On Evolution, Science and Healthcare

Dear Corporate Leaders; It's called "evolution"

Nothing, not even viruses *just happened* (never mind that the existence of life is not what evolution describes. Perhaps life is everywhere in the universe, just waiting for the right conditions to spring up. No one knows) evolution describes, and is the only explanation that fits, how the many forms of life on this planet came to exist. It's a lot like gravity. It doesn't depend on your acceptance or belief to function as it does; it just does. If you understand it you can create things like animal companions that meet specific needs (in that sense breeders have understood evolution for centuries) and modern medicine, including drugs like the morning after pill that prevents conception (the myth that The Pope declares begins life) and hormone drugs that treat various feminine diseases as well as preventing pregnancy.

...and anything that calls itself a *health care plan* should include those drugs.

The government should handle all parts of public health. Vaccinations, regular examinations, emergency care, maintenance drugs, etc. We,the people, should take back control of our government from the MIC, and force it to spend the taxes it already takes from us, on US. There is more than enough (we'd all get tax breaks, even) to pay for the kinds of services that Europe already enjoys. They have better healthcare in Mexico than we do here. If the wealthy want Cadillac service, they should be allowed to purchase it on their own. Public health should not be left to the whims of the individual and the budgets of the poor.

Evolution, as I said, is not subject to belief. My belief, your belief, the Pope's belief. It is a process that occurs whether we will it or not. God has no hand in it, because if god interferes with the real world, that interference can be measured. No such influence has ever been detected. Spinoza might have a point (and Einstein loved Spinoza) about the universe being god, but that god is not the god that most people believe in. Humans evolved from earlier (I won't say lower because that's another misunderstanding) forms of hominids which we have documented in the fossil record. It's simply the way it IS. If we ever have a hope of retaining our (imagined) place in the world, we are going to have to embrace science.

I'll never understand libertarians who deride government and their ability to use force; and at the same time trumpet corporations while they use force. It is the same force, exercised by the same types of legal fictions, one (The Government) creating the other (The Corporation) If libertarians are opposed to coercion, force and fraud then they necessarily must place both corporations and government in the same category of *evil which must be stopped*. Just another reason I don't bother to call myself libertarian anymore.

Public health is *exactly* what the government was formed for, if we're talking about healthcare. If you care about public health, you should care that all individuals get immunized, get regular checkups, and are provided with maintenance medications for ailments. Emergency care requires investments in infrastructure, training and employment of professionals. It realistically requires government oversight.

To not have the government involved in public health is to not have a government at all. Anarchy not minarchy.

(Published herehere and here on Facebook. Two of my most commented upon status updates to date)

On the Third Day of Christmas

"There is a Santa Claus but it's an idea, it's not a person. Santa Claus is doing good things for people, just because; and so long as you keep doing that throughout the rest of your life, there will always be a Santa Clause"
- Rebecca Watson (the Skepchick) relating her father's discussion SGU#74
Despite creating a draft more than 6 months ago in order to update and combine my previous rantings on the subject of Christmas lists, Day Two and Santa Claus, the new version never materialized (I blame an obsession with World of Warcraft. It's a handy excuse) and now it's once again after Christmas and no Christmas post this year.  My apologies to anyone expecting one.

I have been listening to back issues of the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe lately (much like I went through all the Freethought Radio after I discovered it) and I made it a point to get to a Christmas release before Christmas Day. It was a nice treat, discovering the above quote in episode #74.   I have long thought that skeptics and atheists take too narrow a view of the world, and the need for fantasy material that drives the mind of the average child. 

...I would balk at feeding my children stories like Rebecca's family does (the entire exchange in that section of the podcast is hilarious) but then we keep a very large library of YA literature in the house for a reason. Both The Wife and I are voracious readers and have been all our lives. The escape provided by Harry Potter, The Lightning Thief, and old standbys like The Lord of the Rings are a necessary part of a developing imagination.

Another Abramanation on the Horizon

For some reason I 'liked' Star Trek on Facebook (an error I intend to correct shortly) so I was jarred out of a fanciful daydream when this image appeared on my wall.  Yes, that is a nacelle, coming up out of the water.

For those who may not remember, we've covered my rejection of Abrams' work on Star Trek in the past (the label Abramanation is assigned here)  as well as my long term unhappiness with where the franchise has been going dating back to before the series Enterprise was rolled out. This is not a sudden separation from Trek on my part, but a well thought out and gradual withdrawal from the fan scene.  I simply don't have enough in common with current fans to have an interest in the ins and outs of fandom any longer. 

As the comments followed on the image I was appalled to note this entry;
"If you think about it a submarine is very much like a starship. It makes sense that to hide a space vessel waters like a large ocean or lake. It is completely sealed and pressurized. Why not hide it under water?"
This is why Star Trek and science fiction in general have become so dumbed down. There is absolutely no engineering resemblance between a space vessel designed to hold air in, and a submarine designed to keep water out. Not similar, at all. But to the layman it's a "woo-woo" moment. "Look, it's underwater!" (eyeroll) Oh, really.

Before fans of the franchise pop up with objections, I'd like to offer the following list of observations;
  1. I don't accept the premise that "any Trek is better than no Trek" voiced by some of  the commenters to that thread, and by fans I've talked to in the past. I would specifically prefer no Trek to continuing Abramanations, which is ultimately why I no longer refer to myself as a Trekkie or a Trek fan. The franchise has gone somewhere I do not wish to follow.
  2. I don't "hate" the abramanations. On some levels they are quite enjoyable as most eye candy is; the problem is that Star Trek has never been simply entertainment to me. I don't become a 20 year fan of things that are simply entertaining. I'm not a fan of Gilligan's Island, although I laughed while watching nearly every episode. Consequently when Star Trek crossed over into the "just entertainment" category, I stopped being a fan of it. Like it or not, I don't care.
  3. There are specific problems with every single SF venture that Lindloff and Abrams are involved in; generally it amounts to not paying enough attention to established factual science (like the engineering issue I pointed out previously) not developing believable characters because of lazy story plotting ("Isn't it cute?") and not enough research into established canon. When combined, you have a final product that is nearly unwatchable to the technically educated, ridiculous to the trained storyteller, and offensive to the hardcore fan.
This is why there are so many vocal objections to the latest iterations of various franchises that the average popcorn chewer will dismiss as a hater. It's not hatred to offer valid criticism for what is a weak effort from people who are being well paid (over paid, from my perspective) and provided with lavish budgets to produce what could be very high quality artistic works, if only they took the time (see James Cameron) to do the due diligence that an undertaking of this magnitude requires. 

 In Other Words, promoters of the current Abramanation, don't ask for opinions if you don't want opinions.


I finally did see this film edited for television recently (sometime in 2016) I wrote about it here.