Sunday, March 29, 2009

We are not going downhill morally and technophobia is nonsense

Jewish date: 4 Nisan 5769

Quasi-holidays: Rocky and Bullwinkle Day (instituted by me, last week), National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

Greetings.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. WARNING: SPOILER ALERT FOR THE LAST EPISODE OF BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (NEW SERIES).
    I will refrain from talking about the whole of Battlestar Galactica (new series), as I have not seen it. (I got into it very late, due to no one telling me how infused with religion it is.) However, the last episode, part 2 of “Daybreak” has a very abrupt resolution. Having reached Earth (= Terra = Sol III, not the Earth which Kara previously visited and died on) 150,000 years in our past, Admiral Adama decides without consulting anyone that ever one, human and Cylon, will disembark, abandon all their technology, and assimilate into the local population, which miraculously can interbreed with the humans from the fleet. Adama’s rationalization for this that technological progress has outstripped moral progress, so to avoid disaster it is necessary to abandon technology. And while I can accept some of what happens in what I have seen of the show on the basis of fictional license, this idea is complete nonsense. People have been complaining about morals going downhill since ancient times, so one would think that people today should be the most rotten people to ever live. I beg to disagree, using Jewish ideals as my moral criteria. And while there is no such thing as objective morality, much of my criteria enjoy popular appeal:

    • In hunter-gatherer societies, at least until recently, murder was a leading cause of death. Today, on much of the planet, being murdered is a remote worry.
    • While caution is still necessary, being assaulted and robbed is less of a worry.
    • Torture is banned on much of the planet.
    • We have wiped out smallpox and are close to wiping out polio, thereby saving all future generations from suffering and dying from them.
    • Human sacrifice is widely considered an abomination.
    • Much of the planet has no concept of worshipping inanimate objects.
    • Most countries subscribe to the concept of human rights. While I reject the concept of natural rights as being anything but natural, the concept of legal rights pushes people and governments to demand better behavior of humans and governments. While implementation still leaves much to be desired, the ideal helps drive better behavior.
    • Caste systems have disappeared for many and are in decay for others.
    • The ideal of an absolute monarch has disappeared for many.
    • War has lost its appeal as an ideal for most.
    • Slavery is abominated on much of the planet.
    • The idea that women are somehow inferior to men is under assault, even in traditional strongholds of the idea.
    • Child marriage has experienced a strong decline.
    • Forced marriage is considered an abomination by many.
    Notice that these improvements have been made despite great leaps ahead technologically. Wiping out diseases the way we have has only been made possible through technology. Does humanity have progress to make morally? Absolutely yes. But we have made progress, and YHWH willing, we will continue to improve.
    END SPOILER.
  2. More countries having no clue on freedom of religion: “Tajikistan criticised over restrictive religion law”, and “Second Yezidi man found murdered near Mosul”.
  3. “Goa to crack down on beachwear 'hurting religious sentiments'”: I can appreciate the affront Hindus feel at the misappropriation of their religion, even though I disagree with the arrests. Gods and scripture are not good subjects for secular tourist souvenirs.
  4. Sometimes it takes a while for the US courts to understand freedom of religion: “Religious freedom wins out”.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing, submitted by Barry, is the Aquarium Coffee Table. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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