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BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)

Mrrzy 01 Jan 08 - 02:30 PM
Rapparee 01 Jan 08 - 02:32 PM
skipy 01 Jan 08 - 02:35 PM
Severn 01 Jan 08 - 02:45 PM
Georgiansilver 01 Jan 08 - 03:13 PM
bobad 01 Jan 08 - 03:18 PM
Amos 01 Jan 08 - 03:28 PM
Mrrzy 01 Jan 08 - 03:32 PM
Riginslinger 01 Jan 08 - 04:24 PM
Amos 01 Jan 08 - 04:46 PM
Riginslinger 01 Jan 08 - 05:39 PM
Georgiansilver 01 Jan 08 - 05:44 PM
bobad 01 Jan 08 - 05:55 PM
Amos 01 Jan 08 - 07:31 PM
Nickhere 01 Jan 08 - 07:32 PM
Rapparee 01 Jan 08 - 07:55 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Jan 08 - 10:27 PM
bobad 02 Jan 08 - 08:44 AM
Jean(eanjay) 02 Jan 08 - 08:48 AM
Rapparee 02 Jan 08 - 09:02 AM
Riginslinger 02 Jan 08 - 09:02 AM
Rapparee 02 Jan 08 - 09:36 AM
Green Man 02 Jan 08 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 02 Jan 08 - 10:57 AM
Bill D 02 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM
Bill D 02 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM
Jean(eanjay) 02 Jan 08 - 11:25 AM
Waddon Pete 02 Jan 08 - 12:15 PM
Rapparee 02 Jan 08 - 12:29 PM
Bill D 02 Jan 08 - 12:33 PM
Amos 02 Jan 08 - 12:34 PM
Georgiansilver 02 Jan 08 - 12:48 PM
Riginslinger 02 Jan 08 - 01:12 PM
Wesley S 02 Jan 08 - 01:18 PM
Amos 02 Jan 08 - 01:26 PM
Waddon Pete 02 Jan 08 - 01:47 PM
Amos 02 Jan 08 - 01:53 PM
Riginslinger 02 Jan 08 - 02:46 PM
PoppaGator 02 Jan 08 - 03:32 PM
Riginslinger 02 Jan 08 - 06:58 PM
Waddon Pete 03 Jan 08 - 04:48 AM
Amos 03 Jan 08 - 09:07 AM
Mrrzy 03 Jan 08 - 09:40 AM
Riginslinger 03 Jan 08 - 10:47 AM
Kim C 03 Jan 08 - 10:49 AM
number 6 03 Jan 08 - 11:37 AM
Georgiansilver 03 Jan 08 - 06:32 PM
wysiwyg 03 Jan 08 - 10:35 PM
Amos 03 Jan 08 - 10:46 PM
number 6 03 Jan 08 - 10:56 PM
bobad 03 Jan 08 - 11:03 PM
Riginslinger 03 Jan 08 - 11:06 PM
Stephen L. Rich 04 Jan 08 - 01:39 AM
Stephen L. Rich 04 Jan 08 - 01:43 AM
TheSnail 04 Jan 08 - 04:41 AM
theleveller 04 Jan 08 - 08:03 AM
Georgiansilver 04 Jan 08 - 08:18 AM
theleveller 04 Jan 08 - 08:21 AM
Amos 04 Jan 08 - 08:27 AM
Georgiansilver 04 Jan 08 - 08:55 AM
Bill D 04 Jan 08 - 10:19 AM
bobad 04 Jan 08 - 10:27 AM
Amos 04 Jan 08 - 10:40 AM
Georgiansilver 04 Jan 08 - 10:43 AM
Amos 04 Jan 08 - 10:52 AM
Wesley S 04 Jan 08 - 11:00 AM
theleveller 04 Jan 08 - 11:14 AM
Mrrzy 04 Jan 08 - 12:55 PM
Bill D 04 Jan 08 - 12:57 PM
Georgiansilver 04 Jan 08 - 01:15 PM
Amos 04 Jan 08 - 02:22 PM
Mrrzy 04 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM
wysiwyg 04 Jan 08 - 05:04 PM
Riginslinger 04 Jan 08 - 06:39 PM
Georgiansilver 04 Jan 08 - 06:48 PM
Riginslinger 04 Jan 08 - 07:06 PM
number 6 04 Jan 08 - 07:36 PM
M.Ted 04 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM
Mrrzy 05 Jan 08 - 09:45 PM
M.Ted 06 Jan 08 - 12:07 AM
wysiwyg 06 Jan 08 - 07:33 AM
Riginslinger 06 Jan 08 - 10:57 AM
Amos 06 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM
Mrrzy 06 Jan 08 - 04:11 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 05:13 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 05:22 PM
Riginslinger 06 Jan 08 - 05:32 PM
Amos 06 Jan 08 - 05:48 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 05:52 PM
Peace 06 Jan 08 - 06:03 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 06:06 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 06:10 PM
Peace 06 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM
Amos 06 Jan 08 - 07:04 PM
Amos 06 Jan 08 - 07:12 PM
Bill D 06 Jan 08 - 07:25 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 07:40 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 07:50 PM
Bill D 06 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM
wysiwyg 06 Jan 08 - 08:25 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 08:46 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 08:58 PM
theleveller 07 Jan 08 - 03:33 AM
Amos 07 Jan 08 - 03:59 AM
theleveller 07 Jan 08 - 08:22 AM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 08 - 08:47 AM
wysiwyg 07 Jan 08 - 08:59 AM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 09:53 AM
Mrrzy 07 Jan 08 - 12:03 PM
Wesley S 07 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM
Donuel 07 Jan 08 - 12:18 PM
Donuel 07 Jan 08 - 12:57 PM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 08 - 01:27 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 01:29 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM
Amos 07 Jan 08 - 01:52 PM
Mrrzy 07 Jan 08 - 02:20 PM
Nickhere 07 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 03:16 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 03:19 PM
theleveller 07 Jan 08 - 03:27 PM
Amos 07 Jan 08 - 03:29 PM
Nickhere 07 Jan 08 - 03:41 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 04:35 PM
Mrrzy 07 Jan 08 - 05:17 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 05:28 PM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 08 - 05:34 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 07:16 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 07:20 PM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 08 - 07:37 PM
TheSnail 07 Jan 08 - 08:04 PM
Amos 07 Jan 08 - 08:07 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 08:27 PM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 08 - 08:28 PM
TheSnail 07 Jan 08 - 08:41 PM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 08 - 08:43 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 10:36 PM
Amos 07 Jan 08 - 11:06 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 11:50 PM
Georgiansilver 08 Jan 08 - 02:45 AM
TheSnail 08 Jan 08 - 06:39 AM
theleveller 08 Jan 08 - 08:20 AM
Mrrzy 08 Jan 08 - 08:25 AM
Amos 08 Jan 08 - 08:26 AM
Riginslinger 08 Jan 08 - 08:27 AM
theleveller 08 Jan 08 - 08:50 AM
Riginslinger 08 Jan 08 - 10:34 AM
Bee 08 Jan 08 - 10:52 AM
Amos 08 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM
Riginslinger 08 Jan 08 - 11:37 AM
Amos 08 Jan 08 - 12:30 PM
M.Ted 08 Jan 08 - 01:01 PM
Amos 08 Jan 08 - 01:12 PM
M.Ted 08 Jan 08 - 01:43 PM
Bee 08 Jan 08 - 02:35 PM
Nickhere 08 Jan 08 - 03:53 PM
Stringsinger 08 Jan 08 - 03:57 PM
Stringsinger 08 Jan 08 - 04:01 PM
Nickhere 08 Jan 08 - 04:04 PM
Nickhere 08 Jan 08 - 04:16 PM
Nickhere 08 Jan 08 - 04:48 PM
Mrrzy 08 Jan 08 - 04:52 PM
Mrrzy 08 Jan 08 - 04:59 PM
M.Ted 08 Jan 08 - 05:06 PM
Nickhere 08 Jan 08 - 07:16 PM
Amos 08 Jan 08 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Juan Hu Tutz 08 Jan 08 - 08:53 PM
Donuel 08 Jan 08 - 10:02 PM
number 6 08 Jan 08 - 10:15 PM
Janie 08 Jan 08 - 10:26 PM
Bee 08 Jan 08 - 10:56 PM
Janie 08 Jan 08 - 10:58 PM
Riginslinger 08 Jan 08 - 10:59 PM
M.Ted 08 Jan 08 - 11:21 PM
Amos 08 Jan 08 - 11:42 PM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 08 - 08:10 AM
Riginslinger 09 Jan 08 - 08:42 AM
M.Ted 09 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM
Amos 09 Jan 08 - 11:55 AM
TheSnail 09 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM
Riginslinger 09 Jan 08 - 12:19 PM
Amos 09 Jan 08 - 12:29 PM
Bee 09 Jan 08 - 01:01 PM
Amos 09 Jan 08 - 01:38 PM
Riginslinger 09 Jan 08 - 01:47 PM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 08 - 01:58 PM
Bee 09 Jan 08 - 02:17 PM
M.Ted 09 Jan 08 - 02:52 PM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 08 - 04:02 PM
Bee 09 Jan 08 - 04:22 PM
M.Ted 09 Jan 08 - 05:35 PM
Mrrzy 10 Jan 08 - 09:02 AM
Riginslinger 10 Jan 08 - 09:38 AM
Amos 10 Jan 08 - 09:43 AM
TheSnail 10 Jan 08 - 09:51 AM
Riginslinger 10 Jan 08 - 10:13 AM
M.Ted 10 Jan 08 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,Wesley S 10 Jan 08 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Wesley S 10 Jan 08 - 11:02 AM
Amos 10 Jan 08 - 11:07 AM
Riginslinger 10 Jan 08 - 11:20 AM
Bee 10 Jan 08 - 11:38 AM
M.Ted 10 Jan 08 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Wesley S 10 Jan 08 - 12:00 PM
Mrrzy 10 Jan 08 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,Wesley S 10 Jan 08 - 12:20 PM
Riginslinger 10 Jan 08 - 12:24 PM
Amos 10 Jan 08 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Wesley S 10 Jan 08 - 12:35 PM
Nickhere 10 Jan 08 - 01:15 PM
Bee 10 Jan 08 - 02:03 PM
Bill D 10 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM
Riginslinger 10 Jan 08 - 02:16 PM
Bill D 10 Jan 08 - 02:29 PM
Riginslinger 10 Jan 08 - 02:34 PM
Nickhere 10 Jan 08 - 02:58 PM
Nickhere 10 Jan 08 - 03:02 PM
Amos 10 Jan 08 - 03:41 PM
Rustic Rebel 10 Jan 08 - 05:30 PM
Amos 10 Jan 08 - 07:09 PM
Amos 10 Jan 08 - 07:34 PM
M.Ted 10 Jan 08 - 08:36 PM
Riginslinger 10 Jan 08 - 09:16 PM
Mrrzy 11 Jan 08 - 09:00 AM
Riginslinger 11 Jan 08 - 10:33 AM
Bee 11 Jan 08 - 11:33 AM
Riginslinger 11 Jan 08 - 11:38 AM
Donuel 11 Jan 08 - 11:49 AM
Riginslinger 11 Jan 08 - 12:30 PM
Amos 11 Jan 08 - 02:21 PM
Nickhere 11 Jan 08 - 03:41 PM
Nickhere 11 Jan 08 - 03:42 PM
Amos 11 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM
Nickhere 11 Jan 08 - 05:15 PM
Nickhere 11 Jan 08 - 05:24 PM
Amos 11 Jan 08 - 05:50 PM
Nickhere 11 Jan 08 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Monique 12 Jan 08 - 07:05 AM
Amos 12 Jan 08 - 09:28 AM
Nickhere 12 Jan 08 - 10:36 AM
Amos 12 Jan 08 - 11:09 AM
Nickhere 12 Jan 08 - 12:06 PM
Amos 12 Jan 08 - 01:20 PM
Bee 12 Jan 08 - 01:34 PM
Riginslinger 12 Jan 08 - 03:19 PM
Amos 12 Jan 08 - 03:59 PM
Riginslinger 12 Jan 08 - 04:12 PM
Bee 12 Jan 08 - 05:36 PM
Riginslinger 12 Jan 08 - 06:26 PM
TheSnail 12 Jan 08 - 08:56 PM
Riginslinger 12 Jan 08 - 10:16 PM
Nickhere 13 Jan 08 - 04:05 PM
Nickhere 13 Jan 08 - 04:11 PM
Riginslinger 13 Jan 08 - 04:13 PM
Amos 13 Jan 08 - 04:16 PM
Nickhere 13 Jan 08 - 04:21 PM
Nickhere 13 Jan 08 - 04:26 PM
Nickhere 13 Jan 08 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Mrr, checking in fast on another computer 13 Jan 08 - 08:16 PM
Bee 13 Jan 08 - 10:40 PM
Mrrzy 14 Jan 08 - 10:55 AM
Amos 14 Jan 08 - 11:04 AM
Riginslinger 14 Jan 08 - 11:15 AM
M.Ted 14 Jan 08 - 12:05 PM
Bill D 14 Jan 08 - 01:54 PM
Mrrzy 14 Jan 08 - 09:36 PM
Bill D 14 Jan 08 - 10:01 PM
Bill D 14 Jan 08 - 10:03 PM
bobad 14 Jan 08 - 10:29 PM
Amos 14 Jan 08 - 10:32 PM
Mrrzy 15 Jan 08 - 09:08 AM
Mrrzy 15 Jan 08 - 09:23 AM
M.Ted 15 Jan 08 - 10:14 AM
Amos 15 Jan 08 - 10:37 AM
Mrrzy 15 Jan 08 - 10:41 AM
Amos 15 Jan 08 - 10:50 AM
Bill D 15 Jan 08 - 12:19 PM
M.Ted 15 Jan 08 - 05:26 PM
M.Ted 15 Jan 08 - 05:28 PM
Bee 15 Jan 08 - 05:50 PM
Bill D 15 Jan 08 - 06:37 PM
Bill D 15 Jan 08 - 06:46 PM
M.Ted 15 Jan 08 - 08:02 PM
Amos 15 Jan 08 - 08:20 PM
Amos 15 Jan 08 - 08:37 PM
Bee 15 Jan 08 - 08:52 PM
Amos 15 Jan 08 - 09:29 PM
Amos 15 Jan 08 - 10:20 PM
Riginslinger 15 Jan 08 - 10:45 PM
Bill D 16 Jan 08 - 11:02 AM
Wesley S 16 Jan 08 - 01:23 PM
Riginslinger 16 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM
Amos 16 Jan 08 - 06:16 PM
Riginslinger 16 Jan 08 - 06:29 PM
Mrrzy 16 Jan 08 - 06:35 PM
Bill D 16 Jan 08 - 07:08 PM
Riginslinger 16 Jan 08 - 07:30 PM
Nickhere 16 Jan 08 - 08:06 PM
Bee 16 Jan 08 - 09:30 PM
Mrrzy 17 Jan 08 - 08:56 AM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 10:08 AM
Riginslinger 17 Jan 08 - 10:19 AM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 10:20 AM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 10:23 AM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 10:26 AM
Mrrzy 17 Jan 08 - 10:38 AM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 10:54 AM
Amos 17 Jan 08 - 11:01 AM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM
Bee 17 Jan 08 - 11:27 AM
TheSnail 17 Jan 08 - 11:29 AM
Amos 17 Jan 08 - 11:38 AM
wysiwyg 17 Jan 08 - 11:42 AM
Mrrzy 17 Jan 08 - 11:48 AM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 11:57 AM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 11:58 AM
Mrrzy 17 Jan 08 - 12:01 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 12:01 PM
Mrrzy 17 Jan 08 - 12:09 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 12:12 PM
Mrrzy 17 Jan 08 - 12:15 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 12:24 PM
Mrrzy 17 Jan 08 - 12:38 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 12:43 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 12:44 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 12:46 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 12:53 PM
Emma B 17 Jan 08 - 01:10 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM
Amos 17 Jan 08 - 01:37 PM
M.Ted 17 Jan 08 - 01:48 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 02:00 PM
Bee 17 Jan 08 - 02:13 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 02:16 PM
Amos 17 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 02:32 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 02:41 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 08 - 02:53 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 03:23 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 03:26 PM
Riginslinger 17 Jan 08 - 04:01 PM
Amos 17 Jan 08 - 04:33 PM
