Saturday, December 13, 2014

An Atheist Invocation

What is an invocation? The dictionary definition says it's a "summoning of someone for assistance" or more closely "summoning a deity or the supernatural." In reality, it's a form of meditation.

What is summoned is a change in the emotional state of the participants, which if performed correctly can make the task or event at hand more productive and enjoyable.

The meditation or invocation must be grounded in reality, such as calling the group to imagine themselves in the near future, on a peaceful walk through a park on a warm spring day; to imagine the world changed by the work about to begin; to consider the long-term results of their efforts.

Something along the lines that motivates the group to not lose focus on the goals, and to approach any disagreements with logic, facts and evidence, not adjectives and insinuations.

It's best to speak in a way that even seems reasonable to the religious members that stepped outside the room because they disapprove of an Atheist Invocation. Imagine how foolish they will look in the eyes of the members that stayed.

I personally wouldn't mention any other deities or make any salient insinuations about those who left the room. That would be unproductive.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Organization

The organization is defined by its official bylaws, standards of behavior and mission statements. Most organizations require a regular proof of loyalty through specific recitations, acts or rituals by the group members according to the official documents. Members of the organization do not have the option to disregard any part of the bylaws or mission statements of the organization.

Organizations have legal rights in many countries to copyrights and trademarks to the exclusion of other organizations. One purpose of copyright and trademark regulation is to prevent deceptive practices by other organizations that could disparage the reputation of the original group or by deception divert money or other resources away from the original group.

Separation of Church and State in the United States has allowed the continuation of religious organizational anarchy, allowing sectarianism which would otherwise be a direct violation of copyright and trademark laws if these religious sects attempted to legally incorporate.

Because the laws of the states and the country allow for this kind of fragmentation of organized religion, the society over which the states and the country rule has become socially fragmented.

What Sam Harris and Bill Maher brought into focus over the last few weeks is that anyone claiming to be part of an organization is assumed to be adhering strictly to the bylaws, standards of behavior and mission statements of their organizations, which in this case is original religious texts.

According to the original religious texts, claimants to membership of these organizations are brutal savages, and must be brutal savages according to their own bylaws, standards of behavior, and mission statements, or else they should not call themselves members of these organizations.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Your feelings are being exploited

My mother told me when I was very young that “mothers know everything you do even if they can’t see you.” I easily assumed this because I was also raised as a Christian and taught that God had this power, so by default I assumed that all adults had this power too.

I still have a fragment of subconsciousness that assumes people know the same things I know. It’s completely untrue, but this delusion fragment is reinforced by rational or irrational feelings of guilt or anxiety.

There was a story on This American Life (#487-488) about a student at Harper High School who described intense feelings of intimidation when people looked at him, as if they were directly judging him.

At that age it’s easy to feel like you are being disrespected or judged by people, even when they are busy thinking about their own lives and don't know anything about you.

The boy in the episode was suffering from the experience of accidentally shooting his fourteen year-old brother. His feelings of guilt ever present made him assume that even people who didn’t know him were judging him.

The intensity of certain emotions heightens one’s feelings of being scrutinized or judged by everyone. This is a very common emotional state that is highly exploitable by despicable self-appointed leaders of every organization or group.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Further research into why people refuse to accept evidence that refutes their belief system.

I found a thumb drive with a bunch of files from my college days. I found this old text file that may be relevant to understanding why directly debating science with the religious may be an exercise in futility.

Felson, Richard B. Aggression as Impression Management; Social Psychology, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Sep., 1978) 205-213

This paper suggests six propositions from impression management theory to account for interpretational aggression where there is no material gain, and reviews evidence supporting these propositions. This approach suggests that initial attacks are often inadvertent and that retaliation may be an attempt to reinstate a fravorable situational identity when on has been attacked. The approach is particularly useful in: (1) explaining why perceived intentional attack elicits aggression; (2) recognizing the importance of role relationship for interpersonal aggression; (3) handling the processual nature of aggressive encounters; and (4) clarifying the relationship between interpersonal conflict and aggression.

