What is science? What is the difference between science and pseudoscience?

Do you know what science is? Are you sure? Can you tell the difference between what is honest well-researched science that is based on verified evidence, and what is philosophy and religion dressing itself up as legitimate scientific research? If you can’t the difference, because you are not sure what science really is, then don’t you think it is important to learn how science arrives at conclusions – before embracing any claim to knowledge and certainty that happens to spark your interest and hopes, all because it sounds good or feels good? What if what you’ve been thinking are scientific proofs and truths are, in fact, refuted by real science? Are you willing to embrace what really is the reality, based upon the well-tested evidence that supports it? Do you know what science is? If not, would you like to know? …

In a nutshell, as I’ve heard it said, science is the cautious effort to discern fact from fiction, to discern what is real and what is belief only, based upon rigorous questioning, testing, and drawing conclusions from the evidence. Science proposes theories about this reality that are, then, tested. Science seeks the evidence that actually exists, whether it validates or invalidates the theory that is proposed. If the majority of evidence stacks firmly against the theorized belief, then the theory is discarded and a new theory is proposed. In fact, science has rewarded scientists with Nobel prizes for having debunked by evidence what was established scientific beliefs, and this willingness to change beliefs based on sufficient evidence is what advances the accuracy in knowledge and know-how of modern science. Nothing is taken for granted, and there are no absolute inviolable pre-ordained truths. Science is not afraid of seeking for truth, but science does not accept established belief as truth without the rigorously tested peer-reviewed evidence that supports it. As well, one of the main objectives of science is to continuously test our cherished beliefs, deliberately looking for weaknesses and instances that debunk our present beliefs. It is only through doing this that we know what is true and what is false, what is real and what is not real. …

In contrary, religion and pseudoscience, take a deliberately opposite stance. With pseudoscience – whether it be philosophical, cultural, or religious based – the pre-determined belief being upheld and being called a “fact” is presented to followers and to the general public as an absolute inviolable pre-ordained truth. In other words, it has already been declared (by belief alone) as an established fact, and the evidence is out there somewhere that proves it – if you have enough faith and belief to connect the dots. As I personally like to explain it, with pseudoscience pretending to be science the arrow is shot into the tree first and, then, the bull’s–eye is drawn very carefully around it to demonstrate how it must obviously be true. Therefore, all research that is engaged in is done strictly to prove this pseudo-truth. Pseudoscientists put great effort into sifting from all the evidence only such evidence that supports their believed-in truth, and they discard any methodology and any evidence (no matter how great!) that disproves their cherished beliefs as being false methods and data (and they, then, call this science!). Some popular pseudosciences of today include germ theory denial, the anti-vaccine movement, beliefs that extraterrestrials are visiting earth or seeded the human race on earth (UFO movements), Creation Science, Flat Earthers, Flood geology, climate change denial, and so forth and so on. All of these mix fervent religious belief with a poor understanding of the Scientific Method, or by deliberately avoiding addressing and using the process of real science. What good is belief, if it is easily disprovable, right? …

Now, take an honest moment to look closely at the beliefs that you have accepted from others, and dare to ask yourself: Are these beliefs I’ve accepted based in science or pseudoscience? Do I wish to actually know what is real and what is not? Does it really benefit me and others around me to believe in false truths about this reality we call life? Or is it really more dangerous to do this? Am I willing to question and change my mind based on sufficient evidence being presented to me? Do I know what real science is?

If we raise a generation of students who do not understand the process of science, the methods of discerning factual knowledge, or who are fearful of science that contradicts established social beliefs – because they don’t understand science – and readily give creedance to pretend science that feeds upon this ignorance, then we are headed as a nation towards the superstitious thinking of the past that has failed to resolve all of the challenges we have successfully addressed in our Scientific Method times.

#evolution #creationscience #floodgeology #climatechange #climatedenial
#Resist #ResistTrump #Indivisible #UnitedWeStand #WomensMarch #NationalPopularVote #maga #inhisimage #inhislikeness
#Alllivesmatter in the United States when America begins to fully embrace its history and its constitution, and when #WhitePrivilege ceases to have meaning in U.S. society.
#BlackLivesMatter #LGBTQ #NativeAmericanLivesMatter

