Health Care in China vs. the United States

A friend posted an article she had found to my page on Facebook describing how terrible health care is in China, as experienced during a recent vacation the author had taken there with his family.

His central points were that if the government controls the whole system, there’s no motivation to provide more than minimal care. And, he proposed that if we subsidize insurance in this country with a “single payer” system, it will lead to the same outcome where the needs of the individual are subverted to the needs of the economy of the state.

Here’s the response I wrote to my friend’s post:

Thanks, Donna – fascinating article. And the central point of the article is a good one: that if a culture/society/form of government is more concerned with the efficiency of the state than of the individual, then health care suffers because it is all about costs vs. individual medical needs. So, in China, better to lose people than to undermine the economy, essentially.

Right now in this country, poor people can’t afford insurance so, like the Chinese, they get no care. And this is a big indicator our current form of medical care is much like the Chinese – poor people don’t matter. We have lots of them and can afford to lose a bunch of them. As Scrooge said, “They had better [die] and decrease the surplus population.

Now in China, everyone gets the same care, rich or poor (theoretically) though I am sure those in power and the wealthy get much better care in practice. But there’s no hope for the poor nor for the middle class, since they are expendable for the good of the efficiency of the state as a whole.

In our country, the middle class fare much better. Good insurance at an expensive but attainable rate is available, often with the help of the businesses folks work for. But, again, we’ve decided the poor are the expendable ones here, for the good of the efficiency of the state.

The challenge ahead of us as a nation that wishes to be unlike the Chinese and to truly care for every individual regardless of their income level is to provide at the very least basic medical care for all, even for those who can’t pay for it. That, I believe, is at the center of our compassionate hearts as a nation.

But then, in terms of practical implementation, how do you do that, and who pays for it? In answer to the first part of that question, there are many ideas floating around. For one, we might require doctors and hospitals to provide services for free or on a sliding scale for those who can’t afford insurance. But the problem is that it puts the financial burden on the medical professionals and leads to the same kind of lack of interest in helping people that the article noted in China.

Another way is to require insurance companies to provide free and low cost sliding scale insurance to those who can’t afford it. But, the problem here is that the insurance companies are for-profit organizations, so they will have to offset those costs by raising rate for those who already buy insurance. That won’t be a problem for the rich, but the middle class will get slammed, and that will really hurt the standard of living and perhaps even cause folks to fall out of the middle class because they are in a donut hole where they make too much to get help with insurance payments, but with the hike in rates have to cut back on food, vacations, new cars, new clothes, and even college and retirement funds. And this then hurts the overall economy and potentially fuels a recession.

So what do we do to not be like China and make sure everyone gets quality heath care? Well, I don’t know if there’s a good answer to that yet. Or maybe a good answer doesn’t even exist. But for my money, literally, I think the best answer is for the government to cover the cost of insurance for medical care for the poor and to provide a sliding scale of financial support to pay for insurance for those who can only afford part of the payment on their own. As I understand it, that’s what Obamacare tried to do. But it was flawed, costs went up for the middle class and in the end it didn’t work very well.

That really leaves only one solution – put a tax on the personal income of the ultra-rich to provide health insurance for the ultra-poor. Now I’m not talking about taxing those who make one million a year or even 10 million a year, but how about a sliding scale tax on those who personally make 50 million or 100 million or 1 billion? I’ve hear that Bloomberg makes as much money every year as the poorest 100 million Americans. Now that may be bogus, but I’m sure it is some godawful number that tells us that the uber-riche can certainly afford to cover insurance payments for those who truly can’t afford them, and to subsidize lower payments for those who can’t cover it all themselves.

Now, we all pay taxes, and we recognize the need for some level of taxation. But the level currently charged against the middle class is a weight they can barely carry. So, as a nation we have two choices.

Like China, we don’t care for the poor and let them go without any medical care at all, or we demand that those who have so much pay a bit of it to provide for those who have nothing. That isn’t socialism since everybody can choose their own insurance company and plan. And if insurance is paid for by higher taxes on the very rich, it isn’t socialism because we aren’t all being taxed for it – just those who have that kind of money falling out of their pockets. That’s the capitalist way to do it.

Socialism would be a flat tax where everyone pays the same rate and gets the same services provided by the government. But we’re not talking about the government running health care here – not like China. We’re talking about the government taxing the very rich to pay for health insurance for the poor. And that’s about as capitalist as you can get.

