Site project: Pushback against unfounded fear. Life on earth continues to improve.

“The true state of life on this planet (i.e. the main features and long-term trends of life) show ongoing improvement. There has never been a better time to live on Earth.”

The true state of the main world resources

While problems exist everywhere, they are solvable and humanity has done well in caring for and preserving world resources. See, for example, Julian Simon’s ‘Ultimate Resource’ or ‘Population Bombed’ by Szurmak and Desrochers.

(1) World forest cover in the 1950s was 3.8 billion hectares (FAO stats). World forest cover today is 4.1-plus billion hectares, despite the world population tripling from 2.4 billion people in the early 1950s to almost 8 billion today. Deforestation rates continue to decline and reforestation/afforestation projects continue to succeed.

(2) Proven species extinctions- about 1.5 per year, the same rate as over the past 500 years (others argue the rate may be somewhat higher but not much). While nature has destroyed over 95% of all species over the span of life on this planet, compassionate humanity is now protecting species as never before. See Julian Simon’s chapter on the IUCN report on species loss (in Ultimate Resource and other books) and the discredited assumption/correlation between habitat loss and species extinctions.

(3) Climate change (the atmosphere as a main resource): There has been a mild one degree Centigrade of warming over the past century and a half. That slightly warmed our still abnormally cold world (average surface temperatures of 14.5 degrees Centigrade today) that is still 5 degrees Centigrade below the optimal average surface temperatures of the past 500 million years (19.5 degrees Centigrade). And contrary to the falsified climate models, there is no settled evidence of much more warming occurring in the future. There is no “climate crisis” looming.

(4) Ocean fisheries are not collapsing and aquaculture is meeting the growing human demand for fish. See Ray Hilborn reports and FAO summaries on fisheries.

(5) The overall agricultural soils land-base is not severely degrading. Also, any soil erosion must be understood in net terms, as related to new soil regeneration rates. Further, over the past century and more, we have returned hundreds of millions of hectares of agricultural soil back to nature as hi-yield GM crops enable farmers to produce more crop on the same or less land. We have probably already passed “peak-agricultural land” use. Humanity now produces 25% more food than we need. Hydroponics will also meet much of future food demands.

And a note to all of our children: Do not fear the future on our planet. With continued wealth creation we will continue to solve the remaining world resource problems and life will continue to get ever better than before. Your personal contribution to making life better will add to humanity’s overall success.

“Apocalyptic climate claims have had a major impact. In September 2019, a survey of 30,000 people around the world found that 48 percent believed climate change would make humanity extinct. In January of this year, a survey found that one in five British children were having nightmares about climate change.” (Michael Shellenberger)

Resurging Tribalism

The contemporary Left/Right (Liberal/Conservative) divisions in our societies illustrate the problems of tribal polarization. Some people take more extreme stances in these divides and rigidly hold their ideological position as a dominant marker of identity- i.e. “I am Conservative/Liberal”. But it appears that most people take more moderate positions on either side, more toward the middle.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/03/age-of-extremes-most-people-pretty-moderate

And this quote from another poll: “A strong majority of both liberals and conservatives describe themselves as closer to the center than to the extremes.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_ideologies_in_the_United_States

Unfortunately, crisis-obsessed media tend to give inordinate attention to the extremes, giving the impression they represent normal situations, and that lack of context distorts things. That adds to the public sense of division and strife.

Most of us see things on both sides that we can agree with. As someone long ago predicted, most people in the future would embrace a mixed approach and be socially Liberal but economically Conservative. That would mean affirming individual liberty in the social realm and economic realms. And that would make Libertarians happy.

In relation to tribalism, I would urge carefulness in how we embrace and hold human identity markers. Louis Zurcher (The Mutable Self) long ago warned of the problem of placing one’s identity in fixed, rigid objects like occupation, national/racial identity, religion, ideology, or other. He argued that we should remain selves in open processes- open to ongoing change, development, and growth- and not locate our identity in fixed objects like nationality/race, occupation, religion, etc.

An overly-rigid embrace of identity markers that separate us from others can promote tribal division.

Similarly, David Boaz (Libertarianism: A Primer), urges both sides in the US situation to embrace more freedom. He said that Republicans need to embrace more freedom in the social arena and Democrats need to embrace more freedom in the economic realm.

While all the above identity markers may serve some helpful purpose at times, the central feature of our humanity has to do with our oneness with the entire human family. All of us share the same human spirit and consciousness and these are the primary markers of being human. Even quantum theory affirms a fundamental oneness behind all reality and some apply that to humanity’s oneness.

Others note that the dualisms we give so much meaning to, are temporary to this material realm (Joseph Campbell, Natalie Sudman, and others). Engaging the dualisms of this world, says Joseph Campbell, is about fulfilling our differing roles as “actors on God’s stage”.

Beware the tribal impulse. We all want to live the hero’s adventure and engage some righteous battle against evil and against some enemy. The danger in taking on a righteous cause is that we tend to forget our oneness with our enemy. We forget to “love our enemy” and we can thereby lose our humanity. The marker of mature humanity is universal, unconditional love.

Submitting to the tribal impulse is to revert to our animal past (small band thinking). We should all aspire to be world citizens, that is, equal members of the one united human family.

Climate alarmism hysteria continues

There is no “climate emergency”. CO2 is not a threat to life. It is the basic food of all life.

