Author Archive

Intelligence, Science, Books and God

May 24, 2019

Last post I talked about my interpretation of Descartes theory where you must choose a God of Truth that not only possesses all truth but is freely available to all who seek him. Here I want to talk about some ideas I’ve been toying with, somewhat related to Intelligent Design.

The idea behind this idea is that books and writing and other forms of communication  communicate pure ideas mind-to-mind. The author of the book has some ideas he’d like to share, so he puts some ink on pieces of paper and binds them together so that others can look at the ink blots and somehow deduce the ideas the author had.

This is all highly magical, and I doubt we’ll ever completely understand how it is possible that this process occurs. Having studied languages for computer science, I am baffled at how real languages work, and why it is anyone can understand anyone. Yet here we are — you’re reading my blog post, dipping your mind into some thoughts that I encoded into spots of light that appear on your screen. Or maybe you’re using a screen-reader.

At the most basic level, we seem to be communicating shared experiences. I can mention a few words, and you’ll recall something from your experience that relates to those words, and next thing you know we’re understanding each other.

But what about experiences that no one has experienced before? Or experiences that everyone always experiences? This is along the lines of explaining to fish what it means to be wet or dry. A fish doesn’t know either of those things because it has only ever felt wet.

We know, however, that we can communicate new ideas to people through communication media. We have all probably experienced it. Maybe we use the symbols of our shared experiences and build up new thoughts, or maybe something amazing is happening where we are able to think entirely new thoughts. I know that sometimes my mind has a “spark” of enlightenment where I think things I had never thought before, and sometimes this comes out of the blue.

The universe itself is a sort of book. As a scientist, we can perform experiences and understand ideas, new ideas, that we never thought before. As we begin to decipher the universe, or rather, the rules governing it, are we not communicating with a higher intelligence? Call it what you will — maybe it is our past selves communicating with our future selves, or maybe there is an alien race communicating with us through the very laws of physics — this is God. This is the God that Christians worship, a being that not only understands things we can’t even conceive of, but has given us the universe as a medium through which we can understand him.

Having studied physics, I can list several instances where I felt I was communing directly with God, learning important lessons about the nature of the universe and thus the nature of God. Let me list a few:

  • Newtonian Mechanics, unfortunately, gets a bad rap as a bunch of math exercises. However, it wasn’t very long before I could begin to see the patterns merge and a few most basic principles emerge as the key factors behind every phenomena in the universe: Energy and Momentum. Energy is like a universal currency, and can be freely exchanged. Momentum, however, is constant and unchanging. You can only borrow or share Momentum. You cannot convert it. If I had to rely on only one number to understand a system, it would be Momentum, not Energy. You can predict far more behaviors by understanding the constancy of Momentum than any other thing.
  • Time is ever present in Physics, and something we can’t even describe. After all that Einstein has said about General Relativity, it is still this strange thing that defies comprehension. We can’t reduce it to some simpler form, we can’t combine it with other quantities, and at best we can stretch it or even hold it still. It is ever present at every level of physics. How does time even work? How do particles know when to move, or how quickly? Why do quantum states fluctuate with such precision? Time is one of those things I don’t think we’ll ever understand. When I program game engines, I have to force time into the equations to make things behave like we expect. Take it away–you’re left with nothing but pure logic. Another thing: We can map out the entire universe as a thread of existence spanning time, but yet, we are doomed to exist from moment to moment, and no one understands why that is.
  • In Quantum Mechanics, there was an epiphany as I grew to understand there are things that not even God is allowed to predict. It seems so contrary to the nature of a being who wrote the book on the Laws of Physics, and yet there it is. It’s almost as if he wrote the laws to be seemingly contradictory, and let Quantum Mechanics figure it out on its own. (By the way, no one understands the why and how of Quantum Mechanics. It just works, as far as we can take it.)
  • Thermodynamics was by far one of my favorite courses. In it, we looked at pressure, temperature, and volume. These equations seem rather simple, but as you start looking at how things combine together, it’s clear there is another hidden quantity — entropy. Entropy is almost imperceptible to us. I have to go to great lengths to even explain what, exactly, it is, and how you quantify it, and how it is used to make predictions in thermodynamics. As we said in Physics, anyone who understands what entropy really is probably got something wrong. Regardless, the epiphany came when the professor pointed out that the universe is a closed system (containing all that exists) and even if we consider the universe to be infinite in size, we can still calculate its entropy, and it will always increase over time. This observation, combined with the fact that we are not at maximal entropy means that the universe was created, and the universe will be destroyed. This was enough to convince many physicists at the time that they had found a scientific proof of God.
  • I remember taking my particle physics course my senior year and being overwhelmed with the textbook, which by the time we got it in our hands, had already been greatly expanded on. The professor walked us through everything he could to try and get us up to speed, and then he showed us some graphs of a reading from a particle collider, and asked us why there was a hump at a particular energy. We almost unanimously told him it must be some error, but he assured us that it was no error, and he showed us the error bars. There was something happening at that energy and no one could understand it. After we guessed and tried out several ideas, the professor closed with, “Ah well. I was hoping to write a paper. If any of you have any more ideas, please share them with me. I promise to at least give you some credit.” The lesson was that despite all the great advances we had made in Physics, there was so much more out there, just beyond the edge of our imaginations, that baffles us and tells us that we have a lot of mistakes in our math.

I want to close with this one thought: The surface area of a sphere, as the sphere expands, grows larger and larger. If we are to consider the volume of the sphere the sum total of all human understanding, and the things outside of the sphere to be the things we have no idea of, then the surface of the sphere would represent all the things that we are just now asking questions about. Those who have a larger sphere have more questions, questions that those who have smaller spheres can’t even perceive yet. Now, if this were a multi-dimensional sphere, which would be a more accurate space to describe human knowledge (think billions of dimensions) the surface area of the sphere grows quite large quite rapidly.