It’s What You Know For Sure That Isn’t So That Gets Everyone In Trouble

Trump’s America – courtesy of NYT “The Two Americas of 2016

‘‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.’’ – Mark Twain

Imagine being born and raised in a world of humans where, most of the time, everyone looks just like you. Imagine being taught incessantly that all fundamental absolute truths are found only in just one book alone, and that your parents, teachers, and preachers are the authoritative interpreters of what this book is saying is sole truth. Imagine being taught all your life that those who disagree with the absolute truths, as interpreted by the religion you were born into, or dare offer a different view of this world are sinners and “God haters” or, even worse, misguided and possessed by demons who are trying to steer you – specifically – away from this truth. Imagine growing up in a community where education and learning new things is only acceptable up to the point where such learning could now potentially disagree with the beliefs and truths of the community – and, if it disagrees with community truths, then it is a lie, plain and simple. Imagine growing up in a community where you are taught that only your community knows what is true and good, that only your community is civil and righteous, and that all other communities and physical/cultural ethnicities are less than you, because they are caught up in sin and destined for hellish destruction. Imagine growing up in a community where you are subtly and innoculously taught to fear ever going astray from community’s doctrines of belief and faith, lest you be eternally damned for it.

If you can imagine this, then you can understand the fundamentalist communities that make up a great majority of this planetary world of humans. If you can imagine this and live in the United States, then you can understand the beliefs and the plight of the majority of white rural Christian Americans. You can understand that political, religious, and capitalist charlatans have played upon this community mindset for decades, distorting their understanding of American history and why their communities have fallen from middle class prosperity to near third world poverty. You can understand why they insist defiantly on believing that it is outside forces and people who have put them into the social economic place they now find themselves. If you can imagine the world from the heartfelt believed fully in perspective of white rural Christian Americans, then you can understand why they refuse to see the rational self-evident facts of life, and why they are so staunchly resisting even the temptation to see another’s truth. The only way I know of to “possibly” reach these people – until they themselves are willing to change their views – is to somehow help/guide them into seeing you as a friend and not a threat, and to somehow help/guide them into seeing the struggles of others in a directly “self”-personal way. Until then, there is no other successful way to address the virulent fundamentalist nationalist supremacist mindset of a good majority of present day United States citizens.

Clinton’s America – courtesy of NYT “The Two Americas of 2016

The Confederacy mindset is alive and fully well in today’s United States of America, and an asymmetrical second Civil War may be on the verge of happening. Like in the 1800’s, the Founders “democratic experiment” may be under a survival test, yet again, here in the 2000’s. Throughout the world, there is battle going on between fundamentalist nationalism and democratic globalism. But, more specifically here in the United States, the battle is still about the unaddressed issues fought over during the first American Civil War. Until the white population of the United States of America actively embraces #TruthandReconciliation, like Africa and Canada has done, and embraces #RestorativeJustice, then this cycle of white fundamentalist nationalism and supremacy will continue on unabated here in the United States, and no constructive change for the better will happen. That is until – ultimately – demographic changes take over, rendering the white population of America so minor in numbers that they are now forced to change their views about their place in this world. I hope that it doesn’t have to come to this to see an American Enlightenment that rivals the European Enlightenment that birthed forth our nation!

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The legitimate powers of government extend to only such acts as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say that there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – in Notes on the State of Virginia, 1784

#Resist #ResistTrump #Indivisible #UnitedWeStand #WomensMarch #NationalPopularVote #maga #inhisimage #inhislikeness
#Alllivesmatter in the United States when America begins to fully embrace its history and its constitution, and when #WhitePrivilege ceases to have meaning in U.S. society.
#BlackLivesMatter #LGBTQ #NativeAmericanLivesMatter

Even In The 13th Century, Some Jews Believed The Earth To Be 15 Billion Years Old

Modern religious Creationists of both Haredi Jewish and, especially, Christian fundamentalists persuasion (the Young Earth Creationism types) would have us believe that the earth and universe is about 5,500 years old (and no greater than 10,000 years). Modern scientists tell us that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the universe is about 13.8 billion years old. Now, jump back 700 years to the 13th century, wherein Isaac ben Samuel of Acre and other Orthodox Jewish kabbalists concluded that the earth is actually 49,000 years old and that the universe is 15 billion years old. What?! Did you just ask? Would you like to know how they arrived at this conclusion?

