Buying Donuts of the Same Type–Why Get Something I Don’t Want?

I enjoy eating sweets; I absolutely have a sweet tooth–too often with prone to cavities. One place I often get sweets is from the local “bakery.” I say “bakery” because although they sell pastries, various types of sandwiches, bread, and cookies, as far as I can tell, they do little more than put things in the oven. They don’t mix dough and actually create their products on site. Rather they receive them in a pre-baked form each morning. This is quite common among stores in Japan….space is scarce, especially at the local branch of large chains. Actually, now that I think about it, I can’t think of any small mom-and-pop style bakeries. On the contrary, “bakeries” are usually places where you can buy premium bread products manufactured and distributed from some centralized production facility. The pastries are still delicious, even without the wafting aroma is freshly baked bread. I’ve actually found the variety and creativity to be much greater than that found in traditional American bakeries.

Anyway, back to the point. I often go to the bakery to buy something for desert after dinner. There’s a certain chocolate donut that I really enjoy. The layer of chocolate place on the upper half of the donut is a bit thicker than one would usually expect. The unexpected thickness and addition of chocolate sprinkles makes it less of a chocolate donut and more of a soft, delicious candy bar melted on top of a donut. Now I’m hungry. Since eating one item usually leaves me wanting more, I often buy two or even three pastries for after dinner. I know that some people are thinking ?!?!?!?!??!!! about the calories, but it actually doesn’t really seem to affect me too much. I think I do quite a bit of walking (see this post about the Japanese lifestyle). When I first started going to the bakery, I would buy one chocolate donut (of course) and something else. This seemed natural for me. If I wanted two things I bought two different items. I usually ate the other pastry first and saved the donut so I could end my meal on the highest note possible.

I did that for about a year or two. Then, about a year ago I realized that I could just buy two chocolate donuts. While I was eating the non-donut pastry I wished I could be eating the chocolate donut instead. So I tried buying two chocolate donuts and found eating what I truly wanted was much more satisfying. I had been forgoing my actual desire for something lesser, even though there were no advantages to it. The non-donut pastry was not cheaper or less calories. If I was really worried about money or calorie intake I should’ve skipped eating desert entirely. The non-donut pastry was not superior in taste and the added variety did nothing to enhance the overall experience (I really, really preferred the chocolate donut).

So why had I been blindly spending my money/time/calories eating something I didn’t really want? The best answer I can come up with is that I was conditioned to have variety. Think about anything you’ve ever had two of…..TV’s, bags, binders, cars, headphones/stereo systems, etc. I think that in most cases people buy two different models/brands/colors/etc. In some cases different is very practical. If you have two projects at work, having two binders of the same color can get quite confusing. But, in cases such as pastries, why not get exactly what you want? Even in the case of TV’s……suppose you buy one for your living room and it’s great. You’re happy with the quality and would definitely buy the same model again. Now you want another TV for some other room in the house. If you’re really happy with the one sitting in the living room, why not buy the same model? You know it works well and that the quality is high. Why get something you think will probably be inferior just to get something different? Even if it’s the same, why not get exactly what you want?

The Most Effective Way to Tax “The Rich”

In an earlier post I presented an idea for an extremely flat tax. Writing that post reminded me of my opinions about raising taxes on the rich. This topic may be a bit outdated, but my purpose is not to make any relavent political statements. Rather, I’m just sharing a random–randomly old–thought. I don’t really keep up with all the latest policy issues out of Washington. I find that the Pacific Ocean makes a great buffer. I can go on with my life without constantly becoming upset by the most recent questionable thing our wise leaders have decided to do.

I understand the point of view that people who have more should pay more in taxes, not just nominally more but a larger percentage of their total wealth or income. In this way the rich can help the poor. But what’s the best way to get a little extra oil from those whales politicians and the media love to demonize?

Why not levy higher taxes upon high income individuals (those earning over $250K a year)? Well, we’ve all heard the over-quoted example of a working married couple, firefighter and teacher, living in New York earning this much. And this is a problem because the firefighter-teacher couple shouldn’t fall into the rich category.

So how about raising the capital gains tax? All rich people own some kind of stocks or other investments, so let’s get them that way, right? While it’s true that most rich undoubtedly have investments, so do normal hardworking folk (not to imply that the rich don’t work hard, many have worked extremely hard to amass their fortunes, especially the world’s richest billionaires). Most regular people put their savings or retirement in stocks, bonds, or other investments. Some have these savings in defined contribution plans, others choose to keep them in regular brokerage or other accounts. And so when we raise the capital gains tax, everyone who gets capital gains, including your hardworking grandfather who bought Phillip Morris stock years ago and now has a nice sum of money for his retirement, pays more. Again, as with the higher income taxes, we’re forcing people who aren’t rich to pay extra.