True scientists, the ones who are pushing the boundaries and exploring the edges, know that there is so much they don’t know. The average layperson see them as some sort of walking encyclopedia, but really, they have questions that would shake the layperson’s universe and threaten to overturn significant chunks of human understanding. At one point we though Newton’s Laws described the universe perfectly, only to stumble into Quantum Mechanics and Relativity as we pushed the boundaries of reality. Today’s theories aren’t much better than yesterday’s, and if we mock our ancestors, then our descendants will mock us.

As Newton said, if we have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. We need to acknowledge that.

And we need to keep studying the book that God has given us — the universe itself.

Truth Cannot Exist Without God

May 20, 2019

I am not a trained philosopher, but thinking on Descartes’ ideas and why he is labeled as one of the founders of modern science has lead me to the following ideas.

  1. We cannot trust our senses. They do not tell us truth, only what they are sensing.
  2. The only thing we can know for sure is that we exist independently as a thinking entity. (“I think, therefore I am” in his words.)
  3. If we are to find truth, we must have a breadcrumb trail we can follow that will lead us to it. Otherwise, we are left to error on our own. Descartes puts this idea forward that there are demons that are out to deceive us. (This makes a lot of sense in his worldview, which was shaped by the teachings of Catholicism. It doesn’t make much sense to us who think that demons and angels and God are fairy tales.) I rephrase this for our generation as stating that it’s incredibly clear that people are stupid, and since we are all people, that means we are stupid too. If we ever have any hope of finding any truth, then somewhere there must be something we can follow to find that truth.
  4. At this point, I am going to provide some alternatives. There are 3 conditions we might exist in, and only one leads to the possibility of finding truth. You get to choose which reality you want to live in, but only one reality allows the possibility that you will ever find truth.
    1. There is no God of Truth. That is, there is no supremely intelligent being who not only knows the truth but can show us the truth.
    2. There is a God of Truth, but he hasn’t provided us a way to identify him. This case is similar to 1 because without a way to perceive him, he might as well not exist.
    3. There is a God of Truth, and he has provided us a way to identify him and his truth. This is the only scenario in which we have any hope of identifying truth.
  5. If we choose to live in the reality where truth exists, and there is a God who possesses it, and he has provided us a way to identify him and the truth, then we can proceed with modern science. IE, God created the universe as a reflection of himself, the universe cannot lie or deceive us, so we must interrogate the universe to understand it, hence we can do science and experiment. Note that we are still subject to being wrong as the other person, but there is always a way to identify error and free ourselves from it.

As I grow older, I see the value in accepting the reality of God. I don’t demand that you believe that he exists, I just demand that you accept it. Assume it to be so, whether or not you can cause yourself to have any sort of religious sentiment about it. Assuming God does exist, then you must assume certain aspects of his nature, such as his ability to communicate pure truth. If you accept these two premises, then the universe is open to you, things that can be learned through a study of it and things that cannot be learned through a study of it.

A lot of the objections that atheists raise against a belief in God are simply logical fallacies with fancy clothing. Which God should you believe in? The True and Living God, as opposed to false and dead ones. How can you find God? The same way everyone who has found God reported doing so. What about the Bible? I think my Christian brethren in this day and age worship the Bible over God sometimes, so I’d like to point out that it is just a book, a book with pages and words, sometimes poorly translated, but it is definitely “good enough” to get you started in the right path.

The key messages of the Bible that I find, that should give hope to any atheist:

  1. Seek, ask, knock. The promise is you will find it, your question will be answered, and doors will be opened.
  2. You can always pray. Sinner and saints can access God through Christ.
  3. God doesn’t love us because we’re righteous. He loves us just because, and he has sent his Son to demonstrate that love. He has promised not just to redeem Israel but the entire world, despite our rejection of Him who is mighty to save.
  4. The only real choice you have in this world is whether to live as a proud and flawed person, or to embrace the atonement of Christ by repenting each day and trying to do better. We receive covenants such as baptism not because we know we will be able to keep them, but because we know that we don’t have to — we do it because God told us to, and he told us we can always repent so we’re confident if we screw it all up (which we will) we can always come back.

My favorite parable is of the piano student. The piano student will never play the piano perfectly in this life. There is always some ultimate ideal they compare themselves to and they always fall short. The only way to improve is to keep practicing, and every time you practice you are going to make mistakes. Making mistakes is bad and leads to horrible music that no one wants to listen to — this is the same as sin. We are all practicing to play the piano, we are all making mistakes, and it doesn’t matter, ultimately, as long as we keep practicing and keep trying something new and different and better. That is all we can do. We can try, fail, repent, and then try again. This is what God gave us for our lives here on earth.

Spectrum of Socialism

February 21, 2019

An interesting tactic I once used to argue someone out of a socialist idea went like this.

The basis was that he was advocating for a new government organization to distribute funds or buy services for people who couldn’t afford it. The idea was that by spending government funds, it would help people. My tactic was to outline various ways of getting help to the poor, and showing how involving government is a bad idea.

I told him that it’s very clear who that policy would help: government employees and politicians who take credit for all of the hard work done to actually provide services to the poor people. All the politicians did was put a few words on a piece of paper, why should they get all the credit? Additionally, do you even know how much government employees make, and how much money actually ends up helping the poor? We’re talking pennies on the dollar, according to programs we already have in effect.

Such a disaster could be avoided rather easily: Just write checks to the poor people, with little or no oversight.

He objected because of the possibility of fraud. Well, if poor people, who didn’t go to college and aren’t lawyers or accountants, are prone to commit fraud, how much more likely are government agents to commit fraud? Or do people become angels incapable of committing crimes once they become a part of government? If so, then President Trump must be a saint.

