Thursday, October 11, 2018

Jordan Peterson - The Existence of Free Will--meaning conscious moral responsibility

A very thoughtful reflection from Jordan Peterson, Canadian clinical psychologist, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Ph.D. in clinical psychology, McGill University.

Don't be confused by the contrary claims of various thinkers who state that all humans are only helpless "puppets," incapable of moral responsibility and creative choice, etc.

Seek the Good, the True, the Just, the Altruistic, the Kind, the Equal,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

STEPPING BACK FROM CERTAINTY: remembering we are finite, seeking what is true

Have you noticed that most of the voices currently shouting for their side (which ever one it is) seem to think they know for sure and that the other side is completely wrong?

As has happened endlessly in history past, leaders of today are forgetting that they are finite humans seeking what is true, but instead claim to know and that anyone who disagrees with them is________ (fill in the demeaned name-calling).

A few words from a brilliant character in Michael Crichton's book, Timeline, would seem good to reflect about and muse on by everyone today:

"The present is like a coral island that sticks above the water, but is built upon millions of dead corals under the the same way, our everyday world is built upon millions and millions of events and decisions that occurred in the past."

This is why confirmation bias and hostility are so present often in Republicans versus Democrats, Theists versus Atheists, Capitalists versus Socialists, and so on. Each opposing human's view of reality is partially shaped by his/her perceptional view from his/her particular coral reef.

Of course the Timeline quote is hyperbole, overstatement. Our Pasts--whether liberal or conservative, religious or non-religious don't define us completely.

We rational primates have the ability to advance, to make creative new choices, to advance closer to reality.

Most humans can choose to step back and question their presuppositions, their own understandings based upon their own worldview and life-stance which came about in the past,
it ain't easy.

If in doubt, look at how few of us are doing so.

So, let us PAUSE, and study again what we are stating, promoting, in all of these current philosophical and political conflagrations.

1. Are we aware how much of our past is leading us to hold to one position, rather than engaging in careful rational thought about it?

2. Are we remembering to be civil and courteous with those with whom we strongly disagree?

3. Are we open to new thoughts, new perspectives on these contentious arguments?

4. Do we seek to view the best arguments of our enemies with careful consideration?

5. Are we always seeking to be aware of our own confirmation bias?

6. Do we demonstrate benevolence toward those whose views we strongly, rightly, oppose?

Seek what is true,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The strange unethical world of Christianity and Atheism: SITUATION ETHICS

Here is a somewhat positive response to situation ethics by a leading Christian ethicist, based upon Augustine and Luthers' views--

FROM Baptist theologian Roger E. Olson's blog:
What Is “Situation Ethics?” What Should Be a Christian’s Response?
SEPTEMBER 26, 2018

"It was also the year that Episcopal theologian-ethicist Joseph Fletcher’s little book Situation Ethics: The New Morality was published."
"Later...I remember thinking that it was not actually as bad as I had been told. Its essence...the principle laid down by Saint Augustine “Love and do as you please.” (“Sermon on 1 John 4:4-12”)

"What I am suggesting is that there is some common ground between them and Fletcher’s proposal...As I recall, Fletcher portrayed all rules as flexible, able rightly to be violated in the name of love depending on the circumstances. I do not think Augustine or Luther would go along with that...Both treated love—as they defined it—as the sole absolute for Christian ethics. (Both tended to view justice as a form of love.)"

Wow, Fletcher's book! I read it in the late 1960's and was morally horrified. And all these years later, I still think that it is the worst book, ethically, of all the thousands of theological books I've read.
But let's get to your two Christian leaders (Augustine and Luther) who claimed to base their ethical decisions on love.

Augustine and Luther made many horrific immoral, unjust decisions based upon their Christian situational ethics.

If one judges their immoral, unjust actions based upon the concept of love as defined by 1 Corinthians 13, they didn't actually practice loving action at all, but the complete opposite. Check any history book for the many very immoral actions they justified with their ethical stances.

Their immoral statements and actions show the extreme danger of centrally basing one's ethical decisions on love and adjustable rules as they did.

"As a Christian ethicist I am sometimes asked...what I think about “situation ethics.” I always insist on first discussing what is meant by “situation ethics” and explaining that if and insofar as it means discarding all ethical rules and norms except “love,” I am opposed to it. However, if and insofar as it means love reigns supreme over all rules, I have to admit it and say that I have Augustine and Luther on my side."

"Luther married Prince Philipp of Hesse to a woman while he was still married to another woman. He by default justified bigamy which was technically illegal (within the Holy Roman Empire) and almost universally considered immoral by Christians—both Catholic and Protestant."


HUH?! What a horrific example! Luther married a woman to a prince who already was married to another woman. That's a form of polygamy, bigamy.

Based upon Luther's justification of bigamy, I wonder if Roger E. Olson has an opinion of the recent adoptions of polyamory by some creedal Christians?*
It appears that some modern creedal Christians are basing their views in a similar way that Luther did in the case of his choosing bigamy for the prince.

However, what also troubles me about Luther's action is that he did this secretly.

As much as I strongly oppose the adoption of plural marriage by humans, I do appreciate that the creedal Christians who have done so have been public about it, not hidden it as Luther did in the case of Prince Philipp.

*I don't know what Roger E. Olson thinks on my response because he has deleted my comments from his website, like Atheist Neil Carter did in the past when I courteously disagreed with his unethical outlook, which also involves loving situational ethics.

Don't give into this blind, wrong dead-end path of situation ethics. Certainly NOT in the sense that Augustine and Luther did.

Seek the LIGHT. Live ethically.

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Regarding the Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Clean out the cesspool of American politics: The current debacle, regarding the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

1. For Brett Kavanaugh’s biographical details and the formal accusations, see below.

2. A. Opening statement: An individual—unless convicted of rape, molestation, armed robbery and other such heinous crimes—ought not to be judged by wrong moral choices when he was an adolescent but by his moral and ethical choices of over 35 years.

B. Second, a counter statement: Women seldom lie about sexual assault, rape, molestation. Indeed, for most of history, even in the recent past, women have been intimidated, (in some nations and religio-ideological groups still are), if they come out and state they have been sexually attacked, so they often stay mute.

Christine Blasey Ford, who has come out and stated that the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while drunk at a prep school party, needs to be listened to rationally and empathetically.

Also, Ford isn’t a questionable person of doubtful morals but a psychology professor in Palo Alto, California. And she has taken a lie detector test and passed.

SO Republicans, the Reverend Franklin Graham, and other right-wing leaders ought not to dismiss Ford’s accusations before all the facts are in.

3. HOWEVER, an individual is presumed innocent until convicted of a charge.
SO, since Kavanaugh has declared Ford’s accusation is untrue, that he never did what Ford accused him of doing, and that he never did what another woman has accused him of doing to her in college, either, then Kavanaugh ought to be listened to and not found guilty in the popular press or by national Democrats.


We Americans need calm, rational analysis,
NOT propaganda,
political posturing,
character attacks,
and all of the other distorted Orwellian statements being made at this time.

Thankfully, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat.
Instead, I’m way out in the left-leaning Independent-Libertarian wing of political discourse. We’ve got problems, too. But, hopefully, most of the time we try and view controversies and life-stances with rational judgment, care, and civility.

