be getting
on.”  I don’t think they saw me as a hostile stranger, as they come onto
my property and up steps to my porch to deliver their message.  These
are not “average” American citizens, but they are average religious
proselytizers. 

Yes of course the OWSers are proselytizers.  Of course they are
attempting to convert more Americans to stand with them in their
public ground or sometimes privately ownedground, for which they
get in trouble to protest the travesties they see others suffering as
well as those who consider themselves the 99% .  They are chanting
their loathing of the corporate swiping of the economy that has left
people especially on the bottom of the income scale in dire straights.  It
is unconscionable for government to go on. Because of proximity I have
not spent any physical time with the OWSers, but I have spent some time
in ‘Net conversation and through whatever materiail support I can afford.

This is their proselytizing message seen here.  “We Envision: [1] a
truly free, democratic, and just society; [2] where we, the people, come
together and solve our problems by consensus; [3] where people are
encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate
in decision making; [4] where we learn to live in harmony and embrace
principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views
of others; [5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from
violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments; [6] where political
and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few;
[7] where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to
get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings; [8] where we value
human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living
without which effective democracy is impossible; [9] where we work
together to protect the global environment to ensure that future
generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies,
and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past
generations have enjoyed.”  It is fair to visit the websites at the various
Occupy sites to read what is going on at least from their perspective and
what activities they are involved in.

There is an innuendo that there is something untoward with their kind
of proselytizing and furthermore that all proseltyzing is equal in social
value.  It isn’t.

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By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

Ed—- nobody should answer the bell if they don’t feel like it.

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By Ed Romano, March 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

Hetero,  Ding Dong. Oh, sorry, Nobody home.

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By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Ana————Fortunately a detailed knowledge of cosmogonical theory doesn’t
usually affect one’s ability to navigate daily life.  Anything you hear or make up
will probably prove to be all right.—-
——-

me and the turtles agree with you.

 


    ” A well-known scientist (some say it was some say it was Bertrand Russell)
once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits
around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast
collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at
the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The
world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The
scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing
on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever”, said the old lady. “But it’s
turtles all the way down!”

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By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Ed—- that’s really startling that schools would not only impose rules upon the
students which teach the kids to conform, but also inculcate the kids with the
idea that society will expect that they behave in accordance with societal rules
and legally-imposed obligations as well.

———


I can’t understand why any child would submit to this tyranny or would have
any inclination to obey any parent that would tell the child to attend such a
school.


The sooner that each child is encouraged not to do a damn thing other than
what seems pleasing to the child, the sooner that this whole authoritarian
structure can be made to crumble away from sheer lack of anyone able to keep
it going.

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By Anarcissie, March 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Regrettably, one often needs a great deal of faith just to get out of bed in the morning.

I find that many people operate on belief in a bunch of anecdotes.  The creation of the universe, for example—I seldom meet people with a good grounding in the physics of cosmogony.  The man on the street might tell you that ‘scientists say that there was a Big Bang, or something’—an anecdote about an anecdote.  Fortunately a detailed knowledge of cosmogonical theory doesn’t usually affect one’s ability to navigate daily life.  Anything you hear or make up will probably prove to be all right.

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By Ed Romano, March 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Maybe we can scare up a hornet’s nest here with a few comments on the place and state of education in an exploitative, capitalist society…Francisco Ferrer, is recognized as one of the great innovators of education in the 20th century. He founded dozens of schools for working class children in Spain when that nation’s school system was being administered by the Roman church. He said, “children are taught to obey, to believe, to think, according to the social dogmas which benefit thr ruling classes. One of the central problems is to break the government’s power over education. ...Reform movements that try to work within such a system can accomplish nothing toward the goal of human emancipation.”
  In the US the Ferrer Society published a journal called the Modern School which became a vehicle for radical criticism of public schools. One of the directors in New Jersey wrote, ” from the moment the child enters the public school he/she is trtained to submit to authority, to do the will of others as a matter of course, with the results that habits of mind are formed which in adult life are all to the advantage of the ruling class.”
  I believe that what they learn is that their personal soveriegnty must give way when confronted by authority, especially the authority of law and the state…. And Ferrer again, “Political liberty has little meaning if an individual’s actions are guided by an internalized authority from which there is no escape.”
  The needs of modern corporatized capitalism are different than they were until the recent past. Schools are no longer needed to provide the brain power required by capitalism. Trained technicians can now be, and are, regularly imported from China and India, among other nations for example. The need for grunts to fight the many imperialist wars can be enlisted from the increasingly impoverished lower classes regardless of whether or not these grunts feel any real allegiance to the system, because if they want to survive in a very real sense - they have a choice…either try to make a life in illegal activites such as the drug trade or enlistbin the armed forces. And so we are seeing the political agents of the capitalists waging an ever more vigorous war to do away with public education and make it just another for profit enterprise.
  To summarize this short exposition Ferrer says, “The very existence of the school allows for its use by a particular and economic ideology. The content of what is taught depands on who controls society. But the power of the school extends beyond its propagandistic role. The socialization process on the schools shapes a particular type of character which meets the needs of of the dominant power within the society”.
    Powerful stuff. So powerful at the time that the Roman church prevailed on the right wing insurectionists under Franco to have Ferrer assassinated. All in the name of Jesus, no doubt. Did it occur to any these holy folks I wonder that that is exactly the kind of thinking that went into the execution of the person they claim as their founder ?