In today’s age, it’s not hard to find examples of fraud. Just lately, Representative Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez is challenged with allegations of using campaign funds to benefit her boyfriend. If someone with such pure motives as herself (at least in the typical socialist’s eyes) and hasn’t even served a year in government yet is already committing that sort of fraud, well, how much more so people who have made it their life’s mission to work for the government?

He then objected that the poor people wouldn’t spend the money well. I agreed; the reason, indeed, why they are poor is because they don’t manage money well. Rich people value money much more than poor people do, which is why they have a lot and poor people don’t. He disagreed with this, but said instead that they’d probably spend the money on drugs or alcohol or new shoes, rather than buying the medical care, food or whatnot that they need.

I agreed, that’s probably exactly what poor people would do with the government benefits. In fact, how many people today trade their food stamps (EIB cards of course) for money that they can use to buy drugs or whatnot? How many people today take their unemployment checks, and with little effort actually finding a job, waste their time binging Netflix or playing video games?

The problem with socialism, ultimately, is someone, somewhere, has to take the blame for bad moral actions. Someone who misappropriates money, someone who refuses to take responsibility for their actions has to pay. You cannot protect people from themselves and the consequences of their actions. If you try, you begin to shoulder some of the moral responsibility by attempting to hold nature at bay. The only moral action is to let nature run its course, to let people starve, to let people die of drug overdoses, etc…

This is the awful nature of reality, and it can’t be avoided. Either you adopt the person as a dependent child, and take full responsibility for every aspect of their lives, or you let them sink or swim in the consequences of their own choices. There is really no other way.

Maimonides famously outlined how you can actually help poor people. He had a grading system that roughly worked like this:

At the top, the most wise and charitable action is to treat the poor person like a human being, hiring them to do work that needs to be done at a fair wage. If they can’t do that job, maybe they lack tools or expertise, then giving them a loan to obtain the skills and equipment necessary is the next best thing. If not a loan, then just give them the money to do the same.

The next tier is to actually render temporary assistance. What is best is to give to an independent third party who will render the assistance without giver or receiver knowing what is done or how the money is to be spent. What is worst is to have the giver render direct assistance with their own money. By assistance, I don’t mean giving away money. This is giving food or clothing, or even shelter, to someone who lacks these things.

The lowest tier is just to give people money, with no expectations attached. The absolute worst thing to do is just to give a beggar money with no questions asked. It is so useless, in fact, that it is what you do when you can’t do anything else.

True charity doesn’t create dependence. Socialism is all about getting people to put their faith in government, to beg for a little of what they need each day.

When Marx proposed his ideas, he thought he was describing the natural evolution of economic systems. He thought that capitalism would eventually fall apart and socialism would replace it. Under socialism, eventually the entire system would collapse and people would just eliminate the middle man of government and build a utopic anarcho-communist society where people just shared with each other because that’s the best way to do things. Unfortunately, no one has been able to transition to such an idealist situation. And most unfortunately, socialist systems don’t naturally collapse. They end up in a steady state where a few very powerful people control all of society, and everyone else begs them each day for their daily bread.

It has never been the case in human history where government has been kind or charitable. Never have we ever seen a government where power-hungry and psychotic people were not attracted to fill offices in it. Never have they not been tempted to lie, cheat, steal and murder to get more power. If you gave me a choice to put my full trust in a businessman or a government official, I would trust the businessman. Even though I know he wants to get rich off of my labor, at least I know he is willing to pay for it.

Is France Showing Us How To Do It?

December 13, 2018

When the government surpasses its consent to rule (and the US and state governments have done so, repeatedly) what is to be done? Hold elections to elect more people to do more of the same?

The French have a long and violent history, and are currently on their 5th republic. By comparison, we are still on our 2nd republic. (Our first republic, the Continental Congress, was never really agreed to, but sort of fell into place.)

The Declaration of Independence gives us a roadmap on how government is supposed to work. In a nutshell,

  1. Government exists for the sole purpose of protecting individual rights.
  2. When governments exceed this, it is the duty of the people to alter or abolish it, replacing it with a new government.

We obviously haven’t had an “abolish” movement in the US that has gained any traction. In France, it seems the yellow vests are trying to abolish their government, and bring in a 6th republic. They’ve had several “abolish” movements.

Here in the US, I think we would do well to remind government bureaucrats that they serve us, not the other way around. Rather than trying to work the system they enslaved us with, or rather than expecting people to change it for us, it’s imperative that we be willing and ready to change it ourselves. While I advocate we do this through political means, and avoid abolishing government until all avenues have been exhausted, there are some who might be impatient and decide to give “abolish” a go.

What would this look like?

Unfortunately, conservatives don’t have an answer for this. The conservative movement in the US has been all about respecting government and its traditional role, and then petitioning for slight changes, or just not changing as fast as others want it to. This is why the conservative movement has no answers for this sort of action except, “Don’t do it.”

Here’s a roadmap of what it might look like though. I’ll give recommendations on how to make things move more quickly or to minimize human tragedy during the process. That said, people will die, fortunes will be lost, and there is the possibility of some very serious violations of human rights on a large scale.

The first step is to get a unified core, ready to fight together. This is not going to be a group of people who are wishy-washy, but who are ready to fight and die and have a specific goal in mind they agree on. Without this, nothing good will come of it. Find your consensus first, and then find a plan of action.

What should the goal be? I recommend the goal being a government “of, by, and for” the people, at the expense of the ruling class and with no respect to tradition. All government institutions designed to make the people beg for permission to use their natural rights should be abolished.

