I Think, Therefore I Am...Someone who Writes

I'm Dave, I'm 23, a college graduate who clearly does not have a job.  This blog contains my writing about the things I consider important in life, including but not necessarily limited to politics, philosophy, religion (from an academic perspective), science, economics, etc. Also, included are links to my views on each major political issue. I'm also going to be posting chapters of the book on climate change I wrote for myself, and some of the chapters I've been working on for a religion book I'm writing for myself. If you know me and were expecting a bunch of funny derp takes on life I'm sorry to disappoint but this is where I write very unintelligently about the serious topics running through my brain.

15 Yards for Excessive Psuedo-Outrage in 24 Hour News Cycle

       Apparently during last night’s Chief’s routing of the Pats, KC safety Husain Abdullah had a pick 6 and he went to the ground in the end zone as a prayer gesture, drawing an excessive celebration flag. Because this is 2014 and the 24 hour news media and self-righteous PC police are constantly on the prowl this has turned into a mainstream news story. I have a couple thoughts on this insanity. First of all, in no, way, shape, or form do I think the ref who threw the flag, or the NFL as a league is Islamophobic, or more broadly religious-phobic. Instead, the NFL is the “No Fun League” and one of their idiotic rules is that players can’t “go to the ground” as a part of a TD celebration. How this is supposed to make their players appear more “humble” or “professional” is beyond me, and why anyone watching football would be anything but entertained if someone started doing the worm after a touchdown is also lost on me. But that’s the rule. Of course, there are always a bunch of exceptions, one of which is, if a dude is clearly going to his knees as some kind of religious gesture you aren’t supposed to penalize him. Most people don’t realize refs get graded by the league just like players are evaluated by their teams. This year there have been a bunch of new “points of emphasis” (hands to the face, defensive holding, etc) that refs are freaking out about, getting all flag happy. Clearly, a jittery ref understanding that they are being graded more tightly than ever this year decided to throw the flag so he wouldn’t get marked off for missing  misconduct penalty, which I’m sure would be a bad thing to miss in the eyes of the league given the, er, misconduct public relations problem they’ve had lately. He obviously didn’t realize in the moment the dude was praying and threw a flag to look “tough on excessive celebrations.”
         When I first heard about it this morning I thought oh great someone was praying and the NFL threw a flag, the right wing talk radio, Fox news, Breitbart, Drudge echo-chamber is going to go nuts with some “war on Jesus” thing. But then I found out the dude was a Muslim and I thought two things. First, that the liberal echo-chamber was going to go nuts saying this was a case of minority discrimination when it wasn’t, and second, that I was going to be very interested to hear how all the persecution complex conservative Christians were going to respond to something in the news claiming the mighty macho NFL was out to destroy the Muslim faith. Would they side with “religious freedom,” and join the faux outrage? Would they celebrate the erroneous perception that their “enemy religion” is “under attack” by pro football? Would they sort of just ignore it to avoid looking hypocritical, but also avoid having to support their perceived holy enemy?
         All I know for sure is that American’s are always ready to have some sort of hashtag outrage at something benign, especially if they falsely believe there was an attack on Christianity (conservatives) or some minority (liberals).

Don’t Assimilate….Tolerate…….Why A Lack of Desire for “Shared Values” Allows Some Liberals to Drop Religion

       Lately, one of the things I’ve been looking at is why people believe in religion even when they understand that there’s no scientific or historical evidence to substantiate the religious claims they believe in, or even any logic or philosophical arguments that make unbacked religious claims seem more likely or desirable. In other words, if you are open minded and smart enough to find that science and history do nothing to support the existence of some deity or specific claims made about some deity, and there’s no great philosophical argument like “life has no purpose without God” or “people can’t be moral without God” that makes you cling to a belief that is devoid of evidence, why believe in it? There seem to be a number of neurophysiological reasons our brains continue to desire an unnecessary and implausible God there is a complete void of evidence for, but there are also many sociological reasons we’d cling to such beliefs (obviously there is a lot of neurophysiological and sociological overlap where neurology produces sociological phenomenon).
       One such sociological reason that seems to come up quite frequently is the desire for people to have “shared values.” I know that Americans are taught to believe we have shared values and to cherish them. Our politicians, pundits, preachers, and history textbooks constantly speak of them. I’ve been doing some thinking about this concept of “shared values” and I’ve come to the conclusion that part of the reason it seems to be that (some) liberals find it easier to let go of God in light of the lack of evidence and implausibility of religious claims in light of scientific and historical evidence pertaining to myriad of subjects, whereas no conservative would ever let go of God (no matter how much of a free-thinking libertarian they are when it comes to everything else) even if they do understand the lack of evidence for God/religious dogma, and the unnecessary and implausible aspects of claims of God and religious dogma, is because they value “shared values” whereas liberals can do without them.
         Whether it’s the type or role of government we prefer, the religion (or lack thereof) we adhere to, the economic concepts we agree with, the type of education we think people ought to have, the roles we feel the two genders ought to hold, the structure or type of family we prefer, the things we think our military should or should not do, the morals we feel should be followed, or anything else, conservatives and liberals take a fundamentally different approach to diversity. Conservatives say it should be killed where it can be, with everyone assimilating into a certain structure, whereas liberals say it should be preserved and tolerated. Liberals think people should totally hold different views on government, religion, economics, family, military, and tons of other stuff. Conservatives think everyone should conform to some singular view. A conservative would say that all Americans should conform to a small government, Christian, capitalist, masculine dominated, traditional family, heterosexual, military interventionist culture. The more conservative they are, the less wiggle room they will permit, becoming increasingly fundamentalist in areas like Christianity, free market orthodoxy, patriarchy, etc. Specific attributes of the conformist culture that they’d say ought to be absolutely conformed to like freedom become increasingly dogmatic, where  “common sense” limitations like the freedom to pollute a river or carry around an assault weapon are deemed horrific and intolerable suggestions.
       If it were possible for everyone to become one skin color a conservative would absolutely say everyone ought to be pressured to become it, just as they like feel everyone should be pressured into speaking English or practicing Christianity. They absolutely abhor sub-cultures that various racial and ethnic groups have developed, which leads to old white conservative men on say Fox News constantly expressing a bizarre disdain and fear of something like “gansta rap culture.” (which I’m not entirely sure has even been a thing since like 1994, but whatever). It also leads to a denial of some unchangeable differences beyond skin color being unchangeable, like one’s sexual orientation, which they go on to demonize as some sort of inferior sexual sub-culture as much as they demonize non-majority racial sub-cultures as inferior.
          Liberals aren’t like that. They don’t really care if people are different. Shared values aren’t important to them. There is a brand of liberalism that is into a sort of universalism where different people somehow remain different while becoming united, a sort of eastern religious concept. However, for most, they okay with different people simply co-existing in toleration, even if never really “united.” Religion serves as a way to unite factions of people, but also to divide those different united factions. Eastern philosophical religions try to unite diverse people. But most secular-minded liberals are secular precisely because they are okay with the complete absence of uniting forces. They’d rather tolerate than assimilate. And while it takes religion to assimilate, it doesn’t take religion to tolerate. So, some liberals can deal with having no religion.

I Believe The Angry Backlash Against Feminism Is About The Fear of Never Getting A Woman/A Woman Leaving Because Women Can Now Afford Single Life, Divorce, Cheating Even If A Man Loves Them