The world has only warmed 1 degree C over the past century. We are still in an ice-age era with subnormal cold temperatures and suboptimal low levels of CO2 compared to past eras. Life flourished during the past that had much higher average temperatures (average 5 degrees C warmer than today) and much higher levels of atmospheric CO2 (not hundreds but thousands of ppm).

The slight rebound to more optimal temperatures and healthier levels of CO2 over the past few centuries has benefitted life immensely. The world is 30% greener today than a century ago (increased plant productivity and added green vegetation). Life is beginning to flourish again with more basic food (CO2) and more warmth. Where are the news media on this good news?

Added note: We understand the true state of anything by looking at the complete big picture (evidence from all sides) and by placing the thing we are observing within the long-term trends that are associated with it. For example, with climate warming we hear the endless mantra “hottest on record”. But the record referred to is only the last 150 years or so of formal climate recording. The big picture and longer-term trends show, for example, that the previous three warming periods of our inter-glacial- i.e. the Holocene Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, and the Medieval Warming Period- were all warmer than today’s warming period. Over the entirety of our inter-glacial we are on a long-term cooling trend with these warming periods. Our current warming is the coolest of the four.

Paleo-climate history shows even far warmer epochs than today. Average temperatures over the past 500 million years were in the 19.5 degree Centigrade range, versus the 14.5 C average of today’s world. And life flourished during such times. It did not wilt and die.

Beware the fallacy of presentism (James Payne, History of Force)

Presentism is the belief that the events of our time are the worst ever because we are experiencing them personally, intensely, and firsthand. But presentism does not enable us to see the overall big picture and ongoing trends that are continually improving (see for example- Ten Global Trends by Bailey and Tupy). Julian Simon and many others have done the same- i.e. showing the main features of life and the long-term trends of life that are improving.

We are living in the best of times and the future will be even better. For example, the planet is not burning. We had a slight (one degree C) warming in a cold era. Remember, for over 90% of the past 500 million years the Earth has been entirely ice-free. That is a more normal, optimal world and life flourished during such eras.

Correlations?

Depression is the world’s number one illness affecting some 322 million people. Add to this that the narrative of apocalyptic decline/environmental alarmism has become “the single most dominant and influential theme in culture and politics” (my paraphrase of Arthur Herman’s statement in The Idea of Decline in Western History). Add further the YouGov polling results showing that a majority of the world’s population believes the world is getting worse. Children now suffer record rates of “eco-anxiety” and fear.

My point? Irresponsible climate alarmism has devastating consequences for human consciousness and life.

Purge the old, embrace the new– transforming human consciousness/subconscious

A central project on this site is going after bad ideas that have long “deformed human personality” (Zenon Lotufo) with unnecessary guilt, shame, fear/anxiety, and despair/depression. These ideas are still prominent in contemporary worldviews and belief systems, both religious and “secular”. The project here is to offer alternative themes to shape worldviews/narratives.

(Insert note: Many have predicted that with the rise of secularism/science we would see the demise of religion. That has not happened and even with the ongoing spread of secularism we find the same fundamental themes/ideas are embraced by those claiming to have left religion. In reality, they have only left the outer accoutrements of religion but have held onto the same core themes, only now expressed in “secular” versions.)

A complex of primitive themes/ideas were embraced by early humanity and those themes still dominate human consciousness today. They have been passed down to us through the world religions and are common to all the cultures of the world. Today, they are still widely embraced by humanity in religious traditions and also in secular/ideological and even scientific versions.

This site affirms that there are also good ideas in the mix of religious traditions and urges the separation of the “diamonds from the dung” (the concern of Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy).

Here are the most prominent of the “bad ideas”:

The past was better (original perfection). Corrupt, fallen people have ruined the original paradise and life is now declining toward something worse, toward some great apocalyptic ending. Hence, under divine threat, humanity is terrorized into embracing some salvation scheme, to make a sacrifice or payment for sins. God is portrayed as a tribal reality that includes true believers but excludes unbelievers who refuse to submit to the salvation plan. The gods/God threaten to purge the imperfection/evil of this world (and the unbelievers) in a great violent punishment and destruction (i.e. apocalypse). After purging this world, the lost paradise/perfection will be restored, for true believers.

The single most critical idea driving this complex of primitive themes is that of a deity that is angry at human imperfection will ultimately judge, exclude the bad, mete out final punishment, and then violently destroy the bad people via apocalypse and hell.

How many of these themes inform/shape your own worldview, perhaps with one of the secular versions? We have the alternatives to transform and liberate human consciousness/subconscious.

Alternatives for a new narrative:

There is no punitive, destroying deity. There never has been any such reality. There is only love, no conditions love, at the core of reality. This is also the central discovery of the Near-Death Experience movement. This stunningly inexpressible love defines the Ultimate Consciousness/Mind that humanity has long understood in terms of gods/deities.

There was no original perfection because the world was created intentionally as an arena for human experience and struggle, in order to bring forth human creativity through the endless struggle to make life better. Suffering and struggle are essential to human learning, development, and growth. As Julian Simon said, struggle with our problems pushes us to find solutions and our solutions can benefit others. Joseph Campbell said the same, that through our struggles we gain insights and learn lessons that we can pass on to others. Most critical is our struggle against evil where we learn what authentic love is- i.e. “love for the enemy”. And if we fail on that lesson, says Campbell, then we lose our humanity.

Further in the complex of alternative ideas/themes- We are not corrupted, fallen beings. Our essential human spirit is one with the Ultimate Love. Love defines us at our core. Love is the essential nature of the human self.

