Saturday, January 26, 2013

Atheism, Cultural Conditioning and Sexuality

The consequences of sexual repression

I said repeatedly that simply saying you don't believe in a god is not all their is to atheism, and that you must reevaluate your perspective on everything else that was influenced by religion throughout history. Sexuality is one of them.

In Western society we were taught that sexuality should only be limited to procreative activity between a man and a woman bound in a monogamous life-long relationship sanctioned by the prevailing authority. Until such a legal relationship is established, no sexual activity is permitted.

Oddly in the United States, there are differing legal ages for marriage and differing legal ages where a person is considered mature enough for consensual sexual activity. Not many people know much about those laws, nor do many of them follow those laws.

Unfortunately, too many humans are driven by the instinct to engage in sexual activity for pleasure alone, ignoring the long-term consequences of their actions. Typically this occurs in young people who do not understand the price of immediate gratification without planning: sexually transmitted infections (STI), pregnancy, financial and social costs of raising a child for sixteen to twenty years.

Young people are deliberately kept ignorant of this information, but why? What is it that compels parents to be so embarrassed about discussing this topic with their children? The law? The dread of realizing their children are growing up and they can no longer live vicariously through their innocent children? I don't have children myself so I don't know, but I do know that our planet is vastly overpopulated.

Why is there resistance against reproductive education? Religious organizations want this because empathy for starving unwanted children fuels their stream of income from donations. Free-Market Capitalists want this because overpopulation, especially lacking skills, keeps the cost of labor down. Government social services, law enforcement agencies as well as their private contractors want this for profitable prison labor and job security. Not to mention the health care industry, pharmaceutical industry, wedding planning industry, toy industry, etc. Basically, the term "economic growth" has nothing to do with economic sustainability, but simply an increase in the number of consumers as rapidly as possible.

This rapid increase in consumers is fueled by ignorance plus sexually explicit or implicit mass media that venerates having as many children as possible without showing the true consequences. All those romance movies and children's stories about princesses and their knights in shining armor. Then it becomes "nights in white satin" followed by trips to the Food Bank for about a decade.

Sexuality apart from gender-role distinctions and reproduction

Bonobo Chimpanzees have distinguished themselves from other primates as their sexuality appears to serve a more prominent social role, such as resolving disputes, strengthening social bonds among other things. The Evolution Library at has more info on the Bonobos. Wikipedia has an extensive entry on animal sexual behavior research which continues to raise questions about what is considered appropriate in nature.

The arbitrary lines between heterosexuality and homosexuality are fading rapidly with each new generation. There may come a time when sexual preferences between males and females becomes a non-issue, and related derogatory terms fade from our lexicon.

What remains are the health risks of promiscuity in the denial of proper education and protection through contraception. Businesses and religious groups are fighting the portion of the law that mandates birth control and contraception be provided under health plans.

Disinformation and distorted thinking

The drive to maintain the status quo is characterized by lobbyists in federal, state and local governments pressing their agenda to strike down health care reform that provides birth control, yet supports insurance coverage for Viagra; the pressure to remove explicit books from the public and school libraries while allowing similarly harmful but implicit materials; making unsubstantiated and ill-informed claims in the main-stream media that attempt to relate homosexuality with bestiality; educating children toward roles of dominance, submissiveness, other forms of social stratification and hierarchy and dependency with an emphasis on gender, race and socioeconomic background.

You can thank those that gladly claim credit for creating our "civilization."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reality and the limits of our perception

On the road to gaining true consciousness I study the process of what makes up reality. What we think we sense is not reality. The character Morpheus from the film "The Matrix" explains how all we experience is "nothing more than electrical signals interpreted by the brain."

For example in reality there is no such thing as color or light. Our brains are merely interpreting the presence very tiny waves of electromagnetic radiation 400-800 Nano-meters wide. One Nano-meter is a billionth of a meter.

Inside the human eye, the rod and cone sensory neurons that convert the radiation into nerve impulses, actually lie beneath a thin layer of other cells. Imagine if your sensory neurons were on the surface of your retina, would you see more, or would your vision be disturbed by flaws in the vitreous humor or the lens?

It's a staple of elementary science to learn about the blind spot in the eye, and do the blind spot experiment. Try it first before reading on.

It's assumed that the blind spot is filled-in with surrounding image materials, but more elaborate testing with multicolored cards indicates this not to be true. It's actually a Cognitive Void. You cannot see the blind spot because your brain receives no signal from that spot. The second experiment where you believe the line becomes solid when the empty space is occupied by your blind spot, is simply a belief, a cognitive delusion, hence our slogan "Belief is a delusion," similar to looking at a photo of a house with the rooftop cropped partially outside the frame, and assuming that the roof lines converge to a peak.

Most seeing people believe that blind people see darkness, like when your eyes are closed, but now that you identified your blind spot, it's impossible imagine what blind people are doing with the Occipital lobe of their brains, without the presence of optic nerve signals. Here's an article to get you started on the subject.

