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writer, thinker, humanist

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there must be some sort of reckoning at the end of it all, otherwise, what's the point?



18 June 2012

if....then: the real reason evolution is problematic for christians

if evolution is true then the creation story is not true, and if the creation story is not true, then there is no fall of man, if there is no fall of man, there is no need for redemption, if there is no need for redemption, then there is no need for christ and the whole of the religion falls down. problematic indeed.

but that's not the entire picture, another problem rears its ugly head: it the "fall of man/redeemer' framework is rendered impotent, then what?  then it falls to us individually to choose between the light and dark within us. we cannot blame some evil spirit or demons, we can only look to ourselves for how we will behave and speak. being on our own can be a frightening prospect for some.  it means we must grow up, it means we are accountable to ourselves. that indeed is a solemn burden to bear. 


are we without hope?  of course not. i'll let you in on a secret. in all of mankind's history, in all of our stories, from all cultures, to present time good always triumphs over evil. we don't know any other way to write the narrative.  we are good.  we choose right.


if we possess such a rich culture of good prevailing over evil, then the burden of individual accountability is lightened. we need only have faith.....in ourselves.  no problem.

be well,

frankie

facebook meets sociology....cool read!

"One of Marlow's researchers has developed a way to calculate a country's "gross national happiness" from its Facebook activity by logging the occurrence of words and phrases that signal positive or negative emotion. Gross national happiness fluctuates in a way that suggests the measure is accurate: it jumps during holidays and dips when popular public figures die. After a major earthquake in Chile in February 2010, the country's score plummeted and took many months to return to normal. "

http://www.technologyreview.com/featured-story/428150/what-facebook-knows/

11 June 2012

my latest article "socialism: old perceptions stifling new growth"


Socialism:  Old Perceptions stifling New Growth

Republicans love hurling the “socialist” label on anything Democrat because it scares people, especially older generations who are all too familiar with the word and its vile associations with communism, a la the Cold War.   Certainly there were problems with the way the Soviet Union addressed its socialist programs, but fear of the idea and its workings actually stunts our nation’s growth and its ability to move forward.  Whether we want to admit it or not, socialism is one of the elements that have made our country great. If we look at the way socialism works for the U.S., its benefits and its place in our economy, then we can eliminate the fear associated with old perceptions and allow ourselves to grow once more.  
While there are subtle differences in the way socialism can be defined, the underlining idea is that a nation’s government provides or has some control over certain aspects of its economy as opposed to allowing the free market and capitalism to govern – simply put it is government intervention vs. unchecked capitalism and privatization.   In the failed Soviet Union, where the government controlled production of goods, inefficiency reigned supreme and the world watched and cheered to see communism/socialism fail.  Here in the U.S. however, socialism has thrived.  One of the main differences has to do with exactly what aspects of the economy socialism are applied to.  Here, as in Europe, socialism is characterized by the government providing or subsidizing services to its people, rather than intervening with the production goods as the Soviet Union did; an element which is best left to the private sector.
Some examples of the services our government provides are education, pension, medical care, infrastructure, and defense.   We pay for these services with our taxes and we all benefit from them.  A free, quality education (well, we used to have one), access to affordable health care and food, clean water to drink and working roads allow the majority of us to go about our business, be productive, and fuel consumerism which keeps the free market afloat and growing. Because these services are available to the majority of our nation, we’ve created a healthy middle class which has allowed us to thrive. 
The United States is no longer thriving. When these services are cut then the middle class shrinks and we become imbalanced.  If most of the people cannot spend money, the economy slows down and we all end up losing. We still feel painful reminders of that from the 2007 debacle (except of course the people that broke the law that caused the debacle).
Besides the benefits of allowing our government to use our dollars to provide social services, there is the quite negative downside of having them privatized.  See, with the government providing these services there is some accountability as to how they are priced and administered. If the private sector has control, the only concern is profit since corporations blatantly pander more to their shareholders than their actual clients.  There is no sense of accountability.  This has happened in several countries in South America when ‘shock doctrine’ economic policies were initiated.  Eventually the conditions there became so bad that their governments had to step in and start providing the services it once was…free education, free lunches for schoolchildren, and other social service programs. There is a place for socialism.
I do not want to indicate that capitalism/privatization is evil either and certainly capitalism has made this country great as well.   There must be balance though.  We’ve already experienced the dire repercussions of unfettered capitalism and remember it as the Great Depression.  The private sector simply wasn’t able to meet some of the needs of the majority of the populace. We’ve learned since then that most healthy kind of economy is a mixed economy, with government providing some social services and subsidies, while allowing the free market the ability to produce goods according to demand and competition. Socialism within this context, as opposed to the old perceptions associated with communism, works well and is imperative to a healthy, growing nation.  In fact, it is one element that has made us great.  It is time to change our perceptions and embrace the fact that socialism is a vital part of this nation, we fail ourselves and our nation if we do not.
Be well, 
Frankie

we don't need no stinking teachers


mr. sununu needs to do a fact check....."Classrooms are busting at the seams because there are fewer teachers, and cities and towns across the country are closingentire public safety departments due to budget cuts.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/06/11/497293/sununu-romney-public-sector/

10 June 2012

jeff sparrow takes a swipe at atheism

"we’re far more likely to win people from religion by working alongside them against the forces of oppression in this world – and thus showing them in practice that religious consolations aren’t necessary – rather than by dismissing them as dupes and stooges"  says jeff sparrow in this thought provoking article.

http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/04/jeff-sparrow-the-weaponization-of-atheism/