Life is not declining toward something worse but with creative human input and hard work, life continues to improve toward a better future. We do not need to embrace a salvation scheme. We do not need to make a sacrifice or payment to appease an upset deity. The only “salvation” scheme we should engage is the project of making life better here and now.

Life improves, not by the violent purging of instantaneous transformation movements but by gradualism through messy democracy. (See Arthur Mendel’s ‘Vision and Violence’ for a treatment of “instantaneous transformation” versus “gradualism” movements.)

Ultimately, all are safe as there is no ultimate judgment, no exclusion of anyone, and no punitive destruction. Those themes are all contrary to the ‘no conditions Love’ at the core of reality. The dualisms of this material realm (i.e. good versus evil) are not eternal dualisms. They exist as part of the “learning arena” that is this material realm which is only a small splice of all reality. Even quantum/cosmological theories affirm that, with our limiting brains/bodies, we experience only a small part of greater reality. Death is not an ending or a passage to some lesser shadow form of life. It is a return to our real full consciousness and ongoing life in timeless creative progress.

Full detail in the section below “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”.

Offensive justice

I have just read some articles on DMT (DMT Dialogues) and one of the authors was presenting his views on what life means (i.e. answering the questions: Where are we from? Why are we here?). He speculated that we come to this material realm to learn something and if we screw up then we have to repeat another life-cycle but if we learn our lessons we get to move on to higher stages, states, and realms. His views appeared to be basic re-incarnation stuff with advances based on good performance. It was a traditional argument from historical views of justice as payback- reward the good, punish the bad. And it satisfies most people’s sense of things, notably the sense of “fair” justice.

I would offer that author some offensive material from the almost buried message of Hist. Jesus (buried in New Testament payback justice). Historical Jesus had argued that it matters not how you learn, succeed, or don’t succeed in this life. Everyone gets the same outcome in the end. Look at his Prodigal parable. The wasteful, screw-up son gets a celebration with no demand for repayment, reparation, or restitution. The father treats him just as he would treat the loyal, hard-working, good son.

Then consider the vineyard owner parable. The all-day, faithful guys are pissed that the late-comers who do hardly anything get the same reward that they do. And then note Matt.5:38-48. God gives the same gifts to all, to both the good and the bad. There is complete disregard for the norms of conventional justice in these stories.

This is offensive stuff to minds that are oriented to traditional views of justice as reward the good and punish the bad according to strict measures of fairness and carefully measured consequence for deeds. The no conditions justice of Historical Jesus blows that all aside and argues for giving everyone the same in the end. That is “no conditions love”, the highest and most humane form of love. It is scandalous and offensive to conventional justice. Even the worst among us will get the best in the end.

This is not to deny that there are, and should be, consequences in this life. Consequences for behavior are part of healthy development here. But ultimately the justice of this realm does not apply to other realms. The dualisms of this material realm (i.e. good vs evil) are limited to this realm for whatever reason. Dualism is not eternal. Kinda blows all the re-incarnation teaching out of the water, eh.

If what H. Jesus said is true in some manner, then how should that unconditional ultimate reality influence how we treat one another, how we deal with the failures and screwups of our fellow humans? We all return to the same Oneness in the end. The ultimate no conditions love.

Overturning inherited ideas rooted in the authority of antiquity

Across history people have attributed domination to deity with myths of gods as ultimate authorities- i.e. kings, rulers, judges. But authentic love- whether human or divine- does not dominate or control. Real love relates horizontally to all as equals. It respects the freedom of the equal other. Point? If deity is ultimate goodness and love then deity does not dominate but will respect the freedom of others.

As some have said, where there is no such freedom there is no love. And if “unconditional” love is the highest and best form of love that a human can aspire to and experience, then ultimate Good/Love must be something infinitely better. Reason your conclusions from the foundational idea of unconditional love. It is all.

Note: Historical Jesus argued the same (i.e. that love does not dominate others) in stating that true greatness does not dominate others but serves- “Whoever wants to be great should serve”. Hence, the true greatness of deity will not be domination but loving service.

The two most foundational insights to deal with primal human fear and guilt/shame. These two insights will do more to liberate and transform consciousness than volumes of theological “yack attack”.

1.The Ultimate Reality people have long called God is a stunning “no conditions Love”. That means no ultimate judgment, no demand for sacrifice/payment, no exclusion, and no punishment or destruction. That deals with the primal human fear of after-life harm. There is no ultimate threat.

2.We are also that same love in our core being. This insight speaks to the fundamental oneness that we share with Ultimate Reality (something even quantum theory affirms). This is to say that we are all incarnations of ultimate Love. The no conditions love that is our Source, is the very nature of our human spirit and consciousness.

Point? We are not the corrupt, fallen beings of religious mythology, though we continue to struggle with an inherited animal brain and base animal impulses (tribal division, domination of weaker, exclusion and punitive destruction of differing others).

Eye for eye cycles

We’ve just endured a 4-year cringe-binge of eye for eye behavior (getting even, payback) between the Left and Right that has left most of us quite disgusted. But a caution before getting too self-righteous in our commenting on other’s failings with regard to the human retaliation response. We all hold some level of expertise in this childish behavior but most of us have learned to express our vengeance lust in more subtle ways. A friend offers this example: When one person in a relationship does not show enough affection, the other spouse will then quietly withdraw affection also, as a form of aggressive-passive payback. Subtle, smooth, but just as sick/infantile as any other form of direct hurt for hurt.