M.Ted 17 Jan 08 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Mrr elsewhere 17 Jan 08 - 04:43 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 08 - 04:56 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 08 - 05:09 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 08 - 05:19 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 05:46 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 05:47 PM
Nickhere 17 Jan 08 - 06:01 PM
Bee 17 Jan 08 - 06:41 PM
Amos 17 Jan 08 - 07:09 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 08 - 07:37 PM
bobad 17 Jan 08 - 07:44 PM
Amos 17 Jan 08 - 07:51 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 08 - 08:09 PM
M.Ted 17 Jan 08 - 09:03 PM
Bill D 17 Jan 08 - 10:58 PM
Mrrzy 18 Jan 08 - 10:54 AM
Amos 18 Jan 08 - 11:15 AM
Riginslinger 18 Jan 08 - 05:55 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM
Riginslinger 18 Jan 08 - 06:20 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 07:00 PM
Riginslinger 18 Jan 08 - 07:15 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 08:12 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 08:15 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 08:17 PM
Riginslinger 18 Jan 08 - 08:34 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 08:48 PM
Riginslinger 18 Jan 08 - 09:05 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 09:07 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 10:52 PM
Riginslinger 18 Jan 08 - 11:28 PM
Amos 19 Jan 08 - 12:14 AM
Mrrzy 19 Jan 08 - 08:24 PM
Nickhere 19 Jan 08 - 08:36 PM
Mrrzy 19 Jan 08 - 08:42 PM
Nickhere 19 Jan 08 - 09:10 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 12:07 AM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 12:15 AM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 02:52 AM
autolycus 20 Jan 08 - 06:08 AM
Riginslinger 20 Jan 08 - 10:00 AM
Riginslinger 20 Jan 08 - 10:42 AM
Bill D 20 Jan 08 - 12:51 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 01:11 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM
Bee 20 Jan 08 - 01:57 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 03:51 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM
TheSnail 20 Jan 08 - 04:25 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 07:11 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 07:56 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 07:57 PM
Bee 20 Jan 08 - 08:06 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 08:12 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 08:13 PM
Riginslinger 20 Jan 08 - 09:13 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 09:14 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 09:32 PM
Riginslinger 20 Jan 08 - 09:45 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 09:49 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 09:57 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 10:05 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,Will 20 Jan 08 - 10:08 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 10:23 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 10:47 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 11:25 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 11:28 PM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 01:08 AM
Tweed 21 Jan 08 - 06:28 AM
Riginslinger 21 Jan 08 - 07:52 AM
Amos 21 Jan 08 - 09:46 AM
Riginslinger 21 Jan 08 - 10:32 AM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 11:23 AM
Mrrzy 21 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM
Amos 21 Jan 08 - 01:37 PM
Mrrzy 21 Jan 08 - 01:44 PM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 05:06 PM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 05:12 PM
Mrrzy 21 Jan 08 - 06:05 PM
Nickhere 21 Jan 08 - 06:08 PM
Mrrzy 21 Jan 08 - 06:32 PM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 06:45 PM
Mrrzy 21 Jan 08 - 06:55 PM
Nickhere 21 Jan 08 - 07:39 PM
Mrrzy 21 Jan 08 - 08:00 PM
Amos 21 Jan 08 - 08:04 PM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 08:07 PM
Riginslinger 21 Jan 08 - 08:09 PM
Amos 21 Jan 08 - 08:18 PM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 08:38 PM
Amos 21 Jan 08 - 11:05 PM
Amos 22 Jan 08 - 01:15 AM
Mrrzy 22 Jan 08 - 09:01 AM
wysiwyg 22 Jan 08 - 09:13 AM
Amos 22 Jan 08 - 09:39 AM
Mrrzy 22 Jan 08 - 10:00 AM
wysiwyg 22 Jan 08 - 10:27 AM
Amos 22 Jan 08 - 10:34 AM
Riginslinger 22 Jan 08 - 10:34 AM
Wesley S 22 Jan 08 - 11:07 AM
Amos 22 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM
wysiwyg 22 Jan 08 - 11:14 AM
Amos 22 Jan 08 - 11:44 AM
wysiwyg 22 Jan 08 - 12:07 PM
Mrrzy 22 Jan 08 - 12:20 PM
Wesley S 22 Jan 08 - 12:31 PM
Mrrzy 22 Jan 08 - 12:37 PM
Wesley S 22 Jan 08 - 12:51 PM
autolycus 22 Jan 08 - 01:07 PM
M.Ted 22 Jan 08 - 01:56 PM
Riginslinger 22 Jan 08 - 02:11 PM
M.Ted 22 Jan 08 - 03:18 PM
Amos 22 Jan 08 - 03:42 PM
Amos 22 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM
Riginslinger 22 Jan 08 - 04:12 PM
Mrrzy 22 Jan 08 - 04:13 PM
Bill D 22 Jan 08 - 04:27 PM
M.Ted 22 Jan 08 - 06:46 PM
Mrrzy 22 Jan 08 - 07:08 PM
M.Ted 22 Jan 08 - 09:56 PM
M.Ted 22 Jan 08 - 10:00 PM
Amos 23 Jan 08 - 10:04 AM
wysiwyg 23 Jan 08 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Mrr 23 Jan 08 - 10:19 AM
Amos 23 Jan 08 - 10:25 AM
autolycus 23 Jan 08 - 01:45 PM
Mrrzy 23 Jan 08 - 03:33 PM
Amos 23 Jan 08 - 03:49 PM
autolycus 23 Jan 08 - 04:16 PM
M.Ted 23 Jan 08 - 05:29 PM
Riginslinger 23 Jan 08 - 05:35 PM
Amos 23 Jan 08 - 05:36 PM
Mrrzy 23 Jan 08 - 08:36 PM
Amos 23 Jan 08 - 08:57 PM
M.Ted 23 Jan 08 - 09:52 PM
Donuel 23 Jan 08 - 09:52 PM
M.Ted 23 Jan 08 - 09:59 PM
M.Ted 23 Jan 08 - 10:02 PM
Donuel 23 Jan 08 - 10:04 PM
Amos 23 Jan 08 - 10:59 PM
M.Ted 23 Jan 08 - 11:45 PM
Amos 24 Jan 08 - 11:34 AM
Mrrzy 24 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM
Amos 24 Jan 08 - 03:35 PM
Amos 24 Jan 08 - 03:57 PM
Mrrzy 24 Jan 08 - 04:32 PM
john f weldon 24 Jan 08 - 05:16 PM
Amos 24 Jan 08 - 05:16 PM
Nickhere 24 Jan 08 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,cosmostician donueles 24 Jan 08 - 06:38 PM
Nickhere 24 Jan 08 - 06:46 PM
M.Ted 24 Jan 08 - 07:06 PM
Nickhere 24 Jan 08 - 07:08 PM
Nickhere 24 Jan 08 - 07:13 PM
GUEST,donuel 24 Jan 08 - 07:25 PM
Amos 24 Jan 08 - 07:30 PM
Donuel 24 Jan 08 - 07:49 PM
Riginslinger 24 Jan 08 - 09:39 PM
Mrrzy 25 Jan 08 - 09:10 AM
Bee 25 Jan 08 - 09:25 AM
Amos 25 Jan 08 - 09:26 AM
Donuel 25 Jan 08 - 09:29 AM
Donuel 25 Jan 08 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Keinstein 25 Jan 08 - 10:20 AM
Amos 25 Jan 08 - 10:35 AM
M.Ted 25 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM
Amos 25 Jan 08 - 11:29 AM
Amos 25 Jan 08 - 11:46 AM
Mrrzy 25 Jan 08 - 12:18 PM
Donuel 25 Jan 08 - 01:02 PM
Mrrzy 25 Jan 08 - 01:16 PM
Riginslinger 25 Jan 08 - 09:54 PM
bobad 25 Jan 08 - 10:05 PM
M.Ted 25 Jan 08 - 10:06 PM
Amos 25 Jan 08 - 10:08 PM
Riginslinger 25 Jan 08 - 11:16 PM
Mrrzy 26 Jan 08 - 11:35 AM
M.Ted 26 Jan 08 - 11:52 AM
Amos 26 Jan 08 - 12:38 PM
Mrrzy 26 Jan 08 - 08:54 PM
M.Ted 27 Jan 08 - 01:44 AM
Stringsinger 27 Jan 08 - 12:42 PM
Riginslinger 27 Jan 08 - 01:43 PM
Stringsinger 27 Jan 08 - 02:40 PM
Amos 27 Jan 08 - 03:47 PM
autolycus 27 Jan 08 - 04:07 PM
Riginslinger 27 Jan 08 - 04:17 PM
Mrrzy 27 Jan 08 - 06:09 PM
Bill D 27 Jan 08 - 09:43 PM
Riginslinger 27 Jan 08 - 10:04 PM
Amos 27 Jan 08 - 10:47 PM
Stringsinger 28 Jan 08 - 01:29 PM
Amos 28 Jan 08 - 01:51 PM
M.Ted 28 Jan 08 - 03:46 PM
Riginslinger 28 Jan 08 - 04:30 PM
Mrrzy 29 Jan 08 - 09:20 AM
Amos 29 Jan 08 - 09:57 AM
Bill D 29 Jan 08 - 10:59 AM
M.Ted 29 Jan 08 - 11:18 AM
Amos 29 Jan 08 - 11:26 AM
Bill D 29 Jan 08 - 11:42 AM
M.Ted 29 Jan 08 - 12:31 PM
Amos 29 Jan 08 - 12:44 PM
Bill D 29 Jan 08 - 03:46 PM
Bill D 29 Jan 08 - 03:48 PM
Amos 29 Jan 08 - 11:23 PM
Riginslinger 30 Jan 08 - 08:34 AM
Mrrzy 30 Jan 08 - 09:10 AM
Amos 30 Jan 08 - 11:23 AM
Amos 30 Jan 08 - 12:37 PM
M.Ted 30 Jan 08 - 12:38 PM
Bill D 30 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM
Riginslinger 30 Jan 08 - 01:26 PM
Amos 30 Jan 08 - 01:27 PM
Riginslinger 30 Jan 08 - 01:57 PM
Amos 31 Jan 08 - 11:56 AM
Wesley S 31 Jan 08 - 12:07 PM
M.Ted 31 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM
Wesley S 31 Jan 08 - 12:35 PM
Amos 31 Jan 08 - 02:37 PM
Wesley S 31 Jan 08 - 03:15 PM
Riginslinger 31 Jan 08 - 05:46 PM
Wesley S 31 Jan 08 - 05:54 PM
M.Ted 31 Jan 08 - 06:59 PM
Riginslinger 31 Jan 08 - 07:24 PM
M.Ted 31 Jan 08 - 11:21 PM
Georgiansilver 01 Feb 08 - 02:50 AM
Georgiansilver 01 Feb 08 - 03:06 AM
Riginslinger 01 Feb 08 - 08:13 AM
Georgiansilver 01 Feb 08 - 08:21 AM
Amos 01 Feb 08 - 10:17 AM
Wesley S 01 Feb 08 - 10:32 AM
Mrrzy 01 Feb 08 - 10:52 AM
Bill D 01 Feb 08 - 11:00 AM
Amos 01 Feb 08 - 11:47 AM
Bee 01 Feb 08 - 04:27 PM
Amos 01 Feb 08 - 04:41 PM
Wesley S 01 Feb 08 - 04:49 PM
Bee 01 Feb 08 - 05:02 PM
Wesley S 01 Feb 08 - 05:12 PM
Riginslinger 01 Feb 08 - 09:32 PM
Mrrzy 02 Feb 08 - 11:21 AM
Mrrzy 02 Feb 08 - 11:25 AM
Amos 02 Feb 08 - 12:02 PM
Nickhere 02 Feb 08 - 12:20 PM
Amos 02 Feb 08 - 12:26 PM
Nickhere 02 Feb 08 - 12:59 PM
Nickhere 02 Feb 08 - 01:00 PM
Bee 02 Feb 08 - 01:10 PM
Nickhere 02 Feb 08 - 01:11 PM
Nickhere 02 Feb 08 - 01:55 PM
Riginslinger 02 Feb 08 - 03:21 PM
Mrrzy 02 Feb 08 - 04:09 PM
Amos 02 Feb 08 - 04:35 PM
Riginslinger 02 Feb 08 - 06:10 PM
M.Ted 02 Feb 08 - 09:20 PM
Nickhere 02 Feb 08 - 09:33 PM
Bee 02 Feb 08 - 10:53 PM
Mrrzy 03 Feb 08 - 12:20 PM
Riginslinger 03 Feb 08 - 06:14 PM
Mrrzy 03 Feb 08 - 10:22 PM
Amos 03 Feb 08 - 11:14 PM
Riginslinger 03 Feb 08 - 11:26 PM
john f weldon 04 Feb 08 - 09:34 AM
Wesley S 04 Feb 08 - 10:15 AM
Amos 04 Feb 08 - 10:29 AM
Wesley S 04 Feb 08 - 10:34 AM
Riginslinger 04 Feb 08 - 10:50 AM
Wesley S 04 Feb 08 - 11:06 AM
Amos 04 Feb 08 - 11:06 AM
Riginslinger 04 Feb 08 - 11:11 AM
Amos 04 Feb 08 - 11:22 AM
Wesley S 04 Feb 08 - 11:32 AM
Riginslinger 04 Feb 08 - 12:03 PM
Bill D 04 Feb 08 - 02:01 PM
Mrrzy 04 Feb 08 - 02:04 PM
Wesley S 04 Feb 08 - 02:18 PM
Bill D 04 Feb 08 - 02:23 PM
Amos 04 Feb 08 - 02:25 PM
Mrrzy 04 Feb 08 - 02:26 PM
Wesley S 04 Feb 08 - 02:30 PM
Mrrzy 04 Feb 08 - 03:35 PM
Bill D 04 Feb 08 - 04:21 PM
Mrrzy 04 Feb 08 - 06:11 PM
Riginslinger 05 Feb 08 - 09:00 AM
Mrrzy 05 Feb 08 - 04:29 PM
Riginslinger 05 Feb 08 - 04:43 PM
Amos 05 Feb 08 - 04:59 PM
Riginslinger 05 Feb 08 - 06:37 PM
Amos 05 Feb 08 - 07:29 PM
Joe Offer 06 Feb 08 - 07:14 PM
Riginslinger 06 Feb 08 - 09:35 PM
Amos 06 Feb 08 - 10:36 PM
Bob Pacquin 06 Feb 08 - 10:41 PM
Riginslinger 06 Feb 08 - 11:29 PM
Bob Pacquin 06 Feb 08 - 11:45 PM
Riginslinger 07 Feb 08 - 07:53 AM
Mrrzy 07 Feb 08 - 09:21 AM
Bob Pacquin 07 Feb 08 - 10:02 AM
Riginslinger 07 Feb 08 - 10:13 AM
Bob Pacquin 07 Feb 08 - 10:21 AM
Mrrzy 07 Feb 08 - 10:38 AM
Bob Pacquin 07 Feb 08 - 11:16 AM
Bill D 07 Feb 08 - 12:19 PM
Mrrzy 07 Feb 08 - 02:03 PM
Bill D 07 Feb 08 - 03:22 PM
Mrrzy 07 Feb 08 - 03:34 PM
Ebbie 07 Feb 08 - 07:16 PM
Joe Offer 07 Feb 08 - 07:20 PM
Amos 07 Feb 08 - 07:28 PM
GUEST 08 Feb 08 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,PMB 08 Feb 08 - 05:38 AM
bobad 08 Feb 08 - 08:43 AM
Mrrzy 08 Feb 08 - 01:21 PM
Bill D 08 Feb 08 - 04:11 PM
Stringsinger 08 Feb 08 - 05:08 PM
Mrrzy 08 Feb 08 - 05:09 PM
Georgiansilver 08 Feb 08 - 06:16 PM
Amos 08 Feb 08 - 07:39 PM
Georgiansilver 09 Feb 08 - 04:44 AM
Mrrzy 09 Feb 08 - 01:42 PM
Nickhere 09 Feb 08 - 02:34 PM
Georgiansilver 09 Feb 08 - 06:59 PM
Mrrzy 09 Feb 08 - 10:53 PM
Georgiansilver 10 Feb 08 - 03:42 AM
Georgiansilver 10 Feb 08 - 03:51 AM
Mrrzy 10 Feb 08 - 12:51 PM
Stringsinger 10 Feb 08 - 04:28 PM
Georgiansilver 10 Feb 08 - 04:45 PM
Mrrzy 10 Feb 08 - 06:05 PM
Amos 10 Feb 08 - 06:50 PM
Mrrzy 11 Feb 08 - 08:54 AM
M.Ted 12 Feb 08 - 11:09 AM
Stringsinger 12 Feb 08 - 12:06 PM
Georgiansilver 12 Feb 08 - 01:29 PM
Ebbie 12 Feb 08 - 02:16 PM
Georgiansilver 12 Feb 08 - 05:19 PM
Bill D 12 Feb 08 - 05:41 PM
Amos 12 Feb 08 - 05:47 PM
Mrrzy 12 Feb 08 - 06:46 PM
M.Ted 12 Feb 08 - 08:04 PM
Amos 12 Feb 08 - 08:07 PM
M.Ted 12 Feb 08 - 08:15 PM
Mrrzy 12 Feb 08 - 09:16 PM
Bee 12 Feb 08 - 10:44 PM
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Georgiansilver 13 Feb 08 - 07:28 AM
Amos 13 Feb 08 - 08:10 AM
M.Ted 13 Feb 08 - 09:07 AM
Bill D 13 Feb 08 - 09:32 AM
Riginslinger 13 Feb 08 - 10:06 AM
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Riginslinger 13 Feb 08 - 10:50 AM
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Bee 13 Feb 08 - 01:16 PM
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M.Ted 13 Feb 08 - 04:24 PM
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Amos 13 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM
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wysiwyg 14 Feb 08 - 10:30 AM
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Amos 14 Feb 08 - 12:07 PM
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Bill D 14 Feb 08 - 04:48 PM
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Subject: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 02:30 PM