Our other sensory neurons, such as our sense of touch, smell, taste, and hearing are similarly limited by evolution, to only what was necessary for rudimentary survival, and only sense a tiny portion of reality.

Imagine what you might see if you could tune your vision to a specific EM frequency, like an FM radio station. It might appear as a light source. Things that FM signals pass through might appear to be transparent like glass. The pigments and colors that reflect FM radio wavelengths might appear as a normal rainbow, but reflecting in strange ways. You could color-shift a rainbow, like in Adobe Photoshop, or you might not see it at all. The ocean and sky would be perhaps more bizarre than ever, especially if you could see into the murky depths of the ocean as clear as daylight.

The technology is available to convert some near infrared or ultraviolet light to a false visible light, as well as thermal imaging. I wonder what kind of material would be suitable for a lens that could refract radio waves into a conversion technology.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fake Atheists

A real atheist cannot help but be skeptical about everything. I was raised in a Presbyterian church which is a nationally organized but moderate sect of Christianity that is abnormally tolerant relative to predominant Christianity. Church just didn't get under my skin. My parents attended church more for social appearances than anything else.

I can't remember how I reacted when I found out Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were not real. The Santa issue probably was the turning point when I decided to focus my attention on other claims than merely whether-or-not someone existed or if magic was real. I wanted to know how truthful people were generally.

Recently some individuals expressed annoyance at my insistence that atheism is more than just not believing in a god. I think it's important that everyone who claims to be an atheist thinks about everything in their lives that was created, either directly as a result of religious influence, or inspired by the notion of supernatural intervention.

I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Illinois. There I learned much about cultural influence, social engineering, marketing, public relations, propaganda, psychology and behavioral conditioning.

Religion has infused itself into every culture over so many generations that we have been conditioned to take many things for granted, such as leaders who claim divine justification for activities like Manifest Destiny, imperialism and the Crusades, activities that were rationalized as efforts to "save the savages by conversion to Christianity," or to take property divinely entitled in scripture. This is the tip of a very bloody iceberg.

Religion is responsible for more deaths in the world than any other cause behind which people organized. We behave in our daily lives in ways that really don't make sense if you think about it, but we do them automatically. I still cannot identify most of them, but I do know that Groupthink, organizational hierarchy and marriage are just a few parts of society that have been manipulated by religion in one way or another. I'm sure there are many atheists out there who can identify even more and please add comments of you can.

Now the fake atheists which are really no better than the Unitarian Universalists I covered in a previous post. 

Atheism is defined in a revered document created in our culture as simply not believing in a deity. If you want to follow the literal meaning in that document and ignore all the baggage that came along with generations of belief, then maybe you really shouldn't consider yourself an atheist.

The revered document that so finitely defines the word "atheism" also contains thousands of definitions for words that have nothing to do with reality. I also  find it strange that people say they can be atheists and not be skeptics. You cannot have one without the other. Atheism and skepticism are not optionally exclusive. These statements raise a red warning flag that agents provocateurs from religious-based organizations are suppressing the exercise of free inquiry by claiming that your lives are just fine and all you need to do is not believe in a deity.

Really? Arguing that atheism is nothing more than not believing in a god sounds like something a creationist would say.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Attempts to diminish the value and meaning of atheism

A lot of recent posts and comments were made that atheism is nothing more than simply not believing in a god.

Atheism is much more than this. It's about changing one's perspective on a world dominated by religion in one form or another since the dawn of humanity.

Atheism is much more than the simple dictionary definition. Communication students in their second semester should start to see this if they stray from the assigned textbooks and delve secretly into behavioral research at the library.

Skepticism and atheism are inextricably linked. One student's essay claimed that one can be a skeptic and not be atheist, this is impossible as true skeptics deploy a scientific method of inquiry to determine facts. Anything beyond facts, evidence, and reproducible results is speculation, and conclusions based on speculation require faith, which has no credible place in the scientific community.

Claims that something is true simply because it is written down in some ancient book is madness. Claims that because some common-sense truism was written in an adjacent paragraph, a paragraph written about some scientifically impossible event must be true, is also madness. This tactic is called "proximity rationalization" and is a classic writing strategy used by fiction authors to assist the reader in suspending disbelief.

Another author of a recent essay discounted the value of atheists because they have no discernible organization or leadership. Organization and leadership in a belief system is required because the members must be managed enough to refrain from escaping the corral of their beliefs. Atheists are guided by the purity of reality constructed of only facts, evidence, and reproducible results. No leadership is required in the realm of reality.

Adopting atheism isn't just about denying a god. It's about calling into question everything that you have accepted in your life so far, including authority figures, especially those who surround themselves with and appeal to, religious groups.

Atheism is about revisiting the value of everything in your life and culture, and reassessing your whole value system.