States and Religions – Scar Tissues From Our Childhood

People’s perception of government and religion is quite an interesting phenomenon.

Not so much with the younger generation (and by young I mean the young at heart, meaning those who are curious, open-minded, self-searching, truth-seeking, and still capable of rational thinking), but definitely with those whose minds have stopped accepting new or alien ideas and whose only aim it is to jam every concept and observation into their immutable and eternal mental box.

The scar tissue of an abusive childhood remains so long as one does not confront it openly and honestly. All of us have been subject to moral corruption at one point or another in our childhood. Bullying parents, teachers, and priests are those who lay the groundwork and fertilize the soil for obedient and irrational adults in the future.

To most of us, the fact that those who preached to us when we were young were morally corrupt individuals of the first order, is probably one of the scariest and most challenging things to admit. The more emotionally offended and upset one gets when confronted with such ideas, the more likely it is that he is suffering from this scar tissue. But from this unfortunately follows that those who have been most brutally corrupted, are actually least likely to confront their past!

This is why, when people exalt the imaginary concepts of the state and of God, all they really seek is justification for the irrationality and mental or even physical abuses experienced in their childhoods.

For if the state’s brutal depredations of mass murder and mass-theft are justified, then surely the moments when your mommy snapped and hit her completely powerless little one, or when daddy took your favorite toys away from you, were all comparatively minor and necessary means to getting you back in line … right?

If the faith in an all-knowing yet all-powerful, non-material yet conscious, living yet never born or ceasing, murderous yet virtuous, and thus completely contradictory and unproven entity is rational, moral and beyond questioning, then surely the moments when your parents told you to “Shut up!”, “You do what I say, not what you think is right!”, “Don’t ask!”, “Don’t think!”, and the like, were just consistent applications of the superiority of faith over logic and empirical evidence … right?

There is no better way to break the development of a curious and reasoning spirit!

Thus, when you outline to such scarred people the rather simple truths as to what it is that people who call themselves “The State” actually do day in day out, that they obtain their resources from people by shooting them if they resist the collection thereof, you will always confront immediate denial and aggressive rejection and complete ridicule of the idea. This is as sure as night follows day.

When you press people who suffer from religiousness on very simple logical and empirical inconsistencies and shortcomings about their belief in God and other superstitions, you can expect very similar reactions.

(To be sure: I am not saying this to offend people. Quite the opposite! I fully appreciate and understand that it is asking a lot of somebody to give up concepts that have served as the foundation of one’s entire world view. In fact, I am not sure there is a harder thing one could ask of somebody!!)

But it is impossible to evade simple truths. People will bombard you with everything conceivable to try and bend reality and justify the unjustifiable, reason through the unreasonable. They will come up with ten different tangents, all with the objective to get off the topic at hand as quickly as possible.

Why is that? Because they are in their subconscious not talking about “The State”, or “God”. They are talking about their childhood, their family and other authority figures who have molded and whipped their minds into obedience and conformity.

To them, it is not about discovering the truth. Their entire quest for supposed understanding, philosophical thoughts, and political positions is centered around the justification of the injustice and the reasoning for the un-reason that they suffered in their upbringing and their education.

Keep this in mind when talking to the majority of people around you. They will rarely ever be open to dealing with serious questions in a logical and consistent manner until they have dealt with and found closure about the injustice and irrationality that has dominated their own upbringing.

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A Theist’s Guide to Converting Atheists

I can agree to all the things listed in there. Present me one of the proofs asked for in Part 1 and you can sign me up for the whole God thingy immediately.

And I concur with part 2: Spare me any stories of how you used to be an atheist and converted to religion and how it has helped you in times of emotional trouble. Don’t make a fool of yourself by telling me that you yourself talked to God, Jesus, an angel or what have you. Believe me, this will NOT convert me, quite the contrary!

The crucial point is that of the ‘null hypothesis’. Every scientific theory has a null hypothesis, meaning a scenario under which the proposed theory could be proven wrong.

If rocks were to fall up, all things being equal, then Newton and Einstein would need to get back to the drawing board. If a ship were to fall down the disk of the earth, then surely Galilei must have gotten something wrong, etc …

This is kind of important. Everybody who wants to propose a bullet proof and sound theory has to offer a null hypothesis under which it may be proven false. This is because true theories don’t need to shy away from the most rigorous scientific scrutiny.