In other words, the tendency toward aggression as a display of hierarchical competition within a pack of humans.
Aggression as a reaction to intolerant expression.

Frustration-aggression hypothesis: an aggressive response reaction to oppression.

Social Learning theory: Dissonance is reduced when one decides to no longer compete for the top position and accepts a comfortable medium between humiliation from association to the lower order and oppression from the upper order.

Symbolic Interactionism: behavior performed in private may reflect concern for the reaction of an internalized audience (see Mead, 1934, on the "generalized other").
Persons tend to behave in ways that are consistent with internalized values or identities.

Impression management theory: focuses on external audiences and public behavior.
A person's behavior is a function of the behavior and values of an audience.
A participant has two relevant (external) audiences: the antagonist(s) and third-party onlookers.
The audience may altercast ego into a situational identity or, by revealing its values, may indicate how a favorable situational identity might be achieved.
Public behavior and information revealed to audiences tend to reflect more favorably on self than do provate behavior and information concealed.

Situational Identity Theory ( "Reputation" )

Proposition 1. Altercasting a person into a negative situational identity tends to result in retaliation, when the target perceives the behavior as illegitimate and intentional.

Proposition 2. Conditions or events that negate the sutuational identity imputed by an unanswered attack make retaliation less likely.

Proposition 3. Persons will alter their aggresive behavior in order to be consistent with the perceived values of the third party audience.

Proposition 4. Ego is more likely to retaliate against alter if a third party observes alter's attack on him.

Proposition 5. Ego will tend to conceal evidence of having lost an aggressive encounter and will tend to reveal evidence of having participated or won.
Sermat (1964) found that subjects made more uncooperative, harmful choices in a competitive game when they thought their uncooperative opponents were being informed of their choices.

Proposition 6. The greater a person's concern for identity, the more likely he is to alter his aggressive behavior in order to attain a favorable situational identity or avoid a negative situational identity.

An anonymous reviewer has suggested that persons may differ in the extent to which they are willing to risk negative responses in order to obtain positive ones. (i.e. risking reputation for an extraordinary financial reward)

Proposition 6 has at least two implications:
1. For some persons , performance in aggresive encounters may assume particular significance for selff. Aggression may be more likely to occur and escalate because these persons have more at stake in these encounters. This may partly explain the greater propensity of persons of lower socioeconomic status to engage in violence. Achievement in aggressive encounters may be more important for them since they have fewer activities upon which a positive identity can be based.
2. Self-consciousness in a situation should make the implications of one's behavior for self more salient, and thereby increase the extent to which behavior is consistent with these identities. Studies of the effect of objective self-awareness on aggression shows that the presence of a mirror inhibits the delivery of shock to felames (presumably an inappropriate behavior) but increases shock delivery to makes when it is emphasized that shock is helpful to learning. (Scheier at al., 1974; Carver, 1974). These studies suggest that aggression may also reflect concern for an internalized audience.

Subjects interpret the presence of weapons in an experimenter's office as information about his values, and that this increases subjects aggression when they are concerned with being evaluated. (Page and Scheidt, 1971l; Turner and Simmons, 1974).

At least four types of conditions or events may make retaliation less likely:
(1). The attack lacks credibility due to the situational identity of the aggressor. (If the attacker stumbles over his words, or is a small child, retaliation is less likely.)
(2). The aggressor apologizes for the slight, even if the target questions the aggressor's sincerety.
(3). A third party intervenes and retaliates on one's behalf.
(4). A third party intervenes in the role of mediator.

Much of human behavior is designed to obtain favorable reactions from an audience. Persons are aware that they are being categorized or typified by others in a situation and they seek to make these categorizations or "situational identities" (Weinstein, 1969) favorable.

Aggression that is not attached to material gain, or may even be materially costly.
1. Given that people mayt disapprove of others and their actions, and given that others expect to be treated with respect, an inherent source of conflict is produced. Disapproval, when expressed honestly to others, may be taken as offensive by those others, whether or not the offense is intended.

