Someday, when the mountain of evidence is big enough, people are going to realize that I’m not crazy when I say that zoning is fascist and tyrannical. Here’s one more piece of evidence on the pile: Reason.TV’s Drew Carey talks about a town that’s a modern-day Footloose (how many of you realize that was based on a true story?), prohibiting dancing and using other zoning ordinances to try and force a good, family-friendly restaurant out of business. No one knows why, and no one can get any answer from the local government goons.
My daughter came home today and, as usual, I checked her schoolwork. She had made a self-portrait, and above it, she had written, at the teacher’s direction, “Aleena has five senses.”
If you’re wondering what’s wrong with that, you’re probably not alone. You could probably even get this answer from any given skeptic: five senses, no more. What? A sixth sense? What kind of paranormal newage woo-woo is that?
But the truth is, our bodies are much more magnificent than that. Instead of being limited to seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching, we have a much greater experience in sensing both ourselves and the world around us.
What about when you go outside and feel how cold it is? And come back inside to the warmth? That’s not touch; you can’t touch heat. It’s thermoception.
What about when you get hurt, or in near danger of being damaged? That pain you feel isn’t touch; it’s pain, and it’s extremely useful. This is nociception.
There’s also equilibrioception, which helps us balance and gives us a sense of acceleration. If this sense is damaged (by, say, an ear infection) it can be as debilitating as losing a limb.
Proprioception, the kinesthetic sense, lets you know where the parts of your body are and what position they’re in. When you wake up, you haven’t been keeping track of how your body has moved in your sleep, but you still know exactly what position you’re in–where your arms and legs are, what side you’re lying on, what direction your fingers are going, etc. Again, people who lose this sense (generally through nerve damage of some kind) realize how much we rely on it.
Those make up our nine basic senses, but there are more besides:
Do you like spicy food? That’s due to special cell receptors which are completely different to taste. Although it activates the same nerves as for temperature, it is a different sense, and one can easily tell the difference between spicy food and food that has been heated.
You have sensors in your lungs telling you how much air is in them and how much you need to breathe.
You have sensors in your gut alerting you of gastrointestinal distress.
Your stomach has sensors that give you a feeling of hunger or fullness.
Ever felt tired or achey? That’s a response to the body dealing with some extra task such as fighting a disease.
For that matter, getting sleepy is the result of a sense, too.
We have a mild (in comparison to other animals) electroception. We can feel electric charges of a certain voltage (like static-electric shocks), and strong electrical fields (just ask anyone who’s played an electric guitar outside in the rain). We can’t use it to navigate like birds can, but it is there.
Humans have been found to have a form of echolocation, although we can’t produce any sounds other than verbally. But verbal noises, as well as attached devices that send out an audible ping, have been used in tests of blindfolded subjects to help them navigate around a dark room. It isn’t yet known how much we use this in real life.
We have pressure-detection senses, which helps us when we move from a low to a high altitude (or vice-versa).
The list goes on. There is universal agreement among scientists for the nine basic senses; whether the rest should be included, and as how many senses, is a matter of debate. By some counts, there are as many as twenty-three senses.
Why make such a big deal about this? Because the five basic senses come from Aristotle, who also said there are four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. What if we taught our children there were only four elements? Would you feel good about that? So why teach them only five senses?
What, is it because it’s easier to teach? Well, why not teach that the Sun goes around the Earth, since that’s easier for kids to understand? You shouldn’t be giving kids misinformation just because it’s easier.
I think the answer is, because the teachers just don’t know any better–and that’s a shame.
But now you do.
I’ve seen this a lot in the past couple of months from
my fellow skeptics, mostly from the liberal side (the libertarian
skeptics don’t seem to have this problem). They make a big deal out of
the First Amendment, particularly the establishment clause, and rightly
so; but when it comes to other parts of the Constitution, it seems to
be okay to ignore it if it goes against what they want.
Tenth Amendment completely forbids Congress from doing anything not
mentioned in Article I Section 8, and that includes forcing schools to
teach evolution, setting a religious education policy for the schools
(as Dennett wants to do), as well as many provisions of the Civil
Rights Act (and just about everything else done by Congress, for that
matter). Sorry, guys, but that’s a state/local battle, not a Federal
Article III Section 2 completely forbids the Supreme Court
from deciding matters internal to a state and its citizens. It lists
everywhere the Supreme Court and the lower Federal courts created by
Congress has both original and appellate jurisdiction, and that’s not
one of them. The only exception is if it’s a direct controversy under
the Constitution. Shooting down Intelligent Design in the Dover trial
is therefore 100% Constitutional; setting the abortion policy for the
states based on the stages of pregnancy as Roe v. Wade did is not.
Constitution only specifies three Federal crimes: treason, piracy, and
counterfeiting. You might be able to use the Necessary and Proper
Clause to add certain other crimes related to the powers in Article I
Section 8 such as tax evasion or stealing the mail, but not any kind of
fraud, even if it is committed by psychics. If murder is a state crime,
then so is fraud.
No matter how much you feel religious stuff
should be taxed, Article I Section 9 specifically prohibits the Federal
government from taxing goods and services that cross state lines
(Section 10 likewise prohibits the states, with some very specific
exceptions). That would include religious communication.
that matter, Sections 9 and 10 prohibit both the states and the
Congress from passing Bills of Attainder. This means you can’t pass any
laws that target any person or group of people. And that includes religious groups.
Just as the Constitution does not allow
Congress to ban gay marriage, neither does it allow Congress or any
other Federal entity to require citizens, companies, or groups to
recognize gay marriage. Deal with it.
There are lots of other
examples, but this should give you the idea. The Constitution either
means something, or it doesn’t. And if you agree with even one of the
above actions, or any action that is repugnant to the Constitution,
then you have no cause–either legally or morally–to speak out against
anyone else violating the First Amendment or anything else.
always say: if you want to be free to do what you want, you have to set
others free to do what you don’t want. Otherwise, you just want a
tyranny that agrees with you.