Thursday, 31 May 2012

I hate my love life!

It's crazy I know what I want but can't seem to find it.  Looking for love some say is like a roller coaster.  Well if it is then for me its just been a long dive down a twisting and turning track.  I'm waiting for the up swing but it doesn't seem to be coming.  I never expected the journey to be easy but I wish it didn't have to be so tedious.  I'm not still single because I'm not putting myself out there.  I meet lots of women but finding one where there is a mutual interest is elusive.  It seems as I get older I'm getting more and more that isn't correct.  I'm finding it harder and harder to find women that I find both interesting and I feel a bit of chemistry with.

Ah, what is this chemistry I'm looking for?  I wish I could define it.  Part of it is just shallow physical attraction but it so much more then that.  I've got female friends I think are very attractive and I think are interesting yet no chemistry.  With other women even if I think there is chemistry on my side it doesn't mean that there is any chemistry on the woman's side.  I don't have a problem with that.  I don't expect most women out there to feel the chemistry with me just as I don't feel any romantic chemistry with most of the women out there.  I'm me and I'm comfortable with who I am.  Sometimes I think it would be easier if I wasn't but really...what does that even mean?

It would be pretty arrogant of me to think that I tick off all the check boxes women have simply because different women have different check boxes.  The issue to date is when there is mutual chemistry I find that my judgement has been flawed some how and I end up thinking "Who is this crazy woman?".  I like a little bit of crazy.  I'll admit that but I don't need to be putting myself into relationships where I'm thinking to myself "Should I start giving the individual personalities of this woman I'm seeing different names?".  So I watch myself more carefully when I say to myself "Hey, she's a bit alright!" and go through a check list to see if she is "crazy fun" or just "crazy crazy".

The next problem I see I'm having is my female friends.  No one will admit to agreeing with this yet but I think I have an issue where my closest friends are women and this isn't serving me well in finding a partner.  I'm not going to get rid of my female friends but I need to find a way to counter act some of the side effects.  You might be thinking "What the $&#^ is Wayne on about right now?!?!?"  So hear me out.

I've always have had a plethora of respect for women and I think most will agree this is a good thing.  I owe thanks for my female friends for this trait.  I constantly think about respect with women I meet.  I don't want them to be thinking "I'm not interested in this guy! Why is he coming on to me?" and that sounds reasonable at first.  But here is where it goes awry.  These days I'm more worried about not wanting to step beyond a boundary of a woman I'm interested in.  Instead of in times past testing the boundary I'm staying clear of the fence waiting for an explicit invitation before proceeding.  Now this is more of an issue at the start of something then it is when you've gotten past the barrier of "Is she interested in me?".  At that point I'm good.  I test the waters and respect the boundaries that get defined and for the most part this has worked fine in the past.  Good communications let you know when to proceed and when to slow down but it is always a bit of a march forward.  But before you know there is an interest this seems to be a problem.  Even if I tell a woman I'm interested, I mean actually saying "I find you very attractive." it seems to have a big difference from actually making physical advances.  Most women say they want a man who can communicate and they might think they want more words from men but in over 25 years of dating and relationships women don't want words about relationships.  I'm not talking about the woman you are in a relationship with.  I'm talking about a woman that you are wanting a relationship with.  You would think at first that exchanging words to confirm interest by both individuals would be a good thing but not true.  We seem, well most people seem, to like the anonymity that comes from not vocalising a desire and often vocalising a desire makes us weary of that desire.  Being the geek I am I now remember reading a psychology paper on this topic.  In new relationships some things are better left unsaid.  Even if you know I like you and I know you like me there seems to be a bonus freedom that comes from not vocalising this to early.  To me it is stupid in one way but I need to learn to accept the fact that I'm probably better off not telling a woman I'm interested in her and just making it clear with a proper kiss.  Historically speaking I can tell you that it is a much better tactic because, as of yet, telling a woman that I'm interested before making a physical like a proper "dating kiss" has not worked.  I can see in the looks I get back the interest they had seem to wash away.  It's like asking them to sign a contract for something much more then I'm asking for.

So what do you think?  Honestly what do you women think?  Would you rather a guy go for a proper kiss or have them say "I'm attracted to you. Are you interested in me?".  The studies say most women would rather the former rather then the latter.  It seems women want more communication but only with a partner they've been with for a while.  Talking seems to be a good way to kill any romantic interest that may be about to come a light.