But even IF they were proven wrong, nobody’s worldview in the scientific community would shatter and render his life meaningless. Quite the contrary. Science welcomes challenge and progress. Religion doesn’t.

So whenever you talk to a religious person, before discussing anything else, simply ask them the following question: What proof would convince you that your theory is wrong, meaning that God and miracles don’t exist?

This is not a whole lot to ask for. It is they who are so certain that the theoretical entity that they can’t point at truly exists, it is they who believe in the validity of a book written 1700 ago about events that supposedly occurred 300 (!!) years prior to that, without access to any of the means of media and communication available today, it is they who suggest that this theoretical entity and this book should be used as the ultimate source of wisdom and morality, arguably the most important thing in life.

Those are some pretty extraordinary and amazing claims to make. They are amazing in particular because they are being advanced without the slightest proof whatsoever. The clip above asks for some proofs that should be rather easy to deliver if the theory was indeed true.

Thus it is only fair to give religious people that same opportunity, assuming they want to be taken seriously: Tell us what more proof you need in order to be convinced that there is no God ?

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Reality, Concepts, The State, and God

Reality vs Concepts

Objects are tangible things in within the universe, for example a rock, a tree, a chair, or a human being. We humans can observe the attributes of such a thing and place it in a group with other similar items.

For example, there are different types of rocks, big ones, small ones, granite, marble, or limestone. But they all share the characteristics of being more or less solid pieces of accumulated, rather inorganic mass, they all behave in similar ways when touched or thrown, none of them possess the ability to act, etc …

Thus we group all those things into the concept of “rocks”. But the concept is a mere imaginative category of thinking. Grouping things into concepts helps us establish rules and expectations as to how certain things will react when their present state of nature is changed. For example, we deem it proper to use a hammer to work on rocks in mine shafts. We would certainly not evaluate the same action performed on a human in the same way.

But a concept does not exist in the universe, except for in the form of neurological reflexes in our brains, which to date we are still unable to fully capture and understand. A concept only emerges once we can actually observe objects that we can group into it. Thus empirical observation of objects always precedes and trumps over the concept itself. The concept is only a helpful construct if the objects that we conceptually assign to it by and large possess the attributes established as part of the concept.

For example, if we see something that looks like a rock at first, but then it starts moving around and turns out to be an organism, we would never maintain that it be a rock, but rather determine that it belongs to a different concept, say, that of seashells.

But it is completely counterproductive for us humans to establish a concept and group into it objects that don’t at all possess the attributes established in the concept. Just as it is completely useless, even harmful, for us to establish concepts that can’t be assigned any empirically observable objects whatsoever.

When I say there are solid objects on planet earth that vaporize once a human looks at them, I am proposing a concept, say “That Which Vaporizes Upon Sight”. But it is a completely useless concept as long as I don’t find observable objects that fulfill this criterion.

Whenever I claim that there is something that exists, but can’t point to any (at least yet) observable objects or instances, then I am proposing a mere concept. But it is an empty, meaningless concept. To give any meaning to it I need to go about and find empirical and observable objects that possess the attributes I ascribe to that concept. For as long as I don’t, the concept I am proposing is empty, meaningless, unproven, and thus simply false.

It is in the nature of such a fuzzy, meaningless concept, that man can ascribe to it any attribute he wants. For since there is no empirical and reasonable proof for any instances of this concept, there also isn’t any proof that the attributes assigned are false ones. Once can always claim that once the object is discovered it will possess all those attributes. To be sure, it is completely irrelevant whether or not the attributes are false, because, as long as it is unproven, the entire concept is already false to begin with.

When I establish such a fuzzy concept, yet manage to convince people that in order to be “good” they need to believe that this concept exists, need to worship it, bow down to it, and follow its decrees, I have free reign to make them do whatever I want. Why? Because as I outlined above I can assign whatever attributes I want to it.

The Concept “State”

As explained, some concepts are either falsely described or are assigned the wrong objects. Such is the case with the belief in the state. The state, in most people’s minds, is a false concept. It possesses all the good and virtuous attributes we can think of. It regulates, curbs our greed, re-distributes unjustly earned incomes, represents the “common good”, prevents pollution, maintains the peace, and protects us from harm. How could anyone object to such a glorious concept? The problem is that actually there is no such thing as that state. You can’t go up to the “state” and shake its hands. You can’t have a conversation with it. You can’t take a picture of it, touch it, etc.