The problem seems to be that we’ve not clearly defined who is and is not rich. When most people think of rich they think of someone living in a posh apartment or luxurious mansion, someone driving an imported luxury automobile, someone earning a CEO’s salary. It becomes clear–at least to me–that rich means having a lot of money AND a high income (possibly from working, but also possibly from investment returns).

If we want to make the rich pay more taxes, then let’s do just that. Make a special tax for people who have a high net worth AND earn a large income. TWO conditions (not one) qualify you to pay more taxes. This will probably eliminate the firefighter-teacher couple and your hardworking grandfather from the higher taxes. Those who think this is too complicated should note that the current tax code is already infinitely complex. Infinity plus 10,395 is still infinity.

The Extreme Flat Tax

Here’s an idea I’ve been repeatedly presenting to myself ever since Obama first said that we should raise taxes on the rich (over a year ago at this point?). I suppose I’ve become tired of saying it to myself, so I’m writing it here. This is not meant as a criticism of the current administration’s policies, but rather as a criticism of the overall complexity and political nature of our tax system.

Tax season, it’s horrible not only because you potentially pay money to the government, but because you have to labor for hours (or days) figuring out whether or not you have to pay. Getting it done professionally costs money. Doing it yourself costs time. The complexity of the tax code is like an extra tax on the entire country, except the government receives absolutely no revenues. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The government must employ more people who spend more time performing audits to see if you’ve paid correctly.

Taxes are also very political. Don’t like something the public does? Tax it and people will do it less. Want to help out your friends in a certain industry? Lower their taxes (or make their taxes negative, that’s called a subsidy for those who aren’t economically inclined). Support (don’t support) homosexual marriage? Give them (prevent them from getting) the same tax benefits as heterosexual couples. Don’t like the rich and want to collect more money from them? Raise income taxes in the highest bracket or increase capital gains taxes. I can keep going, but I think everyone gets the picture.

Now, imagine a flat tax. Everyone pays the same percentage of their total earnings not just salaries but also investment returns, real estate, etc. Let’s take it one step further. Businesses and individuals pay the same percentage of their total earnings. Now we’re going to take this flat tax to the extreme. Taxes (positive and negative) on earnings are the only taxes. That means no subsidies, no new home buyer credit, no tax breaks for married couples…only taxes on earnings.

Maybe at this point people are thinking that this sounds like a horrible idea. Everyone has to pay more without the tax breaks and subsidies. Society will collapse without the government financially backing the institution of marriage. This isn’t necessarily true.

First, it’s easy to file tax returns under the extreme flat tax. There’s no need to think about capital gains versus income. There’s no reason to try to get yourself into a lower tax bracket. Your tax form is now one page. Second, without all the tax breaks and subsidies, the government should be able to lower the overall tax rate. So you’ll get less tax breaks, but you’ll pay less to begin with. As for marriage, if it’s truly beneficial, people will continue to do it. In essence people can decide for themselves what makes sense for them. Third, there are no politics. Washington can only increase or decrease the tax rate. They can’t target certain areas of the population that deserve to pay more. They can’t decide if homosexual marriage is equal to or worse than heterosexual marriage. On the flip side, no one can complain about getting less benefits than anyone else. Fourth, I think this is the most equitable tax code. Warren Buffett, who previously said that his tax rate is less than his secretary’s rate, now has exactly the same rate.

The government mainly influences (sometimes in a good way) the economy through regulation, taxes, and spending. This idea effectively removes one of their major tools. For this and some other practical reasons the extreme flat tax will never be employed.

For people who are wondering about Social Security and Medicare, these would fall under spending. If the government really wants to support something, they can enact spending programs (paid for by taxes, of course). My point is that tax rates, tax breaks, and subsidies simply indicate complexity and politics.

Lessons in Health from a Japanese Lifestyle

After living in Tokyo for 3 years, I’ve had a chance to observe and experience the Japanese urban diet and overall lifestyle firsthand. We’ve all heard about the healthy Japanese diet. This diet, containing large amounts of fish and vegetables while using relatively little red meat and fatty foods, is the most frequently cited reason for the relatively healthy population. So, the lesson is that a good diet makes for skinny people? Not quite. Through my own personal observation, it has become apparent that the actual diet is not as healthy as people tend to think. However, the overall lifestyle is healthier than that found in America.