How many do you need? You would need several thousand, I believe. If you start with a core group, expand that until you can get enough that throwing them all into jail just becomes an untenable solution. It is critical that during this phase you do not expose yourself for what you really are. Exercise extreme caution in your communication so government doesn’t know what you’re doing. Leave your cell phones at home, meet in the wilderness after hiking a long distance away from your cars. Keep your meetings short and to the point, and make sure everyone understands why you are behaving the way you do. Leave no records, no emails, no phone calls. If you need to talk where devices are listening, talk in roundabout terms. IE, tell someone you suspect you can trust who might be interested in the movement that you’d like to take them camping or hunting. At some point on the trip, tell them they might want to leave their cell phone behind, and then move off some distance to tell them what you are about and what’s gong on.

When you have the group organized — and I recommend to follow the model the terrorists use, of distributed groups, loosely coupled, with vague goals — then consider the time to strike.

The first step in the revolution would be to declare your intentions publicly, without any uncertain terms. This would be a declaration of treason, and if government were smart, they should’ve seen it coming and they will do everything possible to stop the declaration from getting out or from being taken seriously.

The next step is to organize. Assemble in a large group, armed with military arms. Show the world that you are organized and are ready to face any threat. Then you need to march to some institution of power. I recommend the legislature or congress.

It is imperative that you make it known that you have peaceful intentions, and don’t want to hurt anyone, but you will defend yourself from any aggression. The government will send our police and troops, so it is important you insist that there is no reason for them to oppose your movement as you have no violent intentions, just the overthrow of the government according to the declaration. Do not get into a shooting match!

What is your message? It must resonate with the people. It must be something they can identify with, and agree to.

The nice thing is that it’s easy to argue that you want to restore the constitution in its original form. You want to limit the power of the federal government, or eliminate the regulatory abuses, etc… Arguing a restoration of the constitution is, I believe, very popular. At least the right sort of people (those with arms and a willingness to defend the country) agree.

This is the important part: Not everyone in your movement will be in this army. Only some of them, the most calm and rational ones, the ones ready to lose their lives. The rest of your movement is just as devoted, but is going to work in the background to manipulate events. These people must remain hidden and work from the shadows. Their purpose is several:

  • Get favorable news of the movement out.
  • Suppress or refute unfavorable news.
  • Confuse the intelligence agencies with false reports.
  • Keep tabs on what the government is doing.

Will some of these people be inside of government? If they aren’t you’re doing it wrong.

At this point, the group must gain the sympathy of the people. There are several ways to do this, but unfortunately, the easiest way is to get slaughtered. You must be careful with this: If the government is successful in slaughtering enough of your movement, there will be no one left to tell your story.

The group must also grow their numbers, daily. That means regular folks picking up their rifles and joining along. That means other movements in different parts of the country. It must grow, and you may need to use whatever tricks you can imagine to at least give the perception it is growing.

Ultimately, you must march and take physical control of the symbols of government. That means capturing congress, or its buildings. Then, with these symbols of power at your control, you begin *acting* as if you are the government. See Cromwell if you need to understand what this looks like — he pulled it off.

Does that mean you need a dictator? Probably yes, for a time. The important point to note is that your message must be “order will be restored shortly” while the governments message is “we’re going to kill everyone who disagrees with us.” If that is the argument, then you can definitely win this fight.

Should it turn into a shooting match, you’re going to have to go the military route to obtain your goals. The good news is the US government can’t possibly win against a widespread revolution. The bad news is that this is not going to be fun or easy, not for anyone.

Note that this model is a model. It’s not new, it’s just what we’ve seen in history.

Am I advocating for it? No, I’m not. I’m conservative, and I believe the best way is to get the reigns of power and make marginal changes. I believe that as long as Trump is in office, we have hope to see serious, positive changes in our country. Can even Trump fix everything in 4 or 8 years? No, it’s impossible. It would take lifetimes to get our country where it needs to be, but I believe it can be done.

If your group wants to do something like this, leave me out of it!

When Mormons Rule the Earth

November 15, 2018

First off, we don’t call ourselves mormon. We’re members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or saints for short. “Mormon” was an epithet used by our enemies to describe us.

Regardless, one of the earliest charges laid at the feet of Joseph Smith, the first leader of our church, is that he was trying to setup a theocratic kingdom, akin to what Mohammed had done. I have often wondered what Joseph Smith would’ve done had millions of people flocked to the newly restored church.

We don’t have to wonder much because that’s pretty much what did happen. Very early in the church’s history, an entire population of a town converted and accepted Joseph Smith as their leader. This was Sidney Rigdon’s congregation in the frontier settlement of Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith called the saints to gather there, and soon, what used to be a few houses was a bustling city. (You can read more about the early history of the church in the new history book called Saints: https://history.lds.org/saints?lang=eng

The first thing Joseph Smith did was he put the town in order. At the time, people were exhibiting all sorts of strange behavior they attributed to the Holy Ghost. Joseph taught a simple system for identifying and dispelling evil spirits, and pretty soon the town was behaving civilized.

The next thing Joseph Smith did was he established local leadership. He called a bishop to oversee the welfare of the poor and needy. The bishop would solicit free-will donations and distribute them as well as he could. Rather than handing out free food and shelter, the bishop gave people land and handed them an axe to build their own house and plow their own fields. Self-sufficiency was and is still the primary goal of the welfare program of the church.

The government of Kirtland was established the same as any other government of the time, with elected leaders, a city council, and a mayor.

Joseph Smith soon received revelation that the saints should settle in Missouri, where they began the same process of purchasing land, building homes, and building towns and cities. Joseph laid out the ideal form of a city, with each city of a population of about 10,000 or so, and if that was to be exceeded, a new city to be built nearby until the whole earth was covered with cities of that simple design.

In Missouri, they faced persecution both from the locals and the state government. A “war” of sorts broke out, with the saints acquiescing when it was clear they could not win and God commanded them not to. They left to found another colony with the central city being Nauvoo, Illinois. There, they built their temple and laid out the roads and property just as they had intended in Missouri. (By this time, Kirtland was in rebellion to Joseph’s authority and all the saints loyal to Smith had left.)