“Rabbi Tanhuma said: In its due time the universe was created. It was not appropriate to be create before then, but it was created in its time, as it is said ‘He made everything beautiful in its time.’ Rabbi Abbahu said: From this we learn that the Holy One, blessed be He, kept on constructing lands and destroying them until he constructed the present one and said, ‘This pleases Me, the others did not.’ Rabbi Eleazar said: This is a door which is opened to the depths, as it says, ‘And God saw everything that He had made and, behold, it was very good.’” – Kohelet Rabbah 3:14, written in the 7th Century C.E./A.D. (Hmmm, so no Jurassic or Cretaceous period for us, then? Shucks.)

Anyone who says that Jewish religious tradition is at odds with modern scientific studies is woefully ignorant of Jewish religious tradition. Most Jews accept the theory of evolution and do not see it in contradiction to our mythic accounts of creation. Sure there are those modern sects of traditional Judaism (the ultra-fundamentalists, like the Haredi) that have taken a Christian-like literalist interpretive approach to Jewish “biblical” texts, but they are actually not in-line historically with Jewish contemplations on the relationship between Jewish religious myths and the (pre-)scientific age objective-made observations of the world around us. Jewish religious thinkers and community leaders had already begun to come to the conclusion centuries before the rise of modern science that the myths of Torah (the Jewish Bible) had hidden times frames by which to reveal the “true” age of things and the order of their developments. And, some of these conclusions and imagined beliefs are quite creative! It is no wonder, then, that so many breakthrough scientists have been Jewish. But, on to the question above. How did the 13th century Jewish kabbalists come to the conclusion that the earth is 49,000 years old and that the universe is 15 billion years old? Are you curious to know?

The 13th century’s Sefer HaTemunah’s take on the Sabbatical cycles and the age of the universe

One of the main concepts in Sefer HaTemunah is that of the connection of the Sabbatical year (Hebrew: Shmita) with sephirot and the creation of more than one world. The author of Sefer HaTemunah believed that worlds are created and destroyed, supporting this theory with a quote from the Midrash, “God created universes and destroys them.”[1] The Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) states that “Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate”.[5] Sefer HaTemunah asserts that this 7000-year cycle is equivalent to one Sabbatical cyle. Because there are seven such cycles per Jubilee, the author concludes that the world will exist for 49,000 years.[1]

According to some sources, the author of Sefer HaTemunah believed that the world was currently in the second Sabbatical cycle, corresponding to Gevurah (Severity), which occurs between the cycles Chesed (Kindness) and Tiferet (Adornment).[6] Sefer HaTemunah offers a description of the final Shmita, Malkuth (Kingdom), as “distinctly utopian” in character. This may explain why the book was widely embraced by Kabbalists.[7]
According to Kaplan[8] the Sabbatical cycles in Sefer HaTemunah can be used as a basis for calculating the age of the universe. While Sefer HaTemunah sees the world as existing in the second cycle, others[9] say it is in the seventh cycle.[1] If so, Adam was created when the universe was 42,000 years old, and six worlds were created and destroyed before the creation of Adam.[1] This thesis was laid out by Rabbi Isaac ben Samuel of Acre, a 13th-century Kabbalist, who said that when calculating the age of the universe, one must use divine years rather than physical years.
“ I, the insignificant Yitzchak of Akko, have seen fit to write a great mystery that should be kept very well hidden. One of God’s days is a thousand years, as it says, “For a thousand years are in Your eyes as a fleeting yesterday.” Since one of our years is 365 ¼ days, a year on High is 365,250 our years.[10] ”

Rabbi Yitzchak of Akko then goes on to explain a value of 49,000 years, but does not proceed with the multiplication, nor the reduction of 49,0000 to 42,000, which is Kaplan’s own interpretation. Kaplan calculates the age of the universe to be 15,340,500,000 years old.[1][11] His reasoning was as follows: as the Midrash states, “A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday” (Psalm 90:4); a physical year contains 365 ¼ days, which, if multiplied by 1000 would give the length of a divine year as 365,250 physical years; if we are living in the last, 7th Sabbatical cycle, that would mean that the creation as it described in the Bible happened 42,000 divine years ago; to convert this figure to physical years it should be multiplied by 365,250; this gives the result 15,340,500,000 years.[1]

In 1993, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan wrote that the Big Bang occurred “approximately 15 billion years ago”, calling this “the same conclusion” as the 13th century kabbalists.[1] According to a 2013 estimate by ESA’s Planck project, the age of the universe is 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years.[12] Kaplan also relates to Sefer HaTemunah the idea that Torah teachings are compatible with other areas of modern science. According to Kaplan, Orthodox Jews often challenge the findings of paleontology and geology as conflicting with Torah concepts. But in an “extremely controversial” essay, Israel Lipschitz drew on the writings of Abraham ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, and Bahya ibn Paquda to argue the opposite conclusion: “See how the teachings of our Torah have been vindicated by modern discoveries.” Lipschitz wrote that fossils of mammoths and dinosaurs represent previous Sabbatical cycles in which humans and other beings lived in universes before Adam, and that the Himalayas were formed in a great upheaval, one of the upheavals mentioned in Sefer HaTemunah.[1]