Perceiving verbal and physical attacks as intentional, rather than experiencing failure at task, leads subjects to harm others.

Research with children in natural settings also suggests that it is hostile actions that elicit aggression.

Studies of homicides and assaults indicate that such encounters are instigated by an insult from one of the participants.

Two reasons why an insult is likely to result in a counterattack:
1. an insult releases the target from the obligation to be polite toward the person who has attacked him.
2. an insult "altercasts" or places the target into an unfavorable situational identity (Weinstein and Deitchberger, 1963) by making the person appear weak, incompetent, and cowardly. A successful counterattack is one effective way of nullifying the imputed negative identity by showing one's strength, competence, and courage.

An attack on on self initiates a conflict in which participants may attempt to harm their opponents in their competition for favorable situational identities.

Counterattack is not the only response to an attack.
If the target perceives the insult as legitimate or justified, another response is to accept the imputed identity and perhaps apologize. (i.e. constructive criticism)

If the target perceives the material costs as too high, he may "back down" and perhaps achieve some satisfaction with a fantasy about retaliation.

Under certain conditions, retaliation may be viewed as vindictive or vengeful, and thus elicit a negative reaction, in which case "playing it cool", or "turning the other cheek" may be effective.

Variations in the Salience of Identity and Aggression:
The importance of identity varies across persons and situations. Persons who are concerned with the audience's reaction because, for example, they are unsure of themselves or are dependent on the audience for rewards (see Jones, 1964, on ingratiation), are more likely to alter their behavior to make it more acceptable to an audience

The goal is to determine the intentions of debate or argument. Are the arguments or debates that take place on television, an extention of a conflict that is based entirely on aggression between two perceived opinion leaders?

Why are some debates such as Abortion and Gay Marriage perceived as more important than the personal well-being of the public? Are these types of debate chosen because

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Attempts to fracture the secular movement

I had my suspicions about the "Atheist+" movement and the attempts to discredit atheists as a class by insinuating a culture of sexual harassment because of events at a recent convention.

But now since a Psyops manual was published at The Intercept, the attempts by various groups to fracture the secular community became a little clearer. I couldn't understand why someone thought it necessary to splinter off into another group called Atheist+ when the arguments that allege their outstanding qualities from the rest of us are reasonable and practicable for everyone.

Someone thought they would be clever by using gender differences as an emotional fracture point to splinter the atheists movement, and unfortunately a few saw this coming and immediately jumped on a bandwagon decrying a need for a special atheist feminist movement.

These kinds of tactics shouldn't work on rational critical thinkers. As humans we still make decisions with our emotions and get pulled into debates by trolls from time-to-time, but always remember the evidence or lack thereof for any claim.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Is Reason Genetic?

I recently published a presentation called Socially Engineered Suppression of Cognitive Development which suggests the majority of our population is developmentally disabled in their reasoning, but doesn't answer the question whether or not it's a genetic neurological problem or thousands of years of behavioral conditioning by the ruling class.

There are families with atheists who stand alone in their ability to reason, so because many are unable to convince others in their family to adopt logic, I infer that genetics has endowed them with a certain balance of brain chemistry which allows for an extra push of skepticism.

In my case I have a chronic low-grade anxiety, the result of a dopamine deficit. I never experienced what others call "spirituality." I don't experience the easy euphoria that most people seem to feel when they exercise their rituals or imagine the presences of an invisible being. My judgment and perception are therefore not clouded by what Karl Marx referred to as the Opiate of the masses. This also explains why I am not into sports.

I must rely on actual physical evidence to be convinced of anything. Life is too short in my perception to allow for supernatural notions so I must understand why so many people today are so convinced of the supernatural that they commit murder over it.

People with limited reasoning capacity make excellent drones from factory work to filling prescriptions. They are good with numbers to a certain point; good at accounting, not so good at evaluating economic externalities for such tasks as governing a county, state or country.

Just look at all the arguments against raising the minimum wage and you'll see a pattern develop. Some see only the cost of labor while others see the increased flow of money through the economy which increases demand.

