SPEAKING OF RELIGION:
HERE’S A TRANSHUMANIST
I don’t want to be the one to pin my tail onto any religious donkey. They have all proven to entertain the ravings of charlatans, but here’s an interesting take that a “transhumanist” has about Buddhism. In the May/June 2004 “The Humanist” (p.8) self-described transhumanist George Dvorsky writes, “I am also partial to how Buddhists encourage progress and the cultural harmonization of the observations of Western science. Like the humanists of the Enlightenment, Buddhists tend to see science and progress as a way to better comprehend reality and as a means to reduce suffering.”
MENTAL ADJUSTMENT FOR A PAIN IN THE ASS
Sometime back Bill Moyers (or was it Alan Alda) was involved in a PBS show which pretty convincingly debunked chiropractic as a healing science, even demonstrating that colleges of chiropractic knowingly teach methods which have no effect whatever on the well being of the patient. An objective observer could not come away from that show without seriously questioning how such deception can be licensed by the state. What I observed and what was convincingly demonstrated was the teaching of fraud, though no one used that word in the show.
If chiropractic is a fraud, why do so many still seek the help of these charlatans? They claim to get relief. Of course they get relief, or they wouldn’t continue to go to these frauds.
I think the use of chiropractors demonstrates just how needy Americans are for being touched. I don’t doubt that people get some benefit from the “laying on of hands” and from being stroked in massage which, I think, is probably more beneficial to the psyche than is a spinal realignment which is just a huge joke according to the expose I watched. The relief, I’m sure, is all in the psyche’s being “stroked” and has nothing to do with real healing. Massage and spinal realignments offer placebo effects to the patient that stem directly from being touched.
Yes, but what of the claim that spinal realignments do offer relief? I ask, is the relief permanent or do the clients of chiropractors need to continually go back for “adjustments” for the remainder of their lives? What if the truth is that there is no fix for the problem? How many would choose to live in a lie if it meant they could get a day or two of relief from being touched on a regular basis? Now we’re getting somewhere.
To me, chiropractic relief is very much like taking a drink to relieve pain until drinking (temporary feeling good) becomes an addiction. Perhaps chiropractic touch is an addiction. There is also another possibility. What if a more scientific method, based in reality, could offer a more permanent fix for the problem? Perhaps, if someone who suffers with back pain or some other skeletal pain would accept the true facts of the situation, they could find ways in themselves to become healthier and much less expensive ways those would be, but it may take swallowing the awful truth that the pain you feel is permanent and no relief is possible except by what you can do for yourself with your own mind.
True believers will ask, no doubt, why skeptics like myself take such great pleasure in debunking the miraculous. Without the miraculous, they feel, there can be no solace in this seemingly pitiless world. I can understand the believer’s fears. I’ve been there myself and experienced fear too when confronted with truths which did not superficially soothe my ego. Yet through the years, as I’ve struggled with my issues and, at the same time, read ever more widely in the sciences, I’ve come to find a new solace in the truer and more reasonable vision of reality which science gives me.
I’m greatly comforted by a vision which clearly explains for me why suffering, cruelty, selfishness and good deeds exist in human behavior. No more need I shake my head and ask “why”. Whereas no sensible man could believe that a loving, all wise creator could create the seeming chaos we live in, evolution explains reality perfectly. I understand why justice is never perfect, yet why the human animal cries out for justice when he feels wronged and wishes, in vain, for a higher justice to make all right after he is dead. All is clearly explained by evolutionary insights and by the study of human and animal morality which are more parallel than most Americans know.
Finally, to give up the vain hope in the miraculous is to build up hope in one’s self and to fully accept responsibility for one’s actions, in short, to take responsibility for one’s own “pain in the ass”. In the belief and understanding of one’s own place in the animal kingdom lies the source of the greatest solace I have ever experienced. Human animal life is wonderful and sane and reasonable as hell. It explains so much! Now if we would all, permanently and consistently, view human behavior through the reasonable viewpoint of evolution and cast off the blinders of the miraculous explanation.... But—is that my vain hope for a spinal adjustment?
IT IS A REPUBLICAN THING
"Well, I would—if they realized that we—again if—if we led them back to that stalemate only because that our retaliatory power, our seconds, or strike at them after our first strike, would be so destructive that they couldn't afford it, that would hold them off." —Ronald Reagan (when asked if nuclear war could be limited to tactical weapons) The scary part of this is those who vote for men like Reagan. Do they think he's speaking sense here? Is there some sort of gobbledegook language being spoken in America that literate men can't understand? Or perhaps it's only, simply, that Republicans are mainly illiterate.