Sourced from World Heritage Encyclopedia™ licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

To read the full article and cited references – http://worldheritage.org/article/WHEBN0028009518/Sefer%20HaTemunah

#Creationism #Midrash #KoholetRabbah #SeferHaTemunah #Genesis #youngearth #creationscience #intelligentdesign #evolution

Conversion Therapy Is Unnecessary Religious Pseudoscience, Like Creationism

“Pirke Abot, chapter 5, section 10, states: “There are four attitudes among men: He that says, “What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours” – this is the average attitude; but some [Sages] say that this is the attitude of the Sodomites….” A Sodomite is described here as being a person who accepts no responsibility for the poor in his community. He owes them nothing.” – Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill

Sedom v’Gemorah (Sodom and Gomorrah) were ancient plant-cultivating cities, and their very names are references to this fertile and, thus, prosperous lands. The crimes (sins) of these legendary cities in Torah and extended TaNaKh (the Jewish Bible) and in the Talmud are the crimes of selfish indulgence and utter lack of hospitality toward strangers. This is made clear in the Torah legend with the extreme behavior of “all” the men of the city, from “youth” to “old man,” towards the messengers of Avram’s god (Avraham) that arrived to the city. “All” the men of the city came to Lot’s home intent on raping these messengers, an act of extreme violence symbolizing extreme inhospitality. The intent or “moral” of the Torah myth is to compare the character and quality of Avraham’s and Lot’s families, the displaced tribal family, to the settled and indulgent city-dwellers.

Sadly, among many European and American “Judeo-Christian” modern religious traditions these passages are erroneously translated as cities given to homosexuality and this is the reason for their destruction, and that it is evidence that “the Bible” abhors and prohibits homosexual behavior and orientation. This is categorically untrue when Torah is read on its own terms (without modern hermeneutics placed upon it), for the Hebrew “Bible” has nothing to say about committed and loving homosexual relationships. Except, maybe only positive things to say about it – think about the very intimate relationship between David and Johnathan (future-king David clearly swings both ways in orientation in the actual Hebrew, and Johnathan’s father in a fit of anger eventually attempts to shame him about it, showing he knows about them!). As to the two infamous (in modern times) Leviticus same-sex prohibitions (verses), both are expressed without built-in context to explain specifically what the “lyings of woman” are, but context clearly shows that the prohibited acts are males raping another male and heterosexual males sexually substituting a male for sex “as if” he were a woman in an idolatrous sexual act.

“Ve’et zachar lo tishkav mishkevey ishah to’evah hee. And a male do not lie down with as lyings of woman, abhorrent he.” – Vayikra/Leviticus 18.22

“Ve’ish asher yishkav et-zacher mishkevey ishah to’evah asu shneyhem mot yumatu dmeyhem bam. And man that lie down with a male as lyings of woman, abhorrent to do, both of them death by execution, extreme guilt in them.” – Vayikra/Leviticus 20.13

“Where is the prohibition of a male? Because it says, `if a man,’ a man and not a minor. And it says, `lie with a male,’ whether the passive partner be an adult or a minor. And it says, `as with a woman,’ from which we learn that there are two modes of lying with a woman (that are prohibited).” – Mas. Sanhedrin 54a, 28-32

Let’s put this in perspective, two thousand years ago, before the birth of Christianity, the Rabbis clarified in the Talmud that Leviticus 18.22 and 20.13 are referring to two specific homoerotic acts between males, and not to homosexuality itself. They were a lot closer to the time this law code was written than we were, wouldn’t you agree? So is it just possible that they may have had a better understanding of the intent of this prohibition, than what is assumed by inadequate translation and exegesis in this modern age? Unfortunately, as is common with ancient law codes, the situational specifics are not written for posterity with the laws, because these laws were meant for their place and historical time. Meaning, they in their historical time understood in everyday social context what specific acts this enigmatic prohibition was referring to. For us, we have to rely on the hints of ancient teachers and the obvious context self-evidently presented in Torah as a whole. Torah presents a man raping a male and a man having religious sex with a male as these most extreme male on male abominations. Abominations worthy of death and, even, entire city destruction, at times. Now, literally, to’evah means “abhorrent” or “disgusting”, not abominable as often translated, but this is a subject for another post at another time (how to translate sacred texts without theological bias).

