Forum Replies Created
April 30, 2009 at 6:16 am #5782i_is_j_smith wrote:
Sorry, been offline for a while and trying to get back into posting…
I want to stress again the difference, at least in my mind, between freedom to believe what you want and organized religious groups.
While I feel that all religion, in any form, is detrimental to society and our advancement as a species I would never think about forming “thought police” who would prevent people from believing a certain thing. If you want to believe that some omnipotent man ripped a rib out of somebody and used it to create another being…fine. If you want to believe that the world sits on the shell of a turtle…fine. If you want to believe in the Flying Spagetti Monster…fine. If you want to believe that women should be totally subservient to men…fine. If you want to believe that homosexuals will burn in eternal fire…fine. But keep those beliefs to yourself and do not try to act on them or force them on others because that’s where I have a serious problem. When organized groups form whose sole purpose is to spread these beliefs, and to attempt to convert others who don’t believe as they do…that’s where I think society needs to get involved.
I don’t call this intolerance. All freedoms have some limitations imposed for the good of society. You have a freedom of speech, to speak your mind without fear of persecution. But you cannot phone security in a crowded arena, say you have planted a bomb, and then defend your actions as “freedom of speech”. I would not allow this behavior in any society I formed, and this does not make me “intolerant” of people who call in bomb threats. I would also not allow discimination based on sexual preference. That does not make me “intolerant” of people who are homophobic.
I place organized religion in the same basket as those two examples. It is detrimental to society…to our advancement as a species…and should therefore be prevented.
My secret hope is that without the enforcement and constant pressure that organized religious groups impose on their “flock” these beliefs will slowly die out. Like containing a colony of yeast in a sealed bottle these belief systems will be unable to spread to new food sources and eventually vanish. Then perhaps we can take the training wheels off and finally ride on our own.
Wow. So if you do a good deed, and then if they say “wow, thanks, why did you do that” you go “no worries, its just part of my religion, I’m a Christian”, you go to jail. The good deeds are part of the religion and it is “witnessing.” Are you that insecure in your world that someone going to church and says “hey, we’re going to worship, would you like to come along” that this will break you? I’ve been asked to go to about every major type of worship…and have taken most of them up on the offer. I’m also firmly rooted in the secular world as a engineer. I see no conflict. If a priest (George Lemaitre) can discover the Big Bang and see God in the science, and non-religious people take the same findings and see only the Big Bang…who cares? Incidently, the priest was educated by the Catholic Church and was doing the science as an expression of his faith. There is no inherent conflict between faith and science….its only when one side or the other manufactures the conflict.
This is not hypothetical. Stating you are of a given group and doing ANYTHING to act on it, to include bowing yoru head in prayer or having religious items on you, puts you in jail in places I’ve visited. If you wish that kind of life, please move to Tibet and see how the Chinese gov’t deals with Buddhist, or Vietnam, or Israel, or a large number of Arab countries. The Soviet Union is gone….but you can still die for being of the wrong religion in the wrong place. The very act of practticing it, or “not keeping it to yourself”, is a crime and gets everything from chiding to harrassment to arrests to summary execution. You can point to some of my suggestions as “religious”…but its the same issue — an approved thought pattern is in charge, and non-conformists have to keep it to themselves “or else.” There is no difference.
I’ve seen what you are proposing. First hand — this isn’t abstract polticial theory sitting around coffee. Its not a nice place….well, unless of course you’re on top of the heap and have control of the laws to bend them around your mindset so you are always right. Once you get rid of one set of beliefs, then it becomes a dwindling circle of “who is the better Party Member”. If you trucate a given data set, then the group that was once mainstream is now the fringe. Hopefully, you never fall on the wrong side of the truncation. A study of Stalin as well as the French Revolution’s aftermath would be an excellent historical grounding in this.
Eugenics was the basis for the Holocaust — and it was taking science, not religion, as its justification. Stalin wasn’t a fan of religion, either. Saddam Huissien was an avowed secularist and only paid the minimum lip service to the cultural norms. Lack of religion doesn’t assure desireable behavior.
Your ideals have been tried. They even work, as long as you have the money and muscle to keep those pesky people in line. I’m sure it works for you. I just hope you manage to stay on top of the heap instead of meeting the nice men with hatchets on your veranda.
Me? Well suffice it to say, I would not be welcome. My family includes Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, American Indian, Hindi, and Old Religion types (passed down in the family long before the Wiccan movement in the 1950’s) as well as athiests and agnostics. We all get along. Respect goes along way. Clearly, people who have faith and act on it are not welcome.
Of course, if anyone attempted to squelch any of our beliefs, to include pressure the agnostics or athiests into something else, it would be met with signficant resistance. Stay on the path. Keep your hands in the open. Books are welcome. R.A.H.