We as Americans need to change from our political in-fighting, and change to truth-seeking.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

END NOTE: From Wikipedia:
“Brett Michael Kavanaugh…born February 12, 1965 is an American attorney and jurist who serves as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“Kavanaugh graduated from Yale College cum laude, with a degree in American history…After graduating from Yale Law School, Kavanaugh began his career as a law clerkunder Judge Ken Starr. After Starr left the D.C. Circuit to take the position as head of the Office of Independent Counsel, Kavanaugh…assisted Starr with his various investigations concerning President Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh played a lead role in drafting the Starr Report, which urged the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

“After the 2000 U.S. presidential election (in which Kavanaugh worked for the George W. Bush campaign in the Florida recount), Kavanaugh joined the administration as White House Staff Secretary…

“Kavanaugh was first nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by President Bush in 2003. His confirmation hearings were contentious; they stalled for three years over charges of partisanship. Kavanaugh was ultimately confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in May 2006 after a series of negotiations between Democratic and Republican U.S. Senators…Kavanaugh had the most or second-most conservative voting record on the D.C. Court in every policy area.

“To fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh on July 9, 2018, to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

“On September 16, 2018, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, said Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when she was 15 and he was a 17-year old high school student. Specifically, Ford stated that in the early 1980s, when she and Kavanaugh were teenagers, Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, corralled her in a bedroom at a house party in Maryland. According to Ford, Kavanaugh pinned her to the bed, groped her, ground against her, tried to pull off her clothes, and covered her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream.

“Ford said that she was afraid Kavanaugh "might inadvertently kill [her]" during the attack. Ford stated that she got away when Judge, one of Kavanaugh's friends from Georgetown Prep School, jumped on the bed, knocking them all over. Ford's attorney, Debra Katz, has stated that Ford considers the assault to have been an attempted rape.

“Ford also took a polygraph test, administered by a former FBI agent. The test concluded she was being truthful when she said a statement summarizing her allegations was accurate.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee released a letter on September 14, 2018 in which 65 women signatories who stated that they had known Kavanaugh "for more than 35 years" asserted that during the time they had known him, Kavanaugh had "behaved honorably and treated women with respect."

“Twenty-four women who attended the Holton-Arms School along with Ford sent a letter to Congress expressing support for her.

“Over 1,000 alumnae of the school signed a letter stating that Ford's accusation was “all too consistent with stories we heard and lived” while attending the school.

“Kavanaugh has "categorically and unequivocally" denied that the event occurred.

“On September 23, 2018, The New Yorker reported that another woman had accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during his college years and had requested an FBI investigation.”
--From Wikipedia

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

You Can't Teach an Old Dogma New Traits

"You can't teach an old dogma new traits."

That is my adaption of American writer Dorothy Parker's incisive punning aphorism against religionists who seek to revitalize their ancient beliefs by revising their old dogmas and then claiming the dogmas to be current with modern knowledge and achievements.

Parker's actual words were: "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks."

Whether tricks or traits, the satirical insight does seem to be true. (Side Note: I think my adaption more accurately reflects the nature of her point, and is less caustic in its view of religion).

Either way, consider the way that many conservative Christians and Muslims attempt to show that their scriptures--especially the Old Testament and the Quran--are accurate when it comes the beginning of the universe and other modern scientific discoveries. Or the religious leaders, instead, use other modern knowledge to claim that modern scientists are misled, (or deceiving), about the true nature of the cosmos and life.

But which ever, many Christian and Muslim scholars read into their scriptures modern concepts and views that actually don't exist in the ancient texts. They are guilty of unscholarly eisegesis, when what they ought to be doing is describing their scriptural texts as they actually were, exegesis.

As clearly obvious in her caustic comments, Parker had a very negative view of religion, especially the Roman Catholic faith, though she did attend a RC elementary school at Convent if the Blessed Sacrament. According to Wikipedia, she "once joked that she was asked to leave following her characterization of the Immaculate Conception as "spontaneous combustion."

Evidently her father, though Jewish, sent her to the elementary school because he thought it would give her a better education than public school.

Though negative toward religious doctrines, Parker was a strong supporter of human rights and the Civil Rights Movement. In her will, she gave all of her estate to Martin Luther king Jr.

Here's another satirical aphorism:

"Look at the dog, Ma, no paws."


"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are wrong because of the broken places."

This adaption emphasizes that when tragedy strikes, some humans choose to do right and good despite the bad circumstances, while other humans choose to lash out and blame/harm others for the bad circumstances.

The actual famous quote is from Earnest Hemingway:
"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

The irony of Hemingway's aphorism is that he himself wasn't strong after bad times, but often instead did much harm to others. And that he drank so heavily that it was a major factor in his serious ill health in his late 50's. He often drank a bottle before breakfast and drank 17 drinks once at the Cuban bar, El Floridita!

Related to that is another aphorism:
"I've taken way more out of alcohol than its taken out of others," the infamous self-deception of heavy drinkers.

Adapted from:
"I've taken way more out of alcohol than its taken out of me."
-Winston Churchill

"In war time, political lying is so specious, that it needs to be attended by a bodyguard of truth."

The actual quote by Churchill is horrifically dangerous, as shown by many historical wars of the past.
"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."
-Winston Churchill

And, of course, don't forget all of the red ball-caps on Americans at present which state, "Make America Hate, Again."

Do you have any satirical aphorisms to share?

Please, lighten the load of b.s. (bad snark;-) that all of us seem to be getting buried under by the current U.S. Evangelical-Christian-Political Debacle.
And the diametrically opposite nonreligious-political debacle.

We need to defangle it all.

Daniel Wilcox

Monday, September 17, 2018

Support free speech: Request that Indonesia release Meliana for false charge of blasphemy

from Amnesty International:

Meliana, an ethnic Chinese Buddhist woman, has been convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to 18 months in prison for complaining about the loudspeaker volume at a local mosque.

Amnesty International considers her a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.

Meliana, an ethnic Chinese Buddhist woman, has been convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to 18 months in prison for complaining about the loudspeaker volume at a local mosque.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

Immediately and unconditionally release Meliana and all other individuals who have been convicted of blasphemy;
Ensure that Meliana and her family are given effective protection from violence or threats of violence;
Repeal or amend all blasphemy provisions set out in laws and regulations which violate the rights to freedom of expression and of thought, conscience and religion.
Contact these two officials by 10 October, 2018:
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Minister Yasonna Laoly
Jalan H.R. Rasuna Said Kav 6-7
Jakarta Selatan, DKI
Jakarta, Indonesia 12940
Fax: +62 (0)21 525 3004
Salutation: Dear Minister

Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono
Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
2020 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202 775 5200
Twitter: @KBRIWashDC @b_bowoleksono
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Read the rest of this urgent action at AI:


MORE INFORMATION from THE STRAITS TIMES about the basis for the blasphemy charge:

"Criticism mounts in Indonesia against jailing of woman for complaining about volume of mosque speaker

"Wahyudi SoeriaatmadjaIndonesia Correspondent
JAKARTA - Criticism has mounted, even among Muslims, against the jailing of an Indonesian woman of Chinese descent for complaining to a neighbour about the volume of the azan (call to prayer) from the speaker of the community mosque.

"Civil society groups and lawyers denounced the verdict as excessive and silly while the two biggest Muslim organisations in the country, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, questioned the use of the blasphemy clause against the woman.

"I do not see how saying 'azan is too loud' is an expression of hatred or hostility towards a particular group or religion," Mr Robikin Emhas, head of the legal, human rights and legislation department at Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation with more than 80 million members, was quoted as saying in a statement.

"The blasphemy clause should not be used to "bulldoze" anyone's right to express opinions and Muslims should consider such opinions as "constructive criticism in a plural society", he said...

"Meliana, 44, a Buddhist, was found guilty on Tuesday (Aug 21) of blasphemy by the Medan district court in North Sumatra and sentenced to 1½ years in prison. The mother of four is a resident of Tanjung Balai sub-district in the eastern part of the province. Her husband, a labourer at a local swallow's nest farm which supplies bird's nests to restaurants, lost his job because of her trial.