These prohibitions in question are a part of the codex of laws dealing with familial sexual relations that, then, extend to sexual relations with neighbors and, then, to idolatrous religious sexual practices (turning your children into sexual prostitutes or engaging in idolatrous sexual rituals) in which these prohibitions are found. Further, these verses that are focused on male-with-male sex, as with most of the prohibitions of this codex, *only* applies to Jewish males within the boundaries of the sovereign kingdom of ancient Israel. Of all the prohibitions within this part of the law codex, these two verses (18.22 and 20.13) are the only ones that are enigmatic in nature – requiring contextual clarification beyond the verse itself, clarification that would have been commonly understood during the time of their writing. Using the whole of TaNaKh as context, it is rather clear that Leviticus only prohibits the following “situational specific” acts of homosexual union: that of a male (assumed to be sexually responsive towards females) substituting a male for sex when a female is available (whether by rape or consent is not specific, but overall context leans towards rape), and that of a male having ritual sex with a sacred prostitute of his own gender (a common practice within the religions of non-Israeli nations).

“There is to be no holy-prostitute of the daughters of Israel, there is to be no holy-prostitute of the sons of Israel. You are not to bring the fee of a whore or the price of a dog (pagan priest) to the house of YHWH your G-d, for any vow; for an abomination to YHWH your G-d are the two of them!” – D’varim/Dueteronomy 23.18-19

“When (David) finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan’s soul became bound up with the soul of David; Jonathan loved David as himself. Saul took him (into his service) that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Jonathan and David made a pact, because (Jonathan) loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the cloak and tunic he was wearing and gave them to David, together with his sword, bow, and belt.” – Shmuel 1/Samuel 1 18.1-4

It is truly amazing that the religious issue over naturally occurring “homosexuality” is still a very present and contentious issue in present scientifically and historically enlightened modern society. It is truly amazing that, to this very day, those who are LGBTQ are being stigmatized, threatened, discriminated against, demonized, and harmed within societies due to the teachings of present day theistic religions. The simple fact is, the statement that “the bible condemns homosexual acts” is simply untrue! Maybe so in English translations of the “Bible” and in Common Era (A.D.) theistic teachings of what the ancient Hebrew scrolls are saying. But, the simple fact is that Torah (and TaNaKh), the Jewish “Bible” does not condemn homosexual acts, only the very specific acts of a male raping a male and a male substituting a male for a female for sex during idolatrous fertility rituals. The Talmud of the first modern monotheistic Jewish rabbis (that replaced the Temple cult henotheistic theocratic religious system) backs this understanding of the two ancient prohibition verses in Leviticus. Homosexuality itself and homosexual relationships were not an issue to the ancient BCE Jews within their tribalistic family-Nation lifestyle.

#LGBTQ #Equality #ReligiousFundamentalism #ReparativeTherapy #ConversionTherapy #Christian #Jewish #Islamic

Boynton Beach outlaws ‘conversion therapy’ on minors
January 4, 2017, 8:35 PM
LGBT youngsters living in Boynton Beach are free to be themselves and love who they want to love without worrying about medical efforts to change them.
The city on Tuesday became the latest municipality in South Florida to outlaw “conversion therapy,” a method aimed at converting a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
The Boynton Beach Commission gave initial approval to an ordinance banning licensed professionals from trying to convert the gender identity or sexual orientation of LGBT youth. Violators can be fined $500 or sued by the city, according to language in the ordinance.
Commissioner Justin Katz voiced his support for the ban Tuesday.
The ban will apply only to state-licensed therapists. To ensure its constitutionality, the law still allows unlicensed professionals, such as religious leaders, to engage in conversion therapy, the city said.

“It’s just an absurd idea that in 2016 — going on 2017 now — that people could believe that you could change someone’s sexuality through chastising them and berating them and making them hate themselves,” Katz said. “I’m happy that this ordinance has been trickling its way down Palm Beach County, and we’re able to solidify that we are protecting children regardless of their sexual orientation.” Amein!

On this Yom Kippur 5777

On this Yom Kippur 5777:

I regret all the years I’ve been absorbed with who I am, and not enough being focused on what I am. For this, I apologize. I intend to be more consciously aware of this, daily, from now on.

