Can we consume less resources by sharing them instead of fighting over them?

I’ve been watching the hummingbirds at my feeder today.  They are very protective of the feeder and constantly fight to protect the feeder and keep other hummingbirds away from it.  It occurs to me that a hummingbird may need to drink 2 ounces of nectar per day to survive, but when the hummingbird expends extra enemy to defend the nectar, the hummingbird drinks 6 ounces of nectar per day.  So the hummingbirds have two options:

  1. Both hummingbirds can expend energy fighting of the feeder, and each will need to therefore drink 6 ounces each per day (12 ounces total), or
  2. Both hummingbirds can cooperate and share the limited resources of the feeder and drink 2 ounces each per day (4 ounces total).

I fear that, all too often, humans choose to expend energy fighting over scarce resources than to conserve energy by sharing resources.

Is it God’s will that I be an Atheist?

I’m a little mad at God today.  I just learned that everything that happens is God’s will.  Nothing can happen if it was not God’s will that it happen.  Therefore it is God’s will that I am an atheist, and the only way I can stop being an atheist is if God wills that to be the case.  If I become a Christian or a Muslim it is because that is God’s will; but if I remain an atheist and am damned to eternal hell, that is also God’s will.  Why do God select me to damn to hell for eternity before I was even born?

The Airwaves are Full of Cognitive Dissonance Resolution

Almost everyone likes to think of themselves as good people. Many conservatives think that opinions and beliefs and actions have a right and wrong aspect, and that any opinion, belief, or action is either 100% right or 100% wrong. Thus, if we use basic logic to combine two statements we can deduce why so many conservatives experience cognitive dissonance, and why they detest and vehemently attack progressives and Democrats on every issue.
1) A good person never does bad things.
1) I am a good person.
i. Therefore I never do bad things.
2) Harming the environment is bad.
1) Scientists say that the cumulative effects of drinking water from plastic bottles is harming the environment.
i. I drink water from plastic bottles.
i. Therefore I am a bad person.

A person that does not think in absolutes would not conclude that a person is a bad person just because he had done things that we now realize are bad, but when you think in terms of absolutes you must either conclude that you are a bad person, or that the 2nd logic tree has a flaw in it. If I cannot accept the conclusion of the 2nd logic tree, that “I am a bad person”, can I find a flaw in the statement I derived it from, “I drink water from plastic bottles.”. Well, I know this is true, but what about the statement above that one in the logic tree, “Scientists say drinking from water bottles is bad.” I have the newspaper article right here in front of me, along with a lot of similar claims on legitimate, respected Internet sites. So how about the starting statement of the 2nd logic tree, “Harming the environment is bad”? Well, I agree with that statement also. Ugh. The only statement that I see that could have flaws is the 2nd statement. Perhaps I can think of problems with the 2nd statement, or perhaps there are teams of people that can feed possible problems with the 2nd statement to radio show hosts whose primary job is to help me alleviate my cognitive dissonance (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, etc.) Some of the possible flaws with the 2nd statement are:

  • Perhaps only a few scientists are making this claims.
  • Perhaps the scientists are lying for some reason.
  • Perhaps the scientists have bad data or the results of their studies are wrong.
  • Perhaps the scientists are part of the intellectual elite that we already know are trying to deceive us.

Hey, I’m beginning to find a number or reasons for ignoring these scientists and they are reasons that fit in with what I already believe. Whew, what a relief that I tune in for my daily broadcast of cognitive dissonance resolution.

There are Two Sides to Every Issue

“There are two sides to every issue”. When an intelligent progressive person hears this phrase it means, “there are merits and drawbacks to each side of the issue”. When a conservative Republican hears this phrase it means, “there is a right side and a wrong side” because Republicans think in terms of absolute right and wrong.
A simple example illustrates the thought differences. When the President dines at McDonalds the Democrats think, “He is setting a good example by being frugal, but he is also setting a bad example by eating unhealthy food.” There are both merits and drawbacks.
But, when a Republican learns that the President dined at McDonalds the Republican must decide if the President was right or wrong to do so. Being an absolutist, the President is right if the President is a Republican, and the President is wrong if the President is a Democrat. Thus, if the President is a Democrat he should be scorned for setting a bad example by eating unhealthy food.
Do you see how this mental framework used by the Republicans creates cognitive dissonance and stress for Republicans? What if your Republican President endorses torture? Then you, as a Republican, must focus on the good of torture and ignore the bad of torture and claim that there is not bad aspect of torture (in order to remain true to your absolutes). Hmmm, sounds familiar.