First, let me speak a little about what I have observed to be the actual (versus strictly traditional) diet. While I can’t speak about the rural areas, few people in the urban setting stick to the traditional Japanese diet. Most people seem to get a good mix of healthy and unhealthy food. On the healthy side there’s traditional cooking. These are mom’s/grandma’s recipes, except they’re delicious and healthy as opposed to American mom/grandma recipes, which are filling and artery clogging. On the unhealthy side, there are all the usual things: fattening places like McDonalds, sugar charged caffeine, candy made from ingredients whose names are all synonymous with sugar, etc. Actually, I have been surprised by the number of figure-conscious girls eating McDonalds, having donuts, or drinking extra calories with their coffee (aka a frappuccino). Beer is not considered to be a source of unwanted calories, but rather a necessary part of life. I’ve personally learned and adopted the questionable habit of eating after a night of drinking. A thousand calories from a big bowl of ramen–most people don’t think of ramen as being a high calorie food, but it’s comparable to something like pasta–is not uncommon. The Japanese diet is infamous for the sodium content. People who follow the 2000mg per day recommended by the American FDA should stop eating after lunch. Most Americans may be surprised to find that the concept of counting calories or reading nutritional information is foreign to many Japanese. They simply eat what they want. And yet, in spite of all of that, people look so skinny.

Although I’ve given a pretty grim impression of the modern diet, it’s not completely bad. Convenience store bentos, although equal in calories to their American counterparts, contain less fatty meat or potato salad and more rice. With the advent of Atkins and other diets, most Americans have learned to shun carbs in favor of proteins. However, they seem to forget that their meat contains not only protein but possibly also loads of fat.

Then where does the annoying skinniness come from? Perhaps genetics dictate that the Japanese are naturally thinner than Americans. However, I think it comes from a more active lifestyle. Very few people drive to work. Many people live more than 10 minutes from the nearest train station, which they use to get to work. So the roundtrip to and from work usually consists of 30+ minutes of walking (from their house to the train station and from another train station to their office) and at least as much standing on the train…..all while carrying a briefcase. But it’s not just work. Going out to meet friends or catch a movie also means taking the train. Many people even walk or take the bus to buy groceries. And that of course means that they must walk home carrying heavy bags. Compare that with the grueling trek most Americans make to the end of their driveway. In addition to daily walking, I’ve noticed that the most popular way for people to spend free time is by playing sports.

The Japanese seem to get a good mix of unhealthy, fatty/sugary foods and traditional healthy cooking. They don’t seem to shy away from eating what they want. In addition, the lifestyle includes loads of walking. This does become unpleasant during the summer, but that just makes for better daily exercise.
So the lesson here seems to be one that everyone already knows: a combination of diet and exercise leads to skinnier, healthier people. If what I’ve observed
so far is correct, then a small improvement in BOTH diet AND exercise could lead to a lifestyle where people don’t have to worry about how many calories they already ate today or will eat later tonight.

NOTE: The author does not claim to be an expert in nutrition or any related areas. This article is based on his personal experience.

Having Your Own Website

I originally started to put a little information about myself online (and provide my family with the same opportunity…..although by checking their pages, you can tell that they haven’t done that yet). For those of you who don’t have personal websites, I highly recommend it, even if it’s just a page hosted by your employer/school. If you’re apprehensive about sharing personal information, don’t post personal information. But I think it’s good to have control over information about yourself online. You can do this most easily with a website.

Why should you go through all that trouble? Everyone googles everyone. I you’re applying for a job, school, or some scholarship, you can bet that your employer’s going to google you. It’s a free and efficient way to gain some knowledge about prospective employees/students. I started this website shortly after submitting my grad school applications, and it proved useful. I know that schools looked at my website because they referenced some content I had posted during interviews. (I can only assume it reflected on me positively as I was accepted.) Having your own website allows you to highlight some of your strong points, including personality and hobbies, things that don’t necessarily fit on an application or resume. You can even list the url for your website at the bottom of your application if you choose.

Aside from the possible personal benefits, you can potentially help others. A while ago I realized that every time I learned something new, the first thing I would do was perform an internet search. Although the information wasn’t always reliable, it was a good starting point, especially if I knew nothing about a new subject. I think most people perform preliminary internet searches, but come up with little or no good information. By posting some of your knowledge online (knowledge that’s correct and easily understood), you can help all the people like me, who turn first to the internet. It seems to me that if all the certified experts in the world put just one hour a year toward getting some of their expertise online, we would have far more easily accessible and reliable information for the general public–enough to replace most content available in public libraries. Although few experts actually hoard knowledge so that they can profit from it, this expert knowledge too often gets into academic/trade journals or other not-easily-accessible (to the hoards of lazy people who would never go all the way to the library) media.