This thread was getting pretty long...

Happy New Year! Maybe this year superstition will take its rightful place in the world...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Rapparee
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 02:32 PM

Well, there's me....


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: skipy
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 02:35 PM

Well, will the anti copycats go for you or not? after all this is a "religious" thread! Wait & watch this space!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Severn
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 02:45 PM

Maybe there are no Gods left because they've already been stilled.
Not even Sons O' Gods.

If not, are you saying no more should be stilled in 2008 (A.D., that is, measured from.....ahhhhhhhh nevermind!)

Can Bacchus still be distilled?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 03:13 PM

Just because some don't believe in Him...doesn't mean he doesn't exist!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: bobad
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 03:18 PM

Define exist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 03:28 PM

Just because a group of people agree about an entity does not mean It "exists" as an entity outside that agreement.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 03:32 PM

Flying Spaghetti Monsters! I'm hungry now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:24 PM

There's Mike Huckabee!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:46 PM

Does he exist?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 05:39 PM

Probably not, but he's ahead in the polls in Iowa.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 05:44 PM

bobad....the Cambridge Dictionary online gives a definition for EXIST...it means 'BE REAL to be real or present'
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: bobad
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 05:55 PM

The first of ten definitions of "real" :
1a. Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:31 PM

Verifiable? Hmmm....by whom?

Seems like the bottom line is if two viewpoints agree, you have a point of reality.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:32 PM

I bought a book over Christmas, it's called "Caro Gesu, potresti cambiare il sapore agli asparagi?" (ISBN 978 88 454 1433 6). It's a collection of letters from Italian primary-school children to Jesus, asking Him this or that or telling Him their thoughts, and published just as they wrote them. The title means "Dear Jesus, can you change the flavour of asparagus?" (evidently not popular with that child!). It contains many other funny gems -

for example -

"Dear Jesus,
what expressions did people have on their faces when you did your miracles? Did they make you want to laugh? Carolina"

OR

"Dear Jesus,
do all the saints still exist, or are they like the dinosaurs? Marco"

There's a clever one from this girl:

"Dear Jesus,
mum and dad have grounded me and I can't go out on Saturday or Sunday. Can't you do something about it. If not, it will end up that I'll miss mass also.... Simona"

(Well, He'll HAVE to do something about that, I suppose!)

But you guys will probably like this one best:

"Dear Jesus,
what do you think of people who say you don't exist? Do you think of them as being like supporters of another (football) team, for example, like Inter fans? Paolo"

Happy New Year!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Rapparee
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:55 PM

The question boils down to: "Does it matter to YOU?"

Like an afterlife, we'll know for sure soon enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 10:27 PM

As a Taoist, I believe there is a supreme force in the universe, that it flows through everything, and that it is undefinable. It has never made me want to fight a war on its behalf, convert anyone to my belief system, or stand on a street corner waving a copy of the Tao Te Ching and screaming "One way! The watercourse way!"

If I were given a choice between converting to a theistic religion and eating rat poison, I'd probably become a Rastafarian. If you're gonna believe a bunch of hooey, at least you should be able to get high as a kite and play guitar while you're at it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: bobad
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 08:44 AM

Right on Bee Dub.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 08:48 AM

Like an afterlife, we'll know for sure soon enough.

If you believe in an afterlife and are right then you'll be able to say "I told you so". If you don't believe in an afterlife and you are right then you WON'T be able to say it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 09:02 AM

In either case, why worry about it? If there IS a deity, what's s/he going to do you if you don't believe? For that matter, what difference would it make to an omnipotent, omniscient, omni-everything critter if you, a puny little piece of inconsequential cosmic puke, believes or not? And if there ISN'T one it doesn't make any difference at all.

If you want to believe, fine. If you don't, that's okay too. Just don't use your beliefs to bludgeon others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 09:02 AM

What if you're reincarnated as a Republican and are therefore rendered incapable or rational thought?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 09:36 AM

You could also be reincarnated as krill, eaten by a whale, and end up with a plop on the ocean floor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Green Man
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 10:10 AM

Reality, The agreed upon 'is ness' of things.

Of course we exist. I think therefore I am. Hmmm..


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 10:57 AM

Just a tiny, itsy-witsy, teensy-weeny, miniscule bit of proof - that's all I ask ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM

I think I think, therefore I think I think I am......I think.

I read most of the serious 'thinking' about the issue in college, and the main thing I learned is that reason, logic and science cannot give us absolute, final and ultimate answers.....

however.....

....they CAN demonstrate the flaws and weaknesses in any attempt to claim absolute, final answers.

Therefore, anyone who chooses to follow any system which asserts a claim about 'ultimate reality' and origins is merely defining their own truths and reasoning in circles....that is, they must assume certain premises in order to follow logic based on those rules. No law against it, but it's a slippery-slope which usually results in assuming that everone ELSE ought to be following the same system. Sound familar?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM

(and, eanjay, I have used that 'not being able to say "I told you so" 'line a number of times in discussions here...even in debates about para-normal experiences and Astrology. It doesn't faze 'em.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 11:25 AM

Sorry Bill D, I haven't read the other threads or I wouldn't have used it. I can imagine it doesn't faze anybody.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 12:15 PM

I'm puzzled. If "I think...therefore I am" is true....when I get yelled at, "Don't you ever think?" Does that mean I have ceased to exist? Or did I never exist in the first place? Puzzling.....

:0)

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 12:29 PM

Then there was the time Rene Descartes was gazing blankly out the window and disappeared.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 12:33 PM

Old philosophers' joke:

"So, Mr. Descartés, would you like another drink?"

"No, I think not." he replied...and disappeared.

(and eanjay...no need to be sorry *smile*...it's a good line and needs to be used often!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 12:34 PM

Pete:

The fact that your thinking may not seem manifest to others has no bearing on the fundamental issue. If you are aware of your own thought, you must Be, indeed. No other explanation for it! Others' expectation are too derivative to be metaphysically binding on the question, so to speak.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 12:48 PM

I drink, therefore I am!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 01:12 PM

I'll drink to that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 01:18 PM

I drunk, therefore I was?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 01:26 PM

I AM drunk therefore I drink...or something....whatEVER....


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 01:47 PM

Thanks Amos,

"If you are aware of your own thought, you must Be"

...so if I do something without thinking......?!

Hmmmm...

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 01:53 PM

Don't confuse A==>B with ~B==>~A. They aren't identical. No-one says you exist if and only if you think.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 02:46 PM

The problem is, there seems to be a whole lot of folks who exist but never seem to think. And a lot of them vote.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 03:32 PM

Bumpersticker received by a friend as a Chritmas gift:

HONK IF YOU DON'T EXIST.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 06:58 PM

I gotta get one of those!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 04:48 AM

Me too!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 09:07 AM

"The most beautiful thing we experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all sciences. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

                                  Albert Einstein, Ph.D


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 09:40 AM

Mysterious, sure. Supernatural? Nope!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:47 AM

Wait a minute! I think I saw one crossing the street between 14th and Middletown Avenue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Kim C
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:49 AM

I need a flow chart and an aspirin.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: number 6
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:37 AM

another quote from Albert Einstein ...

"I am a deeply religious nonbeliever. This is somewhat a new kind of religion."

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 06:32 PM

I prefer to be un unreligious believer!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:35 PM

Once again I invite all non-believers to say, in positive terms, what they do value and believe in.

I'll even start:

I believe in folk music. I believe in community. I believe in the power of goodness to be much, much stronger than the power of evil that masquerades as powerful. I believe in the creativity of the human mind. I believe in learning as much as I can, and in doing that when I am curious and open and exploratory. I believe in children. I believe in relationships.

And I really believe in dogs.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:46 PM

I believe in the power of imagination to color the world.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: number 6
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:56 PM

I do believe this

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: bobad
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:03 PM

I believe in empiricism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:06 PM

That's great biLL. I read a book by Gnome a while back


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 01:39 AM

I believe in the power of color to imagine the world.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 01:43 AM

On the other hand, I also believe that Tuesdays are illegal in Bolivia. So, what do I know?

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 04:41 AM

I'm not that keen on dogs but I'm not going to deny they exist. I was once bitten by a chihuahua. Apart from that, I'm with you all the way, WYSIWYG.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:03 AM

I believe in keeping my spiritual beliefs to myself as they are, and proably always will be, a work in progress. I believe it would be a better world if more people did the same.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:18 AM

Perhaps we all like to live by our own beliefs butI think it is good to hear what others beliefs are...who knows...perhaps one day we may all find out the 'Truth' whatever it is..but how will we find it unless someone tells us about it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:21 AM

In spiritual matters there is no truth, only belief. Isn't that what having faith means?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:27 AM

I believe that's an error, Leveler. Or, do you think it is really true?

;>)



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:55 AM

Because you have not found any 'truth' in Spiritual matters theleveller...does not mean there is no truth...and if you cannot accept that there might be some truth in it somewhere then you are unlikely to find it as you have already dismissed it. I believe everyone should be open minded or they might miss something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 10:19 AM

Mike....you simply don't see the implications buried in that sort of argument. The point you make: "Because you have not found it...doesn't mean it isn't there" also implies directly "it also means it might NOT be there."
You are essentially asking folks to "believe in order to believe".
Having an "open mind" in this context is just a euphemism for "not questioning". A **TRULY** open mind always considers all possibilities, and in doing so sees the weaknesses in assertions about metaphysical claims.
   Remember...*you* are making a claim....which requires you to defend it. It does NOT require others to prove it false.

If I were to make a claim that my house was built by spirits and has ghosts roaming its rooms, you'd see the point easily! You'd shrug and ask me to show you some evidence....and probably just say, "well, go on...believe as you please, but I've walked about your house, and I saw nothing." I doubt that my asking you to 'try harder' would impress you.