"On July 22, 2016, Meliana was speaking with the owner of a small convenience store, who was her neighbour, when she referred to the volume of the speaker at the nearby mosque, saying that it had become louder than previously...This quickly spread on social media, which then triggered riots as Muslims, offended by the remarks, went on the rampage. Several Buddhist temples were burnt in what was believed to be the worst bout of anti-Chinese violence in the country since 1998...Meliana became a victim of a mob who descended on her house...who then vandalised and burned her house...

"Dozens of people, including former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, have been sent to prison under Indonesia's controversial blasphemy laws, the Jakarta Post reported."

Read the rest of the news on Meliana at:

Shine the light of goodness, justice, and compassion,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mused Moments in Nature

side of the road

gray shadowed mail box
overwhelmed green, red-purple
bloomed jungle wonder


california dazing


ground mists, chilly gloom
living on west’s ground-fogged coast--
wearing my snow coat


palm branches flutter
while other trees’ leaves wind-fall
despite bright warm days


rain-jade bluffs, 6 leaves
unfallen on our elm tree--
wait! wrens flit from branch


weeping tree saps down
drips red glop on our van’s roof--
and splats of bird poop


dark cliff walls
except in the narrows of our canyon--
that moon

dripping rain drizzles
against our foggy window—
blowing my wet nose

snail tracks, morning sun
translucent trail on red brick--
why in wet dashes?

wind and fire

green vines wind up fences
bursting with succulent grapes--
but covered in ash

too busy

red peaches, bird pecked,
rot under our laden tree
weighed down by sweetness

near ferndale

huge white marshmallows
checker the mowed brown hay field—
plastic-covered bales

trembled, jittering
feather caught to the dust splat
on our van's windshield

lines, no white clothes but
birds black in a row, clothespinned
to telephone wires

horse trailer rattles
by curved eucalyptus leaves
that skit in gutters

huntington beach dusk wind

pruned date palm
feather-dusts its crimson sky--
left by a worker

late afternoon

our black van tires roll
over dark elm trees stretched long,
but where are the bumps?

rain water on oil
red and blue swirls on blacktop--
a peacock's feather

up early

in the gray-hazed dawn
pale light blossoms
softly explode from a violet tree
rising by a jade-green hedge--
birdsong morning


In the beauty of our scenic natural world,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Please Stand Against Israel, Again, Stealing Palestinian Land



Khan al-Ahmar was established in the 1950's by Palestinians from the Negev desert

AI: "Responding to the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision, the second one in less than two months, to approve the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, by rejecting the desperate last resort petitions from residents of the West Bank village, Saleh Higazi, Head of Office in Jerusalem for Amnesty International, said:

“With this shameful and manifestly unlawful ruling the Supreme Court has confirmed a pattern of complicity in the crime of forcible transfer of Palestinian communities for the expansion Jewish-only settlements. The court has not only completely denied the petitioners the protection provided to them by International Humanitarian Law, it has also validated the discriminatory policies of the Israeli authorities.”

“If the international community does not immediately take the necessary action to stop this crime from taking place, thousands of other Palestinians surrounding Jerusalem and in the Jordan Valley will now face an imminent risk of forced displacement...”

"Forcible transfer of people under occupation is a serious breach of the IV Geneva Convention. The deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory constitutes a war crime under Article 8 of the Rome Statute."

Read the rest at:


"Israel's Supreme Court has rejected appeals against the demolition of a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank whose fate has been a subject of international concern.

Judges upheld an order to raze Khan al-Ahmar, where about 180 people live in shacks between two Jewish settlements.

Israel's government says the structures were built illegally, but Palestinians say permits are impossible to obtain.

An injunction against the demolition will expire within seven days.

The United Nations has called on Israel to allow the Bedouin to remain on the land, saying such demolitions are against international law."

Read the whole article at:


Palestinians AND THEIR LEADERS have no moral ground either becaise they reward families of terrorists, and praise the murderers, including the Muslim jihadist who executed a 17-year-old girl in her own bedroom!

HOWEVER, that doesn't justify Israelis invading Palestine, destroying structures including a school, and stealing Palestinian water and land!


In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Thankfulness in the Midst of So Much Torrential Darkness

Of late, with so many destructive, intolerant, oppressive movements, leaders, events--and the lying nature of it all--humans are reacting (understandably, but wrongly).

We as humans need to stand up in the torrential storm of now--and ACT, not react.


1. Begin this new journey through hell, in the midst of torrential hurricanes, by starting with choosing despite all that is horrific.

Choose to find the little positives even in the midst of so much bad.

Choose thankfulness, not negativity.

Various others ways of rising up, include:

2. Act in nonviolence in thought and speech, as well as behavior.

3. Care by active, compassionate listening to others, especially our enemies, trying to see and understand their views and feelings.

4. Be meticulously honest in all that we say and do.

5. Give to those who suffer, who are oppressed, who feel hopeless.



By remembering what the famous psychologist Victor Frankyl (neurologist and psychiatrist, a Holocaust survivor) said:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Focus on CHOOSING in the midst of trauma.

And by seeking to help others who are suffering even worse.

To paraphrase the famous poet, Maya Angelou:
Act as a caring rainbow--a guiding light--in the midst of others' torrential storms.

Create through hope. Start by sharing thankfulness.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Faves of One Shrimpatarian

Introductory Note: As mentioned before, this is my second movement toward vegetarianism. The first one occurred in 1967, but then I jumped from an American diet to veganism, lost 45 pounds, and became malnourished. This time I am taking the very slow, balanced approach. First, about 20 years ago, I stopped eating all beef. Then, 10 years ago, pork.

Since pigs are smarter than dogs and cats, it’s unclear to me why I didn’t stop eating ham, etc. long ago. Seeking the truth, living the truth is very difficult. But it seems obvious that no humans ought to eat conscious, aware, intelligent animals such as pigs.
At present, I seldom have fish, though for years, salmon, cod, catfish, and halibut were favorites.
I’m working my way down the food chain until, I will stop eating anything that has a face, certainly not sentient creatures.

FAVES of Food

1. Potatoes--French fries, fried potatoes, baked, hashbrowns
2. Celery
3. Cucumbers
4. Mushrooms
5. European blend salad
6. Jalapeno peppers
7. Broccoli

1. Bananas
2. Blackberries
3. Oranges
4. Kiwis
5. Tomatoes
6. Figs
7. Dates

1. Cajun shrimp, especially large shrimp
2. Baseball-sized Hushpuppy with its insides of crab and in the center with sauce, a large shrimp, at Cajun Tex restaurant in Marshall, Texas

3. Delicious Shrimp and Grits, The Conch House in St. Augustine, Florida

4. Crab chowder, best at The Conch House

5. Gourmet Shrimp Taco at Rubios, Huntington Beach, California
5. Jalapeno string cheese, such as Great Value brand
5. Cheese and potato Chalupa at Taco Bell
6. Quesadilla, especially Del Taco’s Spicy Jack Quesadilla
7. Cheese Enchilada
8. 10-grain bread
9. Millet
10.Clam Chowder

1. Mountain Dew Types: LiveWire, Ice (Lennon-Lime), Regular, PitchBlack, Code Red
2. Hurricanes at Joe's Crab Shack
3. Margaritas at Flanigans, Pompano Beach, Florida
4. Siesta Key Spiced Rum, Sarasota, Florida
5. Eggnog
6. Milk and shakes

Favorite Restaurants and Cafes:
1. The Conch House, St. Augustine Florida
2. Flanigan's Seafood Bar & Grill, Pompano Beach Florida
3. Cajun Tex, Marshall Texas
4. Jonahs Fish & Grits, Thomasville Georgia
5. Rubio's Coastal Grill, Huntington Beach California

Enjoy the gusto and deliciousness of good non-meat food and drink in moderation,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Now If That Isn't an Irony!

