Saturday, 30 March 2013

Pop: An American, a feminist and a space octopus go into a bar…

Pre-amble: Pop's birthday has just ended. The top picture was made rather hastily by a friend, which inspired the second made by Blip, again rather hastily.

Anyway, posts continue as normal.

Argument 1: America has a part to blame for most of the world hating them

I was told by an American friend that there is some controversy at the moment about a question that ‘stunned’ an American 'mom', whereby there was an implication that terrorists weren’t just evil bastards but in fact had reasons for hating the country enough to bomb it all those years ago on 9/11. The question was ‘why might the United States be a target for terrorism?’ and the answer was ‘decisions we made in the United States have had negative effects on people elsewhere.' Further research on this brought me right towards the proper right wing nutbags that America tries to hide when it portrays itself to the world. It brought me to the people who genuinely believe America is the best place on Earth, that we should all be grateful to them, that being liberal is unpatriotic and that, this is the best of all, the rest of the world are communist muslims who are trying to indoctrinate them. It’s shocking that the stereotypical idiots exist, but they genuinely seem to. 
The one thing I can congratulate America on is their propaganda machine. This is a country where genuine atrocities are signed off on and completed – abu ghraib, drone strikes in Pakistan, school shootings, illegal wars, practically everything the CIA has ever done – and yet they are kept busy with the ‘freedom’ they are given to question, as long as the question in the correct manner. They are allowed to pick on muslims, communists, foreigners. They are allowed to believe in nutty conspiracy theories like lizard men and aliens and they are allowed to protest gay people having rights, or women having abortions so that they never notice the real issues in their country. They aren’t told that the rest of the world hate them, I’ve seen bits of their news and they package everything in such a way that they come off the best. It is easy to understand as someone from outside, but imagine being brought up in a country where you were kept away from the rest of the world by being made to believe that you didn’t need any outside information, that you were being told everything. It is, as my mum calls it, an island mentality. They’re insular and their society wouldn’t work if they realised they were to blame in any way for the behaviour of other people towards them. A society run under oppressive propaganda, like the old communism of Russia or China, cannot afford to know about the rest of the world and therefore risk the people realising what’s going on. So they are encouraged to externalise blame, encouraged to ignore the rest of the world and trust in their own greatness. Any deviation from the set narrative, that they are ‘free to believe', is seen as being anti-American.

Argument two: More right if majority, deserve equal treatment if minority

There is a common theme in our society at the moment wherein groups that are high enough up in the discrimination hierarchy are allowed special priviledge when they are both majority and minority. Take feminism as an example. When women are the minority, such as in business, we are never allowed to hear the end of it. Over and over the world is told that women must be equal and there must be ‘at least 50%’ of them in every job all the time. We have a long way to go, that’s what Blip was told in a university lecture on the subject. We have a long way to go until women are equal. 
At the same time breast cancer is treated almost exclusively as a female illness. Charities use pink as the colour to raise awareness, alienating men, women-only runs are organised to raise money to help women. The media barely ever refer to men being able to get breast cancer, meaning that men don’t check. When people like me complain, we are always told the same line. There aren’t as many men who get breast cancer, so of course the focus has to be on women. The same line is used to justify a focus on women in domestic violence. The same line is used to justify a focus on male on female rape. A variation is even used with mothering. Women are more likely to be the ones looking after the kids, they bear them and give birth to them, so they should have all the rights. They are the majority and so they matter more because there is more weight behind their opinion. They are the minority and so we have to pay more attention.

Argument 3: Religion is groundless and science is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Religion is based on the idea that a book written long enough ago must be true. Nobody within Christianity has considered that maybe the bible was a joke, or a bestseller. They see something dusty and written in an old language and they see truth. There is not one tiny bit of evidence for any religion that currently exists, other than ‘well I feel that it’s true,’ which is just a more eloquent version of sticking fingers deep into ears. The problem is that nothing at all can be proved, truth is a myth, something that serves only to comfort those people who are terrified  of not being able to find an answer and these people tend to either float towards the unprovable religion or the self-proving science. The reason that science is a self-fulfilling prophecy is quite simple. Scientists spend a lot of time researching and to do this they take one of two methods. They either observe, requiring their perception to be absolutely perfect, or they build a purpose specific machine. For the first, lets take a drug trial. Scientists put people in a clinical setting, where everything is aseptic and the patient’s body is normally being altered by the application of measuring devices. They give the patient a drug with the intention to have a specific effect. If it has this specific effect, they jump for joy because they’ve made an advancement in science. 