If I reply that these spirits have important & meaningful messages, you could rightfully reply, "yes, but I get MY messages from a different spiritual source".

well....you see how it goes. You had a strong experience at one time, and it helps you and supports you, and that's great. We're just not all 'wired' to see truth the same way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: bobad
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 10:27 AM

I believe in eupraxsophy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 10:40 AM

"Eupraxsophy (previously "eupraxophy" but updated) [1] is a nonreligious life stance or worldview emphasizing the importance of living an ethical and exuberant life, and relying on rational methods such as logic, observation and science (rather than faith, mysticism or revelation) toward that end. The word "eupraxsophy" was coined by Paul Kurtz, and comes from the Greek words for "good practice and wisdom." Eupraxsophies, like religions, are cosmic in their outlook, but eschew the supernatural component of religion, avoiding the "transcendental temptation," as Kurtz puts it."

A fine belief system, from the looks of it.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 10:43 AM

BillD..I don't believe I was making any kind of claim in my last posting...just suggesting that people should have open minds or they might miss the 'truth'...and I did not assert that my understanding of the truth was the correct one. I also suggest that I was not asking anyone to believe in order to believe, rather suggesting that people seek the truth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 10:52 AM

OF course, when we start dancing with the spiritual side of existence, truth takes on a very shimmery, volatile sort of quality, I would offer. Not the sort of thing that passes for truth in the Common Sphere at all. A mish-mash of imaginary, asserted, revivified or just badly remembered entities and personae, speculations, hokums and pokums of every description, no?





A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 11:00 AM

Who gets to define "Common Sphere"? How would you define it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 11:14 AM

Just remember, Georgiansilver, in spiritual matters, one person's truth is another's lies. Perhaps that's why, like Dr David Hope (good name that), the former Archbishop of York, I believe that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 12:55 PM

I believe in reality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 12:57 PM

Ok, Mike....but you have made it clear which 'truth' you espouse, and I have little doubt what you think & hope people will discover AS truth if they seek it openly and carefully for long enough. Not stating it explicitly in a particular post doesn't change the point I was making....that ANY search for absolutes requires that 'open mind' to close when picking one absolute out of a list.

I will drop the subject now..*smile*...and offer you the 'best wishes' you offer to others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 01:15 PM

A *smile* and Best wishes to you too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 02:22 PM

The common sphere, Wes, was a phrase I used to indicate the region where viewpoints agree. For example, in human affairs, everyone agrees that gravity is, and that space is contiguous, extensible and so on. These are the fundamentals of agreed-yupon perception that make the physical universe a shared experience. I suppose, though, you can find a few renegade outliers on all those points, come to think of it, so maybe it is really a mere rumour!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM

I also believe that people should put kindness first on their list of priorities. Doesn't mean I think they DO - but I believe we ought to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 05:04 PM

And I believe that there are no "shoulds" in the universe. Certainly not to impose upon others as moral imperatives. Because I also believe in boundaries.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 06:39 PM

Just to keep the conversation going, I'm tempted to dress up like a god, alert the media in advance, and make sure they observe me catching a freight out of Kansas City...

                   It'd be hard to make the case there are no gods after that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 06:48 PM

Hey Riginslinger..how do Gods dress then? So I should know if I see one! LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 07:06 PM

It doesn't matter. All that has to be done is to get Ann Coulter to convince Bill O'Reilly that a god was seen leaving the Kansas City switch yard. He believes anything she says, so he'll go on the air with it, and it'll be real. Just like Weapons of Mass Destruction.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: number 6
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 07:36 PM

Good one Ringinslinger ... LOL

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM

Give it a rest, Mrzzy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 05 Jan 08 - 09:45 PM

? Putting kindness first is a bad thing? I am confused. How have I offended you?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 12:07 AM

You have definitely offended me. This is a mean-spirited thread, and I've about had it with your anti-religious cheap shots. Claiming that you put kindness first, after all the nastiness and smarmyness that you have posted puts it over the top. Enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:33 AM

I also believe that people should put kindness first on their list of priorities. Doesn't mean I think they DO - but I believe we ought to.

Mrr, when you post in opinion of what "people" or "we" should do, you go beyond saying what you expect of yourself, which is one approach to morality... You go beyond stating what you prefer other people to do towards you personally, which is one approach to negotiating relationships... You get into what other people ought to do, according to your values.

And just as you are offended when religious people tell you what you ought to do because of their values, it's offensive. A good number of Mudcatters are independent-minded enough to rankle at that tone, whehter they share the underlying belief or not, because it sets your judgment above their own.



I also share M.Ted's feeling.....

The other thread had quite a lot of deliberately thoughtful dialog in it, and a number of open points still under discussion between thoughtful individuals.... which (IMO) transcended the mean-spirited opening post it had. Then I saw that you had made a deliberate effort-- starting this "new" thread-- that took it right back to the intolerant and mean-spirited tone a number of people had worked hard to rise above.

Now you post about kindness... it's just a bit too much to straddle.


I'd like to suggest that you get off the "save the proselytized" soapbox for a moment and think how you would like your children to be treated if they made an effort to overcome a prejudice and then saw the prejudicial action aimed at them and redoubled by someone proclaiming, of all things, kindness.

If you posted about kindness because I asked what people believe in, here is an opportunity to exercise your belief by demonstrating what kindness YOU have attained.


I wish you well, but in these religion threads I am usually left feeling that you wish me not well, but harm. And you don't even know me.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 10:57 AM

There you have it, Mrrzy. It's pretty obvious, looking at the last few posts, that you have to be addicted to some ancient superstition in order to understand kindness.

                     Maybe if you went out and mugged some old lady, and stole her purse, they'd figure you'd be worth saving.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM

Wow!! Mrrzy posted a belief in direct response to WYS' request--not to say challenge--and all of a sudden she being chewed on for posting it the wrong way?

Please do not take such offense. It could be a lot worse than the relatively polite stuff in these periwinkle posts.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 04:11 PM

Um - I didn't start this thread, you know. Well, I continued the one that had gotten really long, but the ones I had started were long off the front page. And you don't have to read my posts... although I wish you would.

And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality. I have said again and again that I'm not talking about rational people who accept reality and nonetheless, for no other reason than their faith, have faith.

I don't feel chewed on, by the way, but thanks! I am reminded of the old joke about the two sociologists who come across someone bleeding in the ditch, and say Whoever did this needs our help!

And being an atheist says absolutely nothing but good about the rational person's morals - after all, if it's only your invisible friends keeping you moral, I'd be afraid of you. I prefer to assume it's your intelligence and humanity. Are you really saying, WYSIWYG, that your values don't agree with kindness? Your posts to date belie that.

And I don't say people should be kind because I don't believe in superstitions, but because it's the right thing to do - whereas you (plural) seem to be arguing that people doing good because of their faith are somehow different (better?). I would agree that my thinking their motivation strange doesn't minimize the good they do. Again, I reiterate that my argument is that if you base your actions on superstitions, you justify an awful lot of horrors that are impossible to justify rationally by anyone with an ounce of kindness.

I maintain that the fact and threat of harm far, far outweigh the possibility of good, which good would happen anyway - but not the harm.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:13 PM

"And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality"

One aspect or version of reality, anyway. Aspect if you accept there may be more beyond the empirical that is also real; version if you deny it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:22 PM

Bill - "Having an "open mind" in this context is just a euphemism for "not questioning". A **TRULY** open mind always considers all possibilities, and in doing so sees the weaknesses in assertions about metaphysical claims"

Fair enough. But I think some element of discrimination must of necessity come into it as we go thorugh life. For example, one might come to accept the reality of physical forces such as gravity, while recognising with an open mind that such forces may not exist or may act differently in certain circumstances. But that's a long way from being so open-minded that we are willing to test the theory out at any time, on any cliff.....

Another point "A **TRULY** open mind always considers all possibilities".... so, in this case (i.e under the topic of this thread) then, a truly open mind would at least accept there may be a God and not flatly deny it, correct? (and no, I have no-one in particular in mind here just in case anyone on the thread rushes to get offended, just a general observation)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:32 PM

A truly open mind, on the other hand, would happily agree that there's never been even a smidgen of evidence that there is now, or ever had been, any kind of a goD.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:48 PM

Kindness is a tricky proposition. Anyone trained in tough love knows the doctrine that you have to stick to the truth in order to dispel the obsessive rationalizations and justifications the mind manufacturers in an effort to somehow integrate its delusions with its more accurate data.

But it is ALSO true that the growth of a changing mind finding newer, richer, or wiser ways to see things only comes about in spaces where the individual's sovereign ownership of his own world view is not challenged or choked off. It is extremely hard to change a point of view WHILE you are having to defend it.

In the strange mixup of universes that leads people to generate religious propositions, there are some facts and some speculation and some downright inventions, just as, for example, there were all three present in the borning of the phlogiston theory, the caloric model of heat, or the invisible-ether explanation for the transmission of waves through vacuum. Intellectually, we outgrew all three of those models as we acquired better knowledge through experience (or so it seemed).

So -- both the learning and growing mind AND the mind that wishes to help and be kind, have to proceed with a modicum of appropriate humility just to be effective at what they are setting out to do, and for no bigger reason than that.


A
WHose-mouth-is-on-another-damned-roll...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:52 PM

I don't know, Ringslinger, once again it all boils down to what kind of evidence you look for. If you are looking for height, weight and length, you might have some trouble spotting God, but on the other hand if you speak to people who've felt the effect of His presence in their lives, and seen some of the changes He's wrought in people you might form other opinions... and I do say a truly open mind will, as BillD says, consider all the possibilities.

But I agree it's a tough one. As Madonna sang "I'm an empirical girl, in an empirical world..." and if you've been raised in that, or trained to think that way, then it requires some effort to break out of it and look for other kinds of evidence and realities beyond the mere five senses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Peace
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 06:03 PM

A Cherokee Legend [from the www]. I love the message, btw.


An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 06:06 PM

Amos, I think one problem though with 18th century rationalism is that humility went out the window in fact. While there is no doubting the empirical sciences' success in explaining the physical world, there has been a paradign shift over the last two hundred years that tends to assume that if science has dispelled old models about how the physical world works, it can equally do so in relation to our spiritual needs. Now, there's no humility in that, more hubris rather.

Some empiricists seem to have this anthropological view of religion, i.e that it served some useful need in ancient times, such as explaining why thunder clapped (eg God sneezed) or the crops failed, and that we have now outgrown such babyish explanations. But I posit that such 'explanations' existed first and foremost in the minds of the anthropologists themselves, who, perhaps because of the social darwinism of the cultures from which they sprang (now, there's a anthropological area ripe for study!), tended to assume technologically inferior societies were also intellectually inferior. This is not humility, it's self-delusion.

One of the best books I've come across dealing with this is Sale Kirkpatrick's "The Conquest of Paradise", though Richard Erdoes & John Fire Lame Deer "Sioux Medicine Man" makes several of the same points. And you can also see this clearly in Thomas O Crothan's "The Islandman" (he lived in a stone-age society both by lifestyle and technology, in the 1800s, but had an intellect and objectivity that would put many to shame today).


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 06:10 PM

Excellent Cherokee story. It's so true.... but I find I need a little help in order not to feed the bad wolf!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Peace
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM

Me too, Nick. Amos, btw, is one of God's angels on this planet. But he's very independent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:04 PM

Hell, what good would an angel be if he weren't independent?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:12 PM

Nick,

Thanks for the thoughtful posts.

A couple of observations. Although scientific method can fall into the entanglement of materialism, this is not a flaw in the method but in the individual use of it. The logic of sound heuristic and empirical method does not go away because it approaches a spiitual question, but obviously, you have to apply the principles intelligently for the domain you are addressing. One example I have brought up many times before is that while material constructions above the quantum level tend to perform nearly identically under identical situations -- all hydrogen atoms, for example, have the same mass -- there is no reason to assume that that kind of repeat performance is a standard trait of any spiritual phenomenon.   Of course, even getting a fair grasp of what the differences are is difficult to do in a testable way, because of the intimacy of spiritual phenomena.

But whatever you may have encountered in a spiritual realm which you bless with the label God, it is a bit too facile to consider you have not only touched the face of the Infinite but have touched the face the face of the same Infinite that another would experience if only he or she is open to the experience.

It is perfectly possible that what you touched was the face of God filtered through some prior definition or other. It is pretty common in stories of meeting an embodiment of God to have him say that He appears in forms the individual can experience comfortably.

To impose a label on Infinity may be necessary for the preservation of one's individual sanity. But to impose that label on any other being alive is just arrogance, and self-serving, no matter how big or grandiose a label it is.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:25 PM

"...a truly open mind would at least accept there may be a God and not flatly deny it, correct? "

That's correct.

But do be careful what inferences you draw from my admission. A truly open mind may admit that it is 'possible' that the spirit of Abe Lincoln is guiding George Bush....but such a claim would get few bets...or even any idea of how to test it. But I guess anyone is free to believe it. Further...IF you get 129,000,000 people to believe it, all you have is a 'force to be reckoned with', not necessarily a 'truth'.

One way of testing the status of a claim is to substitute other terms and see if it still seems like a reasonable construction.
This in no way addresses the possible metaphorical value of whatever story, religious view, custom, cultural value...etc. being discussed.

It is very hard to discuss these issues that mean so much to many people in ways that neither insult them on one hand nor grant their basic premises on the other hand.

A famous philosopher, Blaise Pascal, once argued that belief in a god was a 'good bet', because you won a lot if you bet right, and lost a lot if you were wrong. ("Pascal's Wager"). Trouble is, Pascal didn't consider all the possible ways one could bet...and philosophers ever since have waged an uphill struggle trying to explain why such a great argument was flawed.

still...Yes, an open mind is always ready to receive new evidence....but always with a pretty strict notion of what counts as 'evidence'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:40 PM

Amos,

"But whatever you may have encountered in a spiritual realm which you bless with the label God, it is a bit too facile to consider you have not only touched the face of the Infinite but have touched the face the face of the same Infinite that another would experience if only he or she is open to the experience"

This part seems to carry the implication that there is more than one God. From the Christian persepctive, obviously by definition that's impossible, as God is seen as being a supreme being. You can have many tall buildings, but only one tallest.

On the other hand you may mean (I'm not sure) that probably no two people experience the same God the same way.

I don't deny that any two individual's experiences of what they call God may be different in ways. But it's like the 'can two people agree the colour is blue?' question. Even if another person sees a slightly different shade of blue, and even if we can never be 100% certain about this because of the subjectivity of each person's senses, both can agree to call that particular colour blue. It may even be a completely different colour to both (though this seems unlikely). It matters not, only that they both realise that it is not like other colours and that they can both recognise it when they see it.