Others unembarrassedly affirm retaliation as a good thing (e.g. they claim that it is “counter-punching”) and go at it with unrestrained passion.

Retaliation makes us all look petty, childish, and subhuman. Like little kids in a sandbox throwing sand back and forth (“Well, he/she started it”). And neither side in our great public divides (i.e. Left/Right) can claim that the retaliation from its side is a “righteous battle against evil”- i.e. the ‘evil’ that is the disagreeing other side. That claim to be on the good side is tribal, partisan self-delusion and is a denial of the most basic self-awareness of one’s own biases and faults.

Particularly disgusting over the past four years has been the retaliation coming from the late-night talk/comedy shows. Expressing retaliation via humor is no longer funny, except to the fan-base that it panders to. It comes across for what it really is- hatred of the other side that is exhibited in humorless vilification and effort to humiliate. To the contrary, good humor pokes fun but in a way that even the person being made fun of can also enjoy the joke and not feel humiliated (note Rob Schneider’s comments on the Alex Baldwin SNL skits).

Ah, we all need to “grow the fuck up”. And learn what love is- meaning “love your enemy” as great human spirits like Mandela exhibited for us. Let’s stop this petty retaliating in kind- the childish mocking, belittling, humiliating, and returning hurt to others for imagined hurts caused. Imagined? Yes, a lot is imagined in the over-wrought and highly charged sensitivity to slights/offenses that typify today’s insane outrage culture.

I have been particularly unsettled by the retaliatory response from the side of society that I tend to affiliate most with- the liberal side. I affiliate with this side on most social issues that are oriented to the protected rights of free individuals. Though I give credit to the conservative side for doing better in protecting the rights of free individuals in the economic realm that many argue is the basis of all other freedoms. Overall, I prefer the stance of a fiercely ‘Independent liberalism’ of the Classic Liberal kind. Sort of Libertarianish. See Daniel Hannan’s ‘Inventing Freedom’ for the history of true Liberalism.

The past four-year liberal eruption of hysteria (“getting-the-vapors”) over the faults of others, the exaggeration of evil on the other side (e.g. the lunacy of childish name-calling- “Hitleresque… Nazi, destroyer of democracy, Racist, etc.”), and the cancel-culture response, all point to an intolerant spirit and “creeping totalitarianism” that has nothing to do with Classic Liberalism. Today’s liberalism/progressivism is often highly illiberal.

When you portray the other side with the negative generalizations that Michelle Obama, Michael Moore, and many others have voiced (i.e. “all who voted Republican are racists”) then that negative generalization of an entire group appears to be the very essence, the very spirit of what today’s liberals call “racism”. How are they offering something better with their responses?

But not to be outdone, the conservative side engages its own form of hysterical exaggeration of the ‘evils’ of the liberal side, punching back with name-calling and belittling of equally shameful scale.

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Don’t fear the basic food of life- CO2. It is not dangerously warming the planet. It is greening our planet.

Quotes from link below: “Hayden’s paper reinforces the findings of W. A. van Wijngaarden and W. Happer (W & H): adding CO2 to today’s atmosphere will not cause significant (or dangerous) warming… As the concentration increases, the strength wanes. Somewhat like the acceleration of a car, without gears. Initially, it will accelerate quickly but as it reaches maximum speed, acceleration slows, no matter how hard the driver presses the gas petal to the floor. As the concentration of CO2 increases the influence of each molecule declines.

“The lesson here is that at low concentrations, CO2 is a very effective Infrared Radiation (IR) absorber, hence a very effective greenhouse gas. By this, we mean that if a bit more CO2 is added, the greenhouse effect increases substantially.

“At higher CO2 concentrations, adding more CO2 does little to increase the greenhouse effect, for the simple reason that most (not all) of the IR that CO2 can absorb is already absorbed.” When CO2 ceases to be an effective IR absorber, the wavelengths are said to be saturated. Additional absorption requires absorption by other IR wavelengths, which are not absorbed as readily.

“In other words, at very low concentrations, CO2 is a strong Greenhouse Gas (GHG); at the present concentration, CO2 is a weak GHG. This information has been around since long before Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and long before the First Assessment Report FAR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…

“The paper reinforces the research showing the relationship between CO2 and temperatures are logarithmic. Adding CO2 to the current atmosphere will cause little warming, and carbon dioxide capture and sequestering is an exercise of little value.”

Source:

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #432

Section topics: The liberating role of blasphemy; The contradiction between the theology of Historical Jesus (non-retaliatory deity) and Paul’s theology of ultimate divine retaliation; The transformation of an ultimate ideal/authority- deity; Common shared values; Ongoing hysteria (panic-porn) over the natural world and natural change in climate; Basic climate facts; Two best things happening today (more plant food in a CO2 starvation era and more warmth in a suboptimal ice-age era); Deliver a death blow to humanity’s greatest monster and enemy- threat theology; More on climate change; Don’t scare the kids with apocalyptic nonsense. Help them know the true state of life as improving (Julian Simon); Rejecting the oppositional dualism of either religion or materialism/atheism as the two alternatives available to humanity; and more…

Blasphemy as defense of freedom

Most definitions state that blasphemy is “not respecting, insulting, or showing contempt for God, religion, or sacred things”. And it offends religious people.

