A Major Step Toward Justice: Have the courage to tell people their beliefs are immoral

I am here entering the URL for the article. My essay is beneath it. California Bill Would Ultimately Erase Religious Schools This is very important story. I had not known about this California bill. It is intended to protect not just LGBTQ people, but everyone, from being harmed by false beliefs. A belief cannot be falsified by the scientific method, if it is a genuinely nondisprovable hypothesis, but it can be falsified by Wm James’ pragmatic test: if it harms… Read more

Why Churches Are Withering Away, Part I

Leslie White predicted this back in the 1950s. He could already see it happening, because the pressures had been building since the Renaissance. He was one of the great Cultural Historians, along with Toynbee and Kroeber. He was a Marxist—of a school that consisted of him and Karl Marx. We’ll get to the churches—but first you need to understand the historical forces at work. White took seriously Marx’s insight that history is driven not by abstract ideas, as Hegel thought,… Read more

But When I’m Talking to a Nazi, I Have No Doubt that I’m Jewish

In response to a blog I posted a while back entitled, “So Am I Jewish?” in which I was speculating about what the rules are in the various branches of Judaism for defining who’s a member, one woman asked, “Are you willing to stand with us?” My immediate thought was “But I always have!” I began thinking about why I felt that way and realized the story goes back to my great-great-grandfather, Jacob Scheer. My mother, Marie Cecile Kelly, told… Read more

The Art of Creating Religion. Part I

I am willing to entertain the nondisprovable hypothesis that our religions are inspired by the Gods, but if so, the Gods always employ one or more of us to do the actual writing for them—and we are fallible. If they do send us messages, we rarely understand all of the message or manage to not contaminate it with our own unexamined assumptions, wishful thinking, or simple ignorance of what we would need to know in order to understand such messages… Read more

So Am I Jewish?

In early December Melinda was on Ancestry.com, trying to track down her Cherokee ancestors, the Shellnuts. Her mother was born Lois Anne James (yep, related to Jesse). Looking at Lois’s maternal grandmother, she found that Alfred Shellnut had married a Rosa Salmat. Looking up that name, she suddenly yelled, “Oh, my God, I’m Jewish!” Yes, she is, and so are her sisters and all three of our kids. She has been chatting with a Rabbi who could see the whole… Read more

Can I Teach Again? Would Anyone Listen?

Recently a brilliant woman doctoral student picked me, apparently by intuition, out of the hundreds of editors available online, to edit her research proposal. Having hired me, she then googled me, learned much more, and sent me a long enthusiastic email about her psychic talents and experiences. She is immensely well informed and is what I might call a “natural-born Witch”—but she had never met another Witch face to face. We have been having long, advanced chats about many things;… Read more

Deducing the Nature of the Gods, Part II

Interestingly, the problem of good and evil exhibits the same structure as the problem of understanding the infinite. Augustine’s conversion from Manichaeism to orthodox Christianity was inspired, in part, by his realization that the Manichaean concept of deities that were absolute logical opposites was logically untenable. Logical opposites must be opposite in every detail. However, if evil exists, then it shares the fact that it exists with the good, since existence itself is good. Hence the absolute opposite of anything… Read more

Deducing the Nature of the Gods, Part I

A dialog about whether the Gods are infinite or not sometimes begins with “Gerald Gardner wrote that the Gods of the Wica are ‘little gods.’” Yes, he did, but he was not very interested in abstract theology. I don’t think he was asserting that, if the Abrahamic God is infinite, then our Pagan Gods must be finite. Rather, his point was that, whereas (many) Christians believe in a God who is distant, arbitrary, angry, vengeful, and punishing, Witches believe in… Read more

On the Primacy of Nondisprovable Hypotheses, Part IV

Returning to the issue of partitioning DHs from NDHs. A concept similar to Gurdjieff’s Partition was proposed by Karl Popper. I have not tried to find out whether Popper knew about Gurdjieff. Perhaps their proposals were simultaneous invention, as studied by Kroeber. In any case, the two men had entirely different agendas for why they were making the proposal. Popper was concerned with delimiting what sort of propositions can be investigated by means of the scientific method. Obviously, if a… Read more

If Bernie is not nominated, we must vote for Hillary; we must stop Trump

Some “Berniecrats” are proclaiming that if Bernie does not win the nomination, they will not vote for Hillary. That attitude is contemptible. It would give the election to Trump, who is fascist. Political scientists are saying that the impoverished and marginalized are voting for Trump, just as such people voted for Hitler. The white supremacists, the KKK, the American Nazi party are all supporting Trump. If he were elected, the US would become completely a police-state plutocracy. If he were… Read more