Experiences of God may be a bit like this too. At least that's what I've found talking to other people with similar experiences: we find enough in common to agree we have both touched the same thing in some tangible way.

"It is perfectly possible that what you touched was the face of God filtered through some prior definition or other"

Perhaps, I don't know. I hear that people who've seen apparitions of Our Lady (Mary) have seen her according to their culture. I've never seen her, so I don't know. Perhaps God reveals Himself in ways people can cope with, to approach them in a familiar form. I don't know from your post if you're speaking about some physical / visual / auditory perception of God or something more abstract. Again, from speaking to people from all over the world the 'extra-sensory' perception (i.e not physical empirical) of what people call God seems to have many common traits, regardless of cultural background.

"But to impose that label [on Infinity] on any other being alive is just arrogance, and self-serving, no matter how big or grandiose a label it is"

I'm intrigued by this part. What do you mean? I don't think I understand it very well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:50 PM

Bill, we're singing from the same hymn sheet so. I agree that just because 50 million Frenchmen... etc.,

"One way of testing the status of a claim is to substitute other terms and see if it still seems like a reasonable construction'

In the absence of concrete examples here to clarify what you mean, I'll go out on a limb by observing that the terms used as substitutes may themselves be culturally loaded with significance that has a major influence on whether one views them as being reasonable constructions. A bit like the student of langauges who guesses the verb has this or that ending 'because it sounds right'.

But from what you write overall in that post, I get the impression you do believe there are some truths to be had. "But I guess anyone is free to believe it. Further...IF you get 129,000,000 people to believe it, all you have is a 'force to be reckoned with', not necessarily a 'truth' " It seems to me (I may be wrong) that for that statement to have any practical value, one would have to hold the view that there is some such thing as truth, that some things are true (and conversely, others are not) and that there is some way to recognise truth. Otherwise it would become a entertaining but otherwise redundant academic exercise to even ponder the question. Am I on the right track?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM

Right track? Yes...mostly....but even science does not usually proclaim any data or theory to represent some sort of absolute truth. They (researchers) might often bet that IF all data were known, theory 'X' would be true....stuff like gravity and the co-efficient of friction...whatever.

What they are most interested in is ideas which CAN be tested and new knowlege gained. Most religious ideas just don't fit that category...thus the very USE of the term 'belief' instead of 'know'. The problems arise, as we see, when EITHER believers wish to suggest that their belief ought to be adopted by everyone, or when NON-believers try to deny believers freedom to practice their beliefs. Both attitudes lead to conflict.

Now...I will likely not be on for a few days. I'll trace the thread and see what's happening later.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 08:25 PM

... problems arise, as we see, when EITHER believers wish to suggest that their belief ought to be adopted by everyone, or when NON-believers try to deny believers freedom to practice their beliefs. Both attitudes lead to conflict....

Bill,

What I am having trouble with is not that people deny me freedom to practice my faith-- they can't, actually, since it's mostly a freedom of the mind and spirit: a freedom of motivation.

What's getting to me these days is when there is insistence from non-believers that their non-belief ought to be adopted by believers-- in particular, me. It's just a crazy way of thinking; I have trouble reconciling that with their insistence that I better not try to tell them what to believe-- I already DON'T-- so when they try it on me in reverse, it just seems nuts to me!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 08:46 PM

Ok, Bill, see you in a few days. I'll just leave this last thought then:

"Most religious ideas just don't fit that category...thus the very USE of the term 'belief' instead of 'know'."

Yes, but up to a point only. Because of course science tests new ideas and gains new knowledge about the physical world and we are certainly physical beings so we can know these things on a physical level.

From the empirical, scientific perspective, religious beliefs are....well, beliefs.

But religion IS, in fact, concerned with gaining new ideas and knowledge. Often I see comments on how the church made up this or that, or invented new parts of religion that were not in the gospels. This equally often seems to be done with a view to casting doubt over the authenticity and sincereity of the religious body.

In fact, what people are actually witnessing is the historical progression of a church probing and exploring the new spiritual revelation and experience and attempting to draw conclusions that will update the body of spiritual and religious knowledge. This does not mean God changes or develops, but that human understanding of Him and our role in things can and does. John Polkinghorne ("Belief in God in an Age of Science") sums this up rather well, pointing to the early church writers and religious councils (such as the Council of Nicea or St.Augustine) and indeed even within the gospels as the significance of events only slowly began to dawn on the apostles.

We tend to take the Christian church for granted today and perhaps assume it was always more or less in its present form with the same basic beliefs, just with bits tacked on for political expediency (a view which assumes that the whole body of the church over 2,000 was singularly corrupt on a level not even found in politics....)

Actually the early church began life as a persecuted underground group which only slowly began to realise the full significance of events that had occured, and delve deeper and deeper into the mystery of it. There were many councils and discussions held over many years to try and update "the knowledge" (as marines might call it) and insights and come to a better understanding of what made it all tick. For once you get into it, you begin to find the spiritual world seems to be goverened by certian rules just as the physical one is, waiting to be uncovered by the curious.

Polkinghorne compares the methodolgy of science and religion and finds many similarities (once the difference of topic of the two fields is taken into account):

1) Both have moments of radical revision in which new phenomena lead to new insights, transcending previous understanding but also building on it.

2) periods of confusion during which old and new models exist alongside in unresolved tension (he gives the example of quantum theory 1900 -1925)

3) moments of new synthesis and understanding in which a theory is revealed as being capable of satisfactorily explaining the new phenomena ina convicing and comprehensive way while at the same time treating the old phenomena as particular limiting cases (again, the discovery of modern quantum mechanics)

4) continuing wretsling with unresolved problems, essential for total understanding of the new theory, but for the moment not capable of final solution (the measurement problem in quantum theory)

5) realisations that the new theory has deep implications of a kind unanticipated when it was first conceived (anti-matter, non-locality etc.,)


Man is by nature a curious, enquiring animal (unless he's had that curiosity hammered out of him, but before anyone rushes to give examples of totalitarianism, a simple boring 9-5 can accomplish that over the years). He (or she!) sets his mind to problems in a similar way, whether of religion or science. Though religion requires an element of belief (that God exists etc) of things not demonstrable according to the empirical (and I deliberatley do not say, scientific - the two are not the same thing) standards, it would be a mistake to assume no thinking is done in religion (that's what theologians are for, the scientists of religion; but as well as them, most individuals also enagage in some of this on their own level, just as not every lay person is a working scientist).


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 08:58 PM

OOps, perhaps methodolgy was not the word I was looking for - what I actually wanted to say was 'phases' or 'stages' in which new knowledge is acquired and developed from awareness of new phenomena.

Methodolgy is of course another thing, but even here there are *some* similarities. When it comes to prayer, and even the format of ceremony etc., people have applied their centuries of experience to that which seems to work best and many have attempted to understand WHY this or that way of praying seems more effective. That's just one example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:33 AM

"What's getting to me these days is when there is insistence from non-believers that their non-belief ought to be adopted by believers-- in particular, me. It's just a crazy way of thinking; I have trouble reconciling that with their insistence that I better not try to tell them what to believe"

Ah, Susan, I'm glad you've come round to my way of thinking. My first post on this thread stated that evangelism is the ultimate arrogance (I include evangelism of any sort) and this brought the wrath of the god-fearing down on me with objections not just to what I was saying but to the way I conducted my argument (remember?). Now, perhaps, you understand what I was getting at.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:59 AM

When it comes to prayer, and even the format of ceremony etc., people have applied their centuries of experience to that which seems to work best and many have attempted to understand WHY this or that way of praying seems more effective.


Funny -- when I conisder the bowdlerisms of the Nicea council and the doctrinaire and authoritarian traditions of most creeds, I am inclined to think this is exactly what is not the case.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:22 AM

"Man is by nature a curious, enquiring animal ....He (or she!) sets his mind to problems in a similar way, whether of religion or science. Though religion requires an element of belief (that God exists etc) of things not demonstrable according to the empirical "

I'm reminded here of the story of the Irishman who, when asked the way by a stranger, replied: "If I was going there, I wouldn't start from here". Enquiry into spiritual matters does not (and, I could argue, should not) require a belief in god and should not bring preconceived ideas as to the nature of god. Otherwise you will be using the search in the same way that a drunk uses a lampost - for support rather than illumination.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:47 AM

A good many of them, however, are often handicapped pretty early on, by having been subjected to the abusive concept of Sunday School.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:59 AM

Ah, Susan, I'm glad you've come round to my way of thinking.

LOL-- like I just came to that idea yesterday?!?!?!?

[shaking head]

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 09:53 AM

Mrzzy said, "And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality."

It seems to me she is saying that she believes that she knows what "reality" is, and that she is entitled to resort to anything in her powers to convince people that they are wrong. and that she is right.

It also seems to me that people who think like that are very dangerous when they have power over other people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:03 PM

Reality is defined by demonstration - if it can't be demonstrated, it probably isn't real. But if it can be, then it is. Not my definition - just reality!

All I resort to is reason - I have no powers other than pursuasion. But yes, I will use that power as much as possible, to convince people to accept reality rather than mythology when the 2 are in direct conflict.

Seems to me you're feeling challenged, M.Ted - could it be you're one of those people who prefer to cling to their beliefs even when contradicted by demonstrable reality - and to whom I am therefore seen as being unkind, because I don't support you in your, um, delusion? I wouldn't have thought so, but your recent anger towards me is most readily explained by someone breaking your idols at your feet, or whatever the biblical quote is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM

I had a question for you Mrrzy - but it's all been hashed over before. The horse is dead. So why continue to beat it? Why not just agree to disagree?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:18 PM

People may demonstrate bible code prphsies come true.

Does that make them real?

The devil is in the details of interpretation, statistics, nonsense and non science.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:57 PM

" it's all been hashed over before. The horse is dead. So why continue to beat it?


Methinks he doth also believe that God is dead.
The strict linear fundamentalist word for word interpretation of the bible is also dead but there will always be people who thump it.
Metaphors have gotten narrow minded people in trouble for a long time. When the words in the bible "to the ends of the Earth" appeared some used it as justification that the Earth is flat.
Some people just can't handle metaphors.   
The horse is dead. So why continue to beat it?   ..... perhaps to tenderize the meat.



but seriously it would be nice if the world agreed to disagree in a civil manner regarding the differences of religion.

The horse will continue to be beaten...
A black US president is more likely than an atheist President for a long time to come.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:27 PM

"A black US president is more likely than an atheist President for a long time to come..."


                   That's so true, and I find it very frustrating when people who pretend to be tolerant refuse to admit it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:29 PM

Mrzzy-If reality what can be demonstrated, what you have demonstrated is that you are petty, mean-spirited, and irrational.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM

Sorry, left a word out--if "If reality is what can be demonstrated, what you have demonstrated is that you are petty, mean-spirited, and irrational."


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:52 PM

Well, Ted. I have to disagree. Strong-headed, sure. Maybe a tiny bit abrasive. But if you review her history of posts you will NOT find her being mean-spirited, and not (AFAIK) irrational, within normal human use of the term.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 02:20 PM

IRrational? Demonstrate, please. (Thanks, Amos!)

What question, Wes?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM

theleveller - I don't think that was what I was trying to say. But anyway, we all bring preconceived ideas to the table when making our enquiry - scientist and theologian alike. These preconceptions, as you call them, are usually the result of our experience. Further enquiry is pursued to see if these conceptions hold up. Along the way we may make new unexpected discoveries that either confirm what we know or add new dimensions to it, or refute it.

What scientist does not start out with the preconception that gravity is a force that attracts objects? If s/he discovers that something alotogether different is happening s/he may be taken by surprise and hurry to investigate the new phenomena. But the fact that it comes as a surprise is the sign that a preconception was held in the first place.

Enquiry into spiritual matters may not require a belief in God - at the outset. But the same can be said of the first steps of any journey of enquiry. The 12 year old starting out on a study of science subjects may have little or no knowledge of the topic and is not required to believe in the theory of relativity, much less understand it; but even s/he early on is expected to learn as truth various axioms which in turn are based on centuries of experience. With the total of knowledge available today, no one has the time to go back to alchemy and work their way up all over again in order to pass their school finals. If one had the time it would certainly be an interesting exercise and give one a far more comprehensive grasp of the subject than the 'learn-by-heart' method favoured by many students in order to get them through their exams. So there is some value in the 'authoritariansim' of this system for short term benefit and gain of the student. As s/he progresses, further study and experiment give wider understanding of knowledge already gained as well as opening the eyes to new knowledge.

The same thing happens in language acquisition. Most students these days learn a langauge idiomatically at the outset. They have to accept the 'authority' of the teacher that XYZ is the correct way of saying and pronouncing the phrase, in order to get by and get a foothold in the langauge. As they progress, they can learn more about the underlying structures of the language and wean themselves off the dependence on the authority of the teacher. This process can continue indefinitely. Anyone who tries to learn a language by first trying to learn the whole underlying grammar and insisting that it be 'proved' every step of the way, challenging the authority, will find themselves quickly frustrated (no matter how good the teacher) and probably give up. As a language learner myself I find I need patience and humility as well as determination. One has to defer to higher authority until one reaches the same level of proficiency, and accept their superior knowledge; one has to endure the unmalicious and genuine laughter of others as one comes out with odd phrases and idioms; one has to be determined to reach a level of satisfaction in knowing the langauge.

I think there can be something of the same approach with organised religion and indeed even with our individual spiritual quests. But a bad and unprofessional teacher can leave a student put off and carrying a chip on the shoulder, which Ringslinger mentions with his comment on abusive Sunday school. I'm not sure what your personal experience of Sunday school is, Ringslinger, so I can only hazard a guess; but it sounds like you had one of those 'bad teachers' that puts people off for life. A good teacher will waken the curiosity fo their student for teh subject rather than turning them off, and will ease the path of the student. There is "authority", I suppose, rather than "authoritarianism". Perhaps that's what you have in mind as well, Amos?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:16 PM

Amos--call it "strong minded" and "abrasive", I won't disagree-- Mrzzy has certain beliefs about God, and she says that those beliefs entitle her to behave agressively toward people who she perceives to have different beliefs than she does. Other people have called that fanaticism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:19 PM

Oh, by the way, the title of this thread itself, created by Mrzzy, is mean-spirited.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:27 PM

Hmmm. Nick, I hear what you're saying. I think it's probably just a difference of approach. Personally, I will have nothing to do with organised religion, regarding it as largely a force for evil in the world. For me it's always been a very personal quest that I've undertaken alone.