In Nauvoo, Joseph was elected the mayor after the former mayor was charged with adultery. Joseph was also appointed the head of the Nauvoo Legion, the militia that trained regularly to ensure that the locals couldn’t persecute them and the state would think twice before sending an army to drive them out of their homes.

The laws in Nauvoo weren’t much different from laws you would expect to see at the time. If anything, they were considerably more liberal, meaning, people had more freedom in Nauvoo than they did in other places. Church membership wasn’t a requirement for living there nor did it affect your standing in the city. Joseph had appointed a Council of Fifty from local church leaders and others who were not members of our church specifically with the intention of figuring out what sort of laws and constitutions should be established to maximize freedom by the time he was slaughtered by a mob.

Brigham Young intended to stay at Nauvoo, but the Lord had other plans and sent them out West to settle the Salt Lake area. Today, the vast majority of land in the West, aside from the coastal areas, are founded by saints who were sent by Brigham Young to build towns. Our towns are found all the way up in Canada and all the way south in Mexico.

Where did Brigham Young get all these people to settle the West? They came from all over the world, especially England and other European countries. As people converted to our church, they were asked to move to Zion, the kingdom that Brigham Young had built. Millions fled Europe and came to the Utah area to be assigned by Brigham Young a place to live.

So what would it look like if mormons took over the world?

The Western United States.

Demographics or Ideology?

November 15, 2018

Over at the Red Elephant on YouTube, he’s making a prediction that Texas will become blue and stay blue after 2020.

What he’s saying is basically that since Hispanics and blacks vote overwhelmingly for democrats, and whites only marginally vote republican, that since the Hispanic population is increasing, Texas will vote democrat for the foreseeable future.

His suggestion seems to be to convince more white voters to vote republican, since blacks and Hispanics are never going to change how they vote.

That’s a pretty terrible suggestion, and it doesn’t leave much hope. Unless whites vote 90% republican, it’s still not going to be enough.

He also commented that illegal voting doesn’t really matter, and when democrats are winning by large enough margins no one will even think to look at voter fraud as it won’t make a difference if you found 10% of the votes were fraud or whatnot.

I wonder if he’d feel the same if Hispanics voted 70% republican and 30% democrat. Or would he say we need to import more Hispanics into Texas?

The reality is that the way our country is set up, we don’t get to control how populations move within our country. We can control who we allow into our country, and over the past 50+ years we have allowed large numbers of Hispanics into our country, but we can’t control people once they get into our country, legally.

Now, this is the key area where I disagree. While I admit that there is a voting habit for people based on their skin color, I say that is true only because there is a correlation between ideology and skin color and other demographic measures.

When you find a correlation in science, you have to ask if there is causation. Logically speaking, if A and B are correlated, there are several possible reasons for this:

  • A causes B or B causes A.
  • A and B are really the same thing.
  • There is a third thing, C, that causes A and B.
  • You just got really unlucky and found correlation where none really exists.

It’s absurd to think that changing your ideology can change your skin color, because skin color isn’t really something that changes. Nor can you change your heritage. We can look at other demographic variables as well such as age or sex, and we know that those aren’t something that are caused by ideology either. Economic status might be, but definitely the  idea that demographics aside from life choices are determined by ideology is just absurd.

It’s reasonable, at least at first glance, that demographics determines ideology, but we must consider that there is a third cause or that we are just unlucky. I think we can rule out unluckiness as we have collected this data in so many different ways and in so many different times and it is remarkably consistent.

What could be the third cause? I think the answer is that ideology and demographics (in terms of race or ethnicity) are determined by your parents. By and large, you’re not going to change your ideology much from what your parents raised you with.

That’s not to say it won’t change. After all, Christians are famous for converting people to their faith, and the history of Christianity is a history of entire civilizations changing their ideology. No one worships Jupiter in Rome anymore, after all, and it’s not because the barbarians stopped the practice.

The direction of nature is clear: Over time, populations grow weak and lazy, and begin choosing greedy leaders and corrupt their own country. Everyone knows this. The Chinese have a saying: “Head of a dragon, tail of a snake”. One interpretation of that saying is that things which start out great (like the American Revolution) end up being undesirable.

The problem is that in today’s world, nature isn’t the only factor at work. We have seen in history periods of time where entire populations have shifted to the right. It happened here in the US, several times. It’s happening in Brazil as we speak. It’s happened in England several times.

While we don’t know how to control shifts in ideology, and we barely understand why it happens, the truth is that no matter what your skin color or ethnic heritage, you are human and you are prone to change your behavior, oftentimes due to environmental pressure but sometimes out of your own free will.

When I pray at night and in the morning, I’m not just asking that God exerts his influence on the world: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I’m praying to know what I should be doing to bring that change about, and to recognize it when it is happening.

Right now, President Trump is the best we’ve got. He’s not very good (and I’m not talking about what democrats point out as flaws) but he’s good enough. Maybe one day we’ll have our Julius Caesar, our Caesar Augustus, our Constantine or Charlemagne, or Henry V or whatnot. Maybe some day we’ll be graced with our own David and Solomon. Maybe President Trump is it and I just need a little more patience. Maybe one day we’ll be thrust into civil war again where we have to sort through who to kill and who to spare and re-think what it is to be American all over again. Maybe disease will rip through our country as it did through the Aztec empire, or maybe our crops will fail and we’ll have massive famine. I don’t know, but I do know that we have our President Trump right now, and we have a lot of work to do to shore up our republic, with the anticipation that things won’t get better but the hope that maybe they will.

As it is, I wouldn’t write off the Hispanic or black voting bloc. Ideology isn’t determined by skin color or ethnicity, and we know from history that it isn’t inherited either. Keep doing what is right, things will go as well as they can. That’s all we can do.