        Over the past half century a societal male resentment has developed towards females’ increased access to economic opportunities, contraception, and abortion. While some of the male backlash is rooted in adherence to religious dogma that prescribes gender roles and forbids contraception/abortion, that’s actually a small part of the backlash, more often used as an excuse to rationalize resentment held for other reasons. While some other part of the male backlash is rooted in pure misogyny, that too is a very small part of the equation that is more often cited as a justification for the backlash rather than being the true root cause, much like the religious objections. It’s not so much religion or misogyny that drives males to a freak out about female liberation. Rather, what disturbs them is the loss of romantic security with women that the sexual and economic liberation of women brings. The economic and sexual/reproductive liberation of women has fully humanized women, which has left men unable to keep them as dehumanized but cherished human pets. In other words, while your dog may or may not love you, you love it, and it sticks around because you are its only ticket to resources like food and shelter. Women used to be like that; they may or may not have loved their husband, but the husband most certainly loved them and the wife stuck around because the husband was its only ticket to resources like food and shelter. With economic and sexual liberation being afforded women, it’s analogous to your dog being afforded the ability to go do whatever it wanted and surviving with or without you, only sticking with you if it truly loved you as more than a resource provider. Some dogs would leave their people, some would stay. Some women are leaving their men (or never getting with a man in the first place), while some are staying. (And no, everyone don’t freak out I’m not comparing women to dogs, I’m comparing male treatment of women to the human treatment of dogs)
           You see, marriage is a relatively new concept in the course of human history. We had tribes when we were hunter-gatherer, and archeological and genetic evidence suggests that in those tribes the adult men and women were all fucking each other, with women having babies from different men in the tribe and men impregnating many different women in the tribe at various points. The the men were sharing their hunting scores with the whole tribe, the women were sharing their gathering scores with the whole tribe, and the pregnant, young, and old women, and the old men were all raising all the children together. While mothers obviously knew who their children were, most men probably had no clue which children belonged to whom; more or less the children belonged to the “community” that the tribe was. So, there was no “marriage” in these tribes, which persisted for the first 180,000 to 190,000 years of human existence. Then, we transitioned to agriculture, where individuals could control plots of land that they fed themselves with (Crops and domesticated farm animals).Men were much more important than women in an agricultural society, because unlike a tribe that roamed from place to place you’d stay on your same property, requiring you build sturdy, permanent shelter, and taking care of the land that grew crops took lots of hard physical labor. Suddenly, food and shelter came essentially exclusively from males, whereas before men and women in small tribes were equally important. Thus, the concept of marriage became crucial, where individual males that owned and worked a specific piece of land and built and maintained a study shelter on it would marry individual females, whom would be taken care of by their male, so long as they remained sexually monogamous so that their male would only share the fruits of his labors and pass on his property to his actually blood children.
         Under the marriage model what a female values in a husband is an individual male with resources (land, food, shelter) that gains a strong enough emotional attachment to her that he will never leave her, and thus she and her children will always be taken care of by him. What a male values in a wife under this marriage model is an individual female that he grows emotionally attached enough to that he would want to take care of her and make his babies with her. Additionally, he would desire a woman that didn’t have sex with other males. That’s because he’d fear the woman he grew emotionally attached to sharing love with someone else, and also because he’d want to guarantee that any children he was giving resources to were truly his. In other words, in agricultural societies men want to fall in love, while women want to be loved
          It is only very, very recently that much of the western world has moved away from agricultural family models. With industrialized and technological capitalism people no longer rely on owning and working land to feed and shelter themselves as much as they rely on performing some intellectual task for some company selling some good or service that will give them money they can use to go buy food and shelter. Men are physically stronger than women, but intellectually the genders are equals. Thus, in a world were being an accountant, a marketing executive, an electrical engineer, or any other of thousands of job titles that have nothing to do with physical abilities are extremely common ways of acquiring resources, females no longer need men to take care of them. This has resulted in a shift in the purpose of the institution of marriage. People now get married for mutual love, rather than property and resources. It’s no longer about a woman finding a man that will love her enough to give her resources, nor is it any longer about a man finding a woman he loves enough to create the heirs to his property with.
        Men have always married “for love,” in the sense that they’d search for someone they could grow attached enough to that they’d want to make their offspring with them. Women never married “for love,” but rather for a man who loved them enough to take care of them. Men are scared about the evolution of the institution of marriage from “agricultural society marriages” to “industrial/technological society marriages,” because now it’s no longer a matter of them simply being entitled to keeping the presence and sexual commitment of a woman they fall in love with if they have resources to offer. No, now they must actually convince the woman they are in love with to fall in love with them. A woman will not marry a man that loves her if she doesn’t love him as she would have in agricultural times, because she can keep taking care of herself and wait for a man she actually loves back. A woman will leave a man she has married if she falls out of love because she can take care of herself and any kids she has without a male providing resources. A woman will cheat on a husband that loves her him because she knows with access to contraception and abortion she need not fear having the baby of a man who isn’t her husband. The fact that women don’t have to marry men that are in love with them because of their newfound economic freedom scares men. The fact that women can divorce their husband and be okay if she falls out of love because of her newfound economic freedom scares men. The fact that women can cheat on their husband because of her newfound sexual and reproductive freedom scares men. Men are scared because their love of a woman used to guarantee their marrying her, keeping her around for life, and her never sexually straying, and now the leverage that guaranteed all those things about the woman they fell in love with is totally gone.
      Of course, we started moving away from agriculture to industry far more recently than women’s liberation came about. For quite some time there men kept their “marriage leverage” by forcibly keeping women out of the industrialized, intellectual merits workforce. If women couldn’t make as much money as men by using their equal brains they’d still have to marry men that loved them, and work to keep men in love with them, and forgo the option to leave men if they fell out of love, or stray from men if they got horny, while men exclusively maintained those abandonment/cheating options. But the 20th century slowly changed all that. Women first gained political power early in the century from the suffrage movement, then economic options with the feminist movement mid-century, and around the three quarters mark began to gain sexual and reproductive freedoms with stuff like the pill and Roe v Wade. Basically from 1920 (19th Amendment) to 1973 (Roe v Wade) women climbed from being fully unequal in treatment to near full equal treatment (at least from a legal perspective) in all the important areas (political, economic, sexual). Empowered and free, men from the three quarters mark of the 20th century onwards have had to deal with a new world where they don’t always get the woman they want, can’t guarantee those woman won’t later leave them if they do get her, and aren’t the only one that can afford to leave and/or cheat.
        The backlash against this new reality has manifested in many ways over the past roughly 40 years. Men denounce things like access to contraception or abortion, they scream about the feminization of society, they do everything they can to limit women’s access to empowering employment opportunities, they make light of things like rape culture or domestic violence, they find masculine sanctuaries like violent sports, they hyper-scrutinize women in positions of financial or political or cultural power, they get together and lament about the lost golden days of masculinity, they paint feminism as an angry, hateful concept, etc. But most of all, they themselves simply become angry and hateful, because like most angry and hateful people they are simply scared and vulnerable. Scared of not being able to get a woman now they are empowered with options, vulnerable to losing their woman if she decides she wants to leave now that she is empowered enough to do so. Men are simply pissing their pants that women can afford to ask for something more than being loved and taken care of like an adored puppy. It’s scary, but men need to be a little braver and women a little more understanding of the fundamental fears men are now having to deal with for the first time ever.  

2014-15 NBA Preview


1.) Cleveland Cavaliers:
The return of LeBron would have been enough to make them the slight favorites in the east, but their ability to bring in Kevin Love positions them as massive favorites. With Paul George out for the year in Indiana, and Derrek Rose being unable to lure Carmelo to Chicago, there is no true threat to this team. They have the best player on the planet, another top 5 talent as their #2 in Love, and oh by the way Kyrie Irving, a budding superstar as the cherry on top of a new Big 3. LeBron’s ability to assemble a veteran bench full of the proper fits (Marion, Miller, Jones, etc), along with scrappy Anderson Varejo in the middle makes this a deep and versatile squad on top of their other worldly front end star power. It’s a race for second in the east this year.
2.) Chicago Bulls: It’s a damn shame Carmelo chose the comforts of money and home over a legitimate shot at a ring, because had he joined forces with Rose and Noah the Cavs-Bulls rivalry of the next few seasons would have been insane. As it is they were able to convince Pau Gasol that they have a better chance at winning than OKC, which says a lot. Assuming Derrek Rose can be even 90% of the old MVP Rose there’s no reason to think that a team with perhaps the best interior and perimeter defenders in the game (Noah and Jimmy Butler), a perennial sixth man of the year candidate (Taj Gibson), Gasol and some much needed shooting from the past two years’ first round picks (Tony Snell and Doug McDermott) and the oft underrated Mike Dunleavy, shouldn’t be seen as second only to the LeBron-Love-Irving show in Cleveland.
3.) Washington Wizards: Even before the Paul George injury the argument could have easily been made that the Wizards were the east’s third best team. Last year they finally proved that John Wall can be damn good on a team lacking a knucklehead culture, and Bradley Beal demonstrated just how good he’s going to be for the next 10 or so years. The underrated pick up of the 2013-14 season was the trade for Marcin Gortat just before opening day. One of the most skilled and underrated big men of his generation is a great compliment to the outstanding young backcourt duo. Now they’ve compensated for the loss of free agent Trevor Ariza by bringing in Paul Pierce whom will likely benefit from being masked by a young athletic team as much as they will benefit from his championship savvy. In the long run if Derrek Rose doesn’t quite turn out to be as good as he was before the knee problems don’t be surprised if KD heads to Washington to team up with Wall and Beal just as LeBron is starting to age his way beneath Durant, setting up the Wizards for a dynasty in the second half of this decade. Just saying.
4.) Miami Heat: As much as all the Heat haters out there wanted to believe LeBron’s departure was the beginning of a post-Jordan Bulls like nosedive for Miami, the reality is that they are still one of the better teams in the east. In a stunning move Chris Bosh decided to re-sign for max money instead of heading home to play for the Rockets alongside Harden and Howard. That, coupled with the signing of Luol Deng, and the re-signing of Dwayne Wade leaves the Heat with a formidable core. They also brought in low risk-high reward Danny Granger, and return the likes of Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, and Bird-man, leaving them with just enough depth to contend for a top 4 seed.
5.) Charlotte Hornets: Don’t look now, but Charlotte is suddenly a very solid team. Long the laughing stock of the NBA, they are long past their early Bobcat days of wearing bright orange and having Gerald Wallace be their best player, or the early Jordan days when you had to honestly admit you couldn’t name 2 players on the team. Last year’s free agent acquisition of Al Jefferson is proving to be one of the better signings of recent NBA memory, as he continues on as one of the quietest all-star level players in the league, that for whatever reason only seems to be remembered as the centerpiece of the 2007-08 Kevin Garnett trade. Meanwhile Kemba Walker might not get the headlines some other young point guards get, but he’s as good or better than most others. Add in the budding potential of Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller and you have yourself the playoff squad they put out last year. Now throw in a guy like Lance Stevenson, who, love him or hate him, is one of the better defenders and underrated explosive offensive players in the game, and you’ve got a team that could steal a round come playoff time.
6.) Brooklyn Nets: Look, Derron Williams is just not healthy or good anymore, so pretty much pencil him in as an average point guard at best. The loss of Shaun Livingston, and to a lesser extent Paul Pierce will hurt, but this is the east, and even though KG really ought to just be a coach at this point, if Brook Lopez can return strong and stay relatively healthy, Joe Johnson and Lopez will provide enough to keep this a solid playoff team, but nothing more.
7.) Toronto Raptors: Sorry, but I’m not nearly as high on them as most others will be. I just don’t buy that Kyle Lowry will ever have a season as remotely good as his last, and I find DeMar DeRozen to be vastly overrated. While Valinciunis is an incredibly skilled and talented big who might make the leap to All-Star this season I’m not expecting this team, which generally lacks depth and scoring, to be much of a factor.
8.) New York Knicks: Sorry, but I just don’t buy that a team with Carmelo Anthony on it can miss the playoffs two years in a row, I just don’t, and that’s all there really is to this pick.
9.) Atlanta Hawks:
For all the offseason distractions, a return to basketball will be a welcome reprieve for this team and its fans. Unfortunately for them even with a healthy Al Horford it looks as though they don’t quite have enough to be in the playoff picture. Paul Mislap and Horford on the same front line is pretty daunting, but there’s not much else going on in the ATL aside from Kyle Korver making it rain 3’s.
10.) Indiana Pacers: What a difference a year makes. Last year they were the 1 seed, and the only legitimate contenders that could possibly stop the Heat’s run to a fourth straight finals. For whatever reason Roy Hibbert decided that he wasn’t going to play basketball in the second half of the season, and Evan Turner didn’t seem to understand he’d been traded to a contender until after the year was over. It was truly a tale of two halves for this bunch, but still, despite bizarre things like Roy Hibbert failing to score in game 1 of the Washington series they did make it to the ECF and took the Heat to 6. However, now Paul George is lost for the year courtesy of USA basketball, Hibbert is probably a mess, Stevenson left for Charlotte, Turner also left, and quite frankly all that is left is emotional leader David West left with nobody to lead.
11.) Detroit Pistons: They are so much better on paper than they are in practice. I learned my lesson last year, and will not be picking them as some sleeper playoff contender this time around. Andre Drummond is apparently going to be the eastern conference’s DeMarcus Cousins (a beast on a bad team), and Josh Smith and Greg Monroe are apparently going to continue to learn from Brandon Jennings how to have horrible shot selection. The spenditure on Jodie Meeks is a head scratcher, and I just don’t seem them being very good.
12.) Milwaukee Bucks: They were surprisingly horrible last year, but that helped them land Jabari Parker, whom I think is the next Carmelo. Given that fact they won’t be as bad as last year. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo is showing signs of having Paul George like defensive tools and athleticism to go with his length so some pieces may be beginning to assemble.
13.) Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo trade watch day 1 begins now….in other news the Celtics aren’t very good, even though Avery Bradley makes playing defense look cool.
14.) Orlando Magic: By virtue of the Sixers wanting to finish dead last the Magic will not.
15.) Philadelphia 76ers: By tanking throughout the end of last year and encouraging MCW to go absolutely YMCA every night in attempt to pad stats so they could hoist a rookie of the year trophy, they managed to probably ruin the one good asset they had. Meanwhile, with their coveted high lottery pick they decided to take an oft-injured big with freaky athletic potential…exactly one year after taking an oft-injured big with freaky athletic potential. Joel Embiid, meet Nerlens Noel, and your coach Sam Bowie (just kidding about that last part…I think)