These definitions miss a larger point. Blasphemy when done well is not primarily about offending, hurting, or humiliating religious devotees but about serving the larger purpose of protecting human freedom. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The complex of “bad ideas”, and alternatives

Old story themes, new story alternatives (18 fundamental ideas to re-evaluate)

1. Old story theme: The myth of deity as a judging, punishing, and destroying reality that metes out final justice- i.e. rewarding the good, punishing the bad (threat theology). This core myth continues at the foundation of the world religions and is now also given expression in ‘secular’ versions such as vengeful Gaia, angry planet, pissed Mother Earth, retributive Universe, and payback karma- all the new retaliatory gods of environmental alarmism, history’s latest apocalyptic movement.

The myth of God as a retaliating, punishing reality has long under-girded human justice as similarly retaliatory and punitive. From the beginning, belief in a punitive deity has incited the demand for punitive response to human imperfection and failure.

This primitive view of deity as punitive and God as the Ultimate Destroyer (i.e. via apocalypse, hell) is the single most important “bad idea” to engage and correct. All other bad religious ideas are anchored to this foundational pathology in human thought.

New story alternative: The “stunning new theology” that God is an inexpressible “no conditions love”, a non-retaliatory Reality. The adjective “unconditional” points to our highest understanding of love and is therefore most critical for defining deity as transcendent “Goodness”. Takeaway? There is no ultimate judgment, no ultimate exclusion of anyone, no demand for payment or sacrifice to appease angry deity, no need for redemption or salvation, and no ultimate punishment or destruction of anyone (no such thing as “hell”).

Why bother with such speculative metaphysical corrections? Because we need to counter humanity’s “primal fear of after-life harm” that is the outcome of millennia of bad religious ideas beaten into human consciousness and subconscious. Also, however you may try to affirm justice as punitive treatment of the failures of others, know that deity as unconditional reality does not validate such efforts. See “The Christian Contradiction (Historical Jesus versus Paul’s Christ myth)”, below.

None of the great world religions has ever presented the reality of an unconditional deity. All religion across history has been essentially about conditional reality- i.e. the required conditions to appease and please religious deities (conditions of right belief, proper religious rituals, religious lifestyle, demanded sacrifices/payment for wrong, etc.). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The Christ myth- separating diamonds from dung.

The fundamental problem with Paul’s Christ myth was outlined by Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy. They stated that the Christ of Paul “buries the diamonds” of Historical Jesus. The message of Jesus emphasized the themes of unlimited forgiveness and inclusion of all (sun and rain given to both good and bad), unconditional love (no payment or sacrifice demanded before forgiving- e.g. the Prodigal Father), and non-retaliatory justice (no eye for eye retaliation).

Paul’s Christ buries these themes in the “dung” of highly conditional salvationism- i.e. the appeasement of angry deity with the condition of a blood sacrifice as required payment (see Romans, Hebrews), the exclusion of unbelievers (Romans and elsewhere- note the condition of faith in Paul’s Christ for inclusion in salvation), and ultimate retaliation/punishment through apocalypse or hell (see the Thessalonian letters). The conditional religious mythology of Paul buries the unconditional reality that Jesus taught.

Preface to “Christian Contradiction”

Across history people have appealed to deity, as humanity’s highest ideal and authority, to validate their behavior and their treatment of others, notably, to validate justice as the punishment of others for wrongs done. That is the ‘behavior based on similar belief’ relationship. People have long used the features of retaliation and punishment in divinity as the ultimate validation for punitive, payback justice toward offending others. But Historical Jesus swept away that basis of divine validation by stating that God did not retaliate (“no more eye for eye”) but, to the contrary, generously forgave, included, and loved all people whether good or bad (“love your enemies… sun and rain given to both righteous and unrighteous”). Conclusion? You violate the central message of Historical Jesus if you try to use him or his theology to validate retaliatory, punitive justice. Christian Jesus (Paul’s “Jesus Christ”) of course, is another matter altogether. But that mythical Christ is something entirely opposite to Historical Jesus.

“The great Christian Contradiction” (Historical Jesus versus Paul’s Christ myth):

The feature of ‘unconditional’ should be central to an authentically humane theology (God theory or Ultimate Reality theory). Below, I appeal to the Jesus tradition to establish this point. But my argument is not dependent on first establishing the actual message of the original Jesus. I do not view Jesus as an authority figure and I do not need his actual words (the “original message”) as critical to affirm my point regarding an unconditional theology. I simply refer to the useful comments in the Jesus material (e.g. “love your enemy”) to illustrate something (i.e. unconditional) that stands on its own as authoritative.

Unconditional is the best of being human and holds authority in itself as ultimate goodness without the need for validation by some religious authority. It is “self-validating” as good or true. Unconditional does not need validation from Jesus but I do not mind touching base with such widely respected icons/symbols for illustrative purposes.

Unconditional love is not a religious insight or discovery. To the contrary, religious traditions across history have been essentially conditional traditions- promoting religious demands for right beliefs, correct rituals, required religious lifestyles to please religious deities, and the necessary conditions for religious salvation (i.e. sacrifices, payments). Religion as a conditional institution has never communicated the stunning unconditional nature of deity to humanity. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Living a human story

A framework for understanding human story (some essential features of human life and experience, or “the meaning of life”)

Scattered throughout his books, Joseph Campbell presents an outline for understanding human life/human story. I have added to his basic points, revising, paraphrasing, and changing some things.

The point of human life? We are here to love. This is the fundamental reason for the cosmos, our world, and conscious human life.