I am a member of the human species upon this planet, a highly intelligent and creative primate species. That, sadly, leans toward emotionally self-centered indifference towards others much of the time. It is our human frailty, which we each must learn in our own way to evolve from.

As a member of the human species, I not only must be attentive to us and what we are doing as humans upon this planet, but to the other living species we share this planet with. All life is nefesh chayah, not one is more significant or better in any way to the other. We are all important and significant members in the planetary tree of life.

I regret not being more of a teacher on this throughout my life, not bringing our world closer to the awareness of this fundamental self-evidence. But, without excuses, I had to struggle with self-awakening first. It was a painful and long process, and I’m probably still not done with this, yet. I intend to be more socially active in healing this world, now and into the future.

Let’s try something today, and we might as well make it every day. Reflect for a moment, and see what pains us. Simply acknowledge it and apologize. Then, actively strive to not be a contributor to this from now on. Let us step outside the fictive ideologies of humankind for just a moment, and see our humanity as we really are. It’s life changing.

#YomKippur #Humans

I was taught from youth to believe that …

I was taught from youth, indoctrinated really, to believe that religion is the reason for morals. That without religion, societies would be without morals and egregiously decadent. For much of my life, it did not even occur to me to question this taught in youth belief. I went through life simply assuming that it must be true by inherent default, and that this is why religion and being religious is needed. I saw life this way even when I began to question the honesty, reasoning, and truthfulness of religion and religion’s version of human history. I saw life this way, because I’ve always known “religion is the reason for morals” as true, and knew of no other way to look at it – no other alternative or option. That is, until I started studying academic history and archaeology and psychology, and so forth. That is, until I started to travel around the world and experience human communities outside the worldview of the one I was raised in.

Before my awakening to the indoctrinated state of my mind, I knew that within my own community and within my own country that, even with the emphasis on religious upbringing and involvement and insistence that religious values and morals be upheld, still yet within my very own society are examples too numerous to count of people and groups doing the most egregious of acts. Often, most – if not all – of them were raised in a religious-emphasized indoctrinating culture. So, how is it, I began to question, that so many still end up or choose to do “immorally”, despite religion’s ready presence? Even now, with my now beginning to question life’s perspectives, I still was yet too ready to just easily and readily accept the common religious explanations for this without much further thought. But then, something eye-opening and wonderful happened. I began to travel!

humanistic-evolutionTaking up the life of a traveler exposes you to a variety of different cultures, governments, religions, philosophies, and so forth – many of which are very different from the one we individually grow up in. In my travels, I discovered that the most moral countries I’ve ever had the pleasure of being in or exposed to happen to be the least religious. I began to ask myself, how possibly could this be so? If religion is the source of morals, how is it countries that reject religion could be more democratic, ethical as a populace, have lower crime rates, have more general compassion for the welfare of others, and be more eco-conscious friendly? And, in my travels, this being contrasted starkly with being in countries where religion dominates and controls everything. There are more punishments for perceived crimes, a greater disparity between women and men, as well between one race/ethnicity/religion and another, a constant threat of violence and warfare in the streets, a general lack of empathy among the populace, and an utter lack of regard for the environment – the future of our humanity, if taken care of.

With my travels came the slow but sure breakdown of the religious indoctrination of youth deep within me, the slow but assured realization and discovery that I had only a “taught” version of truth – a very specific way in which to look at the world. Most importantly, I discovered that the way I had been raised to view the world is not the only way in which to view this world. There are other ways, outside of religion’s input and influence, by which to view the world much more factually and accurately and much more historically accurately. I had begun to discover a world based in embracing reasoning, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and ethics without theology and a theology’s added god-concept. I learned in my travels and studies that forming some kind of non-theistic ethics is the natural inherent state that we humans think in, and historically such embraced thoughts work their way into religious thought and belief soon or, as is more often the case, a very long time after.

I became very aware that morals do not come from religion. Rather, religion simply reflects the non-theistic ethical/moral values the religion was developed in. In time, due to secular free-thinking influence upon it, religions slowly transform and evolve – always very resistant-ly so – to more moral states and stances that generally contradict the fundamental texts the religion is born upon. It is the justification of enlightenment and the after claim that religion thought of it first that is used to keep the religiously indoctrinated into believe that a religion’s way is best and religion is the reason for morals. In everyday reality, though, non-theistic non-religious secularist thoughts on human ethics is the real reason for the changes in societies. We, as human beings, are inherently good without god, and are inherently prone to forming societies based upon beneficial laws and beliefs rooted in an ever evolving understanding of what is ethical. And this is so, whether a society embraces religion or not. In fact, it is easily demonstrable that societies that not religious – that do not reject nor endorse religion, are the most quickest countries to develop a higher standard of ethical/moral living and place national emphasis on this.