1.) San Antonio Spurs: Because I’ve finally learned to never pick against Pop, Duncan, Parker, and Manu they’ll probably finally bust, but since Houston and OKC failed to upgrade they remain number one. They simply find ways to keep on winning
2.) Oklahoma City Thunder: This might be the last great chance for Durant and Westbrook to get a ring together. The team went all in on trying to lure Gasol to town, but failed, leaving Ibaka and the two superstars on their own to once again navigate through the loaded west. If only they had chosen Harden over Ibaka a few years ago they’d probably already have a ring. As it stands now this squad is still probably the most talent heavy of any in the west, and possibly the league.
3.) Los Angeles Clippers: It’s hard to know how much the Donald Sterling situation held them back from making a deeper run in last year’s playoffs. The maturation of Blake Griffin’s game last season now positions the Paul-Griffin combo as potentially on par with Durant-Westbrook. The remainder of their core is still in-tact, with Jamal Crawford being the best off the bench pure scorer in the league and DeAndre Jordan being the best rebounder/defender big man in the game. This team is easily on the shortlist of genuine title contenders.
4.) Houston Rockets: They very nearly turned themselves into the best team in the league this summer, but in the end it was a miserable fail. Not only did Chris Bosh inexplicably decide to run away from the pressures of a championship caliber homecoming, but Chandler Parsons bolted for greener Texas pastures, leaving the Rockets with nothing more than their original big two and an overpriced Trevor Ariza. Worst of all Harden declared Parsons an insignificant piece that would be easy to replace, leaving him with some serious explaining to do when that turns out to not be the case. In fact, Harden of all people should know something about an underutilized third option blossoming into a star when his original team decides to let leave. At the end of the day Harden is the best 2 guard in basketball and Howard is the still the league’s best all-around center, so they retain a top 4 spot in the loaded west, but oh what could have been.
5.) Golden State Warriors: Mark Jackson absolutely got screwed. After building a perennial laughing stock into a year in year out contender in the deep western conference he was unceremoniously fired for failing to produce even bigger results. Now Steve Kerr takes over, and the team will look to take the next step forward even though everyone else has them taking a major step back. The bottom line is there may be more legitimacy to their holding back Clay Thompson in a Kevin Love package than people realize, and when paired with Steph Curry, and backed by veteran talent like David Lee, Andre Iguadala, and Andre Bogut, with Harrison Barnes, one of the best young wings in the game, coming off the bench, this is still yet another western conference squad that could easily contend for second in the east.
6.) Dallas Mavericks: I only have them this high because I truly believe Chandler Parsons has the ability of a franchise player. However, to all the people putting the Mavs up in the top 3 or 4 of this year’s west I’d like to remind everyone just how old Nowitki and Chandler are, how bad Jammer Nelson, and how fat Raymond Felton will be if he isn’t already. Seriously, this is your overrated pre-season pick of the year.
7.) Memphis Grizzlies: One of the few things you can count on is that the Memphis Grizzlies will roll out Z-Bo and the other Gasol, plus perpetually underrated Mike Connelly Jr each season and be pretty good, but not great, make the playoffs, and then take a much better team through a deep and entertaining series, or even steal a round or two. This year’s Grizzlies are no different, so I fully expect the same results to play out.
8.) Portland Trailblazers: Last year’s first half made us think they were better than they were, and Damion Lillard’s buzzer beating first round winner gave him more star-power than he deserves. However, it did also finally lift the veil from LaMarcus Aldridge who is a legitimate top 10 player in this league. However, it’s more of a Chris Bosh in Toronto or Kevin Love in Minnesota type of top 10 situation, so don’t expect the Blazers to finish much higher than this. Although, if by some chance they do match up with a tired Spurs team in the first round it’s a match-up that presents problems for the champs that could lead to an upset, despite last year’s second round sweep.
9.) Phoenix Suns: The loss of Channing Frye will hurt more than people are anticipating, and I feel quite badly for this team. In any other situation they’d be a sure bet for the playoffs, but not in this west. I have to be the first to admit just how much this team caught me by surprise last year. Jeff Hornacek is one hell of a coach and Eric Bledsoe is a legitimate All-Star caliber point guard. However, the no-name overachieving supporting cast will be unable to crack the playoffs in such a talent rich conference no matter how hard they bring it night in, night out.
10.) New Orleans Pelicans: The beneficiaries of Houston needing to dump Asik’s salary cap hit to pursue players they never got, now has a 1-2 frontcourt combo in Anthony Davis and Asik that rivals the Grizzlies. However, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans don’t mesh well together, or shoot efficiently enough to make this a playoff team. However, do look out for Ryan Anderson getting in the mix for sixth man of the year, and get ready for this team to be really good in the years to come if they can find that extra missing piece.
11.) Denver Nuggets: Kenneth Faried very much has lived up to his nickname while playing for Team USA, and despite Javel McGee being a regular on Shaqin a fool, this is the sort of western conference team that could be a low eastern conference playoff seed, but in the west, they will merely have to settle for racking up out of conference wins, and stealing games from better teams affected by their home court altitude.
12.) Los Angeles Lakers: Despite having drafted Anthony Bennett 2.0 (Julius Randall…who just a year ago was on the same level as Parker and Wiggins), claiming Carlos Boozer off amnesty waivers, bringing in Linsanity to accommodate Rockets payroll dumping during their Bosh pursuit, and paying Kobe and Nash way too much money to do something other than be retired, the fact remains that a Kobe-led team still probably won’t finish any lower than this.
13.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Jabari Parker is more NBA ready than Andrew Wiggins, but in the long run I still maintain Wiggins will be the best from a loaded 2014 draft class. Grabbing Thaddeus Young as from the 4 team Kevin Love deal is a huge steal, and who knows maybe a change of scenery will help Anthony Bennett remember that he’s an athlete and a former #1 overall pick. They have like a million point guards as they seem to every year (Rubio, Barea, Mo Williams), and Kevin Martin is their only true scoring threat, albeit one that can’t create his own shot, but in the long run I like some of the pieces beginning to assemble here. If they can develop Wiggins, and add a #2 alongside chips like Rubio and Pekovic, this could be a playoff team in a few years.
14.) Sacramento Kings: What if DeMarcus Cousins grew up and was on a good team? Just saying, the Kings could get a lot in return if they made the second half of that rhetorical come true, which is the only way they will ever start to build towards a winner. Meanwhile, look for Rudy Gay to jack up like 25 shots a night even though he’s Rudy Gay.
15.) Utah Jazz: Remember when the Jazz were a playoff team every single year no matter what? Apparently the opposite is now going to be true for a while. They have a lot of lottery picks (Hayward, Favors, Burke) that aren’t huge busts, but just aren’t all that terribly good. Meanwhile Dante Exum is the mystery of the loaded 2014 draft class. He’s either going to be the Australian Tony Parker or a massive bust, or maybe just another Gordon Hayward like lottery pick, who knows? But whatever he turns out to be, that will determine a lot of their future plans for this team in the years to come. It’s also a good thing they are going to be really bad for a while, because it’s not like they are a prime free agent destination; they’ll have to build through the draft.