Where Campbell used the term “universal love” to define human maturity and “heroic” human story, I would use the broader term “unconditional” or “no conditions” love. It includes universal and more. My point: Unconditional, as our highest human ideal (the most humane expression of love), gives meaning to everything. It answers all the great questions about “Why existence?”; “Why this cosmos and this world?”, and “Why conscious human life?” Let unconditional define all areas of life- your goals, your mission in life, how you become the hero of your unique story, and how you mature as a human being. Unconditional is how you conquer your monster, your real enemy in life, and thereby “tower in stature” as a wise person, as a mature human person.

An insert qualifier: Unconditional does not mean pacifist inaction in the face of injustice, violence, or evil. In discussion groups you sometimes get smart-ass participants who respond to the suggestion of embracing unconditional as an ideal with this extremist dismissal, “Oh, you’re saying that we should let all the psychopaths go free”. No. In advocating for an unconditional mindset, no one is suggesting anything so thoughtlessly irresponsible. Embracing an unconditional ideal does not entail the abandonment of common sense in an imperfect world.

For one, unconditional is a profound redefinition of humanity’s ultimate ideal and authority- deity. And thereby related: Unconditional fully humanizes our life goal of becoming fully humane just as our originating Source is fully humane (i.e. the belief/behavior relationship). Embracing unconditional in our highest ideal and authority- i.e. deity- will shape our responses and treatment of human imperfection and failure. It will orient us away from punitive forms of justice and toward restorative or rehabilitative justice. An unconditional mindset will still hold all responsible for their behavior, including the restraining and imprisoning of people that are not able or not willing to self-control their worst impulses. Unconditional will even engage war to stop aggression against the innocent. But it will do so with the non-aggressive and humble attitude that was advocated by the Chinese sage, Laozi, noted below.

Now, those features of human storyRead the rest of the opening comment here

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Patterns and outcomes of alarmism eruptions

Patterns and outcomes to watch in alarmist movements

First, alarmism exaggerates real problems in our world that must be confronted and solved. Alarmism exaggerates such problems to apocalyptic-scale with “end-of-days” scenarios and prophesies, speculating far beyond evidence. This is being done today with climate alarmism and the claims that we face a “climate crisis or catastrophe”. That exaggeration distorts the true state of things. With only one degree Centigrade of warming over the past century, our still abnormally cold world is not in danger of over-heating (see Two Best Things Happening Today for paleo-climate context).

Examples: Senator AOC prophesied in 2018 that we only have 12 years to the end of the world. Or the father of global warming alarmism, James Hansen, who prophesied in 2008 that “Its all over in five years”. President Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, prophesied that one billion people would die by 2020. Even Stephen Hawking joined the apocalyptic brigade in the last two years of his life, prophesying the end in 100 years. The element of apocalyptic is endlessly projected onto real problems to profoundly distort the true state of things.

Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource showed us how to find our way to a better understanding of the true state of something. He argued that we should include the complete big picture evidence on the thing under consideration, and note the longest-term trends associated with that thing (e.g. paleo-climate history as vital to understanding climate changes across history, see for example Ian Plimer’s detail on paleo-climate history in Heaven and Earth). Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Conquering fear with rational hope. An anti-alarmism site.

Section comments below: ‘Three nasty inherited animal impulses’- i.e. tribal exclusion, alpha domination, and retaliatory destruction. Counter these with ‘Three markers of authentic humanity’- i.e. the humane impulses to embrace the fundamental oneness of our human family, to respect the freedom and self-determination of others, and restorative justice toward all human imperfection. Also, ‘Patterns in alarmism movements, and outcomes’. Then- ‘Two best things happening today’- more plant food during an era of plant starvation, and more beneficial warmth during a sub-optimal ice-age era; ‘Theological musing’- purging pathology in deity theories; ‘Reflexive skepticism, not denial’; ‘Fear and social control’; ‘The never-ending end times prophesies’ of alarmism movements; ‘Deeper roots of alarmism in apocalyptic mythology’; and ‘Overturning threat theology’.

Many have commented on the “creeping totalitarianism” notable in things like ‘cancel culture’ and its intolerance of human diversity, freedom of speech, and alternative views. See also material below on ‘fear and social control’ (News media and the promotion of crisis/catastrophe).

US liberals warn of the intolerance of cancel culture- https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/maher-panel-blasts-cancel-culture. Conrad Black on Collectivists finding new life for their anti-industrial society crusade- eco-alarmism- https://nationalpost.com/opinion/black080120

From original apocalyptic to contemporary alarmism: The never-ending embrace of despair and nihilism. The worst ideas that we have inherited from primitive minds continue to shape our modern narratives and consciousness.

Orienting comments: An important question- Why do so many of us continue to believe the alarmist scenarios of environmental collapse and destruction? Why the stubborn persistence of many to focus on the darker side of life, to believe the worst scenarios will happen, and then to promote fear, despite the fact that apocalyptic has never come to pass (The 100% failure rate across history)? And to the contrary, amassed evidence shows that life continues to improve on all fronts (see sources below).

I would argue that many embrace apocalyptic catastrophism because of the residual influence of the apocalyptic complex of ideas that has been beaten into human consciousness since the beginning, starting back in prehistory. That complex is now embedded in the human subconscious. Those myths distort life entirely but they continue to shape our outlook today, and orient many of us to reflexively believe that the worst will happen. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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The two basic approaches to organizing human societies

Section topics: The two main approaches to organizing human societies (the orientation to the individual or the orientation to the collective, the benefits of Classic Liberalism).

