Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Majority of People Don't Believe in God

I don't believe that we should pay too much attention to the majority. History proves again and again that the majority is wrong. But, the following is a cute argument which shows why the majority doesn't believe in god.

First, we just need to establish something. There are a lot of potential gods: Jewish, Christians, Muslim, Hendew, etc. Moreover, those who believe in god, believe in their own god, and believe that the other religion gods are not real. So if you take the following numbers:

Christians: ~2 billion
Hinduism/Chinese/Buddhism: ~1.5
Islam: ~1.5
Rest: ~1.5

You end up with:
4.5 billions who don't believe in the christian god
5 billions who don't believe in the eastern god(s)
5 billions who don't believe in the islamic god

So, being secular, you are actually in the majority on most faith issues ...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Same Sex Marriage

I'm not yet sure about the conclusion of this article, but I do think this is a erlatively simple issue. Let's go:

First, we have to agree about the rights of gays. I'm ok with gays doing whatever they want, as long as there is no exploitation or anything like this. So, if you don't agree with this, there's no point continue reading any of this.

Second, we have to agree on the meaning of the word "marriage". Here it is less clear, and I'm open to accept either of the following options. Before we jump to the options, we first must agree that until some time ago (just to be on the safe side let's say 100 years), the meaning of the word "marriage" was the formalize union of a man and a woman. Simply in the minds of the people back then, the notion of accepted same-sex formalized union did not even occur. and hence the meaning was very clear. Now let's go to the two options:

option 1: the meaning of the word "marriage" should not be changed. Changing it is just playing with semantics in order to achieve a political goal. This is bad. The whole point of a language is for people to communicate, and changing meaning of words is counter productive in that regard.

option 2: the meaning of the word "marriage" should be changed, and actually it already have. Language is a living thing, and as societies and ideas develop, the language develop with them. I'm sure there are other examples of this (e.g. "call me" used to mean a different thing 100 years ago than it does now).

Now, I tend to adopt option 1, simply because I feel changing the meaning is done against the majority of people (religious etc), which BTW for them the word has much more meaning than to seculars like me. But, this is a relatively minor issue, since:

If we adopt option 1, the solution should be: remove the marriage concept from the law book. The state should not care about marriage. The state may care about a union between people, but it should not care whether they are of the same sex or not, or whether they are 2, 3, or 10. As long as these are consenting adults - go with it. We must change the law system to accomodate that.

If we adopt option 2, then of course same-sex marriage is just marriage and should be the same as any other kind of marriage.

So in conclusion, I would prefer we adopt option 1, and remove reference to "marriage" from our laws. "Marriage" will remain a religious or some other kind of activity people may do, but which the state does not care about.

But practically, if this is too hard to achieve nowadays, I would go with option 2, since the rights of gays are more important to me than logics and linguistics ...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Keeping the Capitalist System, But In a Sane Manner

I'm torn between my socialist heart, and my capitalist head. Meaning, I do feel socialism is the appropriate way to go. Sharing. Caring. And all that Jazz. The problem is that it doesn't work. It tend to work in small groups (the family being the best example), but it falls apart when applied to larger groups (like states). So logic implies we should go capitalist. Just create conditions in which people can compete, and let them compete. It's ugly, but it is working. The problem is that it isn't really working. It is not working in the sense that lately we see obscene and grotesque situations of large amounts of money in the hands of few. This is very wrong. So, I've come up with the following suggestion to fix the work:

The suggestion is to have a limit on the amount of wealth any person can have.

That's it. Very simple. Let's see how it works. So, I suggest this amount to be something like 10 Million Dollars. Why ? Because for most people this is like infinitely rich. And for the few that would go over it - tough luck. You'll have to stay under this. I think the nice thing is that for most people who go over 10M$, the main motivation is not about the money. So, even if they would have to depart from a lot of the money, they still would be motivated to succeed.

What will happen to someone over 10M ? The simple way would be for the state to tax the hell out of him. The result would be that he would need to give up a lot of wealth. Granted, these people are not stupid, and will find ways to spread it to friends, relations, and other tricks, hoping to keep the control. But, of course this can work up to a limit, so ultimately this would create a situation in which they won't have control over more than say 100M$. Still much much less than the wealthy and influential people of today.

BTW, I think the same should apply for companies. We should set a bar for a company size (say 1 Billion $?). This would cause such companies to split, or to give back money to their investors. Either way, it will be good.

Of course the end result of all of this would be much more fragmentation of wealth in the economy. While you can find some anecdotal examples of where this may be bad, as a whole I think this is extremely good. And the nice thing about it is that (a) most of us will still work in a capitalist system, needing to rely on our efforts to make our wealth, and (b) the state will not have control over the division of the wealth.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Improving the Democratic System

I hereby suggest we make a very simple change to the democratic system, which I think will have great benefits. What I suggest is that the term of an elected official will be proportional to the margin by which the elections were won. Simple isn't it ?

There are three advantages to this:

1. It is more fair - I don't put too much emphasis on fairness, and I don't have much hopes the democratic system would produce a lot of fairness, but still. If the system is built to mirror the desires of the people, it seems only fair that the wider the margin is, the more strong the desire of the people is, and hence the longer the term at office should be.

2. It will be more popular by the people - i believe this system will sit better with people. Issues of illegitimacy of a candidate which won narrowly would not be that big.

3. It makes every vote counts - every vote you put will directly affect the government !!!

From all three, I actually thing that reason number 3 is the most important, as it will lead people to much more involvement.