 Our public education system doesn't teach critical thinking skills, they teach you what to think, not how to think. The rote method and teaching to test scores seems to dominate. Is it a contribution to the way most people think? In other words, is our education system conditioning us to think a certain way, or is it an accommodation for a selectively bred population of substandard thinkers?

Occasionally there will be born those who think outside the perception of everyone else. They are vilified and ostracized. They are mocked and ridiculed. They are called rebels, outsiders, disrupters, dissidents, nerds, geeks, freaks, condescending, arrogant, jerks, blasphemers, infidels, etc.

The people who use these labels are susceptible to groupthink, cult influence, paranoia, xenophobia, jingoism, and the like.

One other possibility for someone to adopt and maintain magical thinking into adulthood is a personal investment in controlling those who are vulnerable and don't yet have Formal Operational thinking skills. Those who seek to exploit children and the disabled. I'm sure we all know who they are.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Rational Ugly Truth

When you think rationally you must take the truth, no matter how ugly. For instance, poverty is caused by overpopulation and the solution is control of the population. Thinning out resources to try and support everyone will wipe everyone out because the population always grows to around a third larger than the available resources.

This is due to a hardwired instinct for us to reproduce based on our perception of available resources and perception of opportunities, which are illusions engineered by free market capitalists solely for their own profit and not society as a whole.

As of this post's date and the fact that unemployment benefits are not being renewed by the U.S. Congress, you're probably getting a clue now. They must cut us off to keep us from making more babies but it's too little, too late. Now they must figure out how to take care of who is still around without being accused of genocide or euthanasia. Of course if the minimum wage goes up, even more babies...

When Ayn Rand wrote about Objectivism, it was distorted and misrepresented as a philosophy instead of simply being the truth about human behavior; that self-interest supersedes all ideology and that bias is inescapable, no matter how altruistic or objective you think you are.

We must accept that fact that there is always a difference between what people say and what people do, and that everyone is prone to deceiving even themselves. The primitive parts of the brain that control self-preservation and other urges are dominant, as evidenced by epidemic obesity, diabetes, abortions, birth control, unwanted pregnancies, crimes of survival, unemployment, etc.

Again, Ayn Rand's Objectivism is not really a philosophy, it's an ugly truth for most people. There are a few rare children who pass the Marshmallow Test and come out ahead of the crowd throughout their lives, but "Free Market Capitalism" cannot profit from having these types of personalities as the dominant class. The population, according to a successful capitalist society should succumb to their baser urges and immediate gratification. Go shopping!

The best way to exercise the primitive brain and energize primitive emotional materialistic hunger is through the empty promises of an unproven afterlife and unanswered prayers.

Instead of meditating to control their urges, or working to delay gratification until after thinking rationally, most people pray for things, and then aim their efforts and resources at trying to answer their own prayers.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


A few brain cells of mine are sparking. First I must try to articulate the idea by walking through a bunch of truisms and cliches.

There are two reasons to maintain irrational beliefs: Fear and Dominance. Rational people are the enemies of the fearful and the dominant, because the fearful don't comprehend rational people, and the dominant are threatened by rational ideas.

Rationality is Witchcraft to the fearful who find comfort in the simple words of the Dominant.

Rational people are a minority by design. They are vilified as nerds or geeks, etc. Anything associated with science in education is institutionally bullied by the financial disparity between academic and sports programs and marginally beneficial employment curriculum.

I suggest that the majority of the fearful are neurologically incapable of reaching beyond dogma into the world of pragmatism. They are literally bred into a majority through social engineering by the collective targets of every conspiracy theory, the elite who organized our social interaction from the beginning: Racists, "Ethnicists" (TM), Cultural and Subcultural Separatists, Classists, and every so-called "respected" individual who created a group identity that corralled people into arbitrary divisions.

The aforementioned divisions can all be subdivided into the Fearful and the Dominant because they are all under the influence of religion. The Rational minority among them are aberrations. Our successful evolution as a species cries out for cessation of any activities that enable the continuation of the Dominant and the Fearful.