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By Ed Romano, March 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Democracy Now reports…. Sgt. Robt. Bales recently accused of murdering 17 Afghani civilians was probably given the anti malarial drug Mefloquine. This drug has been implicated in a number of homicides and suicides. The Army recently issued a warning that it should not be given to solidiers who have suffered traumatic brain injuries as it can cause psychotic episodes including paranioa and hallucinations. But it was revealed that troops in combat areas were still receiving the drug.
  ( Can’t wait until these people get home.)

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By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

———People who are compelled to accost generally hostile strangers on
behalf of their stories are not your average citizen—if there is such a thing.——-


and people who can be persuaded of an active organizing principal who created
the universe on the basis of anecdotes are also interesting.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Faith where faith is proper.  Overuse or mis-use faith, and it can turn on you.  Suicide bombers have no shortage of faith. 

If faith is going to be used as it is by the extremists, I say, Faith no more.

Can you imagine a world without faith?  Why wouldn’t that work?  A serious answer to that question might reveal a few things about how the ‘lower classes’ are ‘governed’.

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By Leefeller, March 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

I say ‘potato’ and OMpoo says ‘no tomato’, do you have a point besides the one on top of your head OM? I say ‘Rush Limbaugh’ and the morons say Bill Mahar. I say ‘so is your old man’ and idiots on the right .... say ‘your momma’!  So, I say ‘Faith’ and Ompoo say ‘OWS’? Yes, I see the point OM!

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By Anarcissie, March 27, 2012 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

I couldn’t really call the OWSers proselytizers since I went to see them, not the other way around as has usually been the case with the regular religious kind.  Also, they did not offer to save my soul or revitalize my life—all they offered was to make trouble, which seemed a lot more promising than salvation or revitalization.

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By OzarkMichael, March 27, 2012 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Leefeller said:

If someone happens to believe in something I do not, why does their sales pitch always feel so damn annoying? Faith seems to be something which exists only in ones mind, an internal and personal thing, why does it appear so important to substantiate this to others?

I dont know, why do Occupiers want to be so damn annoying?

I’ve generally enjoyed talking to proselytizers.  I always ask them about their spiritual experiences and personal histories, that is, why they have come to believe what they do.  Some of the stories are pretty interesting.  Some, indeed, are fairly hair-raising.  People who are compelled to accost generally hostile strangers on behalf of their stories are not your average citizen—if there is such a thing.

The biggest and most active proselytizers to accost generally hostile strangers are folks called Occupiers. I like talking to them, trying to figure out why they believe what they do. Their stories are pretty interesting, Their version of reality is pretty hair raising, and they are not your average citizens if there is such a thing.

Oh Truthdiggers… faith is such a problematic thing!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 27, 2012 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

Faith allows evil men to lead good men into war.  If I were a good man, I would not be proud to have that kind of faith.

Perhaps faith is for those who want to be strong, but in reality are weak and must follow.  Those who lead have faith only in that the followers will follow, and they don;t need faith for that.  Followers have followed by faith so, so many times.

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By Anarcissie, March 27, 2012 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

I’ve generally enjoyed talking to proselytizers.  I always ask them about their spiritual experiences and personal histories, that is, why they have come to believe what they do.  Some of the stories are pretty interesting.  Some, indeed, are fairly hair-raising.  People who are compelled to accost generally hostile strangers on behalf of their stories are not your average citizen—if there is such a thing.