Thoughts on Using Toilet Paper Sparingly

Some people try to use toilet paper (insert any other household item such as paper towel, soap, toothpaste, etc.) sparingly in an effort to save money. Others use the same sponge to do the dishes until it’s limp, brown, and is not much thicker than a few sheets of paper. These people know that household items–cleaning supplies in particular–are costly, and therefore using these items freely is like wasting money. Sadly for these people (my family included), they are expending large amounts of effort to save money by a very inefficient method. I’m not opposed to saving money, not at all. And I do recognize that using less toilet paper may be an effective last resort to making your monthly budget. However, I believe that most people can find savings by more effective means.

For simplicity, consider just the cost of toilet paper the average person uses per year. According the the New York Times, that’s 23.6 rolls per year []. I don’t know the average price of toilet paper in the US, but I would assume anyone can get 24 rolls for $30 or less–I’m not thinking of people who use gold leaf paper and similarly expensive items. Now, imagine using less than the average. How much less can a person with good hygiene reasonably use? Suppose an extremely frugal person can somehow use 50% less than the average (I haven’t worked out exactly what would be the smallest reasonable amount of toilet paper…..for reasons that should be obvious I don’t really want to). This frugal person would then save $15 per year. $15? Isn’t that a lot to save on toilet paper? Yes, the dollar savings on such a basic item is impressive. However, to save this $15 requires extra effort each time you use the toilet. Everyday–possibly more than once a day–you’ll endure stress and strife as you think, “One sheet less….,” with every pull of the roll.

But the $15!? Consider some of these alternative methods: order a few less drinks next time you go to a bar, skip eating out, skip a night at the club, etc. Each of these alternative methods saves at least $15, but possibly more, much more. Skipping a night at a club should save well over $30, $40, $50…..that’s much more toilet paper than the average person uses in a year. While the dollar savings remains the same or better than the toilet paper method, the level of suffering to produce the savings is much less. All of the alternative methods involve a small amount of disappointment which lasts for only a night. (In my opinion, an even better method: buy a used car or get a model that is not the most deluxe. With this one simple action, you can provide enough toilet paper for your family for the rest of your life, and possibly even some for your grandchildren).

I say this because when people tighten their budgets, they often try to make cuts in the most unreasonable places. As for me, I use my toilet paper freely because I’ve already sacrificed one bottle of wine this year.

Free Will

Here is my opinion of free will. I was reminded of this after having a conversation about it (along with Schrodinger’s Cat) recently.

Many people believe that thoughts occur and are represented by physical, electrical signals in the brain. Suppose that thoughts are electrical signals in the brain. So, if I control the signals (firing of neurons) in your brain, I can control your thoughts. Those signals are governed by the laws of physics. What path does a signal take (that is, what thought do you have)? This is governed by the physical structure of the brain. The physical structure is a complex combination of external forces at the time of a thought, past experiences, and biology (there may be a few factors missing). If we happen to know the physical structure of every person’s brain and everything happening in the world at a given time, it is possible to know the path of each electrical signal in each person’s brain. That is, if thoughts are electrical signals, then we can predict what each person will do–at least this is theoretically possible. Therefore, THERE IS NO FREE WILL. If all of our choices are already determined, what is free?

It is important to note that I am not saying that we will ever have the ability to predict all future events or people’s thoughts. Just because this is impossible does not necessarily imply the existence of free will. Rather, it gives us the false illusion of free will.

Although I would like to think that my opinion is quite original, I believe this is a well known argument against free will.

How to Order at a Japanese McDonalds

Hiyoshi McDonalds

Hiyoshi McDonalds

Ordering at McDonalds in Japan is difficult. This issue was brought to my attention by a friend some years ago, before I came to Japan….I’ve thought about it recently.

Back to McDonalds. Food is a basic necessity. Getting some from any convenience store is as easy as choosing what you want, handing it to the person at the cash register, and paying for it. At first glance, ordering food at McDonalds should be no harder than saying (or pointing at) what you want and paying for it. If this were true, it would be easier than buying food at the convenience store since there are only two steps and you don’t even have to carry your items to the cash register. I’m sure many Americans recognize the golden arches and are lured inside with the promise of a tasty bit of home. But what awaits them is often confusion and frustration. For those who may be confused or frustrated, here’s a short guide to ordering at McDonalds in Japan.

