Welcome!
Billy Dees - Writer, Podcaster, & Media Enthusiast 

I am Billy Dees and I am thrilled that you stopped by my website!

This website is a collection of my editorials and blog posts. The site also features many of my podcasts and videos.

Social issues, politics, and pop culture are among the topics featured. I am not an ideologue. I try to objectively examine issues and hopefully present a unique perspective to the reader and listener. Thank You.

My most recent podcast, an episode list, and live podcasts will appear here:

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Saturday
Nov022013

Imagine This

In the lyrics of John Lennon’s “Imagine” the song asks us to imagine that there’s no heaven, no hell below us, and above us only sky with all of the people just living for today.

For me it conjures up an interesting philosophical question. Let’s suppose that some urgent cataclysm was about to befall the Earth. We only had enough time to get about a thousand or so young children to a remote Pacific island that would be the only sanctuary from the impending doom. There would be a mix of races contained in the group; however, none of them would be yet old enough to have any understanding of the world as it exists and there would be no time to leave any information behind.

Boom. The world as we know it with all of recorded history is gone in our hypothetical situation. These children would be left to explore the Earth all over again.

If they were going to survive at all they will need to remake some basic discoveries quickly such as the importance of fresh water and how to make fire.  As the learning of various things such as the building of shelter would progress the basics of geometry and mathematics would undoubtedly be rediscovered. I’m not sure how many generations it would take but one of them sooner or later would wonder what force holds things to the ground. As their curiosity of gravity would persist a new scientist would calculate the formulas and equations of Isaac Newton again.

On the other hand, would any of these children or their descendants find Jesus with no one else around to tell them about Him?  Would any of them find Muhammad? Would they even conceive the notion of a creator? How much importance would they pay to their different skin colors? Would they reconstruct society with different social levels and an importance of a monetary system of some kind?

The developments of nations, strata in society, and the tenants of being rewarded with an afterlife are concepts that have existed since our oldest civilizations and frankly are ones that we have not as yet moved past. Would these children repeat these same ideas?

I would hope that these children would not start worshipping some giant white rock on their island. I would hope that they would recognize that their fate would depend on all of them working together to understand and develop the resources around them for the betterment of mankind.

It follows then that the question that needs to be asked is why don't we? Does the world need to be destroyed for us to come up with some new ideas?

Sunday
Aug252013

To Believe or Not To Believe? What Is Most Likely?

Regular readers of my posts will no doubt be aware that beliefs are often subjects discussed on various forums of mine. The evolution post last month drew some interesting comments on this site and Twitter.  When it comes to the origins of our existence let’s just say that faith is a popular thing.

Briefly stated I am not a believer “in” anything based on faith alone. This does not mean that I am a disbeliever either. For example, I seldom question someone’s personal experience.  If my neighbor comes to me and tells me a flying saucer landed in our neighborhood last night I will certainly enjoy the story at face value. On the other hand before I present the story to someone else as an actual occurrence my neighbor better have some pretty impressive evidence.

This modus operandi is often confusing to many of my critics when discussing religion. “Either you believe or you don’t,” is a phrase that is often thrown my way. My approach to belief, by admission, is very passive. Although I try not to discount a given concept too quickly at the same time I don’t accept it as true until there is reasonable evidence or cause to support its likelihood.

We have information coming to us about various things constantly and actually process this data and make judgments throughout the day based on what is most likely. What may be referred to as an absolute truth is very elusive. The trick is deciding what conceptually is worth believing in or accepting as true based on what is most likely the case.

For example, it is possible that this article does not exist and you are imagining it. If you are in a room with some other people you could hand them your tablet or notebook and ask them to read it. You could go an extra step and invite some people over and ask them to read it as well. The likelihood that everyone is imagining the exact same words is very small; so small in fact that the practicality of such an investigation is not worthy of active consideration.

However, it cannot be totally dismissed. Large groups of people have simultaneously witnessed statues move and other seemingly miraculous occurrences. Unless you choose to believe that the statue really moved why are we more willing to deem these types of incidents as untrue versus our perceptions of what we may be reading? In both cases any number of people concur in regard to the conclusion that the observation is real.