Robert Graves said that when writing The White Goddess (in my view, a must-read for anyone interested in spirituality and comparative religion) any information that he needed just seemed to present itself at the right moment.Perhaps what Jung would describe as synchronicity. This has happened to me, many times; so much so that I once decided to trust to synchronicity to conduct my search. I started with one book then waited for others to present themselves, usually from something quoted in the text or that jumped out from the bibliography. It was an interesting and most enlightening period that, to some extent, is still continuing and some of the 'coincidences' were surprising and, at times, alarming. Where did it lead to? Don't know because I haven't got there yet and probably never will.......


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:29 PM

Unm, TEd---I think you are misinterpreting her communication.

She is (I think) suggesting a standard of empirical, or at least heuristic, demonstration be used in assertions about non-material phenomena.

One reason (I think) she might be doing so is that without some sort of standard, any assertion from Gilgamesh to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and everything in between has no differentiating merit.

One could argue that in this arena one acts on faith and agrees with a source teaching or does not, based purely on internal resonance or something. But it is a very clear lesson of history that mass agreement is not a reliable crityerion for measuring the value of data or its truthiness or usefulness. ANd certainly, one individual's subscription on faith is nowhere sufficient as grounds for another to choose the same subscription, at least not if the other is looking for truthiness or usefulness.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:41 PM

Amos "ANd certainly, one individual's subscription on faith is nowhere sufficient as grounds for another to choose the same subscription, at least not if the other is looking for truthiness or usefulness"

Quite so. I would just add though by way of observation that if someone seems to have hit on something that really 'moves' them (again for lack of better vocabulary) curiosity alone would make the other enquire what that person had discovered.

"But it is a very clear lesson of history that mass agreement is not a reliable crityerion for measuring the value of data or its truthiness or usefulnes"

Up to a point. there have of course been many cases of mass popular delusion in many fields as well as religious - political, cultural etc., And of course we only need to look at our century to see that just because whole nations follow the leader doesn't mean the leader's right!

But while mass subscription to an idea or belief is no guarantee of its usefulness or reliablity, it would be equally uncalled for to dismiss it out of hand unless first proved through personal experience. If 50 million Frenchman tell you gravity will pull you rapidly downwards if you step off a cliff, and assuming that somehow you have no prior experience of this, it would be foolish to insist on discovering whether there is truth the 'hard way'. A prudent person might first stop and think to themselves "well, if so many people are saying it for so long, there might be something in it, and it might be worth looking into a bit more first".

We may end up finding that the 50 million Frenchmen are wrong afterall, but we can learn and be forwarned through the experience of others. Afterall, this is what every parent tries to do with more or less success!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 04:35 PM

I think you *like* her, Amos;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 05:17 PM

Accidentally posted to the other thread... sorry!

Um - The original thread, begun last year by another freethinker, was titled "There aren't any gods (not even Jesus)." I continued it, after it passed 800 some-odd posts, as "Still no gods 2008." If my shorter title is so much meaner, I apologize, but I really don't see the massive difference in spirit.

M.Ted, what do you mind so much about my intolerance of empirical-reality-deniers, assuming you aren't one of them? Do you disagree that a child's right to an education trumps a parent's desire to keep them ignorant? Do you believe that a leader should consult their personal supernatural force or being when making decisions involving your actual life? Why do you think it mean to argue forcefully against these and other immediate harms stemming from basing human actions on faith-in-something-undemonstrable-and-unfalsifiable?

I've started threads about celebrating midwinter godlessly, about whether atheists are the new gays, and posted the lyrics of godful songs I've liked enough to rewrite into godless songs. Others have started very similar threads. Look for the words to Atheists in Foxholes, for instance.

Don't read any further without a sense of humor...
(I also insist that people not smoke in no-smoking zones around the hospital where I work. Meanie, meanie.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 05:28 PM

"M.Ted, what do you mind so much about my intolerance.." that about sums it up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 05:34 PM

It's really confusing to have both of these threads running at the same time.


             M.Ted - You left off: "of empirical-reality-deniers..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 07:16 PM

If I left you out, Riginslinger, I am truly sorry;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 07:20 PM

But seriously, "empirical reality deniers" is just a perjorative term for everybody that "The Mrzz" doesn't like? Kind of counterpart to "secular humanists"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 07:37 PM

I suppose I come in closer to the "secular humanists" than the "empirical reality deniers," though the latter is a little more poetic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:04 PM

Mrrzy

M.Ted, what do you mind so much about my intolerance of empirical-reality-deniers, assuming you aren't one of them?

Oh yes he is. On the other thread he tried to tell me that bacon sandwiches (amongst other things) don't exist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:07 PM

M. Ted:

No. Empirical reality-deniers is a functional definition, not an affinity class. "People Mrzzy doesn't like" probably includes lots of empiricists, as well, and may even exclude some ERDs who are nice about it.

An empirical reality denier is one who rejects empirical standards for defining the scope, attributes and nature of reality. "Pigs fly when no-one is watching" is an example of an ERD proposition. "The world was created in 16 seconds by an overflowing pot of pasta". is another. "There are four (three, seven, two, one, eleven) aspects to Divinity." is another. These propositions all have in common the denial of the empirical standard.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:27 PM

Which ever you like--I'm easy.

"Empirical Reality Denier" could mean a lot of things--one who empirically denies reality, for instance--or "Empirical Reality" could be some sort of Multi-User game, with a moderator call the Denier--and it seems like there were various gnostic sects that believed that our earthly reality was an illusion created by the Demiurge, which would have made them "Empirical Reality Deniers"--also, the could be people who, for whatever reason, denied the reality of any of a number of historic empires, Rome, Byzantium, etc.

In the same vein, an Empirical Reality Denier could be some some one like Luke Skywalker, who fought to keep the Empire from becoming a reality. It's very flexible--

I think, to make it complete, you need the idea of an "Empirical Reality Affirmer", so you could have little bands of Deniers and Affirmers stealing each others mascots and such. Just a thought...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:28 PM

"...bacon sandwiches (amongst other things) don't exist..."


                     Well, they aren't kosher and they don't exist for Muslims.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:41 PM

How can something that doesn't exist have the property of being not kosher? If they don't exist, why are Muslims forbidden to eat them? Come on, be rashernal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:43 PM

I'm thinking!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 10:36 PM

I ate the bacon sandwiches. And now they don't exist. I was hungry and I couldn't deny that empirical reality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 11:06 PM

Fat lot of good that did you, eh?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 11:50 PM

Yes, from a good lot of fat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 02:45 AM

So if I tell you I am at this moment (between key bashing) eating a delicious bacon butty...would you believe me? You only have my word for it.
If I tell you I have a relationship with Jesus, the living God, would you believe me?   I guess it all comes down to how much you trust people at their word...or does it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 06:39 AM

M.Ted

and I couldn't deny that empirical reality

BREAKTHROUGH!!!!

Don't worry, M.Ted, bacon sandwiches are a continuously renewing force for good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 08:20 AM

"I guess it all comes down to how much you trust people at their word...or does it?"

Probably depends more on the nature of your relationship, Georgiansilver. I have a great relationship with my dog and often talk to her but, apart from the obvious words of command, I don't really believe that she understands what I'm saying. If I did believe it, I'd probably deserve to be subjected to psychiatric help. And, despite what some people are saying, my dog really does exist - or who is it who's crapping on my lawn?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 08:25 AM

The trick to empirical reality is that it's demonstrable. Note that this includes the word Demon... yikes!

And another trick is that you don't HAVE to trust anybody's word for it - if it's empirical, it can be shown, so no authority is involved.

And bacon sandwiches are delicious.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 08:26 AM

It is an empirical fact that there is such a thing as a bacon sandwich.

WHen you invoke a relationship with a hypothetical, that's when you step beyond the bounds of empiricism. It is impossible for another to understand what the referent is, because you are using semantic fireworks I know what's behind the label sandwich to a 90% probability of accuracy. But your religious expression might as well be about Poonjab the Big Blue Power Dot.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 08:27 AM

My dog is brilliant. He often gives lectures on quantum mechanics and string theory, you know, when he can fit it into his schedule.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 08:50 AM

Ah, but does your dog catch pheasants and rabbits? You can't eat quantum physics - or can you (and do they taste better than a bacon buttie)?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 10:34 AM

All approach him with a bacon sandwich and see what he does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 10:52 AM

"So if I tell you I am at this moment (between key bashing) eating a delicious bacon butty...would you believe me? You only have my word for it.
If I tell you I have a relationship with Jesus, the living God, would you believe me?   I guess it all comes down to how much you trust people at their word...or does it?"
- Georgiansilver

It's entirely possible (for me) to trust people at their word in almost all things except their perception of the supernatural in any form.

I have had experiences I think many people would have identified as 'religious experiences'. I personally identified them as a mental state influenced by various factors, all of them physical. Our own bodies, and our tremendously complex environment, are more than capable of producing phenomena which may appear to be encounters with gods, ghosts, or goblins, or just euphoria.

I have often heard people describe such experiences, people who are convinced they have been touched by a god, or an angel, or communicated with a ghost, or been taken up by ecstasy. It always seems to me that when they describe factors surrounding the experience, be it their own physical state, their environment at the time, or a combination, that they simply have not been able to recognise, usually through not knowing enough about such things, the physical foundations of these no doubt powerful experiences.

A person I trust above all others, and know to be very intelligent, is very devout, partly because of a religious experience she had as a young woman. At the time of this experience, she was deathly ill, full of toxins and running an extreme fever. She very nearly died. She experienced a long period of hallucinations and delirium, during which time her mother sat by praying aloud, the minister visited, and many people in white garments hung about her bedside.

I am not in the least surprised she regained health with a firm belief that she had been touched by God. It doesn't in any way reduce my trust in her - I just think she interpreted her experiences much differently than I have interpreted mine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM

That dog will tell you anything to get bacon, but he's a goddamn liar. He never done none of them things... ;>)



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 11:37 AM

I'll find out; I'll have him tailed!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 12:30 PM

Bee's observations are well taken; a major part of the whole problem is understanding the degree to which the delicate web of signals and cells in the CNS can generate and/or modulate perception. There are so many examples of false or distorted reality being estabslihed in individual minds when conditions of stress, fatigue, rush, or just general dull-wittedness are involved that it is difficult to sort out in any reliable way.

In each moment of perception there is certainly a confluence of factors going on. INdividuals have different chronic levels of ability to perceive; acute conditions in the environment at the moment are a wild set of variables; individual associations of precent perception with past perceptions are a completely wild variable. The confluence of individual state, individual past, CNS state, biochemical details of the moment, and historic fallibility make it easy to conclude that the pottage of electrical and chemical impulses is the whole thing.

But even in Bee's example the question that is begged, like the elephant in the living room that no-one talks about, is who it is that does the filtering she mentions, the interpretation. Interpretation to and by whom? Because the final repository of perceptions and impulses, accurate or distorted, is a viewer.

The potentialities of that viewer to override the CNS and the automatic pattenr linking of the brain is possibly the biggest question of the 21st century, but it will not be answered until some understanding develops as to its nature.

To assume that the viewer is just more of the same mishmash of electro-chemical patterns in the nervous system strikes me as a woefully premature assumption, very similar to the belief in the flat earth that was held for centuries by some people who were deprived of a sailors insight and who based their conclusion on an inadequate set of data.

From my view it is because of the unreliability of this confluence of dynamic elements in any instant's perceptions that we have to respect the individual's description of what they have seen even while reserving the distinction between those observations and what we are here calling empirical reality. Empirical reality by its natur eis going to be a small subset of those things that have been and can be perceived. For one thing, there is no empirical reality that can survey the scope and dimensions of the imagination or capcity for vision, but it is these abilities which have brought baout every major cghange in our culture.

To dismiss this realm of the viewpoint as merely an extension of the mechanical is therefore dangerous. The risk it entails is cutting human beings off from their own powers iof vision and imagination.
SO although empiricism is a vital tool in continuing to sort out the mysteries of ther material continuum and isolate those phenomena and models which actually do describe the common parts, it is probably a bad choice to try to therefore insist that the world of individual perception should have forced down its throat a molecular/electronic explanation.

At the same time it is an equally bad choice to decide to force down the throat of individual viewpoints who do operate in the bands of vision and inagination any metaphysical construction of forms or entities which they do not, themselves, elect. To do so is just as surely to undermine the sovereignty of the creative soul as it would be to hypnotize him/her into believing he was just an electro-chemical servo mechanism without fire, hope, vision or any future beyond entropic decay.

THere are many ways to trash a human soul, and pushing religion down his throat is one; pushing materialism down his throat is another.

There are a few ways to strengthen him, and one is increasing his power of self-determination over data, explanation, and understanding.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 01:01 PM

That is a pretty waxy screed, Amos, but it is lunchtime (here, at least) and inquiring minds want to know:

Is the bacon sandwich a good thing or a bad thing?

Is the bacon sandwich an entity of it's own, or is it a useful construction that really is comprised of other entities, unique in their own regard?

When does a sandwich become a sandwich?

When does a sandwich become a bacon sandwich?

Is a bacon and egg sandwich a bacon sandwich?

Is a club sandwich (which is bacon and chicken) a bacon sandwich or a chicken sandwich?

Which came first, the bacon and chicken sandwich or the bacon and egg sandwich ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 01:12 PM

Waxy!! WAXY???! I am glad you have retained your sense of yewmah, Mister Ted, but the glistening dew you see on the flanks of my masterpiece are not wax but inspiration.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 01:43 PM

What is the ratio, 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration? It's waxing that makes you perspire;-)

I don't mean to give you a hard time, Amos--there are some wise and reasoned thoughts in your text--perhaps more than one could process during a single lunch. And since you didn't respond to my "bacon" questions, I went the safe route and had a ham sandwich instead.

As to my sense of...well you know, It is always with me--unfortunately, my lilting irony isn't always appreciated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 02:35 PM

I mostly agree with you Amos, (and you express my contentions better than i do, I think).

But:
'To dismiss this realm of the viewpoint as merely an extension of the mechanical is therefore dangerous. The risk it entails is cutting human beings off from their own powers iof vision and imagination.
SO although empiricism is a vital tool in continuing to sort out the mysteries of ther material continuum and isolate those phenomena and models which actually do describe the common parts, it is probably a bad choice to try to therefore insist that the world of individual perception should have forced down its throat a molecular/electronic explanation.
" - Amos

A good deal of what I understand about perception stems from two sets of experience; as a visual artist who refers to three dimensions by manipulating only two, and as a teacher of, and having learned from, very young children for many years.

Children's art has a very strict development, which initially follows physical development, from aimless scribble, to curvilinear back and forth scribble from the shoulder, to circular, from the wrist. They are developing fine motor skills from twoish to threeish, and their manipulation of drawing media refelcts that directly. Most children have an 'Aha!' moment when they see, in their circular scribbling, a round shape, and to a child, that is a representation of a human face, to which they have responded since infancy.