But they haven’t actually found out anything more about the universe, they have merely decided that they want something to have a certain effect and so when it does, they say ‘look, we’ve proven that beta-blockers have this effect on the body. Aren’t we awesome,’ ignoring the effect that they have created this drug for this specific purpose. If they make a mistake and find something else out instead, such as the invention of Viagra, they don’t mention their mistake but rather marvel at the wonders of science and gloss over the cock-up they made. What is given to the mass populous, is simply the wealth of information where they were right and the rewriting of history to act like every previous ‘scientific advancement’ that contradicts them was silly and backwards. This is made a little clearer with the use of machines, particularly in physics. Scientists, although they aren’t supposed to do this, have a tendency to confuse theory and fact.

The nature of science is that it builds on its previous knowledge, take for example the amount of physics built on the theories posited by Einstein. If they accepted that these were just theories, it would make everything else sit on very shaky ground and so over time they start to refer to some things as ‘just fact, ‘ despite having no more evidence to back this up than the same perceptions that Christians use to declare God exists. They also have a tendency towards the ‘if it ‘aint broke don’t fuck with it’ attitude, whereby just because something has happened more than once it must be destined to always be that way forever and therefore a factual law of the universe.  If something has always fallen when we drop it, then it must be true that if I drop it again it will fall. Suddenly its okay to pretend that we can predict the future, as long as the magical people in lab coats say so.

Based on principles such as these, based on nothing more than the principle of human observation, machines are built to look into space. We have no personal knowledge of the physics of space, we don’t even have our perceptions to guide us, and yet we build machines with a very specific purpose in mind, designed to give out specific readings, and act surprised when the machine does exactly what it is programmed to do. We then use this information to declare ‘facts’ about the universe. For example, we build telescopes set up to work with our version of reality, to show us pictures in our minds based on our perception of our sensation. We then point these at the sky and say, ‘look, there are planets up there, the telescope says so.’ Who invented the telescope: Humans. Why did they invent the telescope? To prove that there were planets up there. What did they prove? That there are planets up there.  Reality is common opinion because perception is based on our experience. If you were a sheep, chances are planets wouldn’t exist. That doesn’t make you more right than the sheep.

The point of these three arguments is very simple. There is no moral underpinning to them. Saying that science is illogical is not a moral declaration, it is a logical observation of the foibles of science and it is people who put negative or positive connnotations onto this. If we weren’t so selfish as a race, we could easily look at the three arguments I have just posited, and work to rectify the logical misgivings of the situations involved. We could deal with the question of why some people don’t like America, we could question why some people are allowed more rights than others and we could stop searching for truth and instead just enjoy the reality that the populous create, and the laws and truths that govern it rather than arguing over absolutes. The problem is that logic is so often mistaken for opinion and the other way round. That an apple will probably fall when I drop it is an example of logic based on observation. That it will fall is opinion based off the logic of observation; it is inductive reasoning.

That America has blame in terrorist attacks upon it is logic. There has to be a reason for people wanting to hurt Americans. I am not saying by this that Americans deserve what happened to them, because that would be an opinion – one that I don’t happen to hold. However, saying that they didn’t deserve it would also be an opinion, not logic and no more or less true than them deserving it. The logic holds no moral value, it just is what it is, a deduction based on the facts taken within the context of popular reality. The problem is that people do insist on being emotional, and when logic states something that they have an opinion on, they abuse poor logic and twist it to their own ends. That’s why when a question says, logically, that America had a part in the terrorist attack on 9/11, people who feel emotional about the event take this to be an attack and accuse logic of having morals. They confuse it with their own opinion. 

In more simple terms, logic is not a justification. It is neither affirmative, nor is it negative. It’s just logic. A plus A is B, doesn’t mean A is inferior to B, it just means that 2A is B. It’s a statement. When the American, the feminist and the space octopus walk into a bar, that’s all they do. The implication that there will be a joke is just your opinion. 


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