The answer is in the breakdown of how we analyze the facts of these events and the context in which they happen.

Although it is not impossible in a broad context, it is very unlikely that a half of a dozen people could imagine the exact same article. There are simply too many bits of information. There are hundreds of words presenting complex ideas and concepts. Moreover, when you hand the tablet to someone and ask him or her to read it there is no specific desire by that person for a given outcome. Objectivity in regard to the existence of the article is unimpeded.

Is it more likely that numerous people imagined, word for word, the exact same article or that it actually does exist? The article more than likely exists.

By contrast when a group of people assembles to witness a statue move it is because they have a yearning for it to move. It may be motivated by religious beliefs or simply a desire to witness an amazing and unexplainable manifestation. Also in these cases what they are waiting for in terms of movement is usually fairly modest such as a facial expression or a small hand gesture. In other words, the statue isn’t going to do the Hokey Pokey. 

Smiley face versus a real smile. If I draw two dots, a bent line under them, and circle the three on a sheet of paper you may recognize the image as a smiley face. The image does not really resemble a human face. Our minds construct the image into something familiar and pleasant. When a statue is carved it is more detailed but it is still just a stone. In the same way an artist knows how to manipulate our minds into envisioning breathtaking landscapes with some paper and paint. Therefore, when we decide to believe that a statue will move it is not that big of a step for our minds to add a little movement. A group of people, with common desires, actually erodes objectivity in these types of cases through the collective power of suggestion.

Is it more likely that a group of believers convinced themselves of a statue’s movement or that the statue really moved? It’s more than likely a delusion.

We generally choose to accept that our kitchen table is really present in the kitchen because it is what is most likely. For some other more grand concepts, such as the origins of life on Earth, the choice is not as easily made and requires a great deal of contemplation and objectivity.

If we are not careful our beliefs or desire for what we want to be true can filter out relevant facts. It is not just a matter of religion versus science. For many people it is not only their specific religion against certain scientific principles but other belief systems as well. Most Christian creationists would not accept Muhammad as an alternative way to Heaven over Jesus Christ anymore than they would accept Charles Darwin’s theories. The amount of information that they remove from the platter of possibility is enormous. This type of concentration on a narrow view is how a smiley face can end up winking at you or the face of Jesus can appear on burnt toast. For that matter the Earth could be flat or be the center of the universe.

I do not like to impugn beliefs. Beliefs can be incredible sources of motivation for man’s achievements. However, when what is most likely is set-aside for what we want to be true then the beliefs are doing more harm than good.

There may be a spiritual explanation for life and existence. There also may not be.

I enjoy some of the Twitter time lines between creationists and radical atheists. Everyone is always so sure of themselves.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if we were to encounter a very advanced alien civilization and it would turn out that their explanation for existence is something that no one thus far has even slightly imagined. What if everyone turned out to be wrong?  Wouldn’t that be a laugh?

Saturday
Jul132013

Evolution Didn't Happen. It Is Happening.

Editorial

Recently I have become embroiled in some heated debates on Twitter about the subject of evolution. These recent discussions have brought home to me the fact that many people still cannot or will not accept the concept. Two thousand plus years since Xenophanes became one of the first known people to have used fossils as evidence for a theory of the development of the Earth the debate still rages on.

The debate, or argument in many cases, about evolution typically degrades into the two sides posturing to defend their long held beliefs and perceptions. Typically on one side there are evolution proponents, such as myself, against its detractors who are usually some form of creationist.  

The point I try to make at large is that as a whole there is plenty of evidence that the process of evolution works. The exact history of the ancestry of human beings is a work in progress. The process involves finding agreement as to what exactly the first human being was physiologically, intellectually, and culturally. One of the next and possibly more daunting tasks would be determining the precise linkage of various ancestral creatures that directly lead to the development of that human being. So far the proverbial missing link that would be an undeniable smoking gun to champion the human evolutionary tree has been illusive. By the same token the more we question the more we learn. That is how the process of science works. We never really accept a given concept indefinitely without building upon or possibly modifying it as new information becomes available. The study of aerodynamics did not end with the biplane. New discoveries are being made all the time and are taking us into new and exciting directions.

