16 September 2010

Flower Power Ain't So Cool Anymore

The venomous Tea Bagging nincompoops of 2010 have give us a better understanding of American politics in the 1960s.

The radical, counter-culture movement of 1960s was grounded in, and driven by, personal freedoms and exceptionalism, and less so on the philosophy progressives hold dear, like human interdependence and the tacit recognition of innate human flaws.

Forgetting about personal heroes, and legendary pop figures, like Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young, the often lionized politics of the 1960s, when examined, is disappointingly me-centric:
  • Don't let me be drafted, and
  • Don't let the government dictate my personal habits;
rather than a generational plea for fundamental fairness, or a generational acceptance of the pragmatic logic of collectivism.
Personal Freedoms Over Collectivism
Through this lens, Flower Power ain't so cool anymore.

Many hippies were no more than over-indulgent, self-centered libertarians, who might just have devolved into the bitter tea baggers so prominently featured on the Ninny-News-Channel.

The music of the 1960s was insanely good, though.

Joe Cocker - Woodstock 1969.

13 September 2010

Freedom From Eye Floaters

I support freedom OF religion -- an important civil liberty.

Equally as important though, is freedom FROM religion.

I don't care if you worship eye floaters. I welcome the eye floaters house of worship anywhere the eye floaters covenant wishes to build it.

However, I don't want to hear any delusional drivel about eye floaters from anyone's pious pie-hole when discussing, determining, and implementing public policy, laws, or governance.
To choose dogma and faith over doubt and experience is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.
  ~Christopher Hitchens
My plea to humanity, and my hope for the burgeoning civilizations we leave for our children, is this:
For god's sake, if not your own, keep religious rituals, practices, and notions the fuck out of public policy decision-making.
You burn your candles and incense however you want to burn them and I'll burn mine.

Let it be so.

10 September 2010

Intelligence & Uncertainty

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that supports a rather disappointing observation:
People who don't know much tend not to recognize their ignorance, so they fail to seek better information.
Ignorance & Confidence

Perhaps the Dunning-Kruger effect explains the correlation between ignorance and confidence.

Would-be Qur'an-burner Pastor Terry Jones is a confident public speaker. Yet this man can't possibly comprehend his seemingly unbounded ignorance.

It never occurred to the cock-sure George W. Bush to doubt the veracity of US intelligence reports on Iraq's WMDs, or to welcome conflicting viewpoints during his Presidency, or to make informed decisions, or to seek better information.

Fact gathering and critical thinking are like a curse to truly ignorant people.
Stupid is as stupid does
~Forrest Gump
Intelligence & Uncertainty

On the flip-side, there seems to be a positive correlation between intelligence and uncertainty.

I was demoted to the slow reading group in 3rd grade for disruptive behavior. This branded my prepubescent psyche with the awkward self-consciousness of the characterization below-average.

By college, a few latent talents emerged. I grew into my native intelligence. A theme in my adult life is reversing the limiting self-image of below-average-ness.

A windfall of moderated self-esteem, and the recognition of ubiquitous uncertainty, is that it drives one toward knowledge. Moderated self-esteem and uncertainty has driven me to doggedly seek better information whether voting for school board members, or making consumer purchases.

Is it possible, in one's lifetime, to truly plumb the depths of one's ignorance?

Uncertainty, or an an appetite for certainty, is one driving force behind many of human-kind's most significant discoveries. This is true in science.

An appetite for certainty is human nature. The weak-minded have the same appetite for certainty as the much-celebrated physicist Albert Einstein or contemporary cosmologist Stephen Hawking.

Unfortunately for civilization, the weak-minded's appetite for certainty is often sated by the pseudo certainty derived from dogmatic religious beliefs. Deity worship, and other superstitions, atrophies critical thinking and renders one intellectually lazy.

Further Reading

The Comfort of Ignorant Bliss by Lane Wallace.