Freitag, 25. Februar 2011

An analogy: gods and placebos

What goes on in your mind if you look at the video and replace all occurrences of the word "placebo" with the word "god"?

For whatever strange reason the video seems to fit rather well in two different aspects.
First of all it seems to fit well with the personal experiences i hear people talking about when they speak about "their" god. Many tell me that they feel better, many tell me that they think God helps them. And you can see a wide range of people suffering withdrawals after or while leaving their religion; some even when only thinking about it.

But looking at history and the geographical distribution of religions the video seems to fit even when you take different placebos (eg. Gods) into account. Just as the "blue" placebo helps more with certain things and the "red" ones help with other things, just as differences in prices and packaging make a difference in effectiveness, so (i would argue) does the "packaging" of gods make a difference and produces different effects.

See how belief in an endless universe in which we are eternally created and destroyed by God(s)(like in the Hindu universe) helps people cope with situations in life. People are less concentrated on archiving something in this life, it's less problematic for them not to archive something, for they have an infinite amount of tries. Whatever doesn't work now, might in the next life.

See how belief in a "one-and-only-chance" universe makes people strive to get all out of it in their lives and being far less patient with people that disagree.

See a god who is packaged in an "emotional box" (containing strong feelings of love or revenge or justice) is seen as more effective as some god who comes along in a rather apathetic package (like the pantheistic god who doesn't do much except to exist).

But in the end the important thing (for me) seems to be: it's just a placebo. And no matter the effect that you think it has, it doesn't actually have any effect by itself. If there is an effect, then it is one you yourself cause. You can do that without the Placebo as well, once you realize that!

Your take on this?

Donnerstag, 24. Februar 2011

Video - "because fanatisizm and ignorance is forever busy"....

One famous speech from "Inherit the wind", so true in todays times as well....
...if you can do one you can do the other
because fanatisizm and ignorance is forever busy
and needs feeding.... (2:00min)

(video embedding disabled)

Internet can cause cancer (in Jewish bodies only?)

The Internet causes draught and terminal disease – so claims a new marketing campaign publicized in the ultra-Orthodox community and aims to curb use of the world wide web.

"Where there is Internet, there are no rains," read one of the posters that were pasted in central haredi spots. "Let's remove the idolatry from among us. Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients (suffer) because of the Internet."
Look at ynews to get the full story.

It' sad that the news comes so late. After all we just saw the emergence of  "kosher videoportals" like "glatube".
A site where you can watch your most liked videos ... all guaranteed to be "promiscuity-free". But then again ... what videos remain once you remove all the fun? Better turn to JewTube where they assemble all the content that doesn't make it through the morality filter of the other site.

Alas .. i forgot that it doesn't actually matter where you go. As long as you surf the internet you will DIE from CANCER ......

Montag, 14. Februar 2011

Should I have been living in Iran for Valentine's day?

Every year I either forget Valentine's day OR i spend too much money for nonsense.
I don't normally believe in special days to do special things. I rather prefer normal days to do special things. But tell that to a woman.
So while i spent some 40 Euros getting the usual "i love you" evidence ... flowers, chocolate etc. and spend some extra time preparing ... cleaning up the house, installing ambient light, preparing the couch and the bed, telling the kids to quarrel NOW and keep quiet LATER......
well, while doing that by chance i had a look at the Wall Street Journal and it's take on the Iranian regime banning Valentine's day.

Banning Valentine's day?
In another sign of its ever more improvisational approach to governance, the Iranian regime has outlawed Valentine's Day. "Symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses, and any activities promoting this day are banned," announced state media last month. "Authorities will take legal action against those who ignore the ban."

I am somewhat torn ..... at least for me it would be beneficial to have the day officially banned.
But then again ... do I really think such a ban would keep my wife from expecting "the supposedly unexpected"?

Not really.....

Freitag, 4. Februar 2011

Pakistan's deadly blasphemy-seeking vigilantes

Mustafa Qadri argues that the blasphemy laws of Pakistan are just as much a threat as the Taliban.
After reading his article i can't but agree.

Something that caught my eye in the text however was the following passage:
It is important to note that, as an instrument for protecting the honour of Islam, Pakistan's blasphemy laws have been an abject failure. As rights groups point out, the laws are vaguely defined and do not require accusers to prove criminal intent. Police rarely investigate before arresting alleged blasphemers. Taseer's murderer may say he killed him for committing blasphemy, but there is no evidence he ever did anything of the sort. Taseer's only crime was to highlight the severe failings of the blasphemy laws, a point lost on many who endorsed his murder.
The sad thing about *any* blasphemy law is that it doesn't protect some abstract honor of some abstract idea. In my view no "thought" or "doctrine" or "political view" contains or deserves any "honor" in the first place. But if you want to argue that there is such a thing, then in my view any blasphemy law in the best case doesn't affect the honor at all. In cases like the one we see in Pakistan it actually mires the honor of the "to be protected" religion/idea.

As i rather prefer to speak about people instead of ideas when it comes to such things i must say that blasphemy laws have some strange attribute that degrades humans and severes the relationships between them. At no time is it easier to get rid of a fellow human than when you have a religious law on your side to which anybody has to agree and where solidarization with the victim could get one in to trouble so easily.