Gerald (Jerry) Zezas
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Why do we believe in belief?

I’ve spent the last few years trying to understand why there are so many intellectual differences among people who come from the same planet, live substantially similar lives, have similar DNA, genes, hopes, fears and phobias. I have yet to come up with an answer, but I’m getting closer on the hypothesis.

The thread that runs through all of our differences appears to be tethered to that thing upon which many of us would give our lives. That thing is called belief.

1. “I believe that he’s telling the truth”, said the woman who let the thief in because he claimed to need to use the phone.
2. “I believe his alibi,” said the jurors who acquitted OJ Simpson.
3. “I believe that I have found the one,” said, roughly the roughly 50% of all married couples who will get married, and then divorced.
4. “I believe that I can stop in time,” said the tailgater just before he rear-ended the guy in front of him.
5. “I believe that he loves me, “ said the teen who was about to reluctantly give up her virginity to a guy who couldn’t care less.
6. “I believe the salesman when he says that this is a very good deal on this car,” said the woman…you get the idea.

Or, here’s a variation on the above:

1. My gut instinct tells me that stock is going up.
2. I can feel it in my bones that black is coming up next.
3. Those lottery numbers are getting closer and closer to my kids birthday dates.
4. Trump can’t win the presidency. I just know it.
5. Today’s gonna be a great day. I can just feel it.

This may all seem harmless, but, as with most human endeavors, certain of us take those beliefs to extremes. Examples are:

1. I believe that these magnets, copper bands or crystals will heal my arthritis.
2. I believe that these supplements and vitamins will cure my cancer.
3. I believe that this faith healer can shrink my tumor.
4. I believe that if I pray to God I will win this boxing match or football game or I will be able to find my car keys.
5. I believe that if I follow this or that interchangeable (but incompatible) religious dogma that I will spend eternity in paradise.

This is still a work in progress, but, other than the existence of certain books of dubious provenance, what is really the difference among these various beliefs?

And so, the question becomes: If you rely upon belief of any kind, what makes you believe, based on empirical evidence, that belief is something that is actually reliable?

Who, exactly, elected Trump?

We all understand that anxiety associated with a Trump presidency. We also know that he was duly elected as a result of a constitutional vagary that allows the Electoral College to vote for the president based on delegates and not the popular vote. It’s been that way for 250 years and it is thoroughly legitimate, irrespective your personal feelings.

But yesterday, on this or that radio show, I heard some self-congratulatory goon state unequivocally that “the American people chose Donald Trump and his policies, and the American people want him to do what he’s doing”.

Just to clarify, as I said above, I can’t and don’t doubt his legitimacy as president, much as I would like to. But don’t let anyone tell you that the American people chose him. They did not. They chose Hillary by nearly 3 million votes, irrespective the unproven and frankly idiotic rantings by Trump about illegal votes. Everyone knows that those claims are bullshit and will never be investigated for fear that they’ll be disproven.

To sum up. Yup, Trump is the president for the next four years. But not because the American people chose him.

Ignore the left-wing nut jobs too

If we accept the word of every left-wing ideologue, conspiracy theorist, and self-appointed pundit, we do nothing but lower ourselves to the level of the Sharia law nut jobs during Obama’s administration. We can only maintain our legitimacy by maintaining our willingness to check the “facts” before we sign on to them.

The left is the bastion of nerds, geeks, educators and lovers of truth and freedom. We flex our brains, not our biceps. We shoot off our mouths, not our guns. And if we’re as smart as we think we are, we will have the balls to call out those who would diminish us by asking us to believe the unsubstantiated bile that secretes from the soft-white underbelly of society, even when it is delivered by one of our own.

Send back your tired, your poor…

Anyone following what the reptile in the White House is doing probably wouldn’t be surprised if France considered asking that we return the Statue of Liberty.new_colossus

We are now turning back Syrian refugees, as of last night.

I’ve never been able to look at the attached picture for more than a few seconds. I am too much of a coward to deal with the tragedy which it depicts, and I certainly don’t want to exploit that family’s pain. download

With the impending ban on Syrian refugees finally taking shape, I find myself at a crossroads. I really don’t want to be identified with the America that America has become, but I still have allegiance to what it once was. I’m also not sure if other countries might begin to retaliate against us by banning Americans from moving there. I’m feeling quite stuck.

I may start referring to myself as an American In Moral Exile, or AIME, rather than an American citizen. I’m not sure if I want to suffer the tacit humiliation which is now associated with the latter appellation. I welcome your ideas or comments.

Why is White Trash referred to as “White”?

I’m reading White Trash by Nancy Isenberg and I can’t help but wonder where that expression came from. I’ve heard it my entire life and certainly know to whom it refers, but why was the word “white” included in the expression as we all know it?

It appears that this expression, although mainly used to denigrate whites, implies that a more common form of trash, that form which did not require the prefix “white”, was the assumptive type, and so did not need to be distinguished by color, whereas the white version did.

Upon reflexion, the necessitation of the word white appears to be tacitly racist not toward whites, but toward blacks.

The Unintended Consequences of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

When machines begin to do more of our jobs, the production centers of the world will move to whichever country has the most of those machines. This could mean that the United States, a global leader in robotics and AI technology, could, once again, become a manufacturing center.

The irony is that we will become a manufacturing center again, but that manufacturing will require fewer jobs than ever before. So “jobs” will no longer be going to China and India. They will be coming back to the US.

But the jobs will be for robots, not people.

Thoughts?

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