Scattered comment: Jim Baggott on “Mass” (quantum research and conclusions); Materialism/atheism or religion (and other alternatives for the human meaning impulse); Gradualism in human progress versus the violence of “instantaneous transformation” movements; Eruptions of public hatred (tribalism, outrage and cancel culture); Defending an unconditional approach to imperfect humanity (not pacifism but restorative justice); A framework for understanding human story.

The Two Main Approaches to Organizing Human Societies

Daniel Hannan in “Inventing Freedom”

Hannan on the Western contribution to the world: Personal property rights, personal liberty, and representative government. “There are three irreducible elements… The rule of law… the government of the day doesn’t get to set the rules… they are interpreted by independent magistrates… the law is not an instrument of state control but a mechanism open to any individual seeking redress…

“Personal liberty… freedom to say what you like, to assemble in any configuration you choose with your fellow citizens, to buy and sell without hindrance, to dispose as you wish of your assets, to work for whom you please, and to hire and fire as you will…”

“Representative government… Laws should not be passed, nor taxes levied, except by elected legislators who are answerable to the rest of us…”

“… the individual should be as free as possible from state coercion… (wars for freedom in the last century were between countries that elevated the state over individuals and countries that elevated the individual over the state) …”

Left/Right (and the immense benefits of Classic Liberalism)

The comment below comes from a “fiercely Independent” viewpoint. Kinda like Goldilocks- not too far Left, not too far Right. Sort of Libertarianish or Classic Liberalism. Just floating like a butterfly, free to alight wherever, enjoy the nectar, and then move on. A self that is free in an open process and not fixed rigidly on any object (i.e. not finding identity in some fixed ideology, religion, nationality, race/ethnicity, or other objects of human identity) as per The Mutable Self of Louis Zurcher. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Combating alarmism and its totalitarian, destructive outcomes.

See the “holy shit” posting below (my reaction) on Michael Shellenberger’s apology for promoting climate alarmism over the past 30 years. Also, see “The Great Christian Contradiction” re the Christ myth that has been primarily responsible for re-enforcing the primitive myth of apocalyptic in Western consciousness, belief systems, and ideologies over the past 2000 years. Apocalyptic continues to deform human consciousness with fear, anxiety, depression, and nihilism. It is the “most violent and destructive idea in history”, (Arthur Mendel).

Also, “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” further below. The persistent core pathologies in our grand narratives (religious and “secular”) and the alternatives for a new worldview or meta-narrative. See just below “The Two best things happening today– rising CO2 levels and the warming of Earth’s average surface temperatures”.

Up from the basement… see also the latest GWPF newsletter: “We are facing a tsunami of censorship”, https://www.thegwpf.com/?s=we+are+facing+a+tsunami+of+censorship

The never-ending end times stuff (Reposted from below)

For over 5000 years apocalyptic mythology has been beaten into human consciousness as essential to defining the trajectory of life. Secular versions of apocalyptic mythology, notably the ideology of Declinism (i.e. life worsening toward some great disaster), still dominate public consciousness and narratives today. This is evident in the environmental alarmism movement and particularly in climate alarmism- the prophesies of looming, imminent climate catastrophe and the endless end of days scenarios presented to the public.

Remember AOC’s prophesy in 2018 that we had only 12 years to the end of the world or James Hansen’s prophesy in 2008 that “Its all over in five years”. In the last year of his life Stephen Hawking added his prophesy of apocalypse though he gave us some breathing room, declaring that we had 100 years till the apocalypse. Enough time for him to vacate the scene and avoid the humiliation that inevitably comes to all apocalyptic prophets. Life does not decline toward ending. Evidence shows that with creative human effort life rises toward an improving future. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Responding to alarmism with hope based on good evidence.

An important point below: Overturn the alarmist’s distorting apocalyptic narrative with the good evidence that the two best things happening on Earth today are (1) the increase in basic plant food (more atmospheric CO2 has greened the Earth by 14% since 1980), and (2) the benefits of more warmth in an abnormally cold ice-age era (e.g. expanding habitats for many life forms).

Comment in this section: Never-ending end time prophesying (environmental alarmism); Non-violent Crisis Intervention- techniques for de-escalating violence; Campbell’s advice on responding to injustice- maintain your humanity; The wonder of being human; Countering alarmism (responding to irresponsible and dangerous eruptions of fear-mongering); World Resource Updates- the improving state of world forests, soils, ocean fisheries, land species, and atmosphere; Two best things happening- more plant food in a dangerously low CO2 era and more warmth in an abnormally cold ice-age era; Outcomes of alarmism- unleashing the totalitarian impulse (silencing, banning, and criminalizing skeptical science); Deeper roots of alarmism in apocalyptic mythology; The Jesus versus Christ contradiction (history’s greatest scandal- Christianity buried Jesus, and his non-retaliatory theology, under its Christ myth).

The primacy of Forgiveness in maintaining our humanity

The great question in the face of injustice, wrong, and violence is- How do we maintain our humanity in our response? Forgiveness is a critical stance to a fully human response. And that does not mean feeling mushy, warm, or fuzzy toward inhumanity. It is not a call to pacifism or inaction in the face of wrong.

Psychologists have made this point that forgiveness is very much about one’s own equilibrium when wronged. We can choose to let bitterness and resentment fester, holding grudges that darken consciousness with hate, and seek retaliation in kind (i.e. eye for eye cycles- hate for hate, humiliation for humiliation, hurt for hurt, punishment for punishment). But that leads to personal enslavement to the worst of our inherited impulses. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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Alarmism eruptions, ‘Two best things’, and ‘Slapping down a straw god’ (ultimate threat and primal fear)

This site presents the evidence that life on our planet is not declining toward an apocalypse but over the long-term life has gradually been improving toward a better future, due to human compassion, creativity, and hard work. Reasoning from that good evidence, this site is anti-fear (anti-apocalyptic) and pro-hope. Evidence sources: Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment On The Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed, James Payne’s The History of Force, among others.

