So, awhile back I attempted to share Ex-Muslims of North America content on Nerdfighteria Discords in an effort to join their communities while sharing information on an important human rights topic. When doing this, I was immediately accused of bigotry, when talking about human rights I was accused of making a strawman (even though no opposing argument was given nor any discernible information regarding any opposing argument), and I was told that I was posting on “incorrect channels” — the channels I selected were related to Politics and stated it was for divisive and controversial topics. Evidently, human rights wasn’t included in that package as I was muted by one Nerdfighteria community and the other refused to respond to my question of whether they valued the human rights of Ex-Muslims.
A part of me just didn’t want to believe that Nerdfighteria, a community that seemed so calm, compassionate, and open to polite communication of ideas could be so intolerant towards the human rights of some of the most vulnerable people in the world today who live in fear within their own societies for the crime of having their own opinions. So, I made and used an alternative account to check and see if I could open discussions about the human rights of Ex-Muslims who essentially have to live in fear for their very lives and the human rights abuses that women in Islamic majority communities suffer. I primarily did this because as far as cost-benefits analysis, the human rights of people should outweigh the woeful ideal of religious tolerance. If that seems like an excuse for “trolling” then I would honestly respond by pointing out that the human rights of these people and the ability to give their human rights issues a platform should be paramount to the public discourse. Just as we discuss Yazidi and Christian women being abused as sex slaves by ISIS, Ex-Muslims being hunted down and killed for the crime of freedom of thought is just as relevant of a human rights issue. Also, I find it astonishing and sickening that fellow Liberals can dismiss the human rights of these people so callously without any regard for what they’re condemning these people too. I suspect it’s because people don’t want to open the discussion on the hot topic of religion in order to protect their own religious traditions. As such, I suspect that their own religion is more important than people’s human rights. Furthermore, trolling seems to just be a meaningless personal attack for shutting down discussion whenever a topic that is personally uncomfortable comes up. It’s a meaningless term that ignores critical examination of the content in order to swipe away all nuanced discussion due to personal comfort levels. I personally feel a sense of frustration and disbelief that this crucial human rights issue hasn’t found a stronger acceptance in Left-leaning public discourse.
For this new attempt, I used another username and shared videos of human rights crimes.
I had come to the realization in 10th grade that Christianity and Hinduism couldn’t both be true due to irreconcilable differences. Growing up in the USA, you get a lot of Christian symbolism in television, movies, and sometimes in music. Even the use of the term “God” during the pledge of allegiance made me feel different because as a Hindu, I had been led to believe in a polytheistic view when growing up. I seriously began to wonder if Hinduism was really true around middle school. When I visited India as a kid (at age 12 for my cousin’s wedding), I realized that people really did believe in Hinduism and that Christianity was as vacant in the parts of India I visited just like Hinduism is vacant in the U.S., because there was no frickin’ way people danced around a fire pot for 8 hours to gain blessings for a wedding from various deities. That takes dedication . . . and I was on a rooftop with a bunch of other people sitting in the cold as some Hindu priest rambled on in some nonsensical ceremony while the bride and groom occasionally had to circle around the fire pot with him.
It was later on that I realized people just used their personal surroundings as a sort of “proof” that their religion was real because so many around them believe it. Moreover, I had to come to terms with the fact that if Hinduism is true then the majority of the 300 million people living in the U.S. and millions living in Europe were fooling themselves. By contrast, if Christianity was true, then 1.2 billion Hindus were fooling themselves. Worse than that, I had believed if Hinduism is true then believers of the Abrahamic faiths were condemned to live in misery in the world unless they recognized Hinduism – or in some cases end-up in some Hindu version of hell or reincarnation. To clarify, my belief on that was misguided as the Bhagavad Gita which I read years later clarified that all you have to be is a good moral person and that it doesn’t matter your religion (Hindu or not) to obtain Moksha (Self-liberation to either become one with Brahman or to beyond depending on the interpretation of whichever Hindu school of thought is believed in). Conversely, if the Abrahamic faiths were true then my entire extended family was being sent to hell since before I was born. So, I decided not to lie to myself about the negatives of religion.
By age 14, I became agnostic and began to question the meaning of life. Although, it was more accurate to say agnostic-theist; that is, I didn’t know whether there was a God or gods or not, but still believed. By age 15, I became an atheist-agnostic. And to be honest, I felt the shift from agnostic – that is, the feeling of being unsure of whether a God existed or not – to an atheist-agnostic was more profound and impactful to me personally. It was with the understanding that I couldn’t know whether a God existed or not, but that I didn’t believe in it on a personal level due to the comparisons I kept making. I was confused how anyone else could have confidence. If you were a Christian, then you must believe all non-Christians are going to hell. Muslim? Same thing. Jewish? It wouldn’t matter how many Christians or Muslims there were in the world and the appeal to conversion would stop mattering if Judaism was the truth. Hinduism, same thing.
