Theists are in love with the idea of faith. They often use the word as though it is a magical and indescribable force adhering them to their religious beliefs. However, as with all other aspects of the human experience, it is not beyond description or scientific investigation. Upon review, faith is an inherent drive which is ultimately necessary for our emotional wellbeing. At the same time, despite its positive attributes, it can be quite dangerous if taken too far.
"A community or society without a clear image of what it wants to get is hardly likely to end up wanting what it does get."
Your future is being designed for you. Is it the future you want? Numerous social, technological, economic, environmental, political, and values trends continually push us into the future. Tipping points are crossed, new equilibriums are reached and familiar stabilities are broken. The ground seems to shift beneath us, often catching us unprepared. Past decisions create constraints, yet our tendency is to think we walk paths of our own choosing. Past developments also open new possibilities, but we're so often clinging to and reifying the familiar that we fail to see the freedom of movement that surrounds us. All of these forces and factors, trends and potentials beg for a perspective, a method or tools to reduce uncertainty and complexity. What can we use to decrease the tragic frequency of humanity blundering yet again into problems it could have anticipated and dealt with more intelligently? One such perspective and set of tools can be found in futures studies.
In the Feb. 26th Star Tribune conservative commentator Katherine Kersten inadvertently revealed why we need anti-bullying legislation in the state of Minnesota. Designed to close glaring loopholes in current policy in order to stop bullying in schools, the anti-bullying legislation to which she refers couldn't be a more mundane and mechanically pragmatic piece of public policy. (You can read it here.) However, when twisted through Kersten's mentality of paranoid reaction, this transparent and straightforward legislative text becomes a frightening piece of moral subversion enforced by the power of the state, a slippery cover story concocted by big city liberals and sophisticates to hide some sinister true agenda. Her essay ignores honest and straightforward argument in favor of mock alarm and bewilderment designed to light fuses of fear. The State of Minnesota can do better than to listen to voices of fear. In fact, it must, in order to serve justice and fairness for all students.
On February 2nd, I watched C-Span’s presentation of the science-creation controversy between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. The two most salient aspects of the program were that each reinforced the attitudes and values of their constituencies without making any converts. This kind of program is not really a debate so much as it is a position statement. They accomplish nothing of value as far as the scientific community is concerned and pay a price by extending legitimacy to the fundies by sharing the same stage with pretenders. In the eyes of the scientifically illiterate public such a program is nearly always a lose:lose situation for the scientific community.
The Tea Party has libertarian roots, according to one analysis. Famous skeptics like Michael Shermer and Penn Jillette are self-declared libertarians. The sixth-most conservative US senator, Rand Paul, identifies with libertarianism. One could argue that libertarianism is at an historical high tide in terms of visibility and popularity. On the surface libertarianism seems compatible with the atheist/agnostic/humanist movement's discourse of skepticism, reason and secularism in government. Also, who can look at the drug war, our convoluted tax system, an excessive regulation here or there, or US foreign policy blunders, and not think that maybe we could use a little less government?
"The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest around the world is wide and growing. This situation is not only between countries but within them, including many of the most prosperous. The World Day of Social Justice is observed to highlight the power of global solidarity to advance opportunity for all."
-Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Page 1 of 22