Now, there may be lots of arguments against this idea, and I’m not claiming it is without its faults. But the whole point here is to make sure that everyone in this country can get medical care when they need it, regardless of how we achieve that. And if not by taxing the rich, then how to we do it? My head tells me we can do this, and my heart tells me we must.

Corona Virus and the Presidential Election

Due to the Corona virus, we are on the cusp of powerful potential narratives, few of them favorable. Though there is not yet enough information to project any as being more likely than another, it is worth considering them all.

Here is the worst case scenario:

The Conronavirus quickly becomes a pandemic. The United States remains largely unaffected due to our geographic isolation and strong disease prevention infrastructure. Reports of mass death, shortages, and unstable governments come in from around the world. In times of instability, populations tend to prefer the known to the unknown. And so, since Trump is at the helm and the disease has not hugely disrupted the United States (we are seen as a safe zone – an island in the middle of a flood) his numbers rise as the election nears. Sanders, running on a ticket of radical change,drops in popularity as the electorate shifts toward a desire to not rock the boat. Trump wins the election. The virus strikes hard domestically after the election, hitting us in Winter. Production slows, shortages appear,and state governments are unable to effectively respond to national supply chain disruptions. The United States congress declares martial law. Trump takes control, and due to the extreme situation, checks and balances are bypassed in favor of immediate chain-of-command decisions and policies. Slowly, eventually, the pandemic runs its course. International economies are ruined. The United States was hard hit but stands well above any other nation or alliance in both economy and capability. As a result of shutting our borders in our attempts to stop/slow the infection, and with Trump in charge of a direct command network with his hand-picked loyal supporters in all positions of power, congress overturns term limits for the presidency, reverting to the days of Franklin Roosevelt who was elected to four terms. Having put political cronies in charge of election systems, Trump is reelected until his demise, and then power is passed to his son.

Now, this sounds pretty far out, and requires a lot of elements to break in the worst possible direction.

Here are a few key narrative points to watch:

  1. The stock market continues to drop, losing the economic edge Trump has enjoyed.
  2. The virus reaches the United States in a big way much sooner, and Trump is seen as ineffectual and asleep at the wheel.
  3. Sanders modifies his campaign rhetoric to focus on the need for socialized services to provide national support where corporations have failed to work together to the peril of the population.
  4. Threatened by his draining support, Trump makes erratic moves and repeatedly violates his oath of office to the point that he is seen by the electorate as working to profit from the virus, even when doing so puts the nation in harm’s way.

Of course, the virus may wash up against our shores and recede. The rest of the world may gain control more quickly and minimize its effect, and it all might be behind us by the presidential election, returning to a level playing field for the contest between Sanders (and his philosophy) and Trump (and his).

Bottom line:

  1. Keep your eyes open
  2. Watch for key narrative points
  3. Be prepared

Trump: Dictator or Liberator?

Before you fly off the handle about Trump’s firing of the impeachment witnesses and his interference in Roger stone’s sentencing, you might ask yourself why 85% of registered Republicans still support him.

If you don’t have the answer to that – if you can’t conceive of it – then how can you fight what you don’t understand?

So why do all these Americans – parents, teachers, social workers, men and women, true patriots such as yourself – continue to not only support Trump but defend him with high emotion?

The answer is simple. There are two narratives in America. Depending on which you believe, you’ll see Trump either as a dictator or a liberator.

One narrative sees a collusion of senators and administration officials working together to run rough-shod over the constitution, trample individual rights, ruin the environment, and set up a ruling party toward the end purpose of establishing a dictator as its leader.

The other narrative sees a deep state conspiracy in which bureaucrats and officials at all levels are part of an ingrained liberal bias with the long-term purpose of undermining traditional American values and creating a socialist nation where individual rights don’t exist.

Why would someone buy into one of these narratives over the other? Why have you chosen to believe in one and not the other? And what if they are both true?

Our society is changing. But it is not changing at a steady rate. Every four to eight years we swing wildly from one philosophy of government to another, like the pendulum of a clock.

But, over decades the center point of that sine-wave is moving. Just as every year has summer and winter but over time the average global temperature is warming, so too we cycle between Democrat and Republican governments but the long term shift of society it toward the liberal.

Civil rights in the 60s, gays in the military in the 90s, Obama Care in the new millennium, all of these show a progressive shift from social conservatism to social liberalism.

The first interracial kiss on Star Trek in the late 1960s, broadcast and cable television programs with openly lesbian characters, and current talk of Medicare for all.

