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WEBRINGS--the directory to over 1000 articles by California Skeptics



My academic background consists of 12 years as a student--from 1962 to 70 and 1977-81, including 2 years of graduate school in philosophy.  The 14 undergraduate semesters in science consumed nearly three academic years (I earned 85 credit hours).  These science courses gave me the foundation for a molecular understanding of life and life systems, and philosophy taught me to critically examine a field of knowledge so as to spot anomalies in an overall theory and arrive so as to sculpture the solution to real-world situations.  Unlike science which relies on expert consensus, philosophy teaches problem solving.  For example there are Five Types of Ethical Theory (work by C.D. Broad); I had to examine each theory and then arrive at an overall meta-ethical theory and justify it.  I had 2 years of philosophy as a major, and 2 more years in graduate school, University of Manitoba.  Problem solving was not just the domain of philosophy:  in the 60s undergraduate liberal arts course-work consisted mostly of using evidence to justify conclusions—liberal arts consisted of a minimum of 12 semester-long courses (36 credit hours), I had 15.  I applied those skills to social questions:  human behavior, political science, and economics, and to process such as imperialism, historical analysis, consumerism, religious behavior, and almost everything else that was puzzling to me.  Upon leaving the academic world in 1981, I continued to explore topics as varied as psychology, ethics, the brain as the source of behavior, poetics, the Greco-Roman World, Old Testament mythology, historical Jesus, US Federal court system, health issues, and other topics.  I also had 7 semesters in mathematics.  I was like a mathematician, only instead of numbers I think of processes measured by consequences and completeness.   For one year I was a psychology major during the era when the experimental basis of behavior was used as a scaffolding to explain complex behavior.  In 2001 I started the  http://www.skeptically.org/, whose theme is to expose beliefs that are not justified by the evidence.  There are two sections applying the behavioral approach.  In 2004 I started an evidence based medical site.  The deeper I looked into health related topics, the more I came to understand the inroads that drug and food manufacturers made upon the evidence base.  The behavioral analysis, social Darwinism, fiduciary goals of corporations and topics is understanding helps me to understand why and how the perverse corporate system produce perverse treatment practices, and thus how the corporate system causes well-meaning scientists and doctors to cause harm.  A system which is measured by profits has evolved into a health care monster.  In 2011 I started the recommended section of healthfully.org.  






The Greek Philosophers self-servingly (for they were the teachers) held that an essential condition for the development of right of the sons of upper class citizens would consist of instruction in philosophy (which in those times also included the now separate fields of sciences, social science, political science, mathematics, and literary analysis) so that their rational nature could guide their actions and thus dominate in prudent ways their animal side. This would be complemented with training in the gymnasium (a word of Greek origins) and the arts (music and poetry). Their students would learn to be free through rational understanding of the nature of things (a philosophic track by that name was written setting the Greek atomistic school by the Roman Lucretius) of the frightful superstitious beliefs which afflict the untrained mind.  As their students developed they would come to understand the conditions necessary to live the good life and have sufficient rational control to fulfill those conditions. The good life included in live a just life in moderation away from the common herd. The wise person sought the purer pleasures, those which yielded enjoyment and at the same time causing the least discomforts and expenses.  Quiet contemplation, by a person who is at peace with himself, ranked as the purest and most persistent pleasure. A person living the good life exercised and participated in sports, enjoyed the fine arts, was honorable, had a group of noble companions, and of course had the skills of a philosopher (the term coming from Greek means "lover of wisdom).

Epicurus the leader of the Greek Atomists around 300 BC most succinctly expressed through maxims what the good-life is. A revival of his teachings occurred with Gassandi who translated his works and that of Lucretius’ in 17th-century.  Epicurus moral teaching evolved into utilitarianism (see my other site).


You probable wonder why I have done this.  There is the psychological answer:  I like working on this site because of intellectual pleasures and the relief of boredom; viz., I get more reinforcements from this activity than others for approximately 20 hours per week.  And there is the conceptual answer:  the combination of the fulfillment of the utilitarian imperative, and Hope (the chance that this would lead to something bigger).  I am unloading years of learning and paper collecting.  Nearly all that I have pasted is for the sake of helping both you and me to rise above our animal side and through logical control of both beliefs and actions.  And it is to promote ataraxia (read Love of all things as foundation for happiness.)


I have a BA, major philosophy, plus 2 years of graduate school, plus 8 chemistry courses.  Since graduating high school, I have lived the contemplative life, and is so doing have avoided the corruption of the mass media—principally consumerism and nationalism.  I view my self as a humanitarian and citizen of this world.  Politically I am close to Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky and thus find much evil in corporatism and American hegemony.   This makes me a gad fly (one who presents disquieting ideas).  The most effective thing that I can do is teach by offering ideas.  .


I have a dream of a utopia, one with an educated populous of gentle race of loving people; one where people work together as an extended family, and where the corporations including banks are owned by their community, and the media is ran by university professors.  I want to share this dream.  It is a dream as old as Plato’s Republic, a dream of where the good is the public weal.  It went to Syracuse with him, traveled with Aristotle (his pupil) and Alexander the Great (Aristotle’s pupil).  Zeno of citum and Epicurus presented their versions of Greek wisdom.  Undoubtedly the author of the Sermon on the Mount was familiar with this Greek wisdom and added to it.    Voltaire and Diderot bore its stamp, and Jeremy Bentham corresponded with Madison and befriended Alan Burr.  Adam Smith and his friend David Hume, like Bentham, measured governments by their promotion of the public weal.  The enlightenment Greek wisdom.  John Stuart Mill was the god son of Bentham, and Bertrand Russell the god son of Mill.  And though Greek wisdom and candle of the Enlightenment today grow dimmer, and though the Sermon on the Mount has less affect in the last two generations upon the contentious ape, and though greedy corporatism has through its media sold poverty as progress, inculcated that government serving the public weal is socialism, and through election funding has bought our politicians and co-opted democracy; the Greek wisdom will not be extinguished, but will like the phoenix rise from the flames of social injustice.  Like the French and American revolutions, history will repeat itself.   Let us not forget the dream:  Greek wisdom and its progeny



Epicurus said, to him who little is not enough, nothing will be enough.

Skinner said: original sin is the difference between your pleasure and mine.  Let us be free of sin by living the utilitarian ideal of promoting happiness. 


Epicurus:  Meditate upon pleasure; for without it we do all to get it back. This meditation will lead with persistence to an understanding of ataraxia the foundation of the good life. 



Click on blotter LSD below and travel to the site that honors Dr. Hofmann, who in April of 1943 accidentally absorbed a small dose.  Feeling ill, he bicycled home from Sandoz Laboratory in Switzerland.

The best way to travel
A part of my life 400 times

If there is a divine measurement, it is by the good we do.