In the religion I was raised in, adherence to this religion’s morals, beliefs, and religious laws is necessary, all to ensure that I have a chance at entering the world to come. I no longer believe that this world actually exists. Rather, it is a clever and well designed imaginary religious fabrication taught to us to ensure that we remain on the religious path throughout our lives. For, if one is taught this and believes this early enough in life – can imagine this world-to-come for themselves, then this world takes on a believable life or reality of its own in our heads. It our fabrication, our belief now, and for most holds a bit of reality within us throughout our lives. But, through un-indoctrinating from a religious view of reality, I have come to learn to observe reality just as it obviously is. Without any human imaginative fabrications added to it. I no longer believe in an afterlife, for I no longer have a reason to believe in it. For me, personally, it is no longer necessary to embrace the social presence of this human imagined concept and, instead, devote my time to finding what joy and amazement that I can amidst the uncertainties and tragedies that equally accompany “living life”.

When we live, we live in joy and suffering – both extremes being part and parcel to the experience of living itself, of being alive. When we die, we simply die – and all that we individually were for a moment simply fades away, atoms and energy re-dispersing throughout the fabric of the universe. From non-existence we came, were formed into a breathing body-mind, and into non-existence we return. And this natural order of things is totally alright. Understanding this, we can realize that it is a good life! We are but just a momentary expression, a grand expression of life, in this universe comprised with life – and even the universe has a beginning and an end. To be no more itself, once its time has finally come. Why should it somehow be any different for us, just because we can fantasize and hope for this?

The ability to believe in a god is a uniquely human capability. For it is we humans that have created our imagined gods and goddesses – every last one of them, our sacred words and religious rites, and even the various words themselves for this not directly see-able or know-able thing we call “God”. We first learn about god from other human beings, and then created our own personal model of this imagined god from what they teach and what we conceive within our own imaginations. This doesn’t make god real, it only makes our expressions about the reality of a god real. And, as I’ve come to be aware of, we don’t need and never have needed, really, a god to be good and decent and productive and compassionate and attentive human beings. We only need to be observant of our collective-ness and our very human condition. This alone is enough to stir the need for ethics and reason within the human mind, powerful motivators that translate to behaviors and actions that we idealize as “morally good”.

I, like generally every human on this planet, am mystified by our very existence as a species. We are intricately unique and complex. All of us together, the life forms living and reproducing on this planet. As humans, we have a special ability to be self-aware of our individual animal reality upon this planet. An awareness of this reality that has stirred creative abilities within us, such as abstract thinking, language, music, art, and so forth. This, plus the discovery that we survive better learning to live together against our natural self-oriented survival of the fittest tendency, has led to our cultures, civil ethics, and religious mores and beliefs. We are amazing, even at our cellular level! As we discover ourselves more and more, it is no wonder how we can come to the imagined conclusion that some god or goddess exists that created this world and us. For, we know as the creation, or more accurately the evolution, that we ourselves could not ever create on such an intricate level as this, and probably never will be able to. We can learn to limited-ly control and manipulate, within the limits imposed by this reality itself, but this is about it.

So, we are left mystified, and left to our imaginations to fill in what we do not know, but ponder on. If it is thought of in any of our languages, it is of human origins. Once we’ve accepted this, it is easier to embrace the reality we experience – whether we find it fair or unfair – and accept the natural order of things and our place in it. Where we are working from a reality based awareness of the world, and doing good in this world simply because the opportunity is there before us to do this. We don’t need a reason or justification more. As to the propensity towards believing in and worshiping gods, the gods we create, I respect the need but encourage the avoidance of the archaic religious trappings that are so stubbornly connected to this. I don’t believe anymore in a human made god, but do recognize the miraculous-ness of our intricate existence. I acknowledge that this is beyond my limited conceptual understanding, so I can only be in awe of it, for while I have breath and mind in which to do this. I don’t believe anything more needs to be added to this awe of ever growing awareness, and seek to better myself for while I am alive as a result of this. But, if I were to believe in and worship a human imagined god of some sort, I would have to say from looking at reality that this god presence is feminine somehow in its nature.