Only the most closed-minded among us would not acknowledge that society has continually moved toward the liberal over our lifetimes.

For those who see this a good, comfortable, and right, there is plenty of evidence to support the contention that Republicans are in collusion against these values because they are.

For those who see this as bad, uncomfortable, and wrong, there is plenty of evidence to support the contention that Democrats are in collusion against traditional American values because they are.

Some folks thrive on change. Others prefer stability. The ratio between the two is about 50/50. And so those that seek progress are seen as eroding traditional values by on half of the population, and those that seek to hold on to the best of traditional values are seen as fostering oppression by the other half.

Problem is, each side throws out the baby with the bathwater, to use a traditional admonishment. Change threatens everything or lack of change institutionalizes oppression. Which is it? Both and neither.

Some change is good, some change is bad. Protecting some values is good, protecting others is bad.

But you can’t focus the forces to bolster your side by picking and choosing. Only with the rallying cry of “change is good” or “change is bad” can you hone public passion into a spearhead or a hammer to pry things apart or seal them shut.

And as each side becomes a monopole, common ground disappears from the middle and the cyclic swings of alternate administrations become more a reaction to the previous administration’s swing than a new agenda forward.

But what is driving this escalation of wider and wider swings? The answer is surprising…

First, as a free society evolves technologically, social self-expression becomes more wide-spread and younger citizens see with their own eyes that the preconceptions of their parents are not true. And so, society, in general, liberalizes in terms of inclusion and in terms of social causes to protect the environment and protect the poor, the needy, and the rights of minority groups.

This creates that rising line of social change that moves the whole sine-wave more toward the liberal with each passing year.

Second, life spans have progressively lengthened (until recently) and the difference between the America of in the youth of our older citizens and the America of today has created an ever-increasing gap.

Think of climbing a hill. How far you can climb is determined by your life span. The longer the life span, the greater the gap between where you started and where you are now.

So picture now that increasing liberalization is not a line but a rising curve. And picture that life spans have been getting longer. Those Americans who favor change are thrilled (look how far we’ve come) but those Americans who favor stability are dispossessed (look what they’ve done to my country).

If I were writing this for a thesis I would say that the animosity between the parties increases or decreases in response to life span multiplied by the rate of social change.

Put in conversational terms, if lives get longer, the 50% who prefer stability are going to find the gap between their comfort zone and current society is growing. If lives get shorter, they will feel more comfortable because the gap is decreasing.

If social technology increases it’s rate of social liberalization, the 50% who favor stability will see their discomfort rise from this as well. If the rate decreases, they will become more comfortable.

For the 50% who favor change, the exact opposite is true. So society becomes a push me / pull you – a balancing act where both parties try to maximize their comfort level by increasing or decreasing how much social change occurs within one’s life span.

The clear and present danger is that with the huge ongoing increase in social medial liberalization, and the increase in life span, we may reach the point where the gap between the comfort zones for the changers vs. the stabilizers swings so wildly from one administration to the next that the force is great enough to split apart our bipolar nation into two monopoles, leading to a new civil war. It is not at all out of the question.

So what can we do about this?

First some good news in terms of keeping our nation together….

The rate of social change has slowed. This is not due to the current administration but to the fact that everyone now has social media in their hands and access to many venues in which to express themselves and congregate.

And so, over the next few decades there should be a lessening in that force in the social equation.

In addition, life spans have stabilized and even declined a bit. We seem to be reaching a threshold in the duration of the human body, even under the best conditions and care.

And so, the gap between the good old days and the world of today will cease to increase.

As a result of these two factor, the future for America is a far less contentious one, down the line, in the next few decades.

But the danger is that we will never get there because we’ll pull ourselves apart while all these tidal tensions are at their maximum. All it takes is one precipitous single act by either party’s administration that could spark the whole political powder keg to blow up and shatter our precious Constitution into shrapnel and scrap.

Finally, then, how do we avoid this? Moderation. Rather than pushing the pendulum farther to the left or the right each administration cycle, both parties need to seek to bring it back to the middle.

Don’t put people in power who will play politics like a football game – forcing the other side back and back until you score, only to have them do the same to you once they have the ball.

We aren’t in a situation where one side can win against the other. If we both push hard enough, everybody loses. This is no game.

Moderation and patience are needed. We need to give it a rest for a while, at least at this most crucial time an place. We need to get past this point of maximum stress on our social framework.