What does exist in society as observable objects are people. And some of those people possess guns, bats, tanks, grenades, prisons, etc. They tell us to give them our guns and money because they will do good things for us. Surely we would be willing to voluntarily hand over our money if this was true. But unfortunately there is no such choice. For if we don’t pay them our tribute on a regular basis they will throw us in prison or shoot us in case we raise a gun to defend our property.

This is what people do under the sublime cover of the “state”, plain and simple. (To anyone who disagrees: feel free to refute this statement.) We call those people “the state”. But what they actually do has nothing to do with the concept “state” that most people have been raised to hold in their minds. This is of course not a surprise. For those same people who threaten us at gunpoint to hand over our property, also happen to run the public school system and determine its curriculum, subsidize higher education facilities, and grant or revoke concessions to utilize the airwaves for radio and TV stations, in other words fully or partially control all the means of communicating ideas about the concept “state” to the majority of those who carry the concept, the people.

The implications are predictable: If the concept of state embodies all that is good and just, then naturally, every action taken by those who are considered to belong to the state are considered good, heroic, and justified, no matter how cruel, base, or immoral they may be. One person taking money from another by use or threat of violence is theft, but when the minions of the state do it it is just taxation. A man who takes money to invade other people’s homes and shoot at them because someone told him to is a heartless hitman. But put a helmet and a green costume with a state coat of arms on him and he is a heroic solider.

All proper perception of reality is lost when concepts overshadow it. Any excuse will do. “The people who are the state are stealing and murdering? Well, we voted for them so it is just by majority rule.” This again is a concept that immediately breaks down when examined from a realistic view point. For how does an unjust act become justified just because more people have agreed to it than objected? If I am not justified to kill my neighbor and take his property, then does it become just when all other people in my building agree that I may do it? I hope not. Does it become just when the entire world agrees? Of course not, quite the opposite, it turns into mass tyranny.

Then there are those who say that we humans are just too selfish, greedy, stupid, immoral, sinful, dangerous, base, and filthy to be left without oversight from the state. This argument is self-refuting. For who is it that sits in the state apparatus? Are they super-humans? Would anyone dare to argue that out of all people politicians are mankind’s shining beacon, society’s prime example of perfectly altruistic, humble, intelligent, moral, virtuous, and trustworthy human beings?

Most people who are for the first time in their lives confronted with these ideas will try to do one simple thing: bend reality. They will come up with excuses such as the one above or things like “taxation is really voluntary because we chose to live here”, “we have entered into a social contract with the state”, “but someone has to do it”, “public goods can only be provided by the state”, etc.

This is of course understandable. Again, if one has been raised for his entire life with the idea that the state represents the common good, it is hard to accept the exact opposite, no matter what meets the eye when peeking through the foggy concept. It is important to realize that one can always concoct an excuse for any act one performs, no matter how immoral it is. Any excuse will do. Most people will thus choose to shrug at the facts above and find excuses, they will try to bend and mold reality in order for it to fit into their form of the concept “state” as they know it and as they want it to be.

It is not my objective to convert those people right here and now. To believe I could do that would be completely foolish. All I intend to do is give them an opportunity to question established concepts, use their own best judgment, and to lift the veil for at least a few seconds. Who knows, maybe I am wrong? In that case I would be truly delighted if someone can point out what I missed and help me improve my theories and ideas. However, what I do have little patience with are arguments that have been long refuted and that introduce nothing new at all into the debate.

The Concept “God”

As explained, some concepts don’t find any instances in reality whatsoever. Such is the case with the concept God, “the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshiped as creator and ruler of the universe”.

The well known contradiction of this concept is of course this: If a being is perfect in wisdom this implies that this being knows all its future actions beforehand. But if it is perfect in power then it should be able to alter the course of action it will take in the future at any point in time. But then it can’t be perfect in wisdom.

But it doesn’t just end there! God cannot be detected materially, yet possesses consciousness (which is by definition an effect of material brain matter), and exists (while the definition of existence is the consisting of one or more particles). God is alive, yet has never been born and will never die (while the definition of being alive live involves birth at least), etc.

Thus the commonly understood concept of God faces a whole array of insurmountable logical contradictions.

Furthermore, there are no observable objects that can be placed in that category whatsoever. There is no evidence that would prove that this (contradictory to begin with) concept is a derivative of observable matter in reality.

