Saturday, October 29, 2005

50th Post

This is my 50th post.

I wanted to use this opportunity as a review of some of the issues that I have discussed in the past. However, I first wanted to say something about the length of my posts.

Generally, I have found that short “sound bytes” are great for sloganeering, but a poor way to understand an issue. They are great for preaching to the converted, but poor for trying to prove a point. So, I do not want to write this way.

I know that this has a cost, that I have fewer readers because of it. I am asking a great deal from my readers, that they will take the time required to actually read through one of these arguments and to consider the flow of reasoning within.

However, I hope that I offer a level of coherence and sound reasoning that will make some people who like a more detailed analysis think that this is worth their time.

Still, I am going to make an effort to break down my comments into a larger number of smaller issues that, hopefully, can add some perspective that the reader may not easily discover elsewhere.

In the mean time, here is a sampling of some of the issues that I have written about in my first fifty days.

Foundations of Morality

An atheist who is keenly interested in moral issues should address the question of how an atheist approaches moral issues. I have included some of those ideas in this blog, though a more detailed discussion can be found on my web page.

Intellectual Integrity

One of the greatest obstacles to solving problems rests with those fighting to obscure rational solutions behind a smoke screen of failed reasoning. It would be worth our time and effort to direct substantially more of our moral wrath against those who use faulty reasoning to defend their positions.


A subgenre under Intellectual Integrity, these are signs of people who want to live by two rules – one set of rules that permit nearly everything for them and their political allies, and a much tighter set of moral restrictions on others.

Science (fact-based solutions) versus religion (faith-based solutions)

We have two groups of people proposing solutions to natural disasters. One group likes human sacrifice and, surprisingly, they want to sacrifice their political opponents under oppressive laws and restrictions. The other group uses science to predict when and where disaster will strike and how best to mitigate the damage that it does. Of these two options, the first costs lives and promotes human misery, while the second is the only option that actually saves lives and reduces human misery.


Though intellectual recklessness and faith-based thinking, the Bush Administration conned the American People into supporting an unjust war. Though the behavior that the Administration engaged in to get us to this point is morally deplorable (and something for which they should be made to pay a political price), this does not mean that the morally right thing to do now is to leave. Sometimes, people have an obligation to clean up the mess that their immoral behavior creates.


I have defended a simple principle regarding the separation of church and state that is approximately captured in the following statement. “I may not prohibit you from building churches and funding missionaries with whatever resources you peacefully acquire; you may not force me to pay for your church activities or to compel anybody to attend your church.”

Civil Liberties

From free speech to the right to die, I have sought to apply the general principles of desire utilitarianism to some specific issues as they came up in the press.

Political Economy

On economic matters, I tend to side with conservatives. I fear that the economic policies of the Democratic Party will do an excellent job promoting misery, want, and suffering. This is not to say that Republicans are always right. Sometimes (way too often) Republicans confuse corporate feudalism (where those with power have the right to put the live, health, and property of others at risk whenever it profits them to do so) with capitalism.

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