All through my Christian life—for 55 years—so many Christians emphasized that the only way for all humans to have peace is for humans to accept Jesus as their Savior, to become a Christian.

Then they will change, peace will come in their lives, and they will act in peace, and eventually—at least by the time Jesus returns—peace will come to all of the world.

Here’s one famous phrase—“The Prince of Peace is the only one who can change it [stop war, stop hatred, stop injustice, etc.] by changing one heart at a time.”

BUT the EXACT opposite has happened. For generations.

In every generation, the vast majority of those ‘changed-one-heart-at-a-time,’ born-again-devout Christians are the very humans who are most pro-war, even strongly supporting the slaughter of civilians, and often emphasizing nationalism!

They even now are claiming that everyone ought to put “America First”!

Arrest a 12-year-old disabled girl at the hospital where she just had surgery because she isn't a native citizen, even though she has lived in the U.S. since she was 3 months old.

Send her to a border station internment place by herself.

Forcibly separate thousands of children, including over 100 under 5, from their refugee parents, and move them to facilities far away from their parents in other states!

Utter selfishness, injustice, and no peace.

Now if that isn’t an irony.


Seek the Light of justice, reconciliation, compassion, human rights, equality, and so much more.

Act today for those who are impoverished, those who are suffering, those who are oppressed.

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Write for Amal Fathy, an Egyptian Woman Arrested for Writing Against Sexual Harassment

"On 21 June, Egyptian authorities upheld the decision to release woman human rights defender Amal Fathy on bail in one of the two cases against her. However, she remains detained in the second case for 15 more days. The prosecutor has two weeks to decide whether to renew Amal’s detention on the second case or release her.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

"Immediately and unconditionally release Amal Fathy as she is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully expressing her opinions;
Recognize the legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, like Amal Fathy, and in particular the right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Contact these two officials by 7 August, 2018:

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax +202 2391 1441
Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
Salutation: Dear President

Ambassador Yasser Reda, Embassy of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 895 5400
Fax: 202 244 4319 -OR- 202 244 5131
Contact Form:
Salutation: Dear Ambassador


In the Light of the Enlightenment, stand up for the oppressed, the suffering, the impoverished,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Look at Facts versus Truth, AGAIN

From an Introduction to Literature book [with my own responding commentary and reflections in brackets]:
"Water boils at 212° F." True or false? It depends. In Denver, a mile high, the statement is false; at sea level, it is true, provided we all agree what F stands for, what the superscript means, and what the rest of the words in the statement denote.

“But facts - a kind of truth-are slippery. The fact that water flows downhill can be verified to most people's satisfaction by pouring water down a number of hills, but what practical test is there to verify that the square root of nine is three?

[Or that induction is to be trusted?
The philosopher David Hume stated that there is no proof for induction.

Or perception is real?

Or that all of existence is real, not illusion as Asian religions and some philosophers claim?]

“All this is by way of suggesting that fact and truth are not always identical. Nor should we assume that the only kind of truth we can rely on is the truth embodied in cold, hard fact. Consider the following for a moment.

“It is a truth about human life -has been and no doubt always will be - that a young man [or young woman] of great gifts must sooner or later make a choice, and in doing so he [she] closes the door on alternative choices.

“He may devote all his talent to becoming, say, a great soldier, and with diligence he may enjoy success. Or he may devote his talent to becoming a politician, and assuming he is willing to make the necessary sacrifices of time and energy, he may very well succeed there.

“Or he may concentrate all his gifts on becoming a playboy and bon vivant, and no doubt he will have success there too, always of course at the cost of realizing his potential in other areas of endeavor. Most of us can do only so much in one lifetime, and to do anything extremely well takes something close to total commitment.

“Insight into this truth is expressed in one of the great myths of classical antiquity. At a feast of the gods on Mount Olympus, the uninvited goddess of discord, Eris, mischievously threw onto the table an apple labeled "For the Fairest."

“Three feminine hands reached for it...To decide, the handsomest of mortals, Paris, was brought to the feast, where each of the three goddesses promised rewards to him if he would give the apple to her.

“...Paris...gave the apple to Aphrodite, and from that choice reaped the reward of Helen, most beautiful of women, with all the consequences-including the fall of Troy and the destruction of his family...

“Whether or not there was ever a man named Paris, there is truth in the myth that is as valid as fact, and more affecting.

“Myth, then, collects the diverse experience of the race of man and fashions it into memorable and enduring form.

[But is the literature textbook correct, that non-factual stories are as valid as facts?

Since the term, myth, has come to almost always mean falsehood, delusion, etc., a better word would be “life-stance story.” In such stories, there may be ethical truth, philosophical observation, even a lucid understanding of one aspect of Life or the Cosmos.

BUT on the other hand, there may be only illusion and dysfunction.

Consider for instance President Abraham Lincoln’s belief in fate—he was raised Calvinist but rejected the Christian religion yet kept its fixated belief in determinism!

Because of his deep sense of fate, and his belief in the belief of an inseparable Union, Lincoln caused the death of almost 1 million humans, untold wounding of millions more, the destruction of cities and farms, and an ambivalent legacy that is still with us, etc.]

“...Is it not true that men often do evil with the best of intentions?”

[For Lincoln’s nemesis—strangely the very military leader who before Lincoln’s war attack into the Confederacy, he had asked to lead all Union troops!--
Robert E. Lee, also, had life-changing beliefs, a strong Christian belief in predestination (not significantly different from Lincoln’s belief in fate), but which led to a completely opposite response in life—which also was involved in causing much of the death and destruction that President Lincoln instituted.

Strangely, Lee as a dedicated Christian said that we ought to love our enemies, but that didn't stop him from causing the death of hundreds of thousands of humans, some of whom he used to work with! Lee killed them in duty, honor, and justice:-(

Indeed, most of the 20th century, and now the 21st century has seen political and religious leaders, with the “best of intentions”
cause more untold evil—the slaughter of millions of civilians, hundreds of millions of humans--beginning with the Great War down to the current slaughters in the Middle East and invasion by the United States who currently fights in at least 7 separate wars among the many on-going Islamic fratricides.]

Or consider the famous life-stance story of Jews, Christians, and Muslims:
“the Garden of Eden and the events we are told took place there...

“Some people read the account in Genesis as factual truth, but it is hardly necessary to insist on literal accuracy to appreciate the profound…truths of the story told simply in Genesis…

“The temptation to rise above one's place in the universe…is a universal human experience...their effort to convince themselves that what they have done is right despite all evidence to the contrary. We can recognize these and other truths in the story, although we have never known a world literally like that of Adam and Eve.

“Perhaps the most profound aspect of the story lies in God's commandment that man not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge and man's breaking of that commandment. We assume the value of knowledge, but many of the most able observers of man's progress wonder, as they ponder the future, whether what lies before us is ultimately good or evil.”

[The famous psychologist and professor Steven Pinker has written 2 lucid, heavily fact-based books, Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now, showing that despite nearly constant gloomy media news, tremendous moral and flourishing life progress has actually been made by humans in the last 50 years.]

“Has our knowledge outgrown our ability to use it wisely? As we learn how to destroy the inhabitants of the earth, and as we hover on the brink of discovering how to create life itself, we might find more significance in the ancient story of the fall of man than we had realized.”

[Many nations, currently, are turning to ‘strongmen’ to lead their nations. The U.S.—which already has many thousands of nuclear bombs, enough to destroy the world many times—is committed to building new ones and the current president, too, now wants to militarize Space!

Plus, President Trump has taken thousands of children away from refugee parents and claims that Americans ought to be “first” yet at the same time is strongly supported by over 81% of conservative Christians who claim he is “pro-life"!]

"I only have time for facts," the innocent often say. "No time for make-believe." But fiction-the best of it-isn't make-believe.