1 Cavs vs 8 Knicks: Cavs in 4
4 Heat vs 5 Hornets: Hornets in 5
2 Bulls vs 7 Raptors: Bulls in 7
3 Wizards vs 6 Nets: Wizards in 6
1 Cavs vs 5 Hornets: Cavs in 5
2 Bulls vs 3 Wizards: Wizards in 6
Conference Finals:
1 Cavs vs 3 Wizards: Cavs in 5

1 Spurs vs 8 Blazers: Spurs in 6
4 Rockets vs 5 Warriors: Warriors in 7
2 Thunder vs 7 Grizzlies: Thunder in 7
3 Clippers vs 6 Mavericks: Clippers in 4
1 Spurs vs 5 Warriors: Warriors in 6
2 Thunder vs. 3 Clippers: Clippers in 6
Conference Finals
3 Clippers vs 5 Warriors: Clippers in 7

E1 Cavs vs W3 Clippers: Cavs in 7

NBA CHAMPS: Cleveland Cavilers
NBA MVP: LeBron James

All-NBA First Team
Kevin Durant (OKC)
LeBron James (CLE)
Blake Griffin (LAC)
Tony Parker (SA)
James Harden (HOU)

All-NBA Second Team
Kevin Love (CLE)
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR)
Chris Paul (LAC)
Steph Curry (GS)
Russell Westbrook (OKC)

All-NBA Third Team
Anthony Davis (NO)
Chris Bosh (MIA)
Dwight Howard (HOU)
John Wall (WAS)
Derrek Rose (CHI)

All-NBA Defensive First Team
LeBron James (CLE)
Serge Ibaka (OKC)
Anthony Davis (NO)
Jimmy Butler (CHI)
Chris Paul (LAC)

All-NBA Defensive Second Team
Avery Bradley (BOS)
Joakim Noah (CHI)
Roy Hibbert (IND)
Marc Gasol (MEM)
Lance Stephenson (CHA)

All-NBA Rookie First Team
Jabari Parker (MIL)
Andrew Wiggins (MIN)
Aaron Gordon (ORL)
Adriean Payne (ATL)
Doug McDermott (CHI)

Civil War and Civil Rights Movment Racially Defined, Re-Defined, and Polarized US Political Parties…Will Immigration and War on Drugs Re-Define Again?

     America’s political landscape is shaped by the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. As much as we like to try and kid ourselves into thinking that “conservative vs. liberal” is about the financial divisions that shape our respective economic ideologies, it is not class-driven economic views that drive politics. No, rather it is our racial history. It would be nice if economic differences were actually the cause of our political divisions, both because that’s a lot less nasty than racially divided politics and because that would mean the masses would finally win the class struggle when they all vote for their own interest, but reality is that race drives politics. 1856 was the birth of the Republican Party, Lincoln’s election came in 1860, and secession and the Civil War followed in 1861. After the war’s end, Lincoln’s assassination, and Reconstruction, the political lines had been drawn in the sand. The old Confederate states in the South belonged to Democrats, and the Northeast and Midwest largely belonged to Republicans, who wielded a brand of social liberalism with fiscal conservatism. In the 21 Presidential elections that took place from 1880 (the first year all southern ex-Confederate states were again participating in US elections) through JFK’s election in 1960, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas went for the Democrat all 21 times. North Carolina went 20 for 21, deviating GOP only once in 1928. Meanwhile, Texas, Virginia, and Florida managed to maintain their streaks through 1948’s election, only deviating and going Republican beginning with Ike in 1952, and having made a singular detour in 1928, leaving them 17 out of 18 from 1880-1948. Tennessee went 16 for 18 from 1880-1948 going GOP in ’20 and ’24. To recap from full voting reunification onwards….
Louisiana: 21 for 21 Democrat (1880-1960)
Mississippi: 21 for 21 Democrat (1880-1960)
Alabama: 21 for 21 Democrat (1880-1960)
Georgia: 21 for 21 Democrat (1880-1960)
South Carolina: 21 for 21 Democrat (1880-1960)
Arkansas: 21 for 21 Democrat (1880-1960)
North Carolina: 20 for 21 Democrat (1880-1960)
Virginia: 17 for 18 Democrat (1880-1948)
Texas: 17 for 18 Democrat (1880-1948)
Florida: 17 for 18 Democrat (1880-1948)
Tennessee: 16 for 18 Democrat (1880-1948)
        Democrats didn’t have a political platform, just a racial ideology. Republicans stood for a lot of things. They stood for business, they stood for the environment, they stood for education, they stood for military intervention. Democrats stood for “we hate niggers.” It was really basically that simple. We were a one party state for all pragmatic purposes, which is never a good idea for prosperity as the USSR showed. Technically we had two big political parties, but one was a racial hate group, and the other was basically the war mongering, party of plutocrats. While Republicans were busy doing things like exploiting child labor and trying to steal parts of Mexico and Cuba with the US military, the average person had no political representation aside from a party that would represent their racism if they were from the South. This void was attempted to be filled by the Populists of the 1890’s, but they failed. Later, Teddy Roosevelt was a nearly populist minded President by mistake; the anti-big business GOP rarity that was hidden away by the industrial tycoons as the VP on McKinney’s ticket who did them the disservice of dying and making Teddy President. But after him, it went back to more of the old way; Coolidge and Harding-like Republicans and racist Southern Democrats competing for votes.
           It wasn’t until the crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression that the void for the everyday people was finally successfully and permanently filled by a new brand of Democrat that actually stood for something aside from racism. The New Deal Democrats were born with FDR’s election in 1932, and were able to chip away enough Northeastern and Midwestern working class voters who had traditionally voted Republican by default virtue of being a Northerner, and combined them with the loyal racist Southern base of votes to maintain power and usher in the era of banking regulations, Social Security, progressive tax reform, union protections, farm subsidies, and the likes that began to turn the non-rich Northern folks to Democrats. The Democratic Party was officially divided. There were the liberals from all around the country outside the South, and then the conservatives from the South. There was a sort of unwritten agreement that the New Deal Democrats would just focus on economic issues for the masses and never attack the racist conservative social policies of the Southerners in the party, while the Southerners would never attack the liberal economic policies of the New Dealers, and they’d give each other their respective votes. It seemed that the big business Republicans were dead.
         Then the Civil Rights Movement happened. The Democratic stronghold on the country was already weakened by the southern border states being willing to go with Republican Ike throughout the 50’s since he was such a military hawk war hero and the economy was booming in light of European manufacturing being in rubble. Only the Deep South was reliably Democrat. Then the Democrats ran a Catholic (JFK) in 1960 further upsetting the old conservative southern base, but the Dems were able to win the South one last time. But once Southern blacks began to mobilize and demand the end of Jim Crow, Dems realized that by 1964 if they weren’t in support of civil rights enough blacks had abandoned the south for urban industrial centers in the Northeast and Midwest that they’d end up losing the entirety of those two regions, with the South alone not being enough to keep Kennedy, a Catholic the southern Baptists were hardly fond of anyways, in office. Thus, they decided that the Kennedy administration would begin supporting liberal social policies, aka civil rights for black people. Republicans responded to this by appealing to the southerners who felt abandoned by the Dems, as well as traditionally New Deal economic liberals from Midwestern urban centers who were getting racially worked up by the influx of southern blacks escaping Jim Crow for Detroit’s auto factories, Chicago’s meat plants, Ohio’s steel mills, etc. All of a sudden the big business party had two new targets: the suburban “white flight” folks from the Midwest who hated blacks “invading” their cities, and the southern whites who had hated them going back to plantation days. Democrats sacrificed all those white folks for the black vote, combined with the rare racially tolerant northern economic liberals from the Midwest, and the white economic liberals from the Northeast and west coast, where far fewer blacks had run off to as opposed to Midwestern cities. Additionally, they targeted the Northeast economic conservative Republicans who were disgusted at their party’s sudden appeal to racists from Midwestern suburbs and the Deep South.