So to this end ... from this day forward ... until I'm told otherwise I vow to revert to my youth.  To flirt and make the flirting count.  If a woman is not interested then her body language can speak to tell me to stop advancing my flirting.  As long as I'm not ignoring her reactions verbalisation of rejection will never be needed and the woman who is interested never needs to feel exposed by verbally expressing interest even though her physical actions say that she is interested.  Now I only have to hope I don't meet women that are confused about where their boundaries are and keep moving them back and forth like a 50 move stalemate in chess.  I don't mind boundaries.  I'd rather just stay outside until you are sure you want to invite me in but I've dated more then one woman that seems a bit bipolar about where her romantic boundaries are and that is not a head game I can deal with so I'm better off just walking away.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Religion and Atheism on ABC Q&A: Part 1

Dawkins & Pell on ABC's Q&A

Richard Dawkins vs
Cardinal George Pell 

ABC's Q&A : Religion and Atheism  

This will be a multi part blog as if I do all of it at once it will take days.

This was a very interesting talk found here.  I heard a talk between Dawkins and Krauss about this talk before I heard the Dawkins/Pell talk.  I have to say I think Dawkins and Krauss are overly critical of Cardinal Pell.  It is understandable as they are often faced with people who distort the facts or don't understand the science all the time but I think Cardinal Pell was much better then the average individuals that engage in these types of talks.  But then he should be.  He is a highly educated person.

Let me start off by saying I'm agnostic at best, from the view point of those that are religious, and atheistic in practice.  My beliefs are my own.  I have justifications for my beliefs but I do not care if others have differing views from mine as long as they don't feel the need to force their beliefs on others.  This doesn't mean I won't defend my beliefs if challenged but you should never hear me say someone is wrong for their spiritual beliefs unless those beliefs contradict reality.  But the existance of God is not contradictory to reality while something like the denile of evolution, no rainbows before 'Noah's Flood' or any global flood a few thousand years ago are contradictions of reality.

It isn't easy being an atheist.  A study preformed in Canada showed that religious believers distrusted atheist more then any other groups and on par with rapists.  This is a totally undeserved reaction by the many of various religious persuasion.   People have preconceptions about atheists that are often blatantly wrong like "atheist have no sense of morals" or "atheist hate Christians" or "atheist don't know anything about [insert religion here]".  While you'll be able to find individual atheists that one or more of those statements apply as as demographic those statements, and many more like them, are demonstrably false.  So keep in mind that while you may not have negative preconceptions about atheist, studies show that most people do and that can and does effect how many atheist may respond to certain situations.  The old verbiage 'If it walks like a duck..." may seem like an unreasonable prejudging of peoples motives but if you walk past 9 people and they all punch you is it really unreasonable to think that the 10th person is going to punch you too so it is ok to flinch even if offends that 10th person.

Back to the Dawkins/Pell talk.

Dawkins was on the defencive from the start.  He, wrongly, assumed the audience was very biased against him but watching the whole show it was clear that the mix of people there seemed very supportive of both views.  I think it was just the first few questions where targeted against Athiesm where many of the final questions where targeted or "loaded" questions against thiesm.

For those that don't know Dawkins he can come across very rough at times.  He's a hard core atheist but in this talk he was actually holding back a fair bit from his normal deminer. Over all, if you listen to the words and meanings, he is very clear about his beliefs and atheism in general.

I'll critique the questions and responses as I see them then put in my 2 cents worth.

Question #1: At Easter Australia's religious leaders invoke the name of God in order to preach peace, tolerance, political integrity, social and moral fortitude, all obviously positive and worthwhile values. My question is: in what way is the practice of these values dependent on an existing God? Is it possible for an atheist to be a peace loving socially responsible person?

Dawkins: He articulates the fact that you can, and most people do, have these values regardless of their beliefs and that it makes sense that Christianity would adopt the values and "they don't belong to Christianity".  But then he steps beyond the question and points out why defining the bible as your source of morality is a philosophically bad idea.

Cardinal Pell: Pell goes on the defensive right away and says this "First of all our tradition goes back about 4,000 years so whatever these values are that we’ve taken over, we’ve got to go back a little bit of a distance".  Seems a bit of a non argument if you are paying attention.  First Christianity is only half that age which shows that Dawkins statement is correct in that Christianity can't claim to be the source of these values.  To boot humans have been around for about 196,000 years longer then the people Cardinal Pell speaks of.   Pell then goes on to try to claim Christianity was responsible for women's rights, a bit ironic when you consider what is going on in the USA right now forget 2,000 years ago, and infanticide.  At this point he was pointed out that he wasn't answering the question asked.   Then quickly agrees that atheist can be good people but throws a spin that it helps to believe in God and it is to easy to be bad if you don't.