The evolutional development of new species is a complicated process and takes place over enormous periods of time. This makes the process hard to document and frankly difficult to defend against detractors. My strategy is to illustrate the more recent history of evolution. Evolution after all is not just something that happened in the past. It is an ongoing part of life.

Charles Darwin, when he published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, ushered in a new era of debate about life history that continues to this day. The book presented the notion that populations evolve over the course of generations through the process of natural selection. Simply put the creatures with the best traits for survival in a given environment are the most likely to continually reproduce. Over time these traits become more refined and specialized.

To me there is no question that Darwin understood the progression of evolution. What he didn’t know, however, is why it worked. We now understand the underlying function of genetics and DNA. This activity occurs in all living organisms and is the basis for biological inheritance.

Human beings have manipulated this process many times albeit a bit unknowingly at first.

Although we cannot be sure exactly how the relationship started, it is likely that about 10,000 years ago as humans established settlements wolves may very well have started hanging around. There were most certainly food scraps and other tasty critters scavenging for the leftovers around the presence of human beings. As time went on it is certainly reasonable to presume that certain wolves became very friendly with their human neighbors.

Let’s imagine that some wolves simply did not have the disposition to live along side human beings, but some did. The more friendly wolves started to be nurtured by man. Over time new generations of wolves started to develop around human beings. The ones best suited for coexistence with man became the most likely to reproduce in this new nurturing environment. It wasn’t long before man probably started taking a liking to the smaller wolves, or the faster wolves, or maybe even the wolves that were cuter. Yes, there is little doubt that dogs descended from wolves and were likely the first animal to be domesticated.

I find it ironic that since cavemen became civilized human beings we have done more to take the wolf out of the dog than we have done to take the caveman out of the man.This is why I get frustrated with people who pluck wild animals out of their environment and claim to have tamed them as pets. As animal companions go there is no competing with domesticated animals that are genetically predisposed for coexistence with man. Some people claim to love their dogs and that the dogs love them back. I believe this is not as crazy as it sounds.  Over thousands of years man has encouraged human traits in the evolution of the modern domestic dog.

In the wild natural selection makes the choices for the development of a species. As the saying goes it is the survival of the fittest. Although as a whole the long-term survival of a species depends largely on its ability to adapt to change. In the case of individual domestic animals it is human selection influencing the development of the animal from one generation to the next. Whether it is from influences in the wild or under the guidance of human intervention ecological forces such as these impacts the genetic process and affects change in the animal. If all types of life had been created in some absolute manner on a very recently formed Earth, as some creationists assert, then these recent types of evolutionary progressions would not work.

We are the first species to recognize the process of evolution. This means that we are also the first species able to determine or guide our own evolutionary destiny.  How are we doing so far?  I find it ironic that since cavemen became civilized human beings we have done more to take the wolf out of the dog than we have done to take the caveman out of the man.  We have smart phones and other fancy gadgets but when it comes right down to it we are still perfectly willing to club each other over the head because we want a certain area of land, appear differently to one another, or have something the other one wants.

Knowing what we know now more than ever we really are whom we choose to be. Are we going to continue to divide up territories and fight over resources or will future generations of human beings take the same care to encourage the best traits and evolve into the same kind of loving and loyal creatures as we most desire from our pets? 

Friday
Jul052013

There Is Cunnilingus Among Us

Humor

After a movie star asserted that his throat cancer might have been caused by oral sex the word cunnilingus has come to my attention. Cunnilingus refers to the act of oral sex performed on a woman. For the purpose of our discussion I will leave out the specific details of the stimulation process on the various parts of the female genitalia because, after all, the term oral sex by itself can leave a vulgar taste in the mouth for some.

Furthermore, my interest with the term has more to do with its pronounced sound than with its literal meaning. Cunnilingus just has a nice ring to it. You can hardly say the word without getting a smile on your face. The sound of the word is pleasantly equivocal.

For example, the term can exude sophistication. At any country club you could imagine someone asking, “Pardon me madam, may I interest you in a sample of cunnilingus?”

How about a name for a flower? There are calla lilies, gardenias, and chrysanthemums. Why not a big bouquet of cunnilingus in full bloom? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet or would it?