Thus, whenever humans talk of God they are not talking about any specific thing, they are referring to an empty, unproven, logically inconsistent and contradictory concept.

One can arguably say that the proposition of the existence of God is the most unfounded, contradictory, illogical, and bigoted proposition ever advanced and defended in the history of mankind.

Thus, agnostics who take the high road and say “What’s so difficult about saying I don’t know?”, need to be aware that in that in uttering such a statement they are rendering the word knowledge completely and utterly meaningless. If you can’t even say you don’t know whether the most ridiculous, contradictory, and unproven proposition is false, then what in the world can you actually know?

There are certainly differences in degree in the empirical proof of concepts. The galaxy, distant stars, planets, black holes for example are rather remote objects which we humans believe to observe via helpful devices. But they remain distant and unclear. We believe to know what the attributes of a black hole are, and we base those ideas on strenuous research and we try to obtain as much information as humanly possible, yet remain open to differing theories.

But it is quite striking to see that many people are so sure that a “God” exists that they will make their religion the moral compass of their lives, while not even that low a level of evidence exists to support their beliefs.

Some will say that God is outside the universe and thus not open to such base human inquiry. But by saying that something is outside the universe, one may as well say that it doesn’t exist. It is impossible for someone to say that a thing is outside of the universe, yet it exists. Anything that is outside the universe is by definition and for all practical purposes non-existent.

The point is that those who ask people to worship God, claim that God does interfere inside the universe. But by making that claim they do concede that their claim is that God does exist, at least partially, inside the universe which then again most certainly opens the concept up to human inquiry.

The Bible, just as one example, is full of stories where God talks to humans and asks them to do things. If that was the case, then surely there should be at least the slightest empirical evidence, before one unconditionally submits oneself to such a being as God.

Seeing Through Concepts

This is not an assault on concepts per-se, it is a reminder that not all concepts are valid by the virtue of their mere existence and acceptance in the minds of most people. An object is an object, and a concept is a concept. A concept helps explain the attributes of different objects, but it can never become an object in and of itself.

In order to understand one’s surroundings, explain phenomena, make proper decisions in life one needs to understand what is behind the concepts that most people commonly accept in society. So long as false or empty concepts remain in one’s mind as such, it will always be difficult to make sense of complex historical and present phenomena.

It is, for example, impossible to truly come up with an ethical framework that tells us what is good and what is bad in human society without applying observable facts about human beings in the process of arriving at such a framework.

Use your own nature given capabilities of human reason, question existing concepts, make sure they match up with reality, and you will know what is good for yourself and your fellow humans.

Try to look for concepts that have seemingly morphed into actual objects in people’s minds, and you will quickly discover the roots of all evil in society.

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More Americans Choose Reason Over Religion

From a recent gallup poll:

This Christmas season, 78% of Americans identify with some form of Christian religion, a proportion that has been declining in recent decades. The major reason for this decline has been an increase in the percentage of Americans claiming no religious identity, now at 13% of all adults.

What Is Your Religious Preference? 1948-2009 Trend

… I might be naive of course. Just because more Americans abdicate from fairy tales of talking snakes, virgin births, or a Jewish zombie sent to earth by his father who was really himself, doesn’t mean they are not choosing some other blind ideologies, such as socialism, belief in government, etc.

In the long run, reason will prevail. But the long run is, by definition, long …

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The Self Hatred of the Masses

The average person does not in any way have an impact on major developments in the world. Be accomplishments in politics, science, business, architecture, literature, the common man does not contribute in any major way. He listens to what he is told in the media and by his favorite politicians. He doesn’t question, reason or think. He follows and takes orders, he doesn’t lead, change or create. He thinks and stays inside the box.

Only very few people have the drive and the ability to create, change, and improve things. The greatest technological accomplishments in this world, such as electricity, motor vehicles, aviation, or computers were not made by a collective herd of compliant individuals. They were the work of a few innovative, industrious, and contrarian researchers and businessmen.

Today the American worker enjoys goods and services that a Croesus or the Medici would have envied him for. But he doesn’t realize that it was very few brilliant people before him who made this possible. He mostly takes these things for granted. He doesn’t acknowledge his deficiency when compared to these individuals, in fact he generally scorns them as intellectual elitists.