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By Leefeller, March 27, 2012 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

If someone happens to believe in something I do not, why does their sales pitch always feel so damn annoying? Faith seems to be something which exists only in ones mind, an internal and personal thing, why does it appear so important to substantiate this to others?

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By Anarcissie, March 27, 2012 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

When it comes to problems, it’s funny how many people want to talk about faith and all that, and how few want to talk about war.  You could blame war on faith, I suppose.  I’m not talking here about the Crusades but Mr. O.  ‘Science enables man to fly rockets to the moon.  Faith enables man to fly planes into buildings.’  And cruise missiles and drones and large bombs and artillery shells, too.

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By Ed Romano, March 26, 2012 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

To take “the leap of faith “, as I believe Aquinas put it, is to put one’s HOPE in the idea that there may be something behind a mystery that we are not able to penetrate. The problem with most people who claim to have “faith” is that they then proceed as though they had certainty, and millions of them try to force the rest of us to live according to something they cannot even be sure of themselves.
From the hypnoid blowing himself and other innocents to smithereens for the love of Allah to the banning of certain books in libraries because they don’t conform to biblical myths…this is the reality brought about by faith gone awry ( I want to say berserk ). I do not belong to any Christian denomination. I think that most of them are a scourge on the earth. But I do believe that the basic teachings attributed to Jesus are good, solid and sane values on which to base one’s life. But nowhere in the New Testament do I see Jesus telling his followers to go to the authorities ( the Law) and have them force people to live according to the way he taught them. In fact, I believe a good case can be made that Jesus Christ was more anarchist than anything else….. ( Let’s not start another fight here ). We are stumbling along on the road to nowhere, or so it seems lately….Jesus said we would know his follwers by the concern we have for the well being of each other, not by forcing them do as we think they should….. This is so basic and yet everywhere ignored. It shows I think that we have a long, long way to go….. The ushers will now pass among you with the basket. You had better be generous because God has His eye on you.

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By Foucauldian, March 26, 2012 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

To reinforce your comment re: faith, Ana:

“In our time nobody is content to stop with faith
but wants to go further.  It would perhaps be rash
to ask where these people are going, but it is
surely a sign of breeding and culture for me to
assume that everybody has faith, for otherwise it
would be queer for them to be . . . going further. 
In those old days it was different, then faith was a
task for a whole lifetime because it was assumed
that dexterity in faith is not acquired in a few
days or weeks.”

Preface to Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 26, 2012 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Elisaloisa,
then again, sometimes one has to stand up to those who feel empowered to puch their faith on you.  The hubris and pride in faith is not a characteristic of the decent religious people I’ve met.  Those that display pride in their faith are the radicals who use their faith as a shield for doing evil. 

Consider a Christian abortion clinic bomber a Muslim who kills by explosive vest…....these are the sorts who have pride.  Pride starts wars, humility and tolerance of others do not.  This one I had to call.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 26, 2012 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

We may need faith Ana, but we should use it only as a last resort.  In many cases our God given monkey brains will indeed work if we’re not lazy.

And remember, where would the con-man be without faith?

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By Ed Romano, March 26, 2012 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, As a person who is always tuned in to coincidence I was taken by your post about Ernest Becker as I am currently rereading his book , The Structure Of Evil. Besides his penetrating insights concerning social psychology he has a good understanding of Marx’ insight concerning alienation particularly as it applies to wage labor….. I think the use of the quote about some men “purchasing other men and their labors” will probably not sit well here with ostriches and nay sayers….Becker.It was a great tragedy to lose this giant at such a young age.

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By Ed Romano, March 26, 2012 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

A question regarding war and the events leading up to it….This morning’s Boston Globe carries a piece about the traffic in “illicit” nuclear materials.  (The idea that there is licit traffic is, of course, perfectly reasonable). Seems there is ancient byway leading from the Far East into Arabia and other points. This route is being monitored now for some time as a possible artery for the trade in ill gotten nuclear materials.The fear has been that it may provide terrorists with the means to create a bomb. The Obama administration wants to cut funding for this monitoring program by 65% ( because of “fiscal restraints”)_….Let’s suppose that, because of these funding cuts some of this material slipped by into the hands of terrorists. And suppose these terrorists were able to construct a nuclear bomb which they set of in some urban area…. Can we imagine that any of the blame for this would fall on the heads of the Einstiens in Washington who brought it about?.... You see, the problem in large part is that while we’re in bed sleeping at night these geniuses are awake and thinking.