Very few people seem to be aware of Nietzsche’s influence on contemporary Asian culture which dates back to books being translated to Japan shortly after his death, his profound critique and reverence for Buddhist thought, and his influence on US popular culture. In an effort to bridge this gap and show that the surprising amount of influences that his work has made, I’ve made a short list in orders of magnitude from sloppy critiques to the critiques that are based upon his philosophical ideals and arguments. However, it should be noted that the majority of these depictions center around Friedrich Nietzsche’s Ubermensch philosophical concept from the philosophical fantasy novel, Thus Spake; Zarathustra.
Fair Warning: There’ll be massive spoilers for each of the links for their respective games, anime, and so forth.
This book is an excellent introductory for theists, agnostics, and atheists unsure of their atheism on the basic arguments that atheists have against the belief in a God or Gods. Armin Navabi, an ex-Muslim who grew up in Iran and became Canadian after leaving the faith, gives a thorough examination of the most common criticisms of religion that atheists give to theists. If you’re one of the aforementioned people that is genuinely curious about why atheists don’t believe in a God or Gods, then I highly recommend this book. It offers the most thorough explanations about the most common arguments that atheists have against the existence of a God.
Unfortunately, even in today’s time, many theists often pretend to know what atheists think and believe about faith in a God or Gods. There is this erroneous belief that atheists hate or fear a God because of something that happened in their personal life or because that’s what holy books like the Bible give as reasons for why someone would be an atheist instead of simply talking to atheists and asking them why. The belief that atheists fear or hate God or love to wallow in sin is the wrong assessment about most atheists. Many atheists point to scientific evidence and criticisms of theology for their reasons on why they don’t believe in any sort of higher power anymore. Armin thoroughly explains these lines of reasoning. He goes on to dismiss the most common theistic comebacks that have been debunked for decades now such as Pascal’s Wager, arguments from ignorance of how little humans know as a reason to believe in a God, and using smart or famous people as reasons to believe in a God or Gods.
If you’re looking for sincere reasons why atheists don’t believe in a God or why people of your faith are leaving your religion, this book is for you. If you want to sincerely understand the basic reasons, then this book will be incredibly useful in understanding the atheist mindset. If you’re a theist or an agnostic who thinks atheists want to live in sin, or are fearful, or hate God; then I honestly recommend this book so that your misconceptions will be cleared away and you can focus on the real reasons that people are leaving religion and think about them. If you’re so concerned about the increase in atheism and view it as a negative occurrence, why not take a leap of faith and read this book to understand the real motivations and reasons on why people leave? If you don’t understand the real reasons, how will you ever hope to change the mind of an atheist? The reasons why people leave religion and become atheist won’t be found in the Bible or the Quran. They’ll only be found by actually listening to atheists. Perhaps, start with this book?
Islam is an innately violent, hateful, racist, sexist, and bigoted religion. It is the most barbaric of the Major religions.
Islam is a hateful and dangerous death cult. The Sharia (Islamic Divine Law of the Abrahamic God) must be accepted as unquestioned fact that nobody can argue against to be a Muslim. The only people allowed to interpret the Hadiths are so-called “Islamic Scholars” which are composed of people who know Arabic and are an Islamic theologian (Imam or some other priestly equivalent) so a “scholar” is a theologian who accepts the Quran as unquestioned fact that can’t be challenged. Obviously, there is no room for critical thinking there.
The average Muslim will then seek the Islamic “scholar’s” advice on how to live and the Theologian’s duty is to categorically assess what parts of the outside world are allowed or not allowed for a Muslim to follow. Two more rules further solidify Muslims largely being incapable of critical thinking or even thinking in general. Fitna, i.e. you can’t distress a Muslim for believing in Islam or make them question it. And finally, Bidah which is referred to as “invention” i.e. you can’t change any aspect of Islam with a new teaching or idea because the Quran is suppose to be the perfect book on how to live life for all-time for Muslims.
In effect, this religion categorically goes to war with all outside logic and reasoning so that Muslims learn only to value other Muslims. It’s a cult in every sense of the word. The highest authority is considered the Quran and Muslims must seek Imams or equivalent “Islamic scholars” for their opinions. Oh, and Muhammad is regarded as the perfect human being to model after.