After that, sure, go to it – duke it out. But if we continue to do that now, all may be lost and that shining beacon of democracy for the world my be snuffed out by our own hands.

So before you go flying off the handle in response to current events, consider the long game. Think about what we’re all really after here. And consider how our immediate reactions can fuel the fire that just might bring it all down.

Comment from a reader:

False equivalency, again. While we tout the myth of freedom in our Constitution, it excluded virtually everyone but white males. What you cite as ‘liberal’ inroads have been long-fought battles (sometimes literally, like the Civil War, or Civil Rights in the ’60’s) to equalize the balance for everyone besides white males. In that regard, the center point needed to move. If ‘traditional’ American values means returning to national racism, sexism, gender inequality, that’s not something many of are willing to accept any longer. It already went on too long, and we’re still fighting it. Enough already.

My response:

It is the battle cry of “false equivalency” that divides us. We are equivalent – not equal, equivalent.

Further, the Constitution is a living document. That’s why it can be amended, as proscribed within its own framework. It was never intended to be a perfect document, but an evolutionary document born of revolution.

Societal “norms” are changing all the time. To judge norms of the past by today’s standards is “equivalent” to expecting a baby to act like an adult.

Further, your assertion that traditional American values means returning to national racism, sexism, and gender inequality, is simply wrong. None of my friends that support Trump and prefer traditional America values are racist or sexist or believe in gender inequality or they wouldn’t be my friends.

Example, I have a friend who worked in social services for years helping immigrant families. She really cares about them. But she also believes that the USA doesn’t have enough resources to invite the whole world in and provide those services to all. She believes in legal immigration with quota limits that reflect our ability to help.

The first rule of being a lifeguard is not to let the drowning person take yo down or you are both lost. So for her, a compassionate woman, she naturally cares for her family, community, and nation first before she endangers all of that to reach beyond our border and help.

But she and I disagree. I believe we have the resources to help illegal immigrants as well. Yet I must admit there is a limit to our resources. So her argument that we must try to stop the uncontrolled flow with limits we can sustain makes a great degree of sense.

But is she racist? Not at all. She frequently posts memes on Facebook against racism. Yet she supports Trump because, among other reasons, she doesn’t want so many people climbing on the boat that it capsizes and we all drown.

As I said, I don’t agree with her assessment of how much we can and should help, but a racist? Not a chance. She’s spent a lifetime helping others of all races. Yet she supports Trump.

Do you begin to see how branding Trump supporters as racist is the most dangerous “false equivalency” of all?

Pig Nation

A farmer was walking down a path with a three-legged pig. A merchant saw this, stopped the man and asked if he could buy the pig, figuring he could get a good deal. The farmer replied that he could never sell that pig as it had saved his life. “How’s that?” asked the merchant. The farmer then told his story. “A week ago, my family was asleep when a fire started in the farmhouse. None of us woke up and soon were almost overcome with smoke. This pig saw the fire and ran into the house repeatedly until he had dragged me, my wife, and our three children to safety. So, as you can see, I could never sell this pig.” “Wow,” said the merchant. I completely understand. ” Then, eyeing the pig he stated, “I suppose he lost his leg rescuing your family.” The farmer replied, “No, he wasn’t injured in the rescue.” “Then how’d he lose his leg?” “You don’t eat a pig like that all at once.

Democracy is our pig. It has looked out for us for almost 250 years. But piece by piece we’re taking her down, soundbite by soundbite, party line vote by party line vote.

Things like this take time. I once wrote and edited a documentary on the suicide of Jim Jones and his followers in the jungles of Guyana: ordinary everyday people who believed in the promised land. But day by day, piece by piece, he dismantled that vision and replaced it with one in which he was the center of worship.

This pig’s on three legs.

Think about that next time before you post that hysterically funny meme that puts down the other party or seeks to make fools of opposition leaders.

Most of us are just drops in the bucket, but collectively, over time, we’re gonna eat that pig right down to the bone.

Qasem Soleimani and 600 Americans Killed

I’ve worked for United States intelligence agencies throughout the last decade using narrative analysis to determine the motivations and likely future behavior of terrorists and rogue nations.  In projects for the NRO, NSA, and CIA (among others) much of work touched on Iran and its influence in the middle east.

One cannot judge the need to assassinate a foreign leader solely on the basis of how many deaths he has caused, such as the deaths of Americans at the hands of Qasem Soleimani.  For example, deaths of middle eastern civilians by the U.S. during operations are significantly higher than those American deaths attributed to Soleimani.  (See link to an article at the bottom this comments.)