Step 1: Get in a line. Upon entering a McDonalds in Japan, you must decide which line to stand in. Most Japanese McDonalds have signs which diagram how to make straight lines infront of open cash registers. These are conveniently written in Japanese with people represented by simple pink-orange circles. Customers who don’t stand in one of the predetermined lines will most likely be ignorned (especially if the store is busy).

Step 2: Order. This is the hardest part since a barage of questions (asked in Japanese, of course) must be answered. Eating here or to go (koko de meshiagari desuka–will you eat here)? Do you want a set (fries+drink) with that (setto wa ikagadesuka)? If you had a drink, what kind of drink do you want (nomimono wa ikagadesuka)? Even if you know the polite form of each question in Japanese, the person at the register may ask them out of order or with slight variations to throw you off. They may even ask unexpected questions: Is the “M” size okay (emu-saizu wa yoroshiideshouka)? That will take a little while, do you mind waiting (…omachiitadaitemo iideshouka)? Maybe the machine for your drink is out of order. In this case, the McDonalds employee will appologize for the inconvenience (moushiwakenaidesuga…) and you’ll have to select something else (assuming you understood which item you could not have).

Step 3: Get your order. This seems simple, but it may not be. The cashier will tell you one of three things. Here they are in order of increasing difficulty (for you to understand). 1) Please wait. You simply stand where you are and they’ll get your order and hand it to you. 2) Please wait over here. In this case you must go to where they pointed and wait. Most likely they want you to move out of the way so they can get the next person’s order. Someone will hand you your food over the counter. 3) Please have a seat and wait for this number. This is the most difficult case. You’ll be given a plastic plate with a number on it. You should get out of the line and stand/sit off to the side so others can place their orders. Eventually someone will come to you and give you your order.

As you can see, ordering at McDonalds can be quite complex. I think that most students of Japanese do a lesson where they roleplay ordering at a restaraunt. Maybe teachers should opt for a more practical McDonalds lesson, including appropriate keigo. Also note that pointing in conjuction with random noises may be effective when ordering, but exercise caution not to scare the cashier or people in the next line.

Should the Government Require Japanese Language for Work Visas?

New Otani Pancake Mix

New Otani Pancake Mix

Recently, I’ve been having a recurring thought. It’s about foreigners living in Japan who can’t speak Japanese (very well or at all). Let me start from the beginning.

Last year, the Japanese government considered changing some of the requirements for visas held by foreign workers. Among the considerations was implementing a language requirement. At the time these considerations hit the news, I was more or less indifferent to the language requirement. I could understand that many people already living here who could not speak Japanese would be greatly inconvenienced. I also knew that workers with no Japanese ability pose a small cost to society (which may or may not be outweighed by their productivity). However, over the past few months I’ve come to support a language requirement. Here’s why….

To my embarrassment, there are people–mostly English speaking westerners–who live/have lived in Japan for (one or many) years, but can’t speak the language at all. I mean that their Japanese language ability is downright laughable. Kids in their first year of highschool Japanese would be able to communicate better. It’s not that these people can’t learn. They won’t. Consequently, they become dependent on someone else. It is to avoid letting people like this into the country that I believe the government should require some Japanese ability when getting a long-term visa.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone should be fluent–I’m certainly not–but everyone should be able to go about their daily lives, getting all the necessities while using Japanese. That is food, clothing, and shelter. The first two don’t take much language ability, if any at all. I can go to the store and buy groceries without saying a word to anyone. On the other hand, I guess buying a meal from McDonald’s is actually a bit more involved than you might think (I’ll write about this in a later post). Anyway, as far as the shelter goes, everyone who hopes to hold a long-term visa should be able to find an apartment, sign the contract, and setup utilities, etc. in Japanese. Maybe you’re thinking that once you find an apartment and set it up, you won’t need to do anything but pay your rent….so what’s so bad about having someone help me this once? True, but if something breaks (refrigerator, internet, window,…)? You should be able to handle it yourself.

My point is that there’s a minimum level of Japanese ability needed to secure the necessities and all residents should possess at least the minimum. Can someone without the minimum really be a productive member of society? I think there’s often also an undesirable attitude that goes along with (or causes) poor language skill. So what of the people who can’t speak that much Japanese? I think the government should provide them with a renewable short-term (3-6 months) visa. That’s just my opinion.