It is often the more enduring reality, and because it contains truth, it goes beyond personal and national boundaries. Thus, one need not be a Greek to recognize truth in Oedipus the King, or a Roman Catholic to be astonished by the accuracy of vision in The Divine Comedy.

“Nor does one have to insist on a literal interpretation of Christian doctrine in order to find profound truths about man and his fate in, Paradise Lost.

“1. Although facts are not the only form of truth, they are extremely important.

What is a fact?

What is the importance of facts in your everyday life?

What is the relationship between facts and ideas?

Between facts and opinions?

"2. Is man essentially good?

“Or is he essentially evil?
--from a literature textbook

[OR is the human primate not capable of good or evil?

IS the human species ONLY--
“You, your joys and your sorrow, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”
-Francis Crick, the famous Scientist and Atheistic Naturalist

OR HOW can any of the life-stance stories possibly be true in the sense that the literary author means (ethically and philosophically, not factually)
since so many contradict each other.

To be continued—

In the Light,

Daniel Eugene Wilcox

LIFE Needs to be Like a Camera

Monday, June 18, 2018

Why I Am a Process-theist, Not an Atheist or Creedal Christian

#1 The existence of Life, that marvelous creative structure of DNA.

I’m not given to anthropomorphizing nature and strongly dislike writing that does that. HOWEVER, despite the fact that non-sentient matter doesn’t have any will or awareness, there does appear to be some sort incredible drive within the natural process of Life itself.

One of Life’s astounding,staggering facts is that while once--more than 2 billion years ago--there was only inert matter and energy, at some point, somehow LIFE came into existence (biogenesis), Life from non-life.

No doubt this extraordinary, stunning change—nonlife to LIFE--came about via the structural creativity and intelligence inherent in reality of which so many brilliant scientists speak of; they sometimes use the word, emergent, to describe this amazing development. And, of course, the 51% of scientists in the United States who aren’t atheists, attribute this spectacular transformation to ultimate reality.

BUT even all of that—LIFE from non-life--isn’t the most staggering fact:
it’s that despite over-whelming odds,
despite the extinction of over 99% of all life forms in deep time;
despite huge natural disasters including large meteors hitting the Earth,
despite the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, etc.
LIFE on planet earth, a couple billion years later
continues to develop,
to expand,
to evolve,
to strongly continue to exist.

Despite the popularity of apocalyptic destruction media and novels, it appears that life will continue to exist and thrive in this universe for at least one more billion years!

After that according to cosmologists, our sun will get hotter and hotter, and boil away Earth’s oceans. Probably the end of life.
But until then...

Life is very stubborn:-)

I see this especially almost daily when my wife and I take hikes and our daily walks. Various plants grow out of places that wouldn’t seem possible. Their stems manage to squeak through narrow cracks in sidewalks, blacktop, masonry, rock faces. Tree roots break thick concrete driveways, uplift heavy slabs.

Heck, there is a series of long twining weeds that have squeezed through one door jam in our garage. They trail up the vertical side of the door and over onto the wall. I absolutely know that they have no sentience, that plants have no awareness, no will, no drive,
YET somehow Life ‘urges’ to exist
and overcomes very difficult circumstances.

Some of plants are so life-driven that they drive me and my wife crazy;-)

We have over-and-over, for the umpteen time, killed all unwanted life-plant forms in our front rock and rose garden;
we’ve laid down thick layers of plastic;
repeatedly I've used weed killer;
my wife constantly pulls weeds, etc.

YET there they are again,
driven up through poison,
up through heavy plastic, up past my wife’s persistent fingers,
more ‘determined’ to live than most anything.

So even small ‘persistent’ survival-persistent weeds astound me.

At 71 years of age, I have almost no energy compared to those thick weeds, skinny small vines, ugly intruders:-).

Here's bit of scientific data on DNA:

“The structure of DNA, an abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, illustrates a basic principle common to all biomolecules: the intimate relation between structure and function. The remarkable properties of this chemical substance allow it to function as a very efficient and robust vehicle for storing information.”

“A major role for many sequences of DNA is to encode the sequences of proteins, the workhorses within cells, participating in essentially all processes. Some proteins are key structural components, whereas others are specific catalysts (termed enzymes) that promote chemical reactions. Like DNA and RNA, proteins are linear polymers. However, proteins are more complicated in that they are formed from a selection of 20 building blocks, called amino acids, rather than 4.”

“The functional properties of proteins, like those of other biomolecules, are determined by their three-dimensional structures. Proteins possess an extremely important property: a protein spontaneously folds into a welldefined and elaborate three-dimensional structure that is dictated entirely by the sequence of amino acids along its chain (Figure 1.6). The self-folding nature of proteins constitutes the transition from the one-dimensional world of sequence information to the three-dimensional world of biological function. This marvelous ability of proteins to self assemble into complex structures is responsible for their dominant role in biochemistry."

"Folding of a Protein. The three-dimensional structure of a protein, a linear polymer of amino acids, is dictated by its amino acid sequence.
How is the sequence of bases along DNA translated into a sequence of amino acids along a protein chain? We will consider the details of this process in later chapters, but the important finding is that three bases along a DNA chain encode a single amino acid. The specific correspondence between a set of three bases and 1 of the 20 amino acids is called the genetic code. Like the use of DNA as the genetic material, the genetic code is essentially universal; the same sequences of three bases encode the same amino acids in all life forms from simple microorganisms to complex, multicellular organisms such as human beings.”
Copyright © 2002, W. H. Freeman and Company.

There “ enough information capacity in a single human cell to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica, all 30 volumes of it, three or four times over."
Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton, New York, p. 115, 1986

#2 The amazing and intellectually beautiful regularities of the Cosmos (often called the Laws of Physics or Cosmology); Time-Space’s wonder; quantum physics;

The physicist Steven Wineburg wrote that for him the cosmos seems “pointless.”
“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”
Dreams of a Final Theory: The Search for the Fundamental Laws of Nature (1993), ISBN 0-09-922391-0

But some other professional scientists, (and me, an average literature and writing teacher who has an amateur fascination with studying science on my own) have come to the extreme opposite conclusion:

The more we discover and learn about the cosmos, the more it seems meaningful and pointfull.

This whole area of astrophysics, cosmology, and astronomy often brings in the G-word, for good or ill, often by anti-religious thinkers who castigate all theists as fundamentalists.

The G-word is problematic because it is so ambiguous, so contradictory, so empty-bucket when it comes to its denotative meaning.

Give a hear to the thoughts of the famous astronomer Carl Sagan:

"The word “god” is used to cover a vast multitude of mutually exclusive ideas. And the distinctions are, I believe in some cases, intentionally fuzzed so that no one will be offended that people are not talking about their god.

"But let me give a sense of two poles of the definition of God. One is the view of, say, Spinoza or Einstein, which is more or less God as the sum total of the laws of physics. Now, it would be foolish to deny that there are laws of physics. If that’s what we mean by God, then surely God exists. All we have to do is watch the apples drop."

"Newtonian gravitation works throughout the entire universe. We could have imagined a universe in which the laws of nature were restricted to only a small portion of space or time. That does not seem to be the case....So that is itself a deep and extraordinary fact: that the laws of nature exist and that they are the same everywhere. So if that is what you mean by God, then I would say that we already have excellent evidence that God exists."

"But now take the opposite pole: the concept of God as an outsize male with a long white beard, sitting in a throne in the sky and tallying the fall of every sparrow. Now, for that kind of god I maintain there is no evidence. And while I’m open to suggestions of evidence for that kind of god, I personally am dubious that there will be powerful evidence for such a god not only in the near future but even in the distant future. And the two examples I’ve given you are hardly the full range of ideas that people mean when they use the word “god.”