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By Leefeller, March 26, 2012 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Actually She, I am reading Ernest Beckers Book, “Escape From Evil” and where I am in the book emulates very well what you posted about money and power, the Chapter is “Money The New Universal Immortality Ideology”.

“Money sums up the causa sui project all in itself, how man, with the tremendous ingenuity of his mind and the materials of his earth, can contrive the dazzling glitter, the magical ratios, the purchase of other men and their labors, to link his destiny with the the stars and live down his animal body.” From, “The Heart of Man, p. 56” 

When reading this, I see little difference between the Pharaohs and the those of Wealth today, seems to say little has changed over time, except money is power and wealth is passed on to offspring and just as the immortality of the Pharaohs was believed to exist from their power, hell even Chaney’s recent heart transplant seems like a well timed metaphor!

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By Anarcissie, March 26, 2012 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?, March 25 at 6:06 pm:

‘Arabian Sinbad,
I’m disgusted by anybody, regardless of religion who is “proud of their Faith!”.  Be proud of some accomplishment.  Any moron can be proud of faith. ...’

On the contrary, faith is a lot of work, especially if you are a natural skeptic, as I am.  If I may quote the prophet Dodgson:


“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

I find myself more of a party with Alice than the Queen; but talents and energy differ.  Perhaps practice with resolute application would help.

And we do need faith, because our little monkey brains know so very, very little.

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By elisalouisa, March 26, 2012 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Defending one’s beliefs and tenets is most honorable. Pride is a strong word
and may not aptly describe such action.

Passing judgment certainly is not a virtue and in some ways more unacceptable
than pride.

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By Anarcissie, March 26, 2012 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic—I don’t think you’ve answered my question, but maybe there is a deeper disagreement.  Do you think it is morally all right to kill or otherwise seriously harm people who are not attacking you, or threatening immediately and credibly to attack you?

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By truedigger3, March 26, 2012 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Re: By John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?, March 25 at 6:06 pm


John Best wrote:

“I’m disgusted by anybody, regardless of religion who is “proud of their Faith!”.  Be proud of some accomplishment.  Any moron can be proud of faith.  Faith is for those who can’t figure things out and have to rely on their God.  These people are basically incompetent and there are billions of them of all religions.  The fanatics especially, and I speak of Fundamentalist Christians, Radical Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Catholics, the whole lot who are ‘proud of faith’ are the enemies of reason and reasonableness.” 
———————————————————————

John Best,
I agree with you 100%.
Nobody chooses his faith and almost 99.9% of people “inherit” their faith. There are hundreds of different conflicting “faiths” in this world and that should tell anyone with an atom of commonsense that pride in any faith is nonsesnee and baseless.

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By heterochromatic, March 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

Ana—- Obama took office after promising to pursue the war in Afghanistan and
to end our involvement in the Iraq war….. Didn’t notice any “surge” by Obama in
iraq and don’t have any problem with conducting war against the Taliban and Al
Qaeda…..they DID attack us and, while I’m doubtful of the wisdom of what we’re
doing in Afghanistan, I don’t see that there’s any particular moral defect to it
....beyond the moral problem with any war..

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By Anarcissie, March 25, 2012 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic—In the Toulouse discussion, you wrote, ‘I find nothing insane in Obama’s use of lethal force to date…..there’s a lot that I find unwise but nothing that approaches the morally indefensible.’

In the case of both Afghanistan and Iraq, once Obama became president, he pursued these wars and actually amplified them for a time (‘surges’).  As a direct result of American military action under the direction of Obama as well as his predecessor, as I am sure you are aware, many civilians have been killed and otherwise injured.  In addition, American forces have killed or otherwise injured numerous fighting men who were only defending their country from foreign invaders, probably a genetic, and certainly a cultural compulsion, for almost every human on earth.  (By ‘injured’ I include maiming, torture, terror, destruction of possessions, infliction of disease and poverty, and so on; injuries which, if administered voluntarily by ordinary people, are generally condemned and punished very severely.)

Considering that neither the states nor the people of Afghanistan and Iraq had ever attacked the United States, and for the most part have desired only that the Americans leave, how are these military operations—these uses of lethal force—morally defensible?

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By theway, March 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

To John Best and Arabian Sinbad:
Now, gentlemen… it could lead to another war.

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By Arabian Sinbad, March 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

By John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?, March 25 at 6:06 pm

“Every single person I have ever met who is ‘proud of their faith’ has been an idiot.”