Arthur Herman’s said regarding Declinism (i.e. life becoming worse, declining toward some disastrous collapse and ending): “The theme of decline is the most dominant and influential theme in the modern world”.

“British historian and statesman Thomas Babington Macaulay wrote in 1830: “In every age everybody knows that up to his own time, progressive improvement has been taking place; nobody seems to reckon on any improvement in the next generation. We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who say society has reached a turning point – that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us and with just as much apparent reason. … On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

See “Two best things happening on Earth today (more atmospheric CO2, warmer average temperatures)” just below, regarding the two main claims of climate alarmism. And, “Slapping down a straw god”- comment on punitive deity myths (threat theology) that add an unnecessary psychic burden to already unbearable physical suffering.

Alarmism: The exaggeration of problems to apocalyptic-scale that distorts the true nature of problems, incites the survival impulse in populations, and renders people susceptible to the totalitarian salvation schemes of alarmists, schemes that often cause more harm than the original problem.

“The whole aim of practical politics”, wrote HL Mencken, “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” And John Adams, one of the founding fathers of America, echoed this sentiment, writing “Fear is the foundation of most governments”.

Dangerous patterns

An endless series of alarmist scenarios have assaulted public consciousness over just the past 70 years (see list below). These alarms have been accompanied by the troubling features of exaggerated outcomes (worst-case scenarios of apocalyptic-scale disaster) and over-reaction responses or salvation plans that have resulted in more harmful outcomes than any potential harm caused by the original problem. Unquestionably, most alarms arise out of authentic problems/threats that have to be confronted and resolved in order to protect populations.

This site probes the larger narratives that are embraced by populations and the persistence of pathological ideas that lead many people to view life’s problems with excessive fear and to then embrace the exaggeration and thereby distortion of problems that comes with viewing life through the lens of an apocalyptic viewpoint. We have experienced this repeatedly over the past 70 years.

This site explores the apocalyptic complex of myths that are still the dominant ideas in major world belief systems, in both religious and secular/ideological versions (i.e. Declinism). Thorough problem-solving must include all contributing factors. The ongoing influence of apocalyptic mythology has attuned populations around the world to believe the worst is coming, despite overwhelming evidence that life does not decline toward disaster but improves toward a better future. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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A “climate crisis”, or “Celebrating CO2”? Apocalypse, or life improving?

Contact: wkrossa@shaw.ca

Section topics: The apocalyptic complex of themes and coercive purging movements (unleashing the totalitarian impulse); A counter narrative to the imminent catastrophe narrative; Basic Climate Facts Project; Fear of change in nature; The fallacy of ‘presentism’; Dawkins on Joe Rogan; Love and justice issues (punitive/restorative justice approaches); A brief on human story, and more.

Video of Patrick Moore’s lecture to GWPF https://www.thegwpf.com/video-of-patrick-moores-gwpf-lecture-should-we-celebrate-co2/

“We are watching another apocalyptic movement play out today in the climate alarm”.

Introductory summary

We are all responsible for the ideas/themes that we promote and their outcomes in life.

Three mass-death movements erupted in the last century- Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism. If the inclusion of environmental alarmism in the ‘triad of death’ seems extreme, consider that Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring contributed to the tens of millions of deaths in the wake of the ban on DDT (see The Excellent Powder for the science and history of DDT). So also activism against Golden Rice (anti-GM foods alarmism) has resulted in the deaths of 8 million children over a recent 12-year period. https://nationalpost.com/opinion/bjorn-lomborg-trashing-rice-killing-children

The “decarbonization” of our societies is already trending toward another potential mass-death movement. The harmful effects of the current anti-CO2 alarmism are now evident in the suffering from fuel poverty and increased mortality in countries like Britain, Germany, and even the US (see GWPF reports on rising energy costs, fuel poverty, and rising mortality rates). For example: https://www.thegwpf.com/britains-deadly-energy-madness-excess-winter-deaths-in-england-and-wales-highest-since-1976/ and https://www.thegwpf.org/green-policies-threaten-poor-nations/

Some stunning research has shown that all three mass-death movements have been influenced by the same complex of apocalyptic myths: (1) The myth of original paradise or better past, (2) the myth of corrupt humanity ruining paradise and deserving punishment, (3) the myth of life declining toward collapse and ending (apocalypse), (4) the urgent demand for a salvation scheme (i.e. sacrifice of the good life, and coercive purging of some evil threat), and (5) the promise of restored paradise/utopia. These have long been and still are the “most violent and dangerous ideas in history”. The outcomes of these ideas are well-documented. (see research of Richard Landes in Heaven On Earth, Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence, David Redles in Hitler’s Millennial Reich, and Arthur Herman in The Idea of Decline).

The apocalyptic complex of myths distorts entirely the true narrative of humanity and life. This site offers an alternative set of themes more aligned with our contemporary evidence on the true story of life as an overall improving trajectory toward a better future, not declining toward collapse or ending. These alternative themes orient consciousness to the essential goodness and creativity of humanity and to evidence-based hope. See Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives below. Read the rest of the opening comment here

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