I do strongly agree with Sagan that the "concept of God as an outsize male" isn't real, that there is no evidence for such an anthropomorphic god. Indeed, as a small child, I NEVER thought that God was a superhuman man up in the sky, in heaven. On the contrary, I looked at life, existence, and the night sky with awed wonder. My image of God was like of oxygen or some other gas!:-)

God was invisible, everywhere, and necessary for life to exist.

And my own view of the nature of Reality—often called ‘God’ even by famous scientists—is somewhat related to Sagan’s definition: “the sum total” of natural laws.

Only, I think, that Life, reason, ethics, etc. exist inherent within the nature of Reality.

And from Astrophysicist and theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin:

“If I were to ever lean towards spiritual thinking or religious thinking, it would be in that way. It would be, why is it that there is this abstract mathematics that guides the universe? The universe is remarkable because we can understand it. That’s what’s remarkable. All the other things are remarkable, too. It’s really, really astounding that these little creatures on this little planet that seem totally insignificant in the middle of nowhere can look back over the fourteen-billion-year history of the universe and understand so much and in such a short time."

"So that is where I would get a sense, again, of meaning and of purpose and of beauty and of being integrated with the universe so that it doesn’t feel hopeless and meaningless. Now, I don’t personally invoke a God to do that, but I can’t say that mathematics would disprove the existence of God either. It’s just one of those things where over and over again, you come to that point where some people will make that leap and say, “I believe that God initiated this and then stepped away, and the rest was this beautiful mathematical unfolding.” And others will say, “Well, as far back as it goes, there seem to be these mathematical structures. And I don’t feel the need to conjure up any other entity.” And I fall into that camp, and without feeling despair or dissatisfaction.”

Here, Levin seems to be disbelieving in the same god that Sagan and many of us non-scientists emphasize there is no evidence for. This is the god of popular superstition and creedal religion.

Many scientists, on the other hand, use the term, god, to refer to ultimate or essential reality, as Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary's first definition: "1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality:"

For example Albert Einstein: “My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit [‘spirit’ meaning the nature of, not meant in the organized religion sense] that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality."

#3 Related to those staggering realities, is the remarkable fact that in this vast, seemingly infinite expanding Time-Space reality, there is on a minor planet in a middling galaxy a finite primate (us), who in historic time only recently became consciously aware, rational, with mental capabilities able to discover these astronomical, cosmological, astrophysical complex theories and facts!

It is humbling true that it appears we human primates have only begun to tap into the whole of Reality; and there may even be a multiverse, beyond the billions of galaxies within our own universe. Like Einstein emphasized we as a species are like a small child who has discovered a vast library far beyond his/her little capabilities. There are billions, trillions of volumes.

Yet, it is so extraordinary that we as a species, with our basic brain, can understand even the barest minimum of Existence.
Various cosmologists, astrophysicists, astronomers, and mathematicians are enthralled by the wonder of it all.

#4 Math; how some mathematicians think that the ultimate nature of Reality is actually mathematical!

I’m a math-light-weight;-) I did make it through algebra, geometry, college math, did fairly well, (mostly B’s) BUT realized that I wasn’t given the brainpower to do heavy lifting when it comes to higher math, so had to give up my childhood dream of becoming a space engineer. However, I still have deep appreciation of math’s amazing complexity in relationship to the cosmos.

Consider the view of math from the perspective of Astrophysicist and theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin:

“I would absolutely say I am also besotted with mathematics. I don’t worry about what’s real and not real in the way that maybe Gödel did. I think what Turing did, which was so beautiful, was to have a very practical approach. He believed that life was, in a way, simple. You could relate to mathematics in a concrete and practical way. It wasn’t about surreal, abstract theories. And that’s why Turing is the one who invents the computer, because he thinks so practically. He can imagine a machine that adds and subtracts, a machine that performs the mathematical operations that the mind performs."

"The modern computers that we have now are these very practical machines that are built on those ideas. So I would say that like Turing, I am absolutely struck with the power of mathematics, and that’s why I’m a theoretical physicist...I love that we can all share the mathematical answers. It’s not about me trying to convince you of what I believe or of my perspective or of my assumptions."

"We can all agree that one plus one is two, and we can all make calculations that come out to be the same, whether you’re from India or Pakistan or Oklahoma, we all have that in common. There’s something about that that’s deeply moving to me and that makes mathematics pure and special. And yet I’m able to have a more practical attitude about it, which is that, well, we can build machines this way. There is a physical reality that we can relate to using mathematics.”

"If I were to ever lean towards spiritual thinking or religious thinking, it would be in that way. It would be, why is it that there is this abstract mathematics that guides the universe? The universe is remarkable because we can understand it. That’s what’s remarkable. All the other things are remarkable, too. It’s really, really astounding that these little creatures on this little planet that seem totally insignificant in the middle of nowhere can look back over the fourteen-billion-year history of the universe and understand so much and in such a short time."

"So that is where I would get a sense, again, of meaning and of purpose and of beauty and of being integrated with the universe so that it doesn’t feel hopeless and meaningless. Now, I don’t personally invoke a God to do that, but I can’t say that mathematics would disprove the existence of God either. It’s just one of those things where over and over again, you come to that point where some people will make that leap and say, “I believe that God initiated this and then stepped away, and the rest was this beautiful mathematical unfolding.” And others will say, “Well, as far back as it goes, there seem to be these mathematical structures. And I don’t feel the need to conjure up any other entity.” And I fall into that camp, and without feeling despair or dissatisfaction."
Astrophysicist and theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin
Einstein's God, Interviews with Scientists by Krista Tippett

#5 Reason:

Think of the stunning results that humans’ rational abilities have achieved, especially when brilliant humans hypothesize in a number of different scientific, historical, and aesthetic fields.

#6 Ethics:

Moral realism!
In contrast, most Atheists and Creedal Christians aren’t moral realists.

It’s baffling that so many Atheists and Creedal Christians claim that morals and ethics, and human rights are subjective.

And many famous Atheist leaders take it one gigantic step further, claiming that human creative choice, moral responsibility, equality, liberty, justice, human rights, etc. are all “myths,” delusions!

And Creedal Christians claim that all humans, since we were foreordained from before the beginning of Time-Space, by their god to be sinful at conception/birth, we are incapable of any choice. Furthermore, God often changes what is moral or immoral. Whatever the Christian god decides—that becomes moral even if it is horrific such as genocide, the slaughter of children, rape, slavery, and so forth.

#7 Aesthetics




All reality is coming about by the everlasting but limited cosmic reality that is “becoming.” This is the view of thinkers such as philosopher and mathematician Alfred Lord Whitehead, philosopher Charles Hartshorne, etc.

This cosmic but limited ‘god-ultimate reality’--who is far beyond human understanding--works toward changing matter and energy and conscious life (such as homo sapiens) into increasing patterns and forms of beauty, meaning, and purpose.

This is also the view of some Reform Jews and extremely liberal non-creedal Christians and Muslims.

But where is the evidence for this?

Process thinkers explain that consciousness, reason, ethics, mathematics, natural law, creativity, aesthetics, life itself, etc. are the evidence.
This view is appealing, (though most of the technical philosophical explanations are beyond my understanding).
All reality came about somehow by a temporary, finite, imperfect, even distorted, expression of the perfect eternal Ideal Forms of Platonism.
I already explained that I've been influenced by Platonism though I strongly reject certain portions and claims of the philosophical worldview of Plato.

To be continued--

In the Light of Reality,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, June 8, 2018

Write for Prisoner of Conscience Ahmed Mansoor


"On 29 May, the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sentenced prominent Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor to 10 years in prison and a fine of 1,000,000 Emirati Dirham on charges including “insulting the UAE and its symbols.” He is a prisoner of conscience."