          The Democrats had flipped their coalition, essentially overnight, from “racist South+ New Deal northerners”, to “all black people +faction of New Deal northerners that were tolerant or not living near blacks +old GOP Northeastern economic conservatives appalled by GOP appeal to racists.” On the other hand, the Republicans reacted by flipping their coalition, essentially overnight, from “rich people everywhere but the South” to “all of the South+ white people from Midwestern suburbs+ rich non-southerners okay with party attracting racists so long as they get the economic policies they desire.” This massive flip in our political landscape as a nation occurred during the Kennedy years, and was set to be tested for the first time in 1964. However, JFK’s death being mourned, combined with the fact LBJ was a Texan meant the Midwest and Northeast were voting Dem out of mourning respect no matter what, and Texas along with the border states in the South viewed LBJ as enough “one of their own” to vote for him despite the Democratic retreat from the old Confederacy and racism. Likewise, after 1968 we didn’t have a clear picture of how it would play out because the anti-Vietnam backlash against Democrats transcended this new racial landscape. It wasn’t really until 1972 that we got to see just who was going to win from this new realignment of political demographics and ideologies absent of an assassinated President or an unpopular war draft. In 1972 the answer was loud and it said Republicans won the realignment. If “all black people” and “all white southerners” cancelled each other out, “white racists from Midwestern suburbs” turned out to far outnumber “racially tolerant Midwestern economic liberals” and “Northeastern economic conservatives cool with their party being racist so long as they got the economic legislation they wanted” turned out to far outnumber “Northeastern economic conservatives outraged enough by GOP pandering to racism to vote for Democrats.” Nixon won in a landslide.
        From there, it was time for Democrats to make a move. They probably considered trying to backtrack on their civil rights shift of the 60’s, but determined it was too late. Instead, they decided to try and roll out a new version of ’64 LBJ; a Southerner that would be trusted by white Southerners enough to win their vote over a Republican from the Midwest or Northeast, thereby giving Democrats back the South, while still getting to keep the Midwestern black vote; a 1-2 punch large enough to beat out Northeast business conservatives and Midwestern white racists. They found such a guy in Jimmy Carter. Carter was super socially liberal, but the old South would rather have had him than a guy like Gerald Ford from Michigan, just some Midwestern guy who wasn’t really all that racist and more just about giving “Southern culture” lip service and appealing more the Northeast conservative business class. Carter won, and it seemed Democrats had their new long term strategy of keeping both Southern Whites and Midwestern blacks. However, it fell apart when the world fell apart around Carter and the nation turned on him. Ted Kennedy tried to primary an incumbent President, and the Republicans organized the “moral majority” for Regan, permanently fixing the racist Southern culture and the Evangelical religious culture for the GOP, even though Reagan was a Catholic. The South would forever be Republican.
        Over the next three elections Democrats struggled to figure out what to do. Business conservatives seemed to have a stranglehold on the nation because racist hyper-religious Southerners were now in their corner after the abandonment of “don’t ask don’t tell” New Deal Democrat policy towards old Southern Democrat racism by JFK, and the betrayal of LBJ and Carter as racially tolerant, socially liberal Southern Democrat Presidents. From 1980 to 2008 Democrats only won with Clinton, who got them back some border states from the south since he was from Arkansas, and more or less willing to take the pre-Kennedy “don’t ask don’t tell” approach to Southern racism. However, Democrats learned just how polarized the geography had become when Gore lost to Bush in 2000. What had finally set into stone were the racially produced political regions. The northeast had evolved from the time of Nixon’s ’72 landslide and decided that they were more abhorred by racism than interested in tax cuts and deregulation, becoming a Democratic stronghold despite being the richest collection of states in the union, a complete 180 from tradition. The Midwest would be swing territory, although states like Illinois and Michigan that had big black populations like Chicago and Detroit would be pretty solidly Democrat, while states like Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio that had closer to a true mix of urban blacks and suburban/rural whites would be purple. The west coast would be much like the east coast; financially well off folks abhorred by the social conservatism of the GOP enough to vote against their own economic interests by going Democrat. Meanwhile, the entirety of the South was solidly GOP. The Great Plaines and Mountain West states that were very white and rural would also be GOP for good despite not having much of a black population to be racist against living there and having been formed largely after the Civil War took place.
         Barack Obama has been the first non-Southern Democrat to win the Presidency since Kennedy in 1960 (LBJ, Carter, and Clinton were from Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas). He’s also obviously black. How did this happen? Basically, the way the population spread in America is currently set, a Democrat gets an automatic 206 electoral votes from having all of the Northeast, Illinois, Michigan, the three west coast states, and Hawaii. They need to simply come up with another 64 (270 to win), which is pretty easy to do. There are the Midwestern states like OH, PA, WI, IA, MN, and IN, which have a combined 75 electoral votes available. Iowa, and Minnesota have become reliably Dem, and WI, OH, and PA are very much in play every year. 23 more electoral votes are in play in the west, with Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico developing large enough Latino populations that they’ve become de facto minority majority Democrat states. Assuming a Democrat can keep IA, MN, NV, CO, and NM, you end up with 242 electoral votes, and from there it’s a matter of piecing together 28 from FL, OH, PA, WI, IN, as well as VA, and NC, which are both suddenly back in play as purple states that have gotten too urban and too black for Republicans to keep a white rural racist stranglehold on them. You can simply win FL to win with 271, or PA or OH, plus any one of the other 5 will do, or you can piece mail together some combination like WI, IN, and VA. The point is that essentially every year, as it currently stands it boils down to a starting point of 242 Dem to 180 GOP with those last six states in play. The difference between now and 2000 when Gore lost is that Nevada and Colorado are now blue and states like Virginia and North Carolina are back in play. In 2008 Obama won NH, CO, NV, OH, IN, VA, NC, and FL whereas Gore did not. In 2012, Obama won NH, CO, NV, OH, VA, and FL. If Gore were running in 2012 he’d have won CO and NV for sure as they are now solidly blue. With today’s electoral vote distribution that’d leave him with 268. All he’d have to do is manage to not lose NH, (the one Northeastern state that sometimes goes red) or win any one of Ohio, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, or Indiana. Of those 5 only 3 were actually in play back in 2000, and of course Gore actually won Florida (and not that it matters, but also the popular vote) but Jeb Bush, SCOTUS, and some other players helped the courts give us 8 years of W.
         But as you can see, the overall picture is that only Western states with suddenly large Latino populations, or Midwestern states with a roughly equal number of suburban/rural whites and urban blacks, or Confederacy border states that are becoming more urbanized and black are actually in play in any given election. Race has already determined how all but 11 (by a most generous counting that includes light blue states NV, CO, MN, IA, WI, NH, light red states IN, NC, and truly purple states OH, VA, and FL)  of the 50 states are going to vote on a year in year out basis. And this is bad. It means that the 21 deeply GOP states and their 180 electoral votes, and the 18 deeply Democratic states (plus D.C.) and their 227 electoral votes leave the respective parties confident enough in their stronghold on those states to pursue increasingly extremist policies to the right or left in said states. After all, no matter how nutty a Tea Party nut gets in say Alabama or a near Communist liberal gets in say Oregon, it’s not like those states are going to suddenly flip to the other party.
          Something else to think about is that we might be on the verge of another huge racial shift in US political demographics. With Latino immigrants flooding into border states, the political party that can manage to avoid being racist pricks and create legislation that would make those brought here as children US citizens, while providing a path to citizenship for people that snuck in here as adults, and then making future immigration laws relaxed enough that people don’t have to sneak in to get in, could easily hold both California and Texas for generations to come, not to mention that it could create a domino effect just like the 1964 effect. Like if Republicans did that, and Democrats did a 180 and became all racist and xenophobic towards Mexicans to try and keep the white California vote, within a few election cycles the Northeast and big Midwestern cities full of liberals and minorities could flip and go GOP.  Or, whichever party can actually come up with support for legislation that would decriminalize drug use and order the automatic release of all imprisoned non-violent drug offenders (who are disproportionately black and Latino despite whites self-reporting equal amounts of drug use as any other racial group) would probably own the black vote for generations. I think both the immigration and legalization of drugs issue is going to really redefine the political landscape one way or the other over the next decade or so.