Once seen, the circle/face is drawn over and over, marks are added to represent eyes and mouths. Shaky lines are drawn from it (and at this point some adult will say: "You drew the Sun!", but it isn't), those lines are representations of limbs, hair, features.

After a while, the lines develop, trunks appear, limbs appear, fingers appear. I've watched this progression hundreds of times, and so have others - Rhoda Kellogg wrote an interesting study sometime in the sixties, I think.

(Now, where the hell was I going with this?)

Okay: at least in a basic manner, I understand how children come, physically and mentally, to this ability to translate from three dimensional reality to two dimensional representation. It is almost rote from one child to the next. And it is marvellous, I never tire of watching children go through this process, and seeing their intense delight when they make that first essential transition from purely physical expression to comprehending the image within that expression. Why would I not want to know how and why this happy process occurs, and to tell others, so they could share?

Shortly after that, of course, adults and older children and other people's pictures begin to influence (and in some cases, IMO, corrupt) their further artistic development, starting with that damn 'sun' comment. I am not being a starry-eyed woo-person when I say every single normal child has the capacity to become a visual artist, to be able to see the world in a clear and focussed fashion. They are, most of them, either prevented by circumstances (adults, available media, self esteem, etc.), or the desire to extend that ability is over-ridden by other pursuits, such as music or sports or language.

Now, I have no idea if I've gotten across what i wanted to. I think I mean to explain that I don't see a molecular/electronic explanation is in any way cold, or wrong, or brutal, or mechanical. Aren't we human animals, interacting with our brains and bodies and our vast environment, engaged in the expression of vision and imagination?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 03:53 PM

Mrrzzy: "demonstrable. Note that this includes the word Demon... yikes!"

Don't worry Mrrzzy, there's no worry there! 'demonstrate' has nothing to do with dark forces, just comes from the old Italian via Latin stem of 'mostrare' the verb meaning 'to show'.
Like 'manager' has nothing to do with men, just comes from 'mano' meaning 'hand' as in, "to have a hand over something".

Bee -

the one problem with attributing religious experience to physical dysfunction as you described above, is that such a cause-and-effect realtionship cannot be be proved with 100% certainty as being simply the result of psychosomatic disturbance. If anyone tries to claim otherwise, they also cross the threshold into belief. Even with drugs like LSD, we know they cause hallucinations, we expect people to have hallucinations and delsuions when they take it. Some of these delusions can be easily demonstrated (remember, the criterion of empiricism?) for example the delusion one can fly, but beyond such examples we are getting into a more grey area. If someone says they have had what they call a religious experience on LSD, how can we know that such is not the case and ascribe it solely to the drug? If we are to keep our minds open to all possibilities, it is possible that such a thing did indeed occur; and especially if the divine doesn't manifest itself in some physical, empirically meaureable way, there is no way of coming to a firm conclusion about the experience. All we can say is that it was real enough for the person who experienced it, though we may never have experienced such a thing as such ourselves.

(BTW I haven't had any experinces I would consider 'divine' on LSD myself, just in case you were wondering)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 03:57 PM

I agree with you Susan but don't leave out the cats.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:01 PM

MTed, the problem with bacon sandwiches is that they will come back (up) to haunt you.

I prefer to stay away from them.

Yours for good health,

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:04 PM

"If someone says they have had what they call a religious experience on LSD, how can we know that such is not the case and ascribe it solely to the drug?"

Just to clarify, I mean that when a person claims they've had an experience they believe was of a supernatural nature while under the effects of LSD, it is impossible to write this off with 100% confidence as a mere mechanical effect of the drug on the brain and deny any possibility that what was expererienced might possibly be of a supernatural nature as well.
(though personally I would instinctively be very, very, very cautious about accepting such a claim under such circumstances, I couldn't flatly say it was not so with 100% confidence).


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:16 PM

Bee -

"Aren't we human animals, interacting with our brains and bodies and our vast environment, engaged in the expression of vision and imagination?"

I think that's one area where 'religionists' tend to differ. They see the human as an animal on one level, it's true: we inhabit physical bodies that have similar needs to animals: the need to feed, reproduce, stay protected from the enviornment etc., and these needs generate impulses that govern many of our actions. But they also view humans as being something a bit different to all other animals as well, being able to transcend all these physical imperatives (i.e to voluntarily abstain from food even when hungry: hunger strikes, shaolin monks, the saints.. no animal voluntarily starves itself for any end, even a higher one / to voluntarily choose a life of celibacy etc., etc.,)

Humans also seem to be the only creature capable of self-reflection, who asks 'who am I, what am I and where am I going?" (it's not clear if animals do this, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of this. By way of one small example, animals tend to be deeply conservative and stick within their prescribed roles for life - as do many humans, I admit! - but the important thing is that many humans do not) A good book that looks at some of the nature of animals is "The Life of Pi" by yann Martel. He seems to understand them as well as anyone, and talking to a friend who worked in a zoo for several years, his observations seem spot-on.

Humans have developed culture, history, created mass societies, changed their enviornemnt in radical ways and adapted to every climate in ways animals have not done, etc., etc., It is clear we are like animals in some ways (especially when we get drunk and let ourselves down ;-0) but we are also capable of being something far more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:48 PM

Just a further thought on the 'religious experience under the influence of fever / Lsd etc."

It may be that many people need these extreme conditions in order to open their minds and be receptive to the supernatural (remember the old saying about "there are no atheists in a crisis?"). It may be that during our normal workaday routine we get so bogged down with our own patterns and preconceptions like hamsters on the wheel (I go to work, I come home, I eat, I sleep, I go to work, I come home...at weekends I have a few beers...I get up, I go to work (hungover), I come home...) that we are not open to the supernatural and even try and shut it out if it intrudes on our lives where we have left little space for anything else except the drudge of our familiar and comfortable routine.

Taking Bee's comments on kids, I see an analogy here: kids are like a blank canvas, their minds are open to all possibilities. And as Bee says, they lose this openess as a result of growing up, often of being told 'green trees are green, red roses are red, and there's no need to see them any other way that the way they always have been seen'. You could take this axiom as being an analogy of empiricism. It's no surprise that kids have 'imaginary friends' that they lose as they get older and are told such things are 'impossible'. But how do we know they are, since as adults most of us have lost the faculty of being open to such things due to our own hard-wired preconceptions about the world?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:52 PM

Here is a funny posting(funny to me, that is!) my ferret found...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:59 PM

I would love to have remained open to the supernatural, but we've tried SO hard to demonstrate it that I think we'd have succeeded if there were really anything there... and if there is something supernatural that is completely outside of any perceptual capabilities, then it's not worth worrying about being wrong when you conclude (from all that aforementioned data) with 100% certainty that there is a natural explanation for experiences while on LSD, not matter how amazing they seem, even to people who aren't tripping.

The trick is, with the natural, you can do a whole lot that appears supernatural.

But that's a whole 'nother thread - how LSD works to make your attention so much more efficient (I've read inhibiting conditioned reflexes but that's an understatement) - boy, is it fun, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 05:06 PM

Frank--My doctor has a little lecture room with charts and graphs about the ill effects of various sorts of eating, as well as little dinner plates with good and bad meals on them. Sadly, bacon is on the bad plates, and, in spite of all my pleadings, he refuses to move it to a good plate--and so I keep no bacon--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 07:16 PM

If you're interested in chemicals and religion, you'll like this site, which looks at all the traditions associated between the two;

Pharamceuticals and religion

But personally I don't reccomend it if you're after the real thing. At this stage of my life I find a lot of wisdom in teh words of John Fire Lame Deer, talking of his time in the Native American Church (the one that uses peyote as the basis of its dream quest - the Sioux, to which John Fire belonged, traditionally used the vision pit) "I became a peyoter for a number of years...but I never gave myself wholly to it. I also got myself deeper into our old Sioux beliefs, the spirit world; listened to preachers, herb men and the yuwipi (spirits). I was slowly forming an idea of where I wanted to go...but I could see a number of roads leading up to it and I did not yet know which one to take. so i tried them all, coming to many dead ends....at the time I quit peyote I had found out what a real Sioux vision was like. If you dream, that's no vision. anybody can dream. And if you take a herb - well, even the butcher boy at his meat counter will have a vision after eating peyote. the real vision has to come out of your own juices" ("John Fire Lame Deer - Sioux medicine man" by Richard Erdoes & Lame Deer)

But if you like to read about people's experiences on LSD etc., you'll find this page from the same site interesting:

The vaults of experience


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 07:26 PM

The question is not one of the supernatural, I would suggest, but of the true scope and nature of the natural.

In response to Bee's observations about the repeating patterns of cognitive stages in maturing humans, I have no problem with them. They do not, however, speak to the point I was making. The development of complex response patterns, including language complexities, is an ongoing curve in all humans, and it doesn't surprise me that the patterns within one culture are repeating. I wouldn't be surprised if children in other cultures, left to their own devices, also go through similar phases.

The difference comes into play the day the child makes an original joke, or offers you an insight you did not think of yourself. More important, comes up with an original thought.
Of course, the mechanist school claims that all such complications and pretenses of individual creativity are just recombinant elements of culture and perception in the physical universe, not creations. And they are right with respect to a huge volume of traffic which really is just the dramatization of combinations of tired old memes

But once a while, one soul or another will break out with an original thought and astonish folks for a bref momoent as they scuttle to get their wits around such a thing. Holy, moly!!

That's the break-point in the program for me.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Juan Hu Tutz
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 08:53 PM

Have you lot really got nothing better to do?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 10:02 PM

You have left out   Not Even Jesus

which I thought was the salt of the thread.

and while you mean well I don't want my poems sent up into the main forum any more.

I am content to stay down here in the BaSement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: number 6
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 10:15 PM

I heard Romney's (losing) N.H. primary speech on CNN tonite. He said Americans are great because they beleive in God.

Then I recalled watching a CNN interview (back in 2001) with some Taliban leader in Afghanistan. He declared the U.S. will be defeated, because his people believed in God, and Americans didn't.

Oh well, silly post I agree but for some meaningless reason I posted.

Hmmm ... now I think I'll watch Hillary's victory speech.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Janie
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 10:26 PM

Freightdawg, are you looking at a site that the demographics would be clear to someone unfamiliar with NH? If so, would you mind providing a link?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 10:56 PM

"In response to Bee's observations about the repeating patterns of cognitive stages in maturing humans, I have no problem with them. They do not, however, speak to the point I was making. The development of complex response patterns, including language complexities, is an ongoing curve in all humans, and it doesn't surprise me that the patterns within one culture are repeating. I wouldn't be surprised if children in other cultures, left to their own devices, also go through similar phases." - Amos

All children go through the same development patterns, at least in terms of fine motor control, drawing, and recognition of two dimensionality in the form of a human face, Amos. It is not cultural, but human. A child drawing in the dust in Ethiopia will follow the same pattern of development.

I see great beauty in this. And even if "all such complications and pretenses of individual creativity are just recombinant elements of culture and perception in the physical universe, not creations", isn't that just the same thing as creativity? There are only three primary colours that we can see, plus white, the reflection of all colour, and black, the absorbtion of all colour (explaining simply), yet painters mix and recombine and dilute and saturate these five elements, strain them through the individual experiences and thought processes and emotionality of their unique-as-fingerprints minds and produce a nearly infinite variety of expressions. No never-seen-before colour needs to be created out of the stuff of the universe in order to effect all this originality.

"But once a while, one soul or another will break out with an original thought and astonish folks for a bref momoent as they scuttle to get their wits around such a thing. Holy, moly!!

That's the break-point in the program for me."
- Amos

How would you know that the thought is purely original? How could you ever tell the difference between pure creativity, the "something new", and your recombinent elements of culture and perception?

That's where I stall. I think what we achieve, do, say, make, write, and so on is marvellous in itself, that we take our 'primary colours', that is, being physical creatures in a physical universe (which itself is infinitely full of marvels), and to a great extent, make ourselves, each one, unique.

I don't, as some might think, deny the faint possibility of Something Other existing, or that we ourselves might contain some Other Self. But I don't see that anything we presently do, or make, or become, no matter how astounding, is more indicative of such supernatural underpinnings than it is of our own and the universe's natural properties. I wish it were. I would be greatly comforted by such a reality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Janie
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 10:58 PM

Oops. I guess that post I made to the New Hampshire Primaries thread didn't disappear into cyberspace after all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 10:59 PM

I don't think a reality like that would confort me, in all honesty. It would only make things more confusing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 11:21 PM

I can usually make sense out of what I see, it's when people start explaining things that I get confused.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 11:42 PM

Well, it simplifies things in my view. But I am a simple minded, if curious person.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:10 AM

Actually, the number of "primary" colors you see depends on the number of color terms in your language. Languages with only 3 color words see 2 primary colors: red, and not red. The other 2 words will be black and white.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:42 AM

Still, it seems like a guy would see one someplace, from time to time. Maybe if we went back to polytheism there would be more goDs and it would increase our chances.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM

Meaning that if you don't have a word for a color, then you don't see it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM

Well, you don't see it as different from other colors for which you don't have a word. For instance, if there are a bunch of shades of red and a bunch of shades of blue, English speakers will sort them into 2 piles, one for all the reds, one for all the blues. Different monolingual English speakers may differ on whether they class certain purples as red or blue, but there will be 2 piles. Monolingual speakers of Hungarian will make three piles - one for dark/blood red (one word in Hungarian), one for other reds (a separate word in Hungarian), and one for blues. Again, there may be disagreement on where the purples go, but they will not see the 2 reds as shades of the same color, the way the Anglophones will.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:55 AM

Ya know what I think? I think there is a hypnotic program of agreement operating from the incessant impact of space-time implosion ont he individual operating a body, which is so persistant andhypnotic that if there ever WERE a spiritual being connected with said body the chances of his breaking free of the complexity is about 2 in 100. If all we are at our best is a mishmash of mechanism simply being churned over and regenerated, then the species of man is simply animal with an order of cleverness attached. That, I cannot see. There are too many other phenomena to fit that model. I have no problem with the evolutionary description that places the homo sap genetic structure one slot over from the other chumps. I mean chimps. But I do not think it wise to turn our backs on the spiritual dimensions of human experience, at least as private individuals.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM

I remember hearing Prof Steve Jones say that he didn't think Snails had a spiritual side.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:19 PM

Yeah, but it's a slippery slope. One minute you're not turning your back on spiritual dimensions, and the next you're out being cured by Oral Roberts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:29 PM

HEar, hear, Rig.