How to End This Civil War

November 11, 2018

Wars start when one group of people feels like they can do whatever they please to injure another group of people. We are certainly at that state in the United States.

Wars end when one of the sides completely surrenders to the other.

How do we end this civil war?

The last civil war we fought wasn’t won. While the military of the southern states was disbanded, the political leaders were not. They continued attacking the country and today their descendants inhabit the Democratic Party. What their goals are is not entirely clear, but they are unified in their hatred of America and our institutions.

How do we win? In short, they must surrender. They must be imprisoned if they don’t surrender. They must be held to account for their crimes against our country. Nothing short of this will be enough.

I am doubtful that the American people have the stomach to do what needs to be done. We are very good at fighting wars, but we don’t understand what victory means and what that entails. We have been lucky in that the Japanese and German people did fully lay down their arms and acquiesce, but I doubt we will ever see the democratic and socialist elements of our country do the same.

We balk when we see what it takes to end the wars that have ravaged other countries.

Whether or not the fighting starts, when it comes to winning this war, it must be complete and total victory. We must humiliate and even execute the losers. We must destroy their movement and everything that went along with it. We must write history books detailing the crimes of their movement and presenting them for what they truly are and were.

Until the day comes that the world thinks of Nazis as a lesser evil than socialism or the American Democratic Party, we will not have won this war.

Some thoughts after the election…

November 10, 2018

This election season both new republican leaders like President Trump and the old guard conservatives like Sen. Graham came out swinging against the Democratic Party. Most of you may not remember this but back in the early 2000s, it was an epithet to call someone a “democrat”. This was because of the nonsense that persisted throughout the Clinton years and then the way they tried to steal the election in Florida. (Wouldn’t you know it, it was Broward County that was the center of the controversy.)

The Democratic Party is the party of evil. This is inarguable. The origin of the party can be traced back to evil, conspiring men trying to seek power during the Era of Good Feelings. They started what is called the Spoils System: If you vote for me, I will give you good paying jobs in the government. The first democratic president was President Andrew Jackson, who, despite common beliefs, did nothing for America and everything for President Jackson and his supporters. Even his attacks on the Bank of the United States wasn’t inspired out of some sort of charity towards the American people and the plight that national banks bring upon a nation, but the fact that he could not get his man appointed as the head of that bank. He shut it down so it could be reopened under new management — his management.

Fast forward a few decades, and you’re looking at the first serious signs that the Democratic Party, when it cannot get its way, is more than happy to set the country on fire and watch it burn. The Civil War was the result of violent and extremist abolitionists, to be sure, but until the Democratic Party started chanting war slogans they were only a few terrorists here and there that were roundly condemned on all sides of the political spectrum. They turned a fringe movement into a casus belli — a cause for war. Then, associating the newly formed Republican Party and the newly elected President Lincoln with those terrorists, they declared war on the United States. No, they did not just secede, another lie told to rewrite the history of the Civil War — they opened fire on Fort Sumter after seizing federal property and federal troops. A peaceful secession would’ve negotiated terms for withdrawal, even tolerating the presence of powerless troops for decades, rather than ignite the flames of war.

Well, it was war they wanted, and it was war they got. The North, and many Southern States, properly incensed at their short-sightedness and violence, rightly declared war right back, and fought a long and vicious war such as the world has never seen before. It took someone like General Sherman, marching through the countryside, burning plantations and destroying cities left undefended, to convince General Lee that there was no possible way to win, and that complete and total surrender to the North and the Republican Party was inevitable.

What followed is called “Reconstruction.” Thanks to what in hindsight was a bad move on the part of President Lincoln, pardoning the South, we could not make just recompense to the former slaves nor hold the violent elements of the Democratic Party accountable. The black population was left to roam the South, subject to an antagonistic majority that sought to do them harm. The few federal troops were powerless to stop the lynchings, the beatings, the suppression of rights. The few times the republicans got it right, they refused to seat senators and representatives until southern states admitted on paper that blacks had rights and that they pinky-promised never to hold KKK rallies and burn crosses in their yards or lynch them in the middle of the night.

The American people are fierce in war, preferring a hot, short war to a long, cold one. But we really stick when it comes to governing the losers. We are too gracious in victory, to proud to admit that maybe, just maybe, the Romans knew what they were doing when they decimated rebellious populations — killing one in ten adult males randomly, or any host of other unpalatable things. Had we used the same righteous fury that we had used during the war on the Democratic Party after the war, we would talk about them the same way we talk about Nazis today. It would be a stain on our history, a reminder that the pursuit of power is evil in and of itself, and that power can be trusted to no mortal man.

Instead, half of our country wakes up in the morning grateful to be subject to their masters, wishing ill on those who protect them, and wondering why “evil” republicans are allowed to protect the rights of all people, regardless of race or religion.

Someday, the Democratic Party will be exposed for what it is. Its history will be written by people who don’t like them and want to encourage no sympathy for what they did. Someday, but not yet, not today.

The Republican Party, on the other hand, is not free of guilt. The problem of the Republican Party is that it is properly termed the “Anti-Democratic Party”. It formed as a reaction to the Democratic Party. To understand the background, you have to understand what Whiggism is and what the Whig Party stood for. From the founding of our country until today, Whigs ran everything. They bifurcated into various branches based on subtle differences in political ideology, but they remained true to their core essence and principles.

The Whig Principles are the American Principles of our Founding Fathers. Summarized shortly:

  • Power can only be entrusted with the moral elite, and even then, we must have checks and balances.
  • Moderation is the principle of good government, neither too hot nor too cold, but a middle ground where polar opposites can come to find common ground.
  • You don’t support your faction for power’s sake, you support individuals and you support ideologies.
  • Above all else, individual rights are paramount and the only concern of the government. Nothing else matters.

