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.