There is a song rumored to be about cunnilingus that says, “…kinda like sugar, kinda like spices…”So, why not have a seasoning? We could have basil, saffron, paprika, juniper berries, and cunnilingus powder.

Quite frankly and sadly the word also sounds like a disease. There could be a battery of tests for meningitis, mononucleosis, and cunnilingus. What kind of symptoms might that have? Burning mouth syndrome, maybe?

Although a term that combines Neo-Latin expressions for the vulva and the tongue was just too good to pass up, I have probably given enough linguistic lip service to cunnilingus. Sometimes you just have to know when to shut your mouth.

Thursday
Apr252013

I'm a Believer!

Editorial

Whether it is through social media or offline in discussions, I have really been confronted lately on the subject of believing

It seems as though more and more people are asking me directly and personally, “Well, what do you believe in?” It is as if there is some prerequisite regarding the character of a person that a belief of some kind be held in something. 

I am not a big believer, or disbeliever for that matter, in anything. I am often asked if I am an atheist and my answer is “no” because although the term atheism in a passive context simply may be defined as the absence of a belief that any god exists, the term in common language for many people has now morphed beyond the basic definition into a pseudo ideology with an active anti-religious agenda. I am not a doubter either. I am open to any and all possibilities about the unknown world in which we all live including the existence of a creator. My point is simply that before I take a position and state something as a matter of fact I prefer to be able to present some evidence for its likelihood.

Christians have been particularly critical of me holding these positions.

If you believe in any religion, the very nature of belief is to accept something as true without evidence. If there were evidence in any particular belief, faith would not be necessary as a gift or a virtue.

One of the things I find troubling about beliefs in general is that people believe what they want to believe even though they seldom admit it or realize the process of personal selective faith that transforms as they present their beliefs.

We could probably take a dozen Christian people and interview them one by one. We could ask them a series of questions. 

For example:

Was there actually a Garden of Eden that we could find today? Do you believe the Earth is only six thousand years old? Was there an arc and can we find it? How many specific references are there in the Bible referring to the damnation of homosexuals? Do you believe in the devil? Do you believe demons walk among us? Do you believe in heaven or hell? Did it actually take seven days to create the heavens and the Earth? How do you measure days before the Earth is created and starts having days to equate?

I could go on with many more, but the point here is by the end of those interviews we would have a dozen individual and personal versions of Christianity.

Granted there are opposing opinions in the fields of science as well. However, the mechanism of science is built for challenge and experimentation. Anyone is free to participate in the various fields of science, make their case, and show evidence for it. Showing evidence is the key issue here. There is no end to the beliefs that a person can conjure up.

One of the people who grilled me the most over my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) also interjected that astrology had merit. This person was upset about some alleged reports indicating that due to changes in the Earth's alignment the dates of many of the zodiac signs have changed. Wow, is that a zodiac killer? (Sorry about that one.) Anyway first, there is nothing new about the information regarding the alignment of the Earth. Second, please allow me to assure everyone that there is also nothing wrong with the zodiac signs unless you believe the positions of stars millions of miles away affect the personalities of people.

Polling on other various beliefs vary, but significant percentages of Americans believe in various things beyond what is covered by the guise of conventional religion. In some cases the results are as high as half of the population for believing in psychic phenomena, spiritual healing, or experiences that can’t be explained by standard means. In January 2011 a poll suggested that over 40 percent believe their pets have psychic ability. Other polling suggests that significant percentages of Americans believe in ghosts or that the dead can return in certain situations. Fewer but still noteworthy percentages of Americans believe in reincarnation.

We could expand our interviews with the dozen people about Christianity and mix in bits and pieces of all these beliefs. How many personal belief systems would we generate?

Now, I have a question for my believing friends and critics alike.  What don’t you believe?

So all right, do you want to know what I believe? Here we go…

I believe in love. Not necessarily the romantic kind although I believe in that too. I have a love of humanity. I have a love of all living things and the beautiful world in which we all live.

I believe that our different beliefs are used too often as just another way of dividing us. We certainly have a plethora of ways to do that.