Public Schools Should Teach Academic Religion So The Public Can Properly Deal With Geopolitics

First of all, to be clear, anyone reading this needs to understand I’m an atheist and think all religions are silly, so I have no favorites or preferences in these clash of religious culture matters. Okay, so anyways…..

   Over the past few days I’ve read of Pat Robertson (famed “moral majority” televangelist and 1988 Presidential candidate) saying that dictates to kill people in the Bible are okay because they come from “God” while such dictates that come from the Koran are not because they come from “Allah.” I’ve also read of Pope Francis (normally my boy talking some good shit about not focusing on gays and abortion and saying atheists are cool too amongst other surprising stuff) literally citing the Crusades as the historical precedent for going to destroy ISIS, which would kind of be like citing the Holocaust to destroy some horrible Jewish terrorist group in the unlikely event one ever arose. This all on top of guys like famous Christian radio pundit Bryan Fischer talking about how democracy is only possible in the Middle East if we send Christian missionaries to forcibly convert them, and for old time’s sake who could forget Ann Coulter’s “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity,” a few days after 9/11 (a statement Robertson would have undoubtedly echoed if he weren’t too buys blaming 9/11 on homosexuality in America). Of course, these are just really conservative, hyper-Christian public figures. That doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is…..
         Statistically 1 in 3 Americans who read this will hold the erroneous view that Christians and Muslims worship different deities. It’s true. They literally are unaware of the fact “Allah” is just Arabic for God. They are completely ignorant of the fact that both Christians and Muslims worship all the Jewish religious dogma (one true god, Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, Abraham, Ten Commandments, Moses, 12 tribes, all that stuff), and merely differ in that Christians think Jesus was literally the son of that one true god, coming to clarify how people should live, whereas Muslims think Jesus was just another person being used by that god like Moses, Abraham and the rest. Instead of worshiping Jesus they think he was another in a line of prophets God revealed stuff to, with Mohammed being the final and most important one, with a literal child of God in human form never coming. The teachings of the Jesus son-of-God figure and the Mohammed top-prophet-of-God figure are more or less identical, so whether you put the Jesus New Testament on the back end of the Jewish Old Testament, or the Mohammed Koran on the back of it, you more or less end up with the exact same belief system, just a different “most important messenger” (Jesus vs. Mohammed) and a different variety of messenger (son of God vs. prophet of God), with the message written down in two different places (New Testament vs Koran). Both groups believe in all the same Old Testament stuff that is generally very messed up, and their respective add-ons (NT and Koran) water down that fairly messed up OT about the same extent. And all this within the context of worshiping the exact same Jewish monotheistic god.
            The difference is not religious, it is cultural. Most of the world’s Muslims live in SE Asia and while many of their children probably constructed our computers and T-shirts for pennies a day they don’t hate America or Christianity, because nothing in Islam or Christianity teaches them to hate each other. Non-American Christians and non-Middle Eastern Muslims have zero gripe with the other existing. Middle Eastern Muslims (a minority of the overall global Muslim population) and American Christians (a minority of the overall global Christian population) have the issues they have with each other because religion has been used a smokescreen to carry out oil wars. The US impoverished large swaths of the Middle East and set up dictatorships that blocked the road to stuff like democracy and capitalism and lots of angry, oppressed people started literally following lots of the fucked up Old Testament and Koran dictates as well as twisting them to justify doing horrible things to their economic and political oppressors. The US responded by saying they were doing this because Muslims, the people who just so happen to be living on top of the oil a largely Christian superpower wants and usually gets, hated Americans because of some different, extremist religion they held that was hell-bent on destroying Christianity. This has worked the general population of the US into an Islamaphobic frenzy, with blood-thirsty war mongering, culturally and religiously xenophobic attitudes.  
         So, here are the two things that need to happen. First, the world needs to transition to a clean energy infrastructure and economy…and fast. In addition to no longer having to oppress a region of people so badly that they cling to the literal reading of the very messed up Abrahamic religious dogma both our cultures share because we’d no longer need their oil, we’ll also avoid the whole post peak fossil fuel rising of energy costs that will eventually lead to fewer and fewer, and finally nobody being able to profit off of providing it as no one could afford to purchase it, which would basically be the end of industrialized economies….oh and that whole climate change thing destroying the environmental conditions that are conducive with civilization is probably best to avoid as well. Second, we need to bring religion into the public education system. No, not the “prayer in school” “don’t teach evolution,” “forbid sex ed,” “teach the Constitution was inspired by God” bullshit pushed by the religious, but rather an academic education of religion the phenomenon. Believe it or not, what is probably scariest to all those Christian-nationalists throughout Tea Party America isn’t forbidding their kid from dropping an Our Father before recess, or teaching them that they are cousins with chimpanzees, or telling them that the pill will prevent them from getting pregnant, or that Thomas Jefferson was a deist and Thomas Paine was an atheist whose contributions to the world was a government separate from religion…no what is scariest would be for us to actually teach their children about religion from an academic perspective.
           Growing up, because I went to public schools (although I was at a Catholic school from K-2nd grade, was dragged to church on Sunday morning, and dragged again to CCD through 8th grade on Monday nights) and my parents were not at all into pushing religious dogma on their kids I more or less knew nothing about religion. I think I was maybe 15 when I figured out that Catholic, Christian, and Protestant were not three different religions (seriously that’s what I thought), and I was probably like 20 when I figured out that Allah was not some different deity from God. I found out Hinduism was polytheistic literally like a year ago, I thought the Buddha and the Dahli Lama were gods some other cultures believed in instead of philosophical/spiritual figures, I had no damn clue where any religion originated, or why it spread, until my late teens I was under the impression a group of people were convened together, sat in a room and spit out the Bible as God instructed them on what to write, etc, etc. I could on all day, but you get the point…I was religiously ignorant. Because I was dragged to Catholic mass once a week for most of my childhood I could recite the Our Father prayer, the Nicene Creed (not that I knew what it was called or what any of it meant), and several other things by heart. I knew when to stand, sit, and kneel, and I knew all the hand gestures and stuff you were supposed to make before some priest read something out of one of the Gospels. I knew all that, but I was religiously ignorant as shit.
         If my parents had sent me to a religious school, or had been all into shoving it on me at home I would have been trained to think certain ways about certain other religions and various aspects of the religion I was being raised in, but that’s not an education, and I’m so glad that didn’t happen. At the end of the day what I’m talking about is more or less religious history. I’m talking about teaching in, say jr. high, how political theologians pieced together the Christian Bible at councils, just like you teach them about more recent political leaders meeting and drawing up treaties to end wars. I’m talking about teaching them about ancient Mediterranean or Indian cultures leading into stuff like Judaism and Hinduism the same way they are taught about ancient Egyptian or Aztec cultures and how that led to the mythologies they had (because we are allowed by the PC police to call those religions myths since nobody still follows them). I’m talking about teaching the core beliefs of different sects of different religions the same way the core philosophies of different economists are taught.
          People need to understand what each religion is, where it came from, what it believes, why it believes it, who follows it, what its history in various nations and empires was, etc, etc. Because if that happens then they’ll be better able to understand geopolitical conflicts like US-Middle Eastern relations through some context aside from what Pat Robertson or Ann Coulter or some other Christian-fascist says about where Islamic terrorist’s hatred of the US develops. Then they’ll get to work on opposing oil wars, and developing clean, sustainable, renewable energy infrastructures and making peace with other cultures and religions that are actually far more alike their own than they ever knew. A peaceful multicultural clean energy world might just be attainable with a little public religious education.

The NFL Scandal You Haven’t Heard About…It’s Business Greed

       Okay, so you know me, I’m always railing against business greed. Normally, I’m complaining about important stuff…. like how business greed causes low-skill workers to be paid sub-living wage so CEO’s and corporate VP’s can make an extra few tens of millions on top of the hundreds of millions or billions they are already work….or how business greed causes regular folks to have to breathe in cancer causing dirty air and drink dirty water, or deal with the ravages of climate change because not having environmental regulations helps some industrial tycoons make some extra millions on top of the billions they are already worth. But today I’m going to complain about a not so important example of business greed; that of NFL owners.
         We all know how pro sports work; athletes make millions of dollars to play games in front of us, with commercial interruptions that advertisers pay boatloads to networks to air, with networks paying the leagues boatloads of money to broadcast the games. It’s a great business model that makes TONS of money for the teams in these leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL). With it being such a great business model, the players can all be made incredibly rich, while the owners still profit massively regardless of ticket sales. The original pro sports model was that people paid to come watch athletes play sports and the teams’ owners paid their players a portion of that and kept enough of the remainder as a profit. It wasn’t a very lucrative model, but the popularity of sports on TV in a society with free markets changed all that. So, it leaves us all wondering, why the fuck do pro sports teams still charge fans increasingly insane prices to watch their teams play in person?
        With the rare exception of a regular person or family saving up money to go see a game as some kind of “special outing” or pseudo “vacation” regular people don’t see NFL games in person. It’s in part why things like the free viewing of training camp practices late each summer at various small colleges around a team’s area are so popular…it’s the only chance a father ever has to take his little boy to see their favorite team in person, the only chance for the low income worker who watches the games on Sundays to see the team up close. The people who actually do attend games are the doctors, lawyers, corporate VP’s, CEO’s, bankers, engineers, and other six, seven, and eight figure earners of the world and their families and friends. It’s not exactly a stadium full of small business owners, factory workers, Wal-Mart employees, cops, construction workers, teachers, nurses, fast food workers, and other “just barely getting by” working class folks and their families and friends. I went to a Bears game once. I was only there because the superintendent making about 300,000 a year at the school district my mom worked as a 35,000 salaried teacher who owned season tickets gave them to my mom for a game she couldn’t make because my mom had done something good in the classroom or something. But on our own, I was never ever going to a Bears game. Growing up Dad was a small business owner and mom a stay at home mom…later Mom went back to teach 7th grade math and Dad moved into a cycle going back and forth between low wage salesman and long term unemployed. We weren’t exactly the kind of family that was able to go watch athletes in person.
       Now look, I’m not saying that anyone should be entitled to be entertained at a pro football stadium. If the only way for teams and leagues to stay afloat were to price tickets at such a rate that only the highest of white collar, six figure, top 5-10% of society people could afford them, then so be it. I’m also not saying that teams don’t have the right to charge the highest possible rates that will still allow the seats to be sold. They have that right. I’m just saying that I had a reasonable suspicion that teams could continue to play in the super expensive stadiums they do, pay the players the insane amounts of money they do, and still have the owners take in a massive profit, even if they lowered ticket prices to a point where all kinds of regular folks could afford to go to games. So….I went and looked up the numbers and found out just how right I was.
        In 2013 the NFL made 4,192,000,000 in TV revenue. That’s billions with a “B” starting with a 4 in that billions place. It’s the net total of the TV deals they have with three networks CBS, FOX, NBC, one cable channel, ESPN, as well as Direct TV, and NFL Network profits. They divide it all between the 32 teams, for 131 million apiece. According to Forbes the Bears brought in 309 million in profits in 2013. They listed 65 million in ticket sales along with the 131 million in their TV share. That means they also made 113 million by other means, most likely the bulk of it coming from merchandise that they had made by low wage workers and foreign exploited children, that is sold for lots of money to people that can afford to drop 80 bucks on a cheap piece of cloth with some athlete’s name pasted on the back or a team’s logo pasted on the bill of a 45 dollar hat (selling skyboxes to the economic rulers of the world that don’t want to sit with regular mere doctor-lawyer fans on game days probably is another large portion of this). The Bears paid out 160 million in player salaries, and overall had a 57.1 million dollar profit. That means that since revenue was 309 million, they spent 91.9 million on things aside from player salaries for a total of 251.9 million in spenditures (309 million in revenue minus 251.9 million in spenditures equals the 57.1 million in profit).
         Now, Solider Field has 61,500 seats, and they made 65 million in regular season ticket sales, and there are 8 regular season games, all of which sellout. This means there were 492,000 seats sold. The 65 million in ticket sales divided by the 492,000 seats sold means the average ticket cost 132.11. I wanted to figure out how much less the average ticket would cost if the Bears decided they only needed to profit 10 million, while still paying the players what they do, and making all the other TV, merchandise, sky box, and other revenue they bring in. So, since they made 57.1 million in profits, you could subtract 47.1 million from the 65 million in ticket sales. That would mean the 492,000 seats sold would have to only make them 17.9 million. To make 17.9 million from 492,000 seats you have to charge 36.38 for an average seat. But I wanted to look even further and figure out how much less the cheapest seat in the house would be if the Bears only wanted 10 million instead of 57.1 million in annual profits. The cheapest seat in Solider Field is 106 dollars. The average seat drop from 132.11 to 36.38 is a 72.46% drop, so I applied a 72.46% drop from 106, which brings it to 29.20. If the cheapest seats in the house were 29.20 instead of 106 bucks regular folks could sit in them a few times a year with their families. That could happen, if the Bears were willing to profit 10 million instead of 57.1 million.
        That’s assuming they still needed to pay their players and coaches the insane amounts they do. If the players were willing to get paid well but not a few million a year to be a scrub then fans could probably sit in the cheap seats for even less. Or if the GM’s, scouts, coaches and such were willing to just get paid six figure salaries instead of millions it’d be even less. If the focus was really on helping the regular old working grunt sit with their kid at a game for a grand total of like 100 bucks after tickets, parking, food, gas, and all that was taken care of, the Bears and NFL teams could make it happen if they simply profited millions instead of millions upon millions upon millions. Greed….what the fuck is the point?