“Sorry folks, I just couldn’t help myself.  Some things just piss me off, and I go for it.”
=====================================================
In my post to which you had a knee-jerk reaction, I mentioned only two posters by name who exhibit always bigotry and open hatred, but now I can openly add your name on the top of the bigot’s list. Congratulations! You earned it!

I am glad that I was able to get under your skin so it led you to show your true colors!

What one can say to a faithless scum who has so much hatred to all people of faith?! Basically, all that hatred to at least 95% of humanity! You must have such an evil heart to have all that hatred to the overwhelming majority of humanity!

Well, you scum one, you are relatively new to these threads at Truthdig, but I, as a natural psychologist, from your first post, I knew that you are a wolf in sheep’s clothes.

Look at that nobre of plume that you adopted; it tells a lot about your evil and pretentious nature. You are not John Best, asks, “What IS Progress?” You’re John Worst, “What IS Bigotry and Evil Reactionary, and What IS Hateful Faithlessness!”

Get lost evil pissed off one! And may you be consumed by your fanatic faithlessness till you drop dead!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Arabian Sinbad,

I’m disgusted by anybody, regardless of religion who is “proud of their Faith!”.  Be proud of some accomplishment.  Any moron can be proud of faith.  Faith is for those who can’t figure things out and have to rely on their God.  These people are basically incompetent and there are billions of them of all religions.  The fanatics especially, and I speak of Fundamentalist Christians, Radical Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Catholics, the whole lot who are ‘proud of faith’ are the enemies of reason and reasonableness. 

Every single person I have ever met who is ‘proud of their faith’ has been an idiot.

Sorry folks, I just couldn’t help myself.  Some things just piss me off, and I go for it.

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By Foucauldian, March 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

Shenon, we do seem to have some such system or
systems, as we see being embodied in such long-
standing human practices and requirements as
teaching credentials, the institution of tenure,
etc.  Remnants of the old guilds, the master-
apprentice relationship? 

In order to be able to make a judgment as to a given
system’s adequacy or lack thereof, I should think
the question ought to be raised with some
intelligible context in mind—the value of
education, the purpose(s) it is presumed to serve in
a given society, who’s in charge, who ought to be in
charge, things of that sort.  I suspect answers
might very from context to context.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

Per Shenonymous, “The mothers, and fathers as well though not as frequently, I’ve seen that mollycoddle their treasures is often disgusting.  It really handicaps a dedicated and top-notch teacher.”

Aint that the truth.  How can you deal with these kids?  Any discipline and they scream to the parents who scream to the Principal.  It may indeed be these parents ‘mollycoddle’ emulating higher social tiers.

I don’t understand how “a natural progression towards individuality” relates to mollycoddling, or how it relates to the general core of the discussion.  I miss a lot of things. 

The central issue was how ‘pamperting’, mollycoddling, a feeling of entitlement from an eraly age might (or might not) have been a factor with Mohammed Merah, Robert Bales and George Zimmerman.  Originally, I was making a hypothetical peace offering to OM, that perhaps ‘liberal’ schooling might be a factor, small or large I don;t know, and frankly, it was only to spur openness and objectivity.  I do hold a personal opinion that all classes of people should enter adulthood prepared to carry their own weight, and knowing the world is not going to revolve around them, and having a responsibility to others.

But if at all possible, might anyone speculate what if anything these three, Mohammed Merah, Robert Bales and George Zimmerman, have in common.  I do offer they killed people who were visibly unlike themselves, say from a different clan perhaps.  What if anything in the upbringing…..parenting, social groups, education contributed?

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By Arabian Sinbad, March 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

By heterochromatic, March 25 at 1:50 pm

“very few people, if any, on these threads are bigoted against the religion of Islam….”

“I would imagine that Islam is criticized as fairly as any religion here.”
=====================================================
Well, heterochromatic, it’s really comforting to hear your claim that on these threads there are very few people, if any, who are bigoted against the religion of Islam. (Sarcasm intended!)

So your bigotry and that of IMax, and I can name at least two or three others who always have/had a knee-jerk reaction just when they spot the name of “Arabian Sinbad,” can be called a selective bigotry towards certain groups of Muslims; such as the Palestinian Muslims, the Iranian Muslims and the Afghans Muslims or just individual Muslims who are proud of their Faith!

I think I can sleep a little sounder and more peaceful as one of the latest bigots I’ve encountered on Truthdig threads is assuring me that there is no bigotry here. I can’t imagine what it would be like if there was honesty in recognizing and confessing bigotry! (Sarcasm is intended again here!)

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