Therefore, Muslims can’t possibly be critical thinkers, they’re largely incapable of thinking itself, and they threaten to harass, insult, and kill any and all who leave the faith of Islam and who make Muslims question it.
A few facts for you:
This book was a really good read and I highly recommend it. Annie Duke goes into the principles of Truthseeking; suggesting to view your confidence in your beliefs as separate from your identity and viewing them instead as percentages that you place your confidence in. For example, my belief in a certain show I was watching being a good show was at 50 percent. After watching the latest season, it has dropped down to 35 percent and I will no longer watch the show. Using percentages removes the idea of all-or-nothing thinking where the belief is either 100 percent or zero percent with no in-between, potentially causing you to stick to a bad belief when it could be harmful to you.
She encourages readers to Think in Bets for the sake of Truthseeking in order to more efficiently reach our goals in life. She generally uses poker metaphors, but the lessons are indeed useful and fascinating. Think of your decision-making on future possibilities as bets for your future with the different choices that you make as alternative bets for alternative futures. The key to making the best bets is to be as objective, impartial, and honest with ourselves regardless of how painful it’ll be for us. Moreover, it’s best to avoid outcome-focus / Hindsight bias. A psychological bias in all humans where we perceive an event as inevitable after it has happened. It’s a way of making a personal narrative in our minds of our own story and it is a powerful psychological bias that can often cause us to make costly mistakes or confuse our luck with our skill.
One of the most interesting and surprising bits of information was learning that study after study shows that motivated reasoning and confirmation bias effect intelligent people more than average people. In fact, the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be afflicted with a biased outlook because you can process information and reasons for your conclusions from a greater array of fallacious reasoning. This might sound puzzling, but essentially, when a person is emotional and wants to believe something to be true, they’ll find better excuses for it. Intelligent people’s excuses happen to be better so this is particularly impactful the smarter an individual is. They could find more reasons that sound plausible, but they wouldn’t necessarily be objective and impartial. If the focus isn’t on objectivity, then it can become self-damaging.
Mrs. Duke recommends forming a team among your friends who are also interested in Truthseeking. The key is not to complain or to speak about bad luck, but rather to focus on what you can do to learn from your decision-making. Which bets on your future are good? Which are bad? Be honest about your shortcomings and your strengths; do not bias your story to make yourself look better when analyzing your decision-making with friends. When they point out your shortcomings, don’t get angry. The point is learning from our mistakes in order to improve. Friends who are brutally honest will have less rose-tinted glasses than we ourselves do about our own decision-making and vice-versa.
Believe it or not, this is all just the tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend this book. It’s very good; I couldn’t give it a perfect score because the latter-half tends to drag on with different anecdotes. However, some of the most interesting concepts are also developed and expanded in the latter-half too.
Definitely check this book out, if you’re even slightly interested.
I looked at an amusing song from Family Guy, only to find people consistently crediting White people only for breakthroughs and inventions in the comments sections. So, I did a quick google search and compiled a short list of Black Inventors and activists who pioneered scientific and social changes through hard work. This is mostly a list of Black Americans who helped make scientific innovations.
Seriously people, are we still not beyond saying hip-hop and rap music are the only things that Black people and particularly Black Americans have contributed to apart from civil rights? This is the information age, you live in a democratic society, and you have google at your fingertips. Just google it and you’ll see how wrong such assumptions are.
I really try to point out the nonsense of such claims by saying people who claim that “white people invented x” are really trying to take credit for what other people did based on their own accident of birth of being born the same skin tone. But if you’re going to play that game, and since culture continues to in the US, then I suppose I’ll have to point out why this narrative is utterly stupid.
Below is the list of just a few Black inventors in history:
This book is useful in clearing away misconceptions about intelligence research that have been popularized in Social Media and Liberal-leaning media outlets. One of the most shocking facts presented in this book is Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences has no basis in scientific research; at best, Musical Intelligence may be different from General Intelligence (G-Factor) but there are mixed results even there from the scientific studies. Studies on the so-called Multiple Intelligences has found no evidence that they’re separate as Gardner claims them to be. The G-Factor generally shows that if you’re good in one area, then you’re good in others and you can improve your skills faster as a result. For instance, emotional intelligence falls into the category of IQ too and doesn’t contradict the current psychological model of the five personalities. The only possible area where Gardner’s theory might have merit is Musical Intelligence and the results for that are mixed from scientific research, so Gardner’s claims there are also unlikely to have merit.