Bart Kemper, P.E.March 12, 2009 at 2:39 am #5161
My firm uses CFD. If I see a reaonable application for it, we’ll pitch in. I’m still learning this project. However, boyancy is another issue, as is sloshing. There are other codes out there that allow for very complex water action modeling…and they are more expensive.
Realistically, at some point these will be needed to do proper due dilligence to have reasonably design for safety and reliability.
Bart Kemper, P.E.March 12, 2009 at 2:35 am #5160Wayne wrote:
I hadn’t thought about using seasteads that way. Imagine how much misery could have been avoided if there had been some (well armed) seasteads off the coast of Viet Nam when people were trying to leave by boat. Rather than attempting to make it all the way to another country’s shore, people would only have to make it across 12 miles.
The Vietnamese Navy patrols further out than that, up to 75 to 100 miles, due to pirates. Pirates may have entered the mainstream conciousness only recently when Western cruise ships were threatened, but pirates have always been operating, particularly in the South China Sea. If “criminals” were boading seasteads or other vessels of opportunity 15 miles off shore….and the Vietnamese gov’t didn’t want to let the “criminals” leave in the first place….they could, would, and have in the past sunk the vessels and killed every person.
Vietnam’s definition of “criminal” includes anyone trying to leave their country without proper authorization. Failing to obey a lawful order of the military or police in this country (and many, many others) is sufficient grounds for deadly force. This is not in any way putting down the nation of Vietnam, it is a statement of fact based on several visits. It is consistent with the laws in many nations.
Once you are branded a “criminal”, then those helping you are “criminals”. In this case, the vessels could be then terms “smugglers” or “traffikers in humans”. It has happened before (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/jul2004/anam-j22.shtml). It is now up the the accused to prove they are innocent and no money, sex, possessions, or promises for future work were traded for passage — the US is one of the few nations that assume “guilty until proven innocent.” More to the point — many nations tend to operate on “sink the smugglers to send a message”.
There is a reason the Red Cross/Red Crescent needs to have military support to bring aid to those who need it most, and a big part of that reason is to the aid workers can not only get into an area, but also leave. If you want to intervene in a political situation, it requires planning and resources to ensure the people intervening have a reasonable chance of success.
Bart Kemper, P.E.March 12, 2009 at 2:14 am #5159
We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.
I’ve seen mass graves of people killed by people with a given religious belief.
I’ve seen mass graves of people killed by people with no specific religious belief.
I’ve seen mass graves of people killed by people with avowed non-belief in any religious or spiritual form, and did so in the name of the enlighted good of the community.
The common element — people killed people.
To blame a belief, or lack of belief, on the very human acts of cruelty, hate, etc. is highly prejudiced and short sighted. The values espoused in the initial post are, by and large, laudable. So are the values espoused by most of the religious and spiritual faiths. Its the people, the humans, than muck it up and fail to live up the ideals. Having blind optimistic faith that a new set of beliefs that reject a previous set of beliefs will erase the failings of humanity so only the glorious parts are left….is the same thing that created the aforementioned mass graves.
I don’t like mass graves. I like the people that create them far, far less.
Bart Kemper, P.E.March 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm #5147
The issues with a small isolated group generating income will be interesting. Essentially, there are no established trade routes, protection, and infrastructure of host nation. The challenge is — if there is a lucrative operation, it will be attractive for someone to control it. A maritime protection racket is not unheard of — actually, its been around as long as history.
If you have a customer based operation, such as prostitution or smoke — why would they undertake the trouble to going to international waters when they can find it closer and less expensively, even if illegal? What is your transportation, housing, and other overhead for clients?
If it is something that doesn’t require in-person costomers, such as offshore data transfer, the fact that it is lucrative makes it likely to be a target for interception or elimination.
If you have something worth taking, someone will at least think of taking it. Then it comes to ROI … whether its worth the effort. The trick is the person with the stuff doesn’t set the ROI decision, its the person wanting to take stuff.
Bart Kemper, P.E.March 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm #5146
The true issue is tolerance. The trick of free speech, freedom of religion, etc. is not that you are allowed to practice what you wish, but rather to accept others practicing or believing differently than you. There is no difference between forcing everyone to wear a religious symbol and banning religious symbols — both are intolerance with roots in “knowing the what is best for everyone.” Spiritual people can’t prove their deities exist, but neither can athiests prove the deities don’t exist — both are matters of faith.
I honestly don’t think there will be enough free time and energy for this to be as devisive as whether or not a person or group of people are pulling their weight, at least if there is an overwhelming consensus and dedication to such freedoms. Groups highly focussed on survival and being in a hazardous endeavor have more immediate concerns.
Bart Kemper, P.E.
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