Science, Another Religion?

This post is devoted to my opinions of science being another religion. This topic, as are many involving discussions of religion and faith, is of a contraversial nature. So read on with the understanding that you may be offended and will likely disagree with what I’m about to say. The following are simply my current opinions, subject to change without advanced notice for any reason. I make no claim that either science or religion is good, bad, or superior is anyway.

1. Introduction

2. Faith in Scientific Teachings

3. Faith in the Assumptions of Science

4. Where’s the Faith

1. Introduction

According to the Merrian Webster Online Dictionary, a religion is “a system of beliefs held with ardor and faith” []. The key here is faith, beliefs held without evidence. Buddhists have faith in reincarnation, Christians have faith in God and Jesus. Some people hold the view that science is another religion, a set of beliefs taken on faith–taken on the word of a knowledgeable teacher or credentialed scientist. These people often claim that faith is required in two areas. 1) Students take believed scientific truths on faith from their teachers and researchers take data and analysis on faith from their colleagues. 2) Faith is required in assuming that the we can understand our universe and in some of the mathematical assumptions upon which science relies (1+1=2). I believe both of these arguments are flawed. The faith in religion is rooted at an even more basic level, in the method of reasoning and logic. There are opinions on both sides of this issue. Maybe a famous one for science not being a religion is the 1997 Dawkins article in the Humanist.

2. Faith in Scientific Teachings

Students in any highschool or college science class absorb the information taught be their teachers. They often do not question those teachings. It seems that faith is required to understand these teachings. While it is true that students too often allow themselves to be indoctrinated, that does not mean that they cannot question the teachings of science. People can choose to repeat any scientific experiment and confirm any conclusions. Practical considerations such as availability of money, man power, and time make some explorations difficult, but not impossible. In contrast, how can I prove reincarnation or the existence of God–no matter how high the cost or how many years/generations it would take? Indeed, if absolute faith was required, Columbus would have sailed off the edge of the world and the Sun would still revolve around the Earth.

3. Faith in the Assumptions of Science

People can also claim that faith is required in the assumptions of science. Some common assumptions which are attacked follow.

1) Science assumes that the universe is understandable. This is not true. What’s the point of making endless studies if we cannot hope to understand our world? Maybe it’s pointless, but we’ve made advances in some sort of approximate understandings (however far from the truth they may be) of our universe and those understandings have aided us greatly in building our societies (whether those societies are good or bad). It is this just coincidence that we can guess that lifting a 1 kg block 1 m off the ground requires approximately 9.8 J? Maybe.

2) Faith in perception: science assumes that what we perceive is true. I’m not sure that science assumes this. What is the point of endless measurements? See above. Surely Einstein pondered the relationship between truth and perception when developing his theory of relativity. Two people moving relative to one another perceive time differently. What of Schrodinger’s cat? A cat in a box has a chance of being dead or alive, but from outside the box I can’t tell for certain. Is the cat both dead and alive? More basically, a tree falls in the woods with nobody around to hear it. Does it make a sound? In all of these cases it seems that science does not necessarily assume that perception is absolute truth.

3) Faith in math and other basic assumptions. Science uses numbers and equations, which are all based on assumptions. 1+2=3 is based on assumptions. If we rewrite those assumptions we can easily get 1+3=2. But this is simply a relabeling. The concept remains… apple added to two apples results in three apples. While the math is based on assumptions, the concepts which they represent exist. There is certainly math which is not based on any physical concepts, but these are not used in science. If you think that these truths are assumed (and therefore require faith), then you’d probably be wrong. I’m not asking you to believe that one plus two is always three. I’m telling you that there is some physical definition for one plus two equal three, regardless of the number labels. Arguing with this concept is like arguing with the concept of a cheeseburger (insert your own word here….merciful God, devil, etc.). Whether or not one exists is not the issue. It is the physical representation/definition. And here, some may refer to 2) above, and we’ll get into some endless cycle of reasoning…..It’s not about the perception being true, it is the definition of a concept.

4. Where’s the Faith?

Faith is required in science at an even deeper level than the teachings, assumptions, or observations. Faith is required in the system of logic. Believing that we can reason that if “not A then B” and “B then C” implies that if “not A then C” requires a faith. Certainly this seems true, as it holds for every scenario I can think of, but that does not make it so. And without our current system of logic, which has never changed over the centuries, we would could not draw any of the conclusions in science. Just as a note, many things outside of science are based on this system of logic. Even the arguments people use to justify religion are often based on logic.