Ritchie explains in his book that there is a strong correlation between our genes and our IQ according to repeated scientific studies, there are two more important and crucial factors that should be mentioned; the most productive way to increase your IQ is to focus on living a healthy life because focusing on one’s health helps improve our physical development especially before the age of 25, similar to research that shows malnutrition diminishes our brain development as children. Equally noteworthy is that our personal motivation plays a stronger factor in increasing and determining IQ than our genes which corroborates Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit, where she explains how effort counts twice. Our genes play a factor, but they’re not the sole or the most important factor. The scientific consensus shows that IQ can increase depending on our social environment and strikingly enough – absent any form of psychological, physical, or sexual abuse – parenting doesn’t play a significant factor in influencing a child’s IQ. Ritchie repeatedly clarifies that despite the genetic influence, studies show a stronger link with motivation and good health in determining our IQ. One sad fact from the scientific studies is that there is rabid cognitive decline for all human beings in our ability to learn and process new information quickly after the age of 25, so childhood development and motivation is especially important to increasing a person’s IQ over a lifetime.
Ritchie goes on to dismiss the popularized book The Bell Curve by Charles Murray as there is a total lack of scientific research on the question of Race and IQ. Ritchie cautions making spurious generalizations due to the history of the eugenics movement; one such example of a genocide that I know of is the forcible sterilization of Native American women by several State governments within the US. All we can say at the moment is that we don’t know enough about Race and IQ. Similarly, the IQ differences of men and women have no real scientific research to back them; at best, one country’s analysis from the 1940s and it’s impossible to determine what social factors could influence the results from back then. The research itself showed that men and women of a certain country were totally equal in intelligence with men having more spatial intelligence and women with more verbal intelligence as kids during the first study and as adults several years later. That isn’t enough to make a determination or rule out social factors. The only factor unambiguously determined is that atheists generally have a much higher IQ than religious people.
2018 Book Reading:
List of Completed Readings:
Disuniting of America by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Why There Is No God by Armin Navabi
The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
The Dhammapada translated by Eknath Easwaran
Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath Easwaran
The Ishvara Gita translated by Andrew Nicholson
The Devi Gita translated by MacKenzie Brown
Samkyha Karika by Bramrishi Vishvatma Bawra
Who Is A Hindu? By V.D. Savakar
No Fears, No Excuses by Larry Smith
I began reading this book out of curiosity on what insights Dr. Esther Perel, a psychotherapist whose work and counseling focuses on sexual relationships, could offer in the subject matter of married sex lives. I had found her speaking events to be quite educational and useful for understanding people’s sexual inhibitions and preferences. Seeing her tackle issues of social norms of marriage and how the US may be going about it the wrong way in the age of openness was refreshing.
I think this book is most definitely worth reading for anyone. Regardless of if your interests are marriage or the single life, there’s definitely useful information to be gleaned in this book.
Perel details that one of the reasons married couples have less sex, outside of the context of raising a young child before their kindergarten years, is because they stress togetherness too much and holding nothing back from each other. Instead of seeing their spouses in terms of husband and wife, with a secure and quick reference, we should strive to maintain their otherness and acknowledge their separateness as individuals who exist for themselves so as not to generalize who they are in connection to you.
Perel notes how certain married couples lost the erotic drive because they think of their spouse in terms of mother and father of their children and feel it’s somehow unnatural or even out of the bounds of what’s socially acceptable to eroticize their spouse. This revelation genuinely perplexed me. Evidently, spouses who cheat have this issue and speaking with a married co-worker when I explained this revelation from Perel’s research into the thoughts and feelings of those who cheat also came as a surprise to them. After all, why should society dictate one’s relationship to one’s spouse? That seems altogether ridiculous, but evidently many married couples humble themselves to the norms of a society that largely doesn’t care what they do in the bedroom.
Long story short, the best way is to work towards making a romantic setting (even romance requires effort and doesn’t come easy) and to remember to emphasize separateness / Otherness. The reason you should focus on Otherness is to emphasize your spouse or sexual partner as their own individual apart from you. The passion and eroticism is unlikely to return unless that is emphasized. You don’t need to share everything and it ruins the passion in a romance when people take that path due to the lack of mystery and surprise. In effect, Otherness in marriage and recognizing your partner as their own entity separate from you can go a long way in bringing the passion back into the relationship.
There is more subject matter to be gleaned as this summary is just an overview. For instance, BDSM culture isn’t unhealthy when you have two consenting partners and Dr. Perel lists an anecdote where a breast cancer survivor used such for foreplay and eroticism to get her husband back into feeling passionate for her in the bedroom.
If you’re interested in clearer explanations of all this material, I recommend reading the entire book as this is simply a summary of what Dr. Perel details in her book.