One has to look at the reasoning why civilian deaths are okay in our actions, but deaths of official U.S. personal by Soleimani are not okay, and that goes beyond whose side you are on.

Jumping to another historic loss of life as an example, dropping the atomic bomb killed tens of thousands of civilians but probably saved one million lives including our soldiers, Japanese soldiers, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians.

Clearly the bomb was a good choice, overall, for numbers of people killed.  Not so much for those who died, however.  But still, you really can’t argue with the numbers.

As another example, the U.S. has lost far more people, by the numbers, as American soldier casualties in our mid east wars than we lost in the initial attack on 911 that started this overseas campaign.

As a professional analyst, I’ve had to ask tough questions, such as how many lives might we have lost if we didn’t go over there, but just put in place the same security precautions in airports, borders, and all ports of entry. Did the lost American soldier lives save any lives here, or were our domestic lives saved almost exclusively by the security precautions?

I don’t have an answer for that, but it is a question worth asking.  And one possible answer is that few additional lives were saved by our military operations, meaning that thousands and thousands of American deaths and far more wounded may have been a result of our own knee-jerk reaction to strike back, rather than choosing the best course of action for our people.  And if that is the case, then we caused more American deaths than the 911 terrorists did without protecting ourselves any better.

But then you have to look at our standing in the world – would we be attacked more because we would have been seen weak if we hadn’t gone over to strike back?  And would that perception of weakness have cause more American deaths?  Tough questions with no clear answers. That’s why policy is such a murky area.  But  you have to ask the questions or you just thrash around blindly, reacting to everything without making progress toward clear cut goals.

So in point, let me say that there is no question that Soleimani was a bad man.  He killed our people without remorse.  On the other hand, we killed more of his “kind” by far, and also without remorse because we believe it was justified, though that is really hard to support with facts – especially since much of the animosity toward us if from long term policy in which we installed the Shah who horribly abused his people bolstered by our ongoing support.  Who among us would sit back happily if another country had done that to us?

Now in closing, let me simply suggest that bandying about the numbers of how many of our own he killed or the counterpoint of how many of his we killed is a pointless line of reasoning.  We might better spend our time contemplating the future course of relationship among our people, just as we now have a tremendously strong bond with the Japanese people and government, even though they killed far more Americans in WWII than all middle eastern terrorists and war soldiers combined, and even though we blew two whole Japanese civilian towns off the map.

And finally, and most important, let us consider the tearing up of the Iran treaty against great international support, the re-imposition of sanctions, and the killing of one of their most beloved leaders, and ask if that best advances the long-term goal of peace?

And let us do this before we thrash out again in retribution against those who attacked us because we assassinated a hero of theirs who in his career had a hand in the deaths of 600 Americans.

Here’s the link to one of many articles on civilian casualties caused by American actions in the middle east. And a note.  We were told multiple times by the intelligence agency personnel working on our projects to never use U.S. news sources in gathering data because they are too biased.  They suggested to use only the Christian Science Monitor in this country, as it is always based on fact and non-biased reporting, and overseas to use the BBC and Al Jazeera, both of which tell it more like it is than any other U.S. news sources.  Shocked me, but in gather data for our reports, I quickly discovered they were right.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/06/us-syria-iraq-isis-islamic-state-strikes-death-toll

Power of the People

A movie quote I like states, “A person is smart; people are stupid.” While the masses may eventually rise up to overthrow tyrants, it is always because of the actions of individuals who do what they can, where they are. Those singular efforts provide the framework, the nexus points, the switch yards that direct and channel the power of the people. Without that guidance, that collective energy would crash against the rocks of institution, only to recede once more into the sea of conformity, having changed nothing. But modeled into a focused force by the actions and insight of a small number of dedicated visionaries, the crowds will form a tsunami of change and wash away the bulwarks of subjugation.

Immigrants: Melting Pot or Mosaic?