Why can’t we all recognize that we share the same Earth under the same Sun? There is not another Goldilocks Zone that we will be able to inhabit any time soon. I believe that we should understand the physical world and our place in the universe. We should utilize scientific principles to better our overall quality of life, to work toward disease eradication, and to grow healthy and plentiful food.

This world is our place. Every moment in history has taken place under the same sky. Our world has been the same home to every person who has ever lived. Maybe what we need is more faith in the love for our fellow human beings and a profound appreciation of all life.

That is what I believe.

Saturday
Mar162013

Pour Some Sugar On Me

Mayor Bloomberg's controversial ban on large and sugary sodas in New York fizzed out Monday when a judge in essence said to have a Coke and a smile and shut up. 

The ban in question would have eliminated sales of sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces by restaurants, movie theaters, and other various establishments. 

Justice Milton Tingling of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan referred to the ban as “arbitrary and capricious.” Plainly put there are just too many types of drinks sold under too many circumstances to have a clear and easily enforceable law that is fair to all types of vendors. 

I am not sure where this leaves the issue at the moment nor do I care. The entire premise is ridiculous. This is a classic example of feel good liberal politics gone awry. 

Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that it wouldn’t really be that hard to get more soda if one so desired. Free refills anyone? How about a double? 

What about New York style pizza that is so loaded with cheese and heavy carbs your digestive system gets so bound that you can’t defecate for a week? 

What about all of the alcohol use in New York? Does anything ever go wrong with alcohol consumption in New York?  

Please allow me to share a little story to give this issue some perspective and sparkle.

Back in the day when I was a self-assured twenty year old, I had a summer job. Another guy, who was just slightly older than I was at the time (and he probably still is), was hired and we ended up working together for the day. He had the annoying trait of being compelled to tell his life story upon introduction. I am generally polite in such situations and did my best to act interested. It seemed that until this point in his life, this man had it all. He had a beautiful wife and charming children. He also had a promising career and a bright future. So, how did this thirty-something, clean cut man end up working a summer job with a twenty-year-old egghead like me?

Well, it seems as though he had a strong tendency to partake in the blow. I had to listen to him agonize about losing his wife and children due to his cocaine use. His wife had apparently warned him many times to change his ways, but he did not. Somewhere along the line the law busted him and, subsequently, the good job went down the shoot as well. Even while he was telling me these terrible things, he admitted that he still craved a good snort.

During the day, we stopped at a gas station. I decided to satisfy my sweet tooth. I picked up a two pack of orange Hostess cupcakes with filling inside. (At the moment the production of these tasty little items is on hiatus.) Being polite, I offered my new partner one of the delicious pastries. His response was, “Oh, no way man! There’s way too much sugar in ‘em things!” 

This anecdote exemplifies how out of whack the balance of certain issues has become in our society. Among all of the substance abuse problems we have in this country goodness knows we don’t want people to have too many cherry fizzes!

Too much sugar in one’s diet is not healthy. That should be common knowledge and moderation should be trusted to the good sense of the consumers. The finer points of what constitutes good nutrition are complicated and people should be free to make their own choices.

Moreover, amid such things as drug addiction and alcoholism, if people walk the straight and narrow to the point that their worst vice is a soft drink let’s just leave them alone.

Saturday
Nov102012

Why Republicans Lost the Election

Since President Obama won the election there has been much deliberation over what Republicans did wrong and what they need to do over the next few years to regain seats in Congress as well as the White House.

Before I get to that I must confess my dereliction of civic duty. I did not vote. That’s right and I am damn proud of it. Neither party really got me excited this year so ipso facto I did not want to affirm any of their respective agendas. Besides that the jury pool in my part of the land is taken from the latest batch of active voters from the most recent general election. I abhor jury duty. I might add they don’t give me a minute to breath after voting before calling me. When I am walking out of the voting booth and I say to the staff, “Thank you and have a nice day...” their response is, “Yes have a nice day and by the way here is your summons.”

Republicans need to stop talking about this. Okay, back to the Republicans and what they need to do to start winning. I couldn’t put it in the title of this post because it is crude. It needs to be crude to drive the point home. If you are easily offended now would be a good time to stop reading.