Those few who create, change, and innovate are caught in a precarious predicament. They need to produce for a large number of people who generally display poor judgment, bad taste, and consume goods of little intellectual value. This is particularly true in the fields of entertainment and literature. The majority of people prefers shallow movies and novels. But in a relatively free system the producers have no choice. They have to serve their consumers as they please and subordinate their will to the wishes of the masses.

Nobody likes to accept the fact that he himself is a tiny cog in a huge machine and that he has contributed nothing to the accomplishments of his age. Thus he finds refuge in the words of the politicians. The people who tell him that all humans are equal. That no one person contributes more than another. Thus he falls for the soothsayers of collectivism. He begins to sympathize with the mindless blather of the worshipers of nature, the people who tell him that human accomplishments will always be inferior to the creations of the seas, the earth, and the winds, that the merely man-made New York skyline is dwarfed by the colossal beauty of the Alps, the Sierra Nevada mountains, or the redwood trees of the Yosemite valley. He finds comfort in the words of religions that tell him that in the end we’ll all be judged by god in heaven and that mundane accomplishments won’t matter anyway.

Thus he begins placing his trust in government instead of in his own capacities. The government, as the mystical force that can conjure up wealth out of nothing. The government that tells him everything he wants to hear. The government that represents the mighty collective versus the callous and rugged individual. The government that will fix all his problems. The thought of that is way too appealing to be cast aside as a result of any logical reasoning. Plus an army of self styled intellectuals stands ready with simple and shallow justifications for any government policy, no matter how mindless and harmful it will be.

Thus he begins placing his trust in the god almighty instead of human logic and reason. God, the ultimate judge of all his inferior children. God who will welcome him in his benign aegis as one among equals once his sorry mundane life is over. Again an army of self styled intellectuals stands ready with simple and shallow justifications for any particular religion one happens to have fallen prey to.

Justification for one’s relevance unwittingly turns into a genuine hatred of mankind in general, and ultimately self hatred.

Ayn Rand put it best in The Fountainhead. When the opportunistic, yet brilliant publisher Gail Wynand tells his soon to be wife Dominique on their romantic excursion on his yacht:

“[T]he person who loves everybody and feels at home everywhere is the true hater of mankind. He expects nothing of men, so no form of depravity can outrage him.”
“You mean the person who says that there’s some good in the worst of us?”
“I mean the person who has the filthy insolence to claim that he loves equally the man who made that statue of you and the man who makes a Mickey Mouse balloon to sell on street corners. I mean the person who loves the men who prefer the Mickey Mouse to your statue-and there are many of that kind. I mean the person who loves Joan of Arc and the salesgirls in dress shops on Broadway-with equal fervor. I mean the person who loves your beauty and the women he sees in a subway-the kind that can’t cross their knees and show flesh hanging publicly over their garters-with the same sense of exaltation. I mean the person who loves the clean, steady, unfrightened eyes of man looking through a telescope and the white stare of an imbecile-equally.”


“You’ve never felt how small you were when looking at the ocean.”

“Never. Nor looking at the planets. Nor at mountain peaks. Nor at the Grand Canyon. Why should I? When I look at the ocean, I feel the greatness of man. I think of man’s magnificent capacity that created this ship to conquer all that senseless space. When I look at mountain peaks, I think of tunnels and dynamite. When I look at the planets, I think of airplanes.”


“It’s interesting to speculate on the reasons that make men so anxious to debase themselves. As in that idea of feeling small before nature. It’s not a bromide, it’s practically an institution. Have you noticed how self-righteous a man sounds when he tells you about it? Look, he seems to say, I’m so glad to be a pygmy, that’s how virtuous I am. Have you heard with what delight people quote some great celebrity who’s proclaimed that he’s not so great when he looks at Niagara Falls? It’s as if they were smacking their lips in sheer glee that their best is dust before the brute force of an earthquake. As if they were sprawling on all fours, rubbing their foreheads in the mud to the majesty of a hurricane. But that’s not the spirit that leashed fire, steam, electricity, that crossed oceans in sailing sloops, that built airplanes and dams . . . and skyscrapers. What is it they fear? What is it they hate so much, those who love to crawl? And why?”

It is ultimately their own deficiency they hate. It is what makes them follow false ideas. But ultimately there is no problem with deficiency per se, so long as one accepts it and makes an effort to improve. The problems only arise when people reject reality, refuse to improve, and begin to delude themselves.

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