My response to an article promoting forced assimilation of immigrants into our America culture:

Canada has always considered itself a mosaic, while America has thought of itself as a melting pot. In a mosaic, everyone maintains their own cultural identity, which makes sense for Canada since there is a clear line between the French and English cultures. They just handle all other cultures the same way. But here, as a melting pot, the idea is to blend together – to have immigrants add their unique spice to the soup. What we look for is the very best every culture has to offer to be added and blended in the mix. In that manner, American culture is always changing, always becoming stronger, always evolving into something even more wonderful and incredible that it has been before. True culture is never imposed on folks, it grows from the traditions we honor and the new additions we embrace. Our holidays, the foods we eat, the words we use here in our country are largely borrowed from other cultures. And those things we create ourselves, such as New Orleans Jazz came out of that melting pot. Like any melting pot, slag often rises to the surface and, to make the metal as strong as it can be, you have to remove the slag. That’s why we don’t do the Makarena any more. But what’s left is the alloy that has forged the America we know today. That is how it has always been. It is our most deeply held tradition built on our most fundamental values. But I do agree with the author of the quoted article in one respect. If you don’t like it, you can leave.

Where Does Authority Come From?

The only justifiable reason for the application of force by an organization upon an individual is to prevent that individual from imposing force on others. This is the core of ethics, and any organization that does not draw on it as their basis for assuming authority should be disbanded.

Immigrant or Emigrant?

Emigrant – a person who goes to live in another country.

Immigrant – a person who comes to live in another country.

We like emigrants (the pilgrims were emigrants) – they had what it takes to leave their homes, friends, relatives and seek a better life in America.

We don’t like immigrants (illegals are immigrants) – they had what it takes to leave their homes, friends, relatives and seek a better life in America.

…wait….what?

Faith vs. Science

Here’s one I originally wrote and posted on Facebook a year ago…

Faith treats science with disregard and science treats faith with disrespect. By definition, faith is belief and therefore cannot be based on reason. By definition, science is reason and cannot be based on belief.

Our humanity comes from our faith: our beliefs as to how we should treat one another and how we should behave. Our progress comes from our science: our reasoning about how we can better control our world and understand ourselves.

When parents let their child die because of their faith, scientists condemn the parents and proclaim them devoid of humanity, yet I’ve never read of a scientist trying to empathize with the parents in order to understand their motivations.

Imagine an intelligent, educated parent of faith who truly believes that medical care would condemn their child to eternal suffering. Consider the pain and anguish they suffer by believing there are only two choices: save their child now and doom them to unending torment after death, or to lose their child when they know they could save them to make the sacrifice of carrying that loss of a child that could be avoided, and worse, to know they are the instrument of their child’s death, but to be willing to suffer this for their child – to hold the emptiness and excruciating agony forever in their the hearts to save their child’s eternal soul.

For truly caring people of faith, their choices are seldom easy and never cavalier. I know this for though I have always held science over faith, I grew up in a household of faith. I have personal experience watching my father and mother grapple with decisions such as not allowing me to wear a costume to school on Halloween to be in the parade. I was disappointed, but I never felt they meant me ill will. In fact, I know it was quite the opposite, and while unhappy with the missed experience, I have never held them in any negative regard, but rather recognized how much they loved me to protect me, even if it caused me unhappiness and them emotional pain.

People of faith, for their part, hold science in disrespect because science often seeks to invalidate their beliefs such as with those parents and the sick child – science will go right for the throat and condemn them because there is no hereafter, so they are just hurting their child.

But what if there is a hereafter? Science certainly cannot disprove it. As scientists, many of us are “sure” there is not because it seems in contradiction with the way we understand the mechanism of existence. But we do not, as of yet, have any idea what self-awareness really is or how it comes into being, or what happens to it after our corporeal support mechanism fails. We see strokes, brain injuries and birth defects of the brain and determine that by some unknown mechanism, our identity is dependent upon the physical host in which it resides. But what proof do we have of this? Without proof, how can we disrespect those who have come to another conclusion? I this case, it comes down not to science against faith, but faith against faith – two different belief systems in conflict.

Those who hold faith above science are not devoid of reason. In fact, once faith is established, then reason is employed to determine how best to move forward with that given. I have not data to support this, but I would venture that the average IQ of people of faith is not much different than the average IQ of scientists. The primary difference between the two groups is which came first, the reason or the belief.

Without belief there is no code to say it is wrong to hurt others or to do for ourselves at the expense of others. And without science, there is no mechanism to apply that code.

To be human in the fullest sense of the word, we need both qualities. Faith is our motivation in exploring the universe – it is our belief there is still more to learn, still more understanding to be gained, still more wonders to discover. Without faith, there is no point to science. Without science, there is no purpose to faith.

If we are to ever come together, we must employ both faith AND science to find our way. And we can begin simply with respect for the faithful and regard for the scientists.