Please write a letter, send an email or call the UAE authorities to overturn this conviction, a miscarriage of justice.

Ask for the immediate release of Ahmed Mansoor.

"...he is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, including through his human rights work;"

Ask that he might have "immediate and regular access to a lawyer of his choosing, his family, and any healthcare he may require."

Contact these two officials by 16 July, 2018:
Vice-President and Prime Minister
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin
Rashid al-Maktoum
Prime Minister’s Office
PO Box 212000
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Fax: +971 4 330 4044
Email via web:
Twitter: @HHShkMohd
Salutation: Your Highness

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba,
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
3522 International Court, NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 243 2400 I Fax: 1 202 243 2432
Contact form:
Salutation: Dear Ambassador


Thank you for caring for human rights.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Human Rights Have NO Borders

Another massive ICE raid against hard-working undocumented immigrants:

"A family member of one of the arrested Corso's workers: "My soon to be brother-in-law was deported this morning...He was brought here as a young boy. He's worked at Corso's for many years. They paid him good money. By no means did they pay him what they think immigrants should be paid. They paid him good money.
"He did a good job and worked hard to provide for his family. He's got a six-month-old daughter," she added.

Allegedly, many children were left at day-care facilities because their parents couldn't pick them up.

This arresting of hardworking humans is so morally wrong! Arresting individuals who aren't criminals, and deporting people who were brought here as children is not only unfair, it's a violation of human rights:-((((.

If someone has crossed a political border without permission, he/she ought to get a ticket like a person who goes over the speed limit.

Instead of this persecution of so many immigrants, these millions of dollars ought to be spent on the pursuit violent criminals and money could be spent on more local interaction of police with their communities. What a tragic waste to have huge dollar amounts spent on over hundred police officers handcuffing diligent working individuals at their place of employment!

POLICE OUGHT to be arresting violent criminals, not hard-working individuals.

Everyone ought to be ashamed of this self-centered turn away from justice and equality by the United States.

ICE arrests 114 at Ohio garden center in major mass raid
Eric Levenson
By Carma Hassan and Eric Levenson, CNN

(CNN)US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested 114 undocumented immigrants working at an Ohio gardening business in one of its largest workplace raids in recent years.

"It is the largest in our region in the last decade," said Khaalid Walls, spokesman for ICE's Northeastern region, which comprises Michigan, Ohio, and Upstate New York.
In April, ICE arrested nearly 100 people accused of being in the US illegally at a Tennessee meatpacking plant. At the time, immigration rights groups said that operation was ICE's largest workplace raid in a decade.
Tuesday's arrests targeted employees of Corso's Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia, Ohio, Walls said.

Work for justice, equality, and hope for ALL HUMANS. Human rights have NO BORDERS.

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Where Does Graham Get Evidence that Sanctuary Cities Are Like Hell?

Where is Christian leader Franklin Graham getting his evidence from?

How are sanctuary cities turning into "just a little picture of Hell"?

According to 4 academic studies undocumented people don't increase crime or substance abuse.
See this at

How are progressives who show compassion for the impoverished, the persecuted, the oppressed guilty of being "Godless"?

How are such caring leaders contrary to God?

Franklin Graham is also head of a charity, Samaritan's Purse. So why is he so against helping undocumented immigrants, who are working hard, raising families, etc. living in the United States?

Graham said, "...I do want Christians to vote and I want them to ask God before they vote, who they vote...and turn the state [California] back to God..." He also has said that Christians need to stand up against California's "Blue Wall."

It appears this is another case of Graham's support of Donald Trump's polices. Even when it comes to Trump's repeated adulteries, Graham says it's "nobody's business," yet Graham claims that Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are "Godless" even though they haven't divorced, aren't self-centered, and don't use obscene speech.

Please stand up for refugees. "Rescue the perishing, caring for the dying..."

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Seals and Crofts' "Intone...": Older Age Hope

A very powerful, inspiring song by Seals and Crofts.

Caution note: I've never been a part of the Baha'i religion, don't take kindly toward any literature or song lyrics that call humans "servants-slaves" or speak of ultimate reality as "lord." So many of the latter represent that which is worst about religion and ideology.

HOWEVER, some aspects of the more liberal parts of the Baha'i faith do represent ethics, justice, and inspiration at their best.

AND, most of the lyrics of "Intone" by Seals and Crofts are very powerful, describing many of the tragic aspects of our lives when we humans get older. Many studies have shown that the most lonely and saddest humans are the elderly.

The irony of when I first heard "Intone," listening to a new album by a new group that one of my buddies had just bought, I was only 24, in good health, and renting a nice apartment in Huntington Beach, California only a few miles to the beach.

But I could imagine and empathize with the individual suffering in the song--of the tragedies and losses of which the singers were relating. The song enthralled and uplifted me spiritually even though back then in 1971, I had few worries, and only the angst typical of young adults.

Besides the intense, lush instrumentation, I felt deeply the words of loss partially because at the time my mom was devastated by the early death of her father, the failing health of her elderly mother, and she was still grieving too vivid memories of her little brother who had gotten killed, run over by a car years before. As years passed, and my mom got older, she agonized even more over her little brother's death.

This song speaks so deeply and powerfully to all of that.

Yes, "Intone" posits holy writing from religion as a hope.

I don't think religions offer real hope. But some writings in religions do inspire. With a little revising, one can listen to this hopeful song, emphasizing what to do when encountering tragedy. (Hopefully, Seals and Crofts won't mind. I wonder where they are and whether or not they are living this song now in their old age.)

>>when everything is wrong...your friends are gone

Intone my [beloved], the verses of [the Light]. Intone my beloved, the verses of the Light
Let me hear you sing, let your voices ring
>>throughout cities of men's hearts...

Don't despair. Don't negate. Don't, for hope's sake, have a pity party (that you probably do deserve).

Instead, look to the wise words of great inspiration.

Seek hope, even when hope is missing.

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, May 25, 2018

Talk About Tragic, Hypocritical, and Contrary to Its Founder's Wise Words

Look at the tragic selfish, unkind, unjust, and immoral position that White Evangelical Christians hold toward accepting refugees:

These devout Christians claim that they follow Jesus who told the Parable of the Good Samaritan and who spoke the Sermon on the Mount,
they strongly refuse accepting and helping refugees.

Notice that these U.S. Evangelical Christians are the most opposed of any group to helping the abused, the impoverished, the persecuted, the helpless!!

Don't look to their selfish and fallacious religion for truth, justice, or hope.

Instead, consider these wise words:

In the LIGHT of kindness, compassion, generosity, help, and rescuing,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

From Abandoned to Hope: An Undocumented Immigrant Teen

Abandoned when he was only 5 years old, Daniel Morales lived and somehow managed to survive on the streets in a Latin American country despite all the crime, poverty, and other dangers.

Finally, as a teen when faced with threats to join a gang, Daniel did what so many refugees have done, he rode the "beast"--on top of trains up through Mexico to the U.S., a very dangerous journey.

Yes, there are horrific stories, too, of the criminals that Daniel managed to avoid. Some of the latter also enter the United States illegally and get lots of front page news because of their immoral actions including rape and murder. But they are a minority.

It's time that we Americans focus on the HOPE stories, the innocent Dreamers whose only crime is sneaking across a border in order to escape crime, poverty, and injustice.

Daniel is one such incredible narrative of hope.

How he managed to get into the U.S. is unknown, but it can be imagined from reading daily news of arrests of illegal immigrants every week along the Mexico-U.S. border.

Hannah Eash-Gates, Daniel's legal representative and former member of Mennonite Voluntary Service, said, Daniel "is relentlessly positive." According to her, Daniel is "incredibly bright. Even without a formal education, taught himself to read and write."