Me: These values are values of society and not the purview of any one group of people regardless of religious beliefs or lack their off.  They, values, evolve with society.  What people consider tolerant is based on the time.  Right now we are tackling the issue of tolerance toward the LGBT community.  We are still battling with tolerance toward various racial and (non)religious groups.  50 years ago interracial marriage was taboo and as  George Takei says "Growing up in California, it was illegal for Asians to marry whites. How times have changed. I married a white DUDE. And an adorable one, too!". Even so many in California would, and have, tried to not only deny him that right but actively seek to undo his marriage.  While I concede that the belief in god(s) doesn't necessarily itself hurt these values I point out that the doctrines and interpretations of many religions do.  Especially when it comes to tolerance of others.   To the second part it is out right a ridiculous question in one aspect and very sensible in another.  Since many people have a preconception that atheist can't be this I guess it needs to be answered.

Question #2: Religion is precisely often blamed for being the root of war and conflict but what about all the good it has done for society. God-centred religion has been the birth place of schools, universities, hospitals and countless developments in science. Richard, if you believe the human drive to seek the truth and to constantly improve ourselves is merely a mechanism for survival, then what’s the point and why should I bother?

Dawkins: He again puts it in great terms.  Pointing out that Cardinal Pell tries to claim things like women's rights as a result of Christianity in stalk contrast to the reality that women's writes were gained from society in general and with little help from Christianity.  Atheist are willing to stand up and face the issues of society head on and in reality are more altruistic because what they do will always have a more limited benefit for them then those that believe that they'll be rewarded in the afterlife for 'good' deeds.

Me: The question is a bit misinformed.  Public schools came from ancient Greece.  The were a result of part of society having enough resources where it could spare the time to educate some of the population.  This is generally true of all societies.  When societies thrive you see a blossoming of culture.  Ancient Egypt had public medicine.  For me religion is not the root of war.  Humans seeking more power is the root of war.  These people may try to justify their grabs for power in the name of religion.  Hitler and Luther try to use religion as a justification for hatred against the Jews but it is simply a power issue where they viewed a different group of people doing well and wanted what they had and thought they should just be able to take it from them. Note: if you think Hitler was an atheist then you really need to learn the history better.

Question #3:  Okay, my question for you today is: without religion, where is the basis of our values and in time, will we perhaps revert back to Darwin's idea of survival of the fittest?

Dawkins: Points out that values come from within ourselves and our interaction with our society.  That he hopes we don't fall into some social Darwinism because, while survival of the fittest is part of the explanation of evolution and for the diversity of life, it is a very bad social model.

Cardinal Pell: Tries to twist, knowingly or unknowingly, Dawkins words by using the various definitions of "Why" and never really answers the question.

Me: Science can answer "why" we are here in that the "why" is the processes and mechanisms that led us to where we are today both physically, biologically and psychologically.  Every day we learn more and more, through science, about the universe and objects within it, including ourselves.  We learn more and more about psychology, culture, emotions, and the development of these areas.  We can give people a scientific reason for near death experiences.  We can give people scientific reasons for the tendency for religious beliefs.  We can give people scientific reasons why humans and chimpanzees, or humans and mushrooms for that matter, share common ancestors.  The Cardinal tries to flip the meaning of "Why" to a purpose, I.E. The question 'Why am I here? How does evolution explain the progression of life one cell creatures over 3 billion years ago to every living creature we see today?' verse 'Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?'  The former question is scientific.  The latter is philosophical and by its nature outside of the realm of science.  In my view  using a bait and switch tactic like this is the same as trying to get those ignorant of the scientific definition of "theory: a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence"  to think scientists are using the layman's definition of "I've got this idea" that often doesn't have any evidence.  The Cardinal at one point says "science tells us nothing about why there was the big bang".  This was caught by Dawkins and is a bad "god of the gaps" approach.  First because it is a "god of the gaps" claim and even worse it really isn't a gap.  Science is making good progress on why there was a big bang and the Cardinal should know this because he read Krauss's new book which provides some explanations.  Now the science of why there was a big bang is a very different question then "what is the purpose of the universe".  Science doesn't need a purpose to the universe just like science doesn't need a philosophical reason for gravity.

To be continued...

Until then I encourage you to watch the entire show yourself.
  1. ABC Q&A : Religion and Atheism