1 Thurs night game (NFL network/CBS)
1 Sun night game (NBC)
1 Mon night game (ESPN)
9 weeks of 13 sun afternoon games (Fox/CBS) (usually 11 at noon central time 2 at 3:35 ct time)
8 weeks of 11 sun afternoon games (Fox/CBS) (usually 9 at noon central time, 2 at 3:35 ct time)

-NFL Sunday ticket: You have access to all games on different channels, so you can watch whatever you want
-NFL RedZone: You are taken to whatever the best game at that moment is, and never taken to commercial, just switched games when commercials come
-On Sunday if your team isn’t playing you see the best game Fox and CBS have at that time slot, or the game they think you are most likely to watch given who your team is (like if the Bears and Lions were tied in the division they’d probably show us the Detroit game)

131,000,000 X 32 teams
4,192,000,000 NFL TV money

131,000,000 TV
65,000,000 tickets
113,000,000 in other profits (merchandise, etc)
309,000,000 total revenue
160,000,000 player salaries
91,900,000 other costs
251,900,000 total costs
57,100,000 profit
492,000 seats (61,500 x’s 8 games)
132.11 average seat with 57.1 million profit
36.38 average seat with 10 million profit
72.46% decrease
106-1.06 X 72.46=
106 vs. 29.20 cheapest seat

Bobby Jindal Wants GOP To Stop Being Stupid, Thinks It Is Much Better to Pretend to be Stupid to Maintain Power

       Remember when Bobby Jindal said Republicans had to “stop being the party of stupid?” Maybe he should take his own advice and stop pretending to be ignorant about climate change, creating stupid energy proposals to reflect such faked ignorance, all so he can retain political power in a state that is both conservative and a huge part of the oil industry, and pursue political power as a member of a party that panders to the reactionary views of the, well, ignorant and stupid. Yesterday Jindal called the Obama administration “science deniers.” The term “science denier” is a loaded one, because it implies that the accused are acting in manners inconsistent with what the evidence shows actions ought to be, essentially inferring that they are irrational and blind to discovered realities. One could certainly make the argument that the Obama adminstration’s actions as it pertains to oil and gas drilling, exports, and the lack of action on investments in renewable energy sources, or taxation of fossil fuel burning is inconsistent with the science of climatology they publicly claim to acknowledge and understand. However, that’s not at all what Jindal is referring to. Rather, he is pulling the latest conservative political trick, which is to call climate science accepting liberals “science deniers,” so a conservative constituent base that erroneously thinks scientists are divided on global warming, or are in on some huge global warming conspiracy, and that some sort of “true science” found by “silenced and censored” researchers exists, will believe he is referring to that “censored science” that doesn’t actually exist. To everyone else, he can say, oh, no, no, I’m not referring to some conspiracy of silenced anti-global warming science when I say Obama “denies science,” rather I am referring to his rejection of “the science of economics” and various studies that show if we ended all the environmental regulations tomorrow and did stuff like built the Keystone pipeline unemployment would go down X% and GDP would grow X%.  This strategy allows someone like Jindal to have his cake and eat it too. He gets the crazy conservative global warming conspiracy votes with what the statement appears to say on the surface while technically getting to cite some economic study showing that if oil drilling regulation X was eliminated it would create jobs, and so Obama is a “science denier” for not getting rid of it, or something to that affect.
        Of course, the problem is that if Jindal wants to be mainstream-acceptable he has to accept climate science and if you accept climate science you understand that there is more to consider when deciding if you should drill for more oil or something aside from “how many jobs will this add next quarter?” It becomes a complicated balance of managing a successful economy today, transitioning it to the energy sources of tomorrow, and doing it all in a quick enough way to not destroy the future of the world, but not so fast that you destroy the current economy. There are genuine debates to be had about how this should all be done, but those debates can only take place once you accept climate science as one of the facts around the topics you are discussing and debating. So, presumably Jindal would want to confirm his acceptance of climate science, right? But he doesn’t. When he’s asked whether he does, he pulls another one of the latest conservative climate tricks by saying that his position is, “the climate’s always changing.” It’s a technical truth, but really not one that relates to the question. Once again he gets to have his cake and eat it too. He gets to make his crazy constituent base think he’s saying man isn’t causing global warming, while at the same time having the out of telling the mainstream folks that he was just providing a scientific observation that lots of things are always changing the climate. Okay, Bobby, so with the climate always changing and all, in what manner do you think it’s changing right now and why? You’d think he’d be okay with saying it’s warming because of the human burning of fossil fuels, right? Well, he isn’t. Instead he says that he’ll “leave it to the scientists to determine how much (humans are causing global warming) and what that means.” Good for you, Bobby, I’m glad you leave it to them because they say the evidence shows we are damn sure humans are the cause and that results over this next century will be positively devastating to us. Given that you are leaving your opinion to be molded by them, rather than learning the evidence for yourself, you’d think you’d be quite concerned and wanting to move the world away from fossil fuels. Ahh, but you are Governor of Louisiana full of nutty Tea Party folks and lots of oil refineries, export docks, and offshore drilling capacity…whoops.
         So, if the “climate’s always changing,” and he’s going to “leave it to the scientists” to tell us how so, because of what, and what that means for our future, what exactly is Obama in “science denial” about? Jindal didn’t really explain that, but he did explain his “energy plan,” which is basically to drill for way more oil and gas, ending all kinds of environmental regulations, and building Keystone XL. Essentially, despite Obama being one of the biggest oil and gas enabling Presidents of all time, even bigger than his predecessor Bush, and in spite of America producing more fossil fuels than ever before, having higher carbon emissions than ever before, and exporting more fossil fuels than ever before, Jindal thinks the science shows that Obama needs to drill more, frack more, export more, and build more pipelines. But what about that whole climate change thing? Well, for that Jindal uses the latest conservative line about “wanting international cooperation,” (which is code for, we burn our fossil fuels to get richer and the rest of the world will somehow magically fix that climate thing, not a true call for any kind of global legislation….I mean can you imagine people like Jindal’s constiuents dealing with anything that deals with the UN?), and when pressed to publicly acknowledge that he accepts climate science he merely says his energy plan (you know the one about more oil, gas, and pipelines with fewer regulations and ignoring clean energy, leaving that to “the international community”) is not here to “litigate” whether manmade climate change is real or not. If one could sound any more like a pussy who understands the science and what must be done, but can’t actually acknowledge the science or take any steps to fix the problem because his power is dependent on the real science deniers voting for him, you’d have to show me, because I doubt a better example exists.
           Yet, what Jindal (or at least the caricature Jindal plays in political theater) and other conservatives really think is to be feared when it comes to climate change can be understood through another one of his comments during yesterday’s press conference. If you ever wanted to know why accepting climate science and taking steps to fight it is so hard for conservatives here is why, in the words of Jindal: He warns of it being a “Trojan horse” that the “left” is trying to use. He says, “It’s an excuse for the government to come in and tell us what kind of homes we live in, what kind of cars we drive, what kind of lifestyles we can enjoy. It’s an excuse for some who never liked free-market economies, who never liked rapid economic growth. And we need to guard against those who would hide behind climate change as an excuse to slow down our economy.” That right there is why climate change freaks out conservatives and leads them to evade science acceptance and political action. They fear that it’s a problem that is too good to be true for the anti-capitalist, anti-freedom boogeyman they fear so deep in their hearts. Because it’s a problem that unfettered capitalism and freedom have played a major role in creating and they love capitalism and freedom so much they are afraid that people will use fixing the climate problem as an excuse to attack and attempt to destroy capitalism and freedom.
         Of course, the climate change action movement merely wants to fix the climate problem. In fact, as is often pointed out the movement goes out of its way, bending over backwards for free markets, capitalism, freedom, and other associated words that make Ayn Rand lovers teary eyed. People just want to solve the problem, and if solving it means taking a very business-friendly approach to do so, to search high and low for the approach that does the smallest amount of harm to capitalism as is absolutely possible, then that’s what will be done. It’s why I’ve been a part of groups like CCL that advocate for “market based” solutions to the problem; proposals endorsed by the few Republicans that ever publicly took a stand of accepting and fighting climate change (and of course were promptly voted out of office in GOP primaries). Much like the healthcare debate where people were happy to go with the “market solution” of the 1990’s, rather than things like public option or single payer (which is now of course the vilified Obamacare, that evil communist law our Muslim Black Panther President signed that most center-left people like me hate for being too far right), people that care about the future of our world will advocate for less effective, but still substantive “market solutions” to climate. But the mere fact that it’s a problem perpetuated in large part by unregulated business freedom, with the quickest and most significant potential gains lying over on the collectivist end of the spectrum has conservatives shitting themselves, because unlike healthcare, it’s an issue that will affect everyone all the time, not just when they get sick.
         To be afraid to acknowledge climate science is sound and go after the best solutions (which aren’t what big business would be happiest with) because you are afraid people who hate capitalism and freedom are using it as an excuse to destroy them, would be analogous to saying the national debt isn’t a problem and the best solutions to it aren’t to be considered because people who hate government are just going to use the debt as an excuse to destroy and attack government. That would be silly. Bobby Jindal is more than silly, he’s more than stupid. What he is is something much worse: a man pretending to be stupid because he’s afraid acknowledging reality will destroy something he loves.