Daniel and Hannah met at the Refuge and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) in San Antonio, Texas where Hannah worked for MVS.

"In the two years it took for Eash-Gates to help Morales achieve legal permanent residency status, he made it on the honor roll and learned two languages!"

Read more about helping undocumented immigrants and others in the Mennonite magazines, Extending Beyond, Beyond Ourselves, and the websites of Mennonite Central Committee.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Part #4: Do Animals Have Worth?

Why does the human species seek meaning and purpose?
Why do humans study nature, the cosmos, reality?
Why are we curious, creative, doubtful, rational?

Why do many of us seek to preserve other species, in danger of extinction?

CONSIDER THIS AMAZING OTHER CREATURE IN NATURE which shows the incredible creativity and intelligent potential in life and existence:

It gives new contrary meaning to the negative term: bird brain.

"A red knot’s incredible journey"
by Jeremy Taylor

"Imagine flying the equivalent of the distance from the earth to the moon and partway back. Now imagine doing this if you weighed only four ounces! Sounds incredible, but this is exactly what one bird has done over the last two decades."

"The red knot (Calidris canutus) has one of the longest migrations of any bird, travelling nearly 10,000 miles each spring and fall between its summer breeding range in the Arctic to the winter range in southern Chile and Argentina.

"...this trip has successfully been made twice a year for at least 21 years in a row by a male red knot, dubbed “Moonbird” due to the cumulative
distance he has flown.
"First banded at two years of age in 1995 in Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, Moonbird...B95...has become a celebrity of sorts.
Read the rest at:
And read, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Deborah Cramer

How do the young Red Knots do this?! When they are born, they have never been from the Arctic to the bottom of Argentina.

They leave separately later than the adult Red Knots and have no guide. As the science writer Chet Raymo points out, how do the young on their own "make their way along a route they have never traveled to a destination they have never seen?"

According to scientists their DNA contains "...the map of the migration route and the skills to follow it...The red knot's brain is a flexible organ, capable of wiring itself by experience." p.25, Raymo, Skeptics and True Believers

Factually amazing things about nature, astronomy, animals, etc. intrigued me as a kid, and still do as a retired oldster. When I was in 4th grade our teacher had us do bird studies, find feathers and nests, and do so many other interesting activities.
And as an aging learner, I was astounded to find out that now scientists think that crows have the intelligence of a 7-year-old human!!

So I don't understand those human leaders who have a demeaning attitude toward existence, to those who state that live species are "just chemicals," or only atoms, or many others who take a predatory approach to animals, denying they have any inherent worth.

Yes, I know that nature is often 'tooth and claw.' Especially when our cat Smoke brings us a gift of a small bird. And I used to be a hunter, had a Remington shotgun and a rifle (given to me at 12 by my grandfather).
we humans are more than instinct. We have a sense of transcendence, a sense of ought, and a rational understanding that reality isn't only survival, isn't only about us, but that reality has the real potential for creativity, beauty, and truth.

Animals didn't come into existence for us humans. The sentient ones have their own worth and value.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Nature of Religion--Best of Ways and Worst of Ways

Journalist Christopher Hitchens: “If you gave Falwell [a Christian leader] an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.”

Hitchen also wrote that religion "poisons everything."

On the other hand,even some religious leaders realize the dangers/contradictions/oddities of their systems.

Take these jokes, such as this sharp satire from Jews themselves poking ironic fun at themselves, at the contradictory branches of Judaism:

“At an Orthodox wedding, the bride’s mother is pregnant; at a Conservative wedding, the rabbi is pregnant;

at a Reform wedding, the bride is pregnant; and at a Reconstructionist wedding, both brides are pregnant.”
from God Is Not One by Stephen Prothero, p. 271
Here's one from liberal versus conservative Christianity:

A Unitarian-Universalist minister walked across a road after being accosted by an irate Southern Baptist leader who had shouted at the UU leader:
"Your church is a joke! You reject all the creeds!"

Finally, the Southern Baptist ran across the road yelling sputtering,
"YOU, YOU...!"

And the Unitarian Universalist turned back and very politely said, "Yes?"

Religion is another one of those 'empty-bucket' words which are so semantically wiggly and slimy that it means many different things to many different people.

One way to systematize it is to distill the central focus of various religions.
(Some of the following is an adaption and expansion from a list in God Is Not One by Stephen Prothero.)

#1 Judaism: the problem is exile—solution is return
[my own view: problem is rebellion/disobedience—solution is repentance and Torah]

2. Islam: the problem is pride—solution is submission

3. Christianity: the problem is sin—solution is salvation

4. Confucianism: the problem is chaos—solution is social order/propriety

5. Hinduism: the problem is samsara cycle of reincarnation/karma/impurity/–solution is spiritual release via devotion/ritual/duty
[my own view—solution is cleansing/separateness]

6. Buddhism: the problem is suffering—solution is awakening
[my view: problem is suffering--solution is complete negation]

7. Taoism: the problem is lifelessness—solution is natural flourishing and freedom

8. Paganism: the problem is disconnection from nature--solution is reverence of the natural world

9. Atheism: the problem is superstition/faith/religion—solution is atheistic reason

10. Deism/Enlightenment: the problem is injustice/oppression/superstition--
solution is theistic reason and democracy

11. Humanism: the problem is delusion or meaninglessness--solution is affirmation of the good/worth/flourishing

12. Religious non-religious Ideology: the problem is bourgeoisie capitalism--solution is dictatorship of the proletariat
This odd animal is secularism that adopts many of the trappings and behaviors of religion including ritual, reverence of dead leaders, heresy trials for those who deviate from dogma, etc...

Prime examples: U.S.S.R. Communist Party: the preserved bodies of Lenin and Stalin lying in state in a mausoleum in Red Square based upon a religious building from humanity's past. And for over 70 years many millions of people have gone to view the two famous communist leaders of the Russian revolution, and millions have been spent on displaying and preserving the corpses.

A lesser example--civil religion in nations such as the U.S. where the American flag is treated with reverence like a sacred object and people pledge themselves to the flag, where myths are believed about their most revered dead leaders.

And the leaders are venerated with huge monuments including Washington's monumental tower and Lincoln's Memorial based upon a a Greek temple!

13. Heresy: One EXTREMELY odd fact about religion is that various aberrant versions of official religions are often closer to other religions or ideologies than the specific religion they are listed under!

For instance liberal Quakerism is far closer to Humanism than to creedal Christianity. Heck, some Quakers claim to be Pagans or Nontheists, some Jews are closer to Atheism than any religion, a few Muslims closer to Deism/Enlightenment than orthodox Islam.

And consider the bottomless chasm between many Arminiam Christians
most Reformed/Augustinian Christians!

The former think that the God of Christianity infinitely loves and seeks to save every single human and that God created all humans with infinite worth, and for eternal communion and fellowship.


Reformed/Augustinians wno believe that the God of Christianity chooses to only loves a limited number of humans who have no choice, that all humans are conceived/born totally depraved because of God's hidden will.
And that from before the foundation of the cosmos, God foreordained most humans, billions of us, to eternal damnation/torture for his own glory.

Not a molecule moves in reality, according to Reformed Christianity, but that God moves it. God is the cause of all natural disasters, all disease, all evil.
In this sense,
the Reformed are MUCH closer to the total determinism of orthodox Islam, where whatever happens is Allah's will. And the Reformed are much closer to the versions of Atheism which believe in hard determinism than some forms of Arminiam Christianity which emphasize free will.


Jainism: the problem is ? solution is

Sikhism: the problem is solution is

Zoroastrianism: the problem is solution is

Shintoism: the problem is solution is

Baha’i: the problem is solution is


In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

1 Some of these are adapted from GOD Is Not ONE by Stephen Prothero