Ready? Here we go. The Republicans need to forget about pussy.

Freudian psychoanalysis suggests that women have what is termed as penis envy. The term is kind of self explanatory. I have known a fair amount of women in my time. I have known women as family members, friends, and lovers. As far as penises are concerned, some women may like a good old fashioned role in the hay with a big one from time to time but for the most part women do not obsess over penises.

Men, on the other hand, put up shrines to pussy. Furthermore, generally speaking the more conservative a man is the more obsessed he is going to be about who is controlling the pussy. Republicans need to exorcize this pussy control demon.

Republicans need to stop talking about abortion. Republicans need to stop talking about contraception. Republicans need to stop talking about categories of rape. Republicans need to stop talking about Planned Parenthood. Republicans need to stop talking about under what marital status pussy can be enjoyed. Republicans need to stop talking about whether or not it is right for other women to enjoy the benefits of pussy. Republicans need to stop talking about removing pictures of pussy from the internet.

Republicans need to go home and actually get some pussy. That’s the problem right there.

I was disappointed that neither party really tackled major issues during the campaign season. Did any body hear that the middle class has been disappearing since the 1970s? Did we hear the term fiscal cliff before the election? There is not going to be a warm fuzzy solution for that one. How often did we hear about real solutions to the problems regarding Social Security, Medicare or the interest on the debt? Why don’t we talk about making defense spending more efficient especially in regard to helping the soldiers on the ground?

If Republicans would have had a fireside chat with the American people about these issues they may have very well won the election. Instead, especially during their primary season, they let the extremes in their party set the agenda on every issue not just women’s reproductive rights.

Consequently not only did Republicans lose female voters big-time in this election but women became part of a new governing coalition. Earlier this year before the primaries, especially considering the ailing economy, it was not a foregone conclusion that women would not vote for Republicans in mass.

Do you know what that means Republicans? That means pussy politically smells like cologne, so leave it alone.

Friday
Sep162011

I Figured Out What Women Want!

As someone who was in the dating arena for most of the past summer and who has also tried online dating, I am pretty sure that I have figured out what women want. This conclusion is drawn from several experiences as well as reading plenty of women’s online dating profiles.

If I had a dime for every time I heard a woman complain about how some man was all hands on the first date I would be loaded. On the other hand (no pun intended) I usually play it conservative on the first date and seldom make any moves. This more often than not ends up getting me written off by my dates as not being interested in them. It is a classic case of not being able to win.

One young lady texted a picture of her breasts to me. I was a bit surprised and wasn’t sure how to respond. I was concerned that in this day and age of social media my response could have ended up on her Facebook page, so I played it close to the vest and simply said, “that’s nice.” She intimated that such a lackluster reaction was in her opinion a sign of my suppressed homosexuality.

Going by my experience the most talked about and desired characteristic by women within online profiles was a sense of humor. Women seem to be inclined to enjoy pleasure and frivolity which is probably how many of them end up with idiots. I would be willing to bet that most men who are morons are also good at sex largely because they do not have the capacity to contemplate much else. This is not to say that a theoretical physicist can’t be funny but jokes about wormholes only go so far.

The second most desired quality that I ran across in women’s profiles was that of honesty. I find it curious that this was second to a good sense of humor. What struck me with some of the profiles were the stern warnings that many women posted as headlines, “No Liars, Cheaters, or Players.” Isn’t this kind of like posting a “No Shoplifting” sign at the entrance of a store? Is a thief really going to say to himself, “Oh my, I guess shoplifting isn’t allowed here?” If anything posting over the top warnings against liars on your profile probably indicates that you have been a sucker many times before and will be again.

The third most sought-after trait that I found while perusing women’s profiles was that of being spontaneous. Women seem to yearn for an aptitude for creating moments of desirable discoveries by accident. Something on the order of a last minute trip during which a wonderful restaurant is found nestled in the country overlooking a magnificent sunset.

So, my conclusion is that what women desire is a man who acts interested in her but not too interested, pays proper homage to her breasts, is a laugh a minute, is honest about his cheating and playing, and will do all of these things at a moment’s notice.

Got it.