Beating Your Kid Is A Reflection of the Class, Race, and Degree of Religiosity To Which You Belong

     The Adrian Peterson situation is the result of the racial, religious, and class systems used in America. Think about it, in life we all have to take orders sometimes, but only a few of us end up in positions that encourage free-thinking, creativity, and individualism while most of us end up in positions that encourage following orders, blending in, and not asking questions. People raise their children based on the expectations they have for that child. If they expect that they will have an opportunity to be one of the people that gets to think for themselves (the CEO’s, scientists, professors, lawyers, doctors, judges, investment consultants, legislators, teachers, corporate vice presidents, nurses, and other such types of people in this world), they nurture them, and if they think the child will grow up to be a subservient laborer of some kind they will raise them authoritatively. Obviously, America has historically set up different expectations in different racial communities. Furthermore, America’s racial attitudes have produced different results for different races. Blacks disproportionately expect to be poor, so they raise their children authoritatively, and they also end up poor more often, which makes them more religious. It’s no secret that poor people are more religious, and while we tend to think of religion as a white, southern thing, blacks are also extremely religious, in large part because it was the only thing they could ever cling to for hope. Well, religion also teaches you to be more submissive and quite frankly more authoritatively violent within the “traditional” family unit. How fathers are supposed to treat their children and wives according to, say the Bible, is pretty much how authoritative parents raising their children with the expectation they will grow up to be submissive laborers do indeed raise their kids. Being black leads to low expectations, which leads to authoritative parenting, which leads to further poverty, which leads to religion, which leads to further encouragement of authoritative parenting, and the cycle repeats and repeats.
        The divide in the public response to Peterson having allegedly beaten two of his toddler aged children to the point of bruising and bleeding is drawn along class lines far more so than race, although certain races definitely belong more prominently to different classes (and also religious cultures). The people who grew up as the sons and daughters of the assembly line workers, the construction workers, the waiters, the cashiers, the miners, the drillers, the truck drivers, the janitors, the installation guy, the salesman, the logger, the cop, the military member, or any other form of labor probably grew up getting beatings like that to teach them that in life you shut up and do what the boss says, with the parents being the “practice bosses.” Those people are okay with Peterson’s actions. The people that grew up as the children of parents who worked in white collar, upper level, free thinking, order-giving, rather than taking type of professions were challenged as children to decide for themselves what was right and wrong, to defend their positions, to question authority, to question norms, to resist tradition, to think outside the box, and were showered with love, nurturing and freedom. Those people are not okay with Peterson’s actions.
       Adrian Peterson is now rich because we like to go into incredibly poor communities and have the children scrape and claw for the right to become one of our gladiators in athletic arenas. We know they will be the best because they will work the hardest to get there since they have no other option aside from going down to the coal mine, or to the street corner to sell drugs, or to the McDonald’s to ask if you want fries with that. They are desperate, they are hungry. We exploit that hunger that our inequality manufactured in the first place, and for the best of the best amongst the hungry we pay enormous amounts of money because lots of mostly white folks from that higher level, nurturing parent class, with enough money to buy crap the laborers of the world make for small salaries, will watch the athletic spectacles and buy those products advertised during timeouts.  The companies pay big money to TV stations to advertise during these athletic spectacles and the TV stations pay the leagues big money to put the games on their stations. A small part of this huge windfall profit that is still massive in and of itself goes to players like Adrian Peterson.
          So, he’s rich now, but he grew up in that authoritative culture of desperate low wage, submissive black laborers who went to authoritative black Protestant churches. He only knows how to get his children to respond to fear rather than love, because fear is all the impoverished and religious minorities of America have as a means of survival. This is all very fucking sad.

Greatest Show on Earth Review

    Last week I read “What’s the Matter With Kansas” and left my amazon review on here, and this week I leave you with my review of “The Greatest Show on Earth”

I felt as though this was an informative read, but not necessarily what it was advertised to be. I was hoping that Dawkins had simply laid out laymen’s explanations of the various forms of the strong evidence for evolution clean and crisp, but this was unfortunately a bit too filled with digressions. Throughout the book he’d go into long-winded explanations of various things you can study in zoology, chemistry, even physics, which are yes all well explained and good things to go learn, but not so much on point in a book that was supposed to be his one where he laid out the simplistic version of evolution evidence in boom-boom-boom fashion. Additionally, I felt he wasted time putting in whole chapters that didn’t need to be included, like his opening chapter dealing with the semantics of words like fact, theory, and hypothesis, or his closing chapter that served as more or less an apology for the implications of evolution being true (which, as he ironically earlier points out, is pointless because it’s about what the evidence shows not argumentum ad consequentiam). Furthermore, I felt like it was a mistake to dedicate whole chapters to things like the evidence for the age of the earth, or basics of how gene pools work. In my view the book ought to have had a brief intro, then the evidence from chapter 5 through chapter 12, as it went through watching real-time evolution in the lab (ch 5), to fossils (chs 6 and 7, and really there was no need to avoid conflating human evolution fossil evidence with the more general topic), embryology (ch 8), the geographical spread of species (ch 9), the molecular evidence (ch 10), the history of evolution written into current creatures bodies (ch 11), and the structure of ecosystems being non-centrally planned (ch 12). I would have reorganized each chapter into two sub-sections; evidence for evolution, and evidence against the existence of a purposeful central planner, talking about what we find in each of those areas of evidence that demonstrates that evolution happened and then a section in the chapter explaining what we’d find in the lab, the fossil record, embryology, geographical spread, molecular evidence, and the structure of creatures and ecosystems if there were a central planner, talking about how we don’t see each of those things.
         This doesn’t mean that the evidence he presented in the book was anything less than throughoughly spectacular. Rather, it’s just that his detours, unnecessary chapters, long-winded way of explaining things, and poor overall structure of the various needed chapters probably left people who weren’t already well-educated a bit confused and too tired to finish or understand all they’d taken in. If you already understand the basics of evolution, his detours are actually pretty interesting and you’d probably enjoy reading this, but if you are trying to say educate a young child or convince an evolution-denying friend to be exposed to some basic evidence this isn’t a great choice in my opinion. Finally, as much as it doesn’t bother me as an atheist, I really wish that he would have kept religion completely out of this book, because any mention, however small, and no matter how much he would say it wasn’t a book intending to slam religion, it hurts the cause of educating people in science to present their superstitious beliefs as a barrier to their enlightenment that you personally resent. Just show them the science and hopefully their worldviews will be molded around the evidence rather than the other way around.

1 Semantics of words like facts, theory, hypothesis, etc
2 Basics of genetics
3 Artificial vs. natural selection
4 Sets stage for how old world is
5 Watching bacteria evolve in the lab
6 Fossil evidence
7 Human fossils
8 Embryology evidence
9 Geographical and chronological spread evidence
10 Molecular evidence
11 The history of evolution in the creatures of today
12 World not efficient or favoring any group
13 This way of understanding life is cool

Communism Failed Because of Human Nature….And That Human Nature Comes From Evolution….Which Will Doom Us Like Any Other Animal….Unless We Accept That We Are Our Own Gods…..And Get To Work On Creating Collectivism and Sustainability

     Anyone who’s interested in reading about how the laws of nature inevitably lead individualistic, violent societies like ours to total ruin should read the unintended analogies in chapter 12 of Dawkins’ “Greatest Show on Earth” book about evolution. In short, in nature all natural selection cares about is how well equipped an individual is to beat out both rival species and rival members within its own species. So, those creatures that took on random mutations that diverted more of their energy to outcompeting intra and inter species rivals survive and reproduce. That’s good for the lucky individuals, but in the long run it would be better if there were an intelligent central planner who could create and enforce rules and regulations that forced the most powerful, say lions, to share with weaker members of their own species, not take up more finite or limited resources than they need, agree to mutual de-escalations of armament in the battles with the species they compete with etc. In other words if a central planner wanted lions and antelopes to be good at things aside from chasing down antelopes and running away from lions it could mutually stop both of their escalation of predator and evasive prey armament development, leaving them more evolutionary energy to get better at other things. As it is now, they keep getting better and better at hunting and avoiding getting caught, but since they are both improving they are using more and more energy to ultimately end up in the same “place” (i.e. same chance of lion catching antelope and antelope getting away stays the same despite both getting “better” at each task simultaneously). It would be better for them both if they could both stop the arms race, that ultimately leads to “running really fast to stay in the same place” while both getting better at things that have nothing to do with the prey-predator games they play with each other.
        This is analogous to the benefits of de-militarization on a collective global scale. Instead of enemies putting more and more of their money and resources into being prepared to fight each other at the cost of getting to put less and less money into other areas like education or healthcare, all so that they can stay in the same place, mutually agreed to dearmorment is best. Instead of saying, your army has gone from 2 to 3, so mine must now go from 2 to 3, and then the same plays out for 3 to 4 and 4 to 5 and 5 to 6, etc, etc, all the while there is a finite sum amount each society can spend, meaning as the armies grow things must be diverted from elsewhere, we should say, hey I’ll lower from 5 to 4 if you do, and then 4 to 3 and 3 to 2 and 2 to 1 and 1 to 0, so that we can divert more and more of previous violence expenditures towards things that actually better benefit our world. In the animal world since there is no god, nor animals that think with our level of intellect, and no such thing as random genetic mutations that have foresight, the natural process of those that get better and better at killing other species and outcompeting members of their own keep “winning” until those winners eventually create a mutually assured destruction outcome that has been the final result for most all things that have ever lived (most are now extinct, and most if not all that is alive today will someday be extinct). But since we are an intelligent species with foresight who have the capability of “playing intelligent designer” with our own species, we can indeed achieve for our species what would happen in the natural world for all species if there were a divine intelligent designer.
         Additionally, while lions cannot think on our intellectual level and create rules for their own species that would ensure more members of the species survived into the future, and that the way of life for the species remain sustainable into the far future, they are ultimately doomed to have the most powerful individuals amongst their selves live out an evolutionarily brief joyride before all the prey is used up, and their own numbers are astonishingly low, eventually dying themselves due to a lack of a sustainable lifestyle. This is true for all types of animals. However, we have the intellectual capacity to think with the foresight it takes to help our collective species do better in the long run, both from an inequality and sustainability standpoint. If we choose to let go of our evolutionarily programmed impulses and think collectively and futuristically rather than individually and narrowly we can be our own gods that favor ourselves and create a long-term, collective, sustainable success for our own kind.