How do I come to this conclusion, you might be asking? It’s pretty obvious, really. Men do not create life. Rather, we contribute to and participate in life. We are in our nature pre-destined towards service to life and death. Even our religions so often reflect this, even though man is put on top and in charge and woman relegated as a lessor. But, the reality, though, is pretty clear and obvious! It is women that receive into themselves and, then, birth from this more new life. There are only a few species exceptions to this obvious reality about life, but for most, including the human species, this is the obvious reality. I’m saying that, if I were to believe in a god, I wouldn’t think this god is a woman. Rather, I would think that god, if a supreme creator of all life exists, is a feminine presence. A life-giver, which we perceive by what we are most familiar with – a woman. A male lives and, even, exists for a woman’s creative life-giving need and benefit. This is the inherent nature of our human animal species.

If we look at the universe, we can see that it was birthed from a great cosmic womb. In time the universe will grow old and perish, but just not as quickly as we species who are not so fortunate to share in the magnanimous lifespan of the universe. The fundamental purpose for our being birthed into this universe is to continue this expression of life re-birthed. How we express our existence, as living beings, is simply how we choose to express it. This expression is unique to the evolutionary development of each species that thrives and survives for a time upon this planet, and within this universe. If I were to ascribe a god to this marvel of intricate life incarnate, I would have to say this god is a she and call her “Goddess”. It only makes sense, by my observation of this world. But, like with all human conceptualized and imagined gods, I would have to worship her knowing that in me is the source of her creation. And we don’t need a religion for this.

Who I Am. … And, What Am I?

We all have an identity based on socially recognized labels. Since you’re visiting, I am assuming you would like to know mine. So, here they are, my socially recognized labels:

I am a human male who is named Joseph (pronounced Yo-sef).

I am a friend and husband to my wife, and a daddy to my children.

(Now, done with the identifiers, to the big three: )

I am a non-religious Jew, of the secularist humanist variety. Meaning, I am non-theistic in my civil and ritual expressions of Jewishness and Jewish history, culture, and literature.

I am a democratic capitalistic Socialist, who believes that social resources should be fully dedicated to the basic subsistence welfare of all humans and to the protection of our planet’s future livelihood. I truly believe (and envision!) that every human is inherently entitled to free housing, food, education, medical services, and recreation.

I am a Humanist, an ethics-based, social progressive who believes that humans should work for a living (aka, jobs) that serve to ensure the democratic socialist purpose. Choosing work to contribute to the socially shared resources, rather than needing a job just to be able to survive in basic subsistence ways within society (our present lopsided capitalistic system, that too easily favors the wealthy at the expense of the poor).

(Well, now that we’ve got the big ethnic/cultural, political, and religious three out of the way, let’s continue on: )

I am a polyamorous oriented individual, a natural bisexual who is evenly attracted to both genders. I have always seen the value in a marriage between many (a close several). I have always supported the civil institution of marriage, and the success of marriage relationships – regardless the genders or orientations or the number of those involved in these marriages.

I am by inherent inclination a social nudist, whether I am able to live socially naked or not. Unfortunately, it is most often not. But, like everyone else, I am always nakedly and fully present in (and out) of my clothes, and I promote body acceptance and self-esteem. My nudism is ritually and spiritually grounded, rooted deep in ancient traditional Jewish thought and teaching.

(Good! The two socially scary ones are addressed*, now to continue: )

I am a socially outspoken reason-based thinker, who thinks progressively about the future of our humanity.

I have an interest in activist based work that furthers the advancement of egalitarian and reason based humanistic ethics and lifestyles within all societies.

Click on photo only if you’re not body shy and appreciate being human. clothed pic

I promote living life authentically and without shame. A life based in empathy and sharing/caring. A life based in mutually shared responsible and community based living.

I have a “thang” for all things Linux. So, if we share common ground here, too, then we’ll have one more thing to talk about.

I have always had a deep interest in multi-lingualism, and truly do admire those who have mastered three, five, eight, or more languages fluently.

This reveals who I am, but you’ll still need to learn, now, what I am. This latter requires connection and friendship on a much deeper interpersonal level, over a sufficient period of time.

Now, my question for you is: What are your socially recognized labels? In other words, who are you? Why have you chosen to visit my online pages? Do you intend to be an actively involved friend? And, once we’ve defined all this, what are you? This is the most important question one can answer in his/her life.

Joseph Tsefanyahu Farkasdi