As to technicality, I don't want to talk too much about it. But basically, you can have a formula, which would:
- minimum would be two years
- maximum would be six year
- actual term is a linear function between the two, when 0% margin gives you only 2 years, and 20% margin gives you six years.

I guess there are some disadvantages to this, specifically having a much less orderly cycle of elections and change, but I don't think this is really bad, and certainly dwarfs relative to the advantages.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Democracy, Diet, and Consciousness

Well, religion was easy (see previous post). But what next ? Let me give ago at something that I actually think I have an original idea about (which doesn't mean I'm the first person ever saying that - only that I thought of it by myself).

The question I start with is why democracy works ? Or maybe the better question is how it works ? But actually, the real question is what is the value of your vote in a democracy. The argument against it is old and banalic. It goes something like this: the chances your vote would make any difference is zero for any practical matter. So why do it ? According to this, voting is actually an irrational activity. And my answer is ... Well, actually I don't have an answer, but here is my analysis of the situation. What I think is happening is that there is some kind of a "collective consciousness" a voter shares with his fellow voters (at least I say there could be sometimes - actually, maybe there isn't, which makes my analysis void but interesting). This collective consciousness results in all the member in this "conscious group" to vote the same way, which gives a power to this group. And if you're still not convinced, consider the following:

I compare voting to going on a diet. Suppose you're on a diet, and that on Wednesday lunch you're offered a cake. Should you take it ? Someone may claim that refusing that cake is an irrational activity. Why ? Well, the argument would go something like this: the chances this specific piece of cake would make any difference is zero for any practical matter. So why not eat it ? My answer would be that there is some kind of a "collective consciousness" a person holds. It creates the linkage between the Wednesday noon being of that person, to his weekend being. This continuing consciousness is what makes skipping any single cake, a rational thing to do (assuming you want to loose weight).

So, to generalize:

We have a group of consciousness instances in a certain space. They are not the same. Anything done by a single consciousness may be meaningless. But something ties them all together, causing them to act the same, which makes the desired result:
==> For the democracy voting, the "space" is the group of people, and the instances are each person's vote.
==> For diet, the "space" is time, and the instances are the person's "being" at a certain time.

Maybe the linkage is not as strong in one as it is in the other. But the principal is the same.

All of this actually brings me to another interesting issue for me. Basically, I claim that a person "being" is changed over time. Which might indicate we shouldn't hold people accountable for something they did a long time ago. But this is for a different post.

Note to self (nobody is reading this, are they?) - I really wants to try and write this better. Maybe I'll try a dialogue.

Note to other (assuming somebody is reading this) - was this clear ?

Friday, March 18, 2005


Why start with religion ? Well, the truth is that it is the simplest issue. At least on the face of it.

Believing in a god is nonsense. The absence of god is so trivial, that it makes it a waste of time to even discuss it. Its existence is less likely than Santa Clause. And the fact that millions of people in the world believe in Santa Clause (kids) doesn't make it an issue worth discussing.

Well, after clearing that out, maybe I can get to some more justifiable discussions about religion. For that we have to define better what are we talking about. The previous paragraph was about religion and god as real entities, with real subjective influence on anything. But there are other ways to look at it. Here are a few worthy items for discussions about religion:

1. Historical/sociological/psychological analysis of religion. There is also a bunch of philosophical issues with the existence of god etc, but since it is so trivial there is not such a thing, contemplating other issues based on this existence is not very interesting for me.

2. We can try and define "god" as a cognitive entity. As something people acknowledge occurs only inside of them, with no implications on the outside world. That may be fine and dandy for some people, but it looks to me as an easy way out for people who used to believe in god (the original meaning), or feel uncomfortable not believing in it, and have come to realize its nonsense. If we are talking about a cognitive entity, let's call it in a different name, and let's be clear about the limits of a discussion on such an entity.

3. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night sweating (well, not really), thinking maybe it is good to be religious, even if religion is nonsense. I'm a very logical person, and am very interested in the integrity of my thoughts. But maybe, just maybe, there are situations in which believing in nonsense is actually better ? I don't think I need religion to be better, but most people are different. Maybe there are a lot of religious people out there which are better people because of the religion ? Maybe if we prove them wrong (as if), they will stop being religious, but in the process will loose other values they now posses ? This is a difficult issue for me, which I don't have a good answer right now.

4. We can try and general "religion" into any blind belief in something. If we do that we can add to the god-religion other religions: science-religion, national-religion, etc. I think it is generally true to do that, and to understand that a lot of times our other beliefs are as shaky as believing in god. Certainly every such belief system has some axioms which are just that - blindly believed axioms. Mind you however that this relativism does not lets us from actually taking a stance (intellectually at least) in supporting science and dismissing religion. Maybe there is nothing a-priori true about science over religion, but there certainly are a lot of post-priori such things.

Well, that's it for now about religion. I guess I will need to revisit some of the points above in future posts.


I am a thinkful person. I think about a lot of stuff. I have opinions about a lot of stuff. Philosophy. Religion. Politics. Whatever.

For a long time now I wanted to organize everything. I want to have an organized repository for my thoughts. Why ? I'm not sure why. Sometimes I feel I am not being consistent - and I hate it (I'm a very logical person). Also, well ... I guess I'm bored.

I'm not sure a blog is the right tool for that. It probably isn't. But I'd like to test what a blog is, and if in the process I will start to document some of my thoughts - good.