The Whigs bifurcated in our history twice. Once, when the Constitution was written. Again, when we determined whether the Federal Government had enough power and what to do when it wasn’t clear which government had power. The famous debates in the Constitutional Convention and the long-lasting feud between Jefferson and Hamilton summarize these issues. Of note, Jefferson was a minimalist, but he ended up expanding the federal power more than any other president of his time. While people remained true to ideologies, they were not so inflexible to ignore an opportune time to ignore those principles for the sake of the country.

Republicans appeared in this backdrop. The Whigs were powerless to stand up to the Democratic Party machine. Little by little, people stopped supporting whiggism and started participating in the Spoils System. The trend towards democracy and universal suffrage was the cause. When you give a poor person power in the government, they are going to vote themselves money. A rich person seeks nothing from government except protection, and so they go not to collect, but to provide. The Whigs were all wealthy landowners, committed to maintaining a free state even if it meant losing a little bit in profits here and there.

Republicans gained power by showing how incompetent the whigs were. In effect, the whigs had given away the keys to the country, handing them over to people incompetent to govern. Republicans sought to remedy that not by returning to whiggism, but by beating up Democrats. Thus, the two parties are locked in eternal struggle, both engaging in the Spoils System, both in a desperate battle to maintain their power, their jobs, and their income.

How will it end? I don’t know, but I doubt we’ll ever pass a bill in congress or any state legislature that removes the power to vote from people. Perhaps it will take a civil war, a bold and intelligent leader to show us the way.

 

Time to file “Declaration of Intent to Home School”

September 5, 2018

As the Tacoma school district teachers voted to strike, let’s recall that the best education is free: home school. File your declaration of intent to home school by printing this form and sending it in annually: https://www.tacomaschools.org/enroll/Documents/Declaration%20of%20Intent%20to%20Homeschool.pdf

Christianity and English Common Law

August 23, 2018

One of the greatest lies perpetuated upon my generation is that there is no secular reason to post the Ten Commandments in a courthouse in the United States. This is such an outrageous lie that it’s hard even to refute it.

The origin of our law, here in the United States, is English Common Law. This is an indisputable fact. Anyone who has ever studied American law knows this, because the people who started this country adopted English Common Law as the foundation for everything we do. Even today, much of your behavior is governed by English Common Law, and judges and lawyers will refer back to it. Unless the matter is relevant to one of the many laws in the books or the constitutions of the state or the nation, then it is a matter of English Common Law. And even then, the laws and constitutions are interpreted according to an understanding of English Common Law.

Where did English Common Law come from? Unfortunately, English Common Law was not invented by one person at a moment in time. It wasn’t intentionally created like our constitution or our laws were. It evolved as judges and lawyers and people and juries figured things out on their own.

If an atheist can claim that Christianity had no, or just a little, influence on English Common Law, then they can claim that Christianity has little or nothing to do with our nation’s laws. That is, they can claim that we can have a secular legal environment without Christianity at all.

On the surface, such an argument is absurd. The people who were living in England at the time English Common Law was being developed were devoutly Christian. Christianity was to those people what water is to fish. It was not only the very essence of existence, but the reason for it. Not to mention the enormous influence the church had at the time upon secular affairs! Surely a judge, jury, or even lawyers were influenced by their religious beliefs, at this time more than any other in our history.

But you don’t have to look very far for how concordant English Common Law is with the Bible. Indeed, if you want to understand English Common Law, you can begin with understanding the Ten Commandments. In the Mosaic Law, we see a system of justice where individuals are held accountable for their own crimes, where property rights are respected, where sexual relations are to be kept only within marriage, and where murder is strictly forbidden, the punishment for which is death, but people are allowed to defend their lives and property. Indeed, when I read the pentateuch, I see what is clearly the earliest proto-English Common Law, in very basic form. It’s almost obvious how you can go from there to here.

I found this interesting address given in 1910 called “The Influence of Biblical Texts Upon English Law” (https://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=7211&context=penn_law_review) I’ve uploaded a copy here: The Influence of Biblical Texts upon English Law

Here are some key passages:

Sir Francis Bacon long ago said, “The law of England is not taken out of Amadis de Gaul, nor the Book of Palmerin, but out of the Scripture, out of the laws of the Romans and Grecians.” And again he said, “Our laws are as mixed as our language.”

In other words, to try and claim that something is or is not part of the ancestry of the English Common Law is not a simple thing. However, we know what those parts are:

  • The Bible
  • The Romans
  • The Greeks

It’s clear why the Bible is part of the origin. That was the prevailing religion at the time.

The Roman and Greek influence might not be so clear unless you know the history of England. Romans built a civilization there, which the Anglo-Saxons and other conquering tribes adopted as their own. London is the ancient city of Londinium in the Roman Empire. Greek was the first written language there, and nobles and scholars were expected to read and write Greek. The Romans looked up to the Greeks, and indeed, Greek was the language of the Roman elite. Indeed, Roman and Greek law influenced all of Europe during the Middle Ages. The Renaissance marks, for the first time, when Europeans were ready to explore beyond what the Romans and Greeks had already done.

What I am to say, therefore, about a certain connection between the law and the Bible is theoretically supposed to be entirely familiar to you, and indeed to say that the Bible in many ways has exerted a mighty influence on our law is a platitude so profound that I can scarcely hope to be excused for having uttered it.

Some of these words may be unfamiliar to you. A “platitude” is a remark that is completely obvious. You should feel stupid for having it said, or having it said to you. “Water is wet” is a platitude. “Profound” means that it is important and has a deep philosophical meaning.

The speaker here is saying, “Of course the Bible and English Common Law are related. Having to say it makes me feel dumb, because I’m calling you dumb. But it’s still important regardless.”

First, of course, there is the general influence of the Bible through the medium of the Christian religion upon the law. It has been often said, indeed, that Christianity is part of the common law of England, and this is due in great measure to the authority of Sir Matthew Hale (King v. Taylor, i Vent. 293, 3 Keble 507), Blackstone and other writers, while Lord Mansfield held (Chamberlain of London v. Evans, 1767) that the essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law. The former proposition has some support also in the decisions of our own State, but in its broad and general sense is without adequate foundation, as has been frequently demonstrated. There can be, however, no doubt that the principles of the Christian religion have profoundly affected the law. Christianity supplied, as it were, the atmosphere of public opinion which surrounded the English people, the legislature and the courts, but its precise effect would be an almost impossible task to determine.

In addition to citing some references (I have not looked them up, please do and let me know), he says here that Christianity is to the Common Law what water is to fish. It is the very atmosphere within which the Common Law breathed into life.

Of course, the Ten Commandments will occur to every one as examples of Biblical laws which were adopted into our own. Disbelief in God, as well as disbelief in Christ, Blasphemy, Sabbath Desecration, Theft, Adultery, Homicide, Perjury, to mention the chief offences, were either punished by the spiritual or the civil courts, or by both. The history of heresy alone in England, with all that it involved, the hatreds, the persecutions, the judicial murders which it narrates, forms one of the saddest chapters in human history. With none of this are we concerned at present.

As evidence, they used to burn witches in England. That was part of the common law. Did Rome or Greece burn witches? No.

Then he connects the Church to the government at that time in England. We who live today find it unthinkable, but there was a time when the Church WAS the state. That is, you had no king unless the pope said so. What you may not know, and won’t know, until you read the Church law is that the Church law governed basically everything that anyone ever did. Also, if you were excommunicated by the church you basically were excommunicated by the state too. The Church advertised its laws to be the supreme law that governed all other law. That is, just like we treat the constitution today, that’s how they saw the Church law.

And where did the Church law come from? Why, from the Bible, obviously!

Note that at this time, all of the Bible was held as absolutely supreme. There was no interpretations or explanations or criticisms, only the text of the Bible and the will of the Pope.

Note that the ideas of the Greeks did enter into Church thinking, but that came by way of St. Thomas Aquinas. Read his writings to see how he reconciles Greek thought with Christianity (not the other way around.) So when you do see Greek influence in the Common Law, you have to realize that it was through the lens of Christianity that it entered.

As far as the Romans, Virgil was well respected because it was thought that Paul respected him. Cicero was respected as well, but simply because of his enormous influence and ability to explain the concepts of universal law clearly.

Moving on to looking at the law itself, the author establishes a few obvious instances, some that even survive today:

  • The husband and wife are one flesh in the Bible, and in English Common Law, they are one person.
  • Christ forbids divorce, except it seems for infidelity, and so does the Common Law.
  • The Church is called a single “body”, and in English Common Law people can form corporations that act as a single “body”.
  • Slavery was recognized by the Bible, with particular attributes that make it different than practiced everywhere else. Indeed, contained in the teachings on slavery is the idea that slaves are people too, and so in English Common Law we find concordance. This is a deeper and sensitive topic that needs further expansion. In short, even today “slavery” is tolerated — as long as it is punishment for a crime.
  • Usury is forbidden in the Bible, and so it is in the Common Law.
  • Witches are forbidden in the Bible, as well as in Common Law.
  • The obscure legal doctrine of deodand is that when a person is killed by an animal or an inanimate thing, it is to be given to the judge or king for punishment, is in the Bible as well. According to Exodus 21:28, if a person is killed by an ox, the ox must be killed and should not be eaten. Also, in Genesis 9:5 God demands that animals which kill humans be killed.
  • “Benefit of the Clergy” basically excludes the clergy from any form of prosecution by lower courts, which morphed into any educated person being able to escape one felony. In the Bible, the Lord teaches the people to leave his anointed and his prophets alone, to be tried by Him. (Benefit of the Clergy was abolished in 1827.)
  • In the Bible, if you were accused of killing a man, then it was up to the victim’s family to extract vengeance by killing you. If you claimed innocence, you had to flee to a sanctuary city. In the Mosaic Law, the elders would hold a trial, consider the evidence, and either allow the accused to stay or send him out to be killed. According to English Common Law, you could flee to a church for sanctuary which is called “privilege of sanctuary.” Later, a king established 8 sanctuary cities. Instead of holding a trial, people were allowed to flee the country provided they left all their material goods behind.
  • The Bible requires two or three witnesses. English Common Law demands two witnesses.
  • The Mosaic Law requires an “eye for an eye”. However, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preaches a higher law of forgiveness. English Common Law never adopted “eye for an eye” when it comes to physical harm (though it does for property). However, it did implement death for the murderer.
  • You’ll see references to the “old law” and “new law” by legal experts who try and balance justice with mercy, and pick and choose which version to implement. They are obviously referring to the strictness of the Mosaic Law found in the Old Testament with the leniency of the New Testament.
  • Many more examples from Lord Coke and Blackstone are further given. For instance, you can’t accept a pension from a foreign king because the Bible says “No man can serve two masters.”
  • Interesting for the Libertarians: The right of property is found in Genesis 1:28.

Granted, these are not always pretty examples. Indeed, the history of English Common Law is that it did not spring into existence in its perfect and acceptable form, but adapted to the times. “In law, as in religion, the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” That is to say, just like we treat the Bible, we treat the law. It is not a computer program, but a contradictory text full of inspiration to guide our lives.

A word more. The Bible as a law book has not received the careful study to which it is entitled. Its theological importance, and, in later times especially, its literary inter- est have absorbed the attention of its readers, but there are other aspects from which it should be studied.

Let us rid ourselves of this terrible heresy, that the Bible has nothing to do with our Law. Let us instead study the Law and the Bible together, and take what we can from it and make a better law.