ALl the more reason, IMHO, to stare bravely into the face of the unknown and approach all exhortors and evangelists with tons of salt and ferocious adherence to your own powers of observation and intuition, cleaving to honest self-examination and the complete willing interest in seeing what is there to be seen. I am not trying to pitch a bill of goods; simply warning that perhaps one should not abandon the errand just because too many bills of goods have been pitched. :D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:01 PM

Mrrzy, that is interesting from a linguistic POV, but regardless of what you call them, the colours humans see are dependent on the structure of our eyes and the light spectrum which is visible to humans. You may call yellow 'not red' but your eyes still see yellow (provided you are not physically colour blind. And being familiar with a small portion of Hungarian art and craftwork, I can say with certainty that regardless of what they may name a colour, they are fully engaged in sorting shades of red and purple and blue and yellow and green and orange into meaningful relationships vis a vis making something they hope other eyes, regardless of language, will see as beautiful or charming.

"Ya know what I think? I think there is a hypnotic program of agreement operating from the incessant impact of space-time implosion ont he individual operating a body, which is so persistant andhypnotic that if there ever WERE a spiritual being connected with said body the chances of his breaking free of the complexity is about 2 in 100. If all we are at our best is a mishmash of mechanism simply being churned over and regenerated, then the species of man is simply animal with an order of cleverness attached. That, I cannot see. There are too many other phenomena to fit that model. I have no problem with the evolutionary description that places the homo sap genetic structure one slot over from the other chumps. I mean chimps. But I do not think it wise to turn our backs on the spiritual dimensions of human experience, at least as private individuals." - Amos

An interesting speculation which wouldn't indicate a very successful god handling the operation.

Amos, what phenomena do you see that don't fit the idea of man as clever animal? I see none, but hey, I live in rural obscurity, perhaps angels are dancing on pinheads in Paris as we speak, and I just haven't heard the news. I know, that isn't what you mean... still: what phenomena? I know there is a tremendous amount of buzzing and clanking and occasional clarion bell-ringing that goes on inside our heads which may be difficult to reconcile with a mechanistic universe, but it is a BIG universe, with infinite probability going for it, lots of room for clever chimps and singing whales and a whole that is greater than its parts.

Spiritual is a much abused word, meaning anything from 'he's a really good person who thinks a lot and has mighty refined ideas that make sense' to 'he's a drum-banging woo who thinks stealing a few ideas from shamanic tradition and dressing up in mediaeval outfits will really attract the woo-girls'. What do you mean when you refer to 'spiritual dimensions'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:38 PM

Hmmmm....good question, Bee. I am excluding as "spiritual" any authoritarian system of dictating labels or imposing beliefs; I exclude any system of bizarre icons with long strange names and contorted grimacing visages. I am excluding, as well, any mapping of spiritual things that requires subscribing to one or another zoo of postulated entities that are not found on inspection.

I include the ultimate nature of the conscious center of "I" that seems to lie behind "nomral" identity and the capabilities of perception, admiration, understanding, communication, the postulation of space, energy and images into existence, and a lot of other abilities often disregarded or discounted. I guess I consider that the discovery of those dimensions is an inidfividual expedition, and exploring the outer limits of your imagination certainly brings you face to face with the question of who is doing the imagining. The nature of that "who", I suggest, is perhaps the center of spiritual dimensions.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:47 PM

That's a good point. If no other forces are present, imagination might be memory, or based on memory, or a perverted sense of some past memory, or...

                           It all reminds me of that painting by Salvador Dali with all the wilting clocks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:58 PM

The colors we see as "prototype" (best example of) are, yes, determined by the physics of color perception. even people with one word for "either blue or green" will pick a standard blue as the best example, not the aqua in the middle.

But whether we see 2 wavelengths as "different shades of one color" or as "different colors" is linguistic, not physical.

It's the same as whether we hear different vibrations as the "same" speech sound or not. Depends on whether the difference is phonemic (meaningful) in your language or not. English speakers can tell the difference between the P of POT and the P of SPOT only by putting their hand in front of their mouths and feeling the difference in air puffing - but speakers of languages which differenciate the aspirated and unaspirated P the way English distinguishes between P and, say, B, can actually HEAR the difference. We anglophones just hear them both as P, despite having the same inner ear workings.

Way cool!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 02:17 PM

Aw, Rig, those wilting clocks were just an indicator of how nervous old Sal was at the time with the young wife and all.

Well, Amos, that's a good try and narrows the field some - I will not expect to see you tricked out in burnt whale fat face paint and loon feathers, then.

I know that point of consciousness of self that you refer to, and Carl Sagan speaks of it in, I think, the Demon Haunted World or Dragons of Eden (I need to read Sagan again, been too many years). He was, if I remember correctly (and I recommend reading DoE if you haven't, as my memory is faulty and I don't have the book), suggesting that the 'other self' we encounter is an evolutionary revenant, perhaps related to the (almost independent still) reptilian brain upon which our mammal brain sits, like a fat marmot on a turtle, thinking the reptile beneath is just a convenient rock when it is a living entity on its own. Or maybe not, but Sagan gives the investigator into spirituality and the mind a lot to consider.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 02:52 PM

You don't actually have any way of knowing what a particular color looks like to someone else. You can tell if they agree that the color of one object matches the color of another object, and you can tell whether they use the same word to describe the color of an object as you do.

Usually, people will agree on which colors match other colors, but often, they will not agree on which words describe particular colors. That's why we have the Pantone Color books.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:02 PM

Right - but if you ask Are these 2 chips the same color or not, your answers are better predicted by the language spoken by the choosers than by the wavelengths...

Terms are a whole 'nother kettle of fish!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:22 PM

It is more complicated than that, Mrrzy. How we perceive colours, in relation to naming them, even in English within one cultural group, is even affected by whether the colour is on the left or right side of otherwise identical arrays, by what series of colours are laid next the one we wish to name, by our age (older people perceive yellow as a stronger (more intense) colour than younger ones, probably because of yellowing corneal lenses), and many other factors. That linguistics plays a part in our perception is no surprise, but my original point was that all humans physically see the spectrum we have evolved to perceive, we don't pluck out a spectral colour only bees can see and use it to make the most original of original paintings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 05:35 PM

Actually, people can match the wavelengths pretty well--and not agree on what the name of the color should be called--that's why the PMS colors have numbers, not names.

In a way, it is a bit like matching pitch, we have names for 12 pitches, but we can make much finer differentiations in pitch than that, which is why we can tune our guitars--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 09:02 AM

Isn't the human mind a fascinating thing? And all the ideas we can come up with... (trying to get back to the thread... kind of nicely...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 09:38 AM

Yes, I was beginning to wonder what all of this had to do with goDs. I was about to go out and rummage through the garage, to see if I could find one on my own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 09:43 AM

Hell, RIg, just close your eyes and dummy one up!! Be sure and make it overwhelming, so it will intimidate folks into complying. Maybe make Her look a lot like Hillary or Oprah or somp'n. And give it lots of attributes that cannot be checked out -- the ability to see into people's underwear, massively parallel processing systems totally devoted to pecadilloes, and some kind of laser-guided punishment system with a random target generator thrown in just for good luck. I am sure you can come up with amuch longer list if you set your mind to it.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 09:51 AM

Amos

totally devoted to pecadilloes

Aren't they those South American hamsters the size of sheep?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 10:13 AM

Amos - I'll see what I can do. An Oprah goD sounds pretty exciting, maybe I'll start there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 10:31 AM

If, as I take it both the estimable Riginslinger and Mrzzy contend, there are no gods, then this thread doesn't really have a topic, does it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 11:01 AM

M Ted - of course theres a point to this thread. The point is that people who believe in gods are just plain wrong - and those who don't feel vastly superior about that. And need to point that out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 11:02 AM

200 - PRAISE THE LORD!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 11:07 AM

Actually, we are remedying that even now. Rig is going to get us a mockup and list of attributes which we will then compare to the high-level requirements, and have a preliminary design meeting.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 11:20 AM

I'll try to have a prototype in time for the South Carolina primary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 11:38 AM

"M Ted - of course theres a point to this thread. The point is that people who believe in gods are just plain wrong - and those who don't feel vastly superior about that. And need to point that out. " - Guest Wesley

Guest Wesley, it is very frustrating that the mere stating of a negative opinion on the subject of the existence of the supernatural, including gods, gets responses like this. It would be nice if your contribution was an actual presentation of a reason for your own belief. It doesn't even have to be evidence, just a reason, instead of a plain snide insult to those of us who don't agree with you.

I personally don't believe in gods. Or the supernatural. It doesn't make me feel 'vastly superior', for example, to my own family which includes a lot of good intelligent believing church-goers.

However, I reserve the right to indulge in humourous poking at beliefs I think are completely silly, and to state my objections to beliefs I think are downright harmful. If you can find a way to poke fun at atheists, go right ahead.

It's my contention that without people who will strongly and loudly point out that religions and god beliefs have very little reason to support their continued existence, thus making sure the religious know they are not without political opponents, we would all be living in rigid theocracies, likely constantly at war with other theocracies - hear any echos?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 11:47 AM

If there is a God, God would be the one who is "vastly superior", and those others would be out of luck--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:00 PM

Bee - In my experience there are a few people here - not all - that have strong objections to the fact that I have a belief in a higher power. Or that anyone anywhere believes in any higher power. I could understand if they objected to the actions that some believers take as a result of those beliefs but that doesn't seem to be enough. The objections and ridicule of my thoughts is what I find offensive. I don't try to shove my beliefs down anyones throat. Whatever they want to believe is fine with me. But I find it difficult to have a dialogue with the thought police. Esp those few who propose the eradcation of all religion. Although how they plan to accomplish that is anyones guess.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:16 PM

Our objections are not with your belief.

As for myself, I have repeatedly stated and restated and rephrased that my argument is that denying reality in order to keep your god beliefs is bad for humanity. You can have all the faith you want - just be willing to see the arguments against such faith being reasonable. We aren't trying to shove atheism down your throat. We are succeeding in demonstrating that theism is unreasonable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:20 PM

Thanks - you've proved my point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:24 PM

Which point is?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:24 PM

Wesley:

Just for the sake of understanding, I do not object to your belief in a higher power, and I think perhaps this may come as a surprise to you.

What I do object to is those who try to make some sort of intellectual or moral capital by trying to put such power into a human-ordinate box and push it as a commodity. The reason I object, as I think I have made cleasr, is that such a commodotized version, made into tokens for human exchange (and often control) dilutes any truth it seeks to represent.

Whether using a person, a text, or a label to "capture" the qualities of this commoditized version of Infinity, if I may put it that way, the packaging completely rots the product in too many cases for me to look too kindly on it. And the product, rotted, is toxic as hell.

I hope this very important distinction gets across okay.

Regards,


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:35 PM

"a commodotized version, made into tokens for human exchange (and often control) dilutes any truth it seeks to represent."

And it may suprise you to know that I'm pretty much in agreement with you on that point. Except that I'd like to think that the "truth it seeks to represent" is a little more powerful than the people who misuse and misrepresent it. But there are a few here who can't see a difference. To them Jim Jones and Martin Luther King are one and the same.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 01:15 PM

Bee " If you can find a way to poke fun at atheists, go right ahead"

all right, in that case I will allow myself the luxury of this one, then..... no offence intended-

An atheist is walking through the woods.

"How wonderful and reasonable nature is" he beams

"how marvellous the underlying physical forces which articulate and sustain it all!'

"what a marvellous thing is the human intellect to appreciate it all!"

Just as he's reaching a crescendo a big bear bursts from the bushes and rushes at him.

He runs, but physical laws being what they are, he has little chance of out running a bear.
He trips on a root and sprawls on the ground. He twists just in time to see the huge bear tower over him , paw raised for the death-swipe....

"OH GOD HELP ME!" he shouts, in spite of himself.

Suddenly eveything stops - the bear stands frozen in poise. Just as he's starting to realise this, the clouds roll back and a big voice booms (well, this is a stereotype verison of God afterall) -

"all your life you denied I exist and encouraged others to think the same. And yet now you call on me to help you? What do you expect I should do?'

"Ok" admits the ex-atheist "it's true.... I did do all that, and I'm sorry for it. But can't you at leats give me a chance? I suppose it would be a bit hypocritical to suddenly start calling myself a Christian now. But can't you at least make the bear a christian, for example? I'm sure he never doubted you existed!"

God considers for a moment. "Very wel" he booms "let it be so" and promptly the clouds roll back. "Thank you God! thank you!" says the ex-atheist.

He turns again towards the bear, a smile on his face. Everything swings back into motion as time starts again.

The bear continues on his swoop, then suddenly stops, puzzled, as if he's just had some insight. The man continues to smile. The bear stops his snarl, folds his paws and says...

"For the food I am about to receive, I thank you, O Lord"

;-))


(the good news is that Jesus doesn't seem to operate like that as far as I can make out and is always ready to accept someone back)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:03 PM

There ya go. Nickhere, I have heard that joke before and I still think it's pretty funny.

"Bee - In my experience there are a few people here - not all - that have strong objections to the fact that I have a belief in a higher power. Or that anyone anywhere believes in any higher power. I could understand if they objected to the actions that some believers take as a result of those beliefs but that doesn't seem to be enough. The objections and ridicule of my thoughts is what I find offensive. I don't try to shove my beliefs down anyones throat. Whatever they want to believe is fine with me. But I find it difficult to have a dialogue with the thought police. Esp those few who propose the eradcation of all religion. Although how they plan to accomplish that is anyones guess. " - Wesley

Wesley, I think there are none at all who object to you believing whatever you please. But what I have found is that many believers take umbrage as soon as an atheist says s/he sees no valid reason to have any god beliefs at all. Immediately, we are "insulting their faith". Well, no, we're not. If you said "I have a Cadillac and I think it's the best thing since Ford started his company.", and I replied "I think they're overpriced gas guzzlers and wouldn't have one.", then you'd have no trouble seeing that we have a disagreement as to whether Cadillacs were a Good Thing. You wouldn't immediately think I wanted to take your Cadillac away and ban Cadillacs. Now, I had an objection to Cadillacs - think they are overpriced - is that offensive to you?

As for thought police, if you live in the US, then you very well know that the thought police there have pretty well dictated that no atheist shall aspire to a high political position.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM

Nickhere...I'm back online, but not sitting at a computer very long at a time. Had some minor surgery on Mon. which will be uncomfortable for a bit...There's been SO much in the thread since then - it's hard to absorb....but a quick observation on that last post.


"...Jesus doesn't seem to operate like that as far as I can make out and is always ready to accept someone back"

And of course, the reply is: Back from what? And who - specifically - says that one can 'be welcomed back'? And IF it is true, what does that say about the idea of sinning, then repenting? (old line."It's easier to get forgiveness than permission")

You see where we skeptics are coming from? The 'authority' for the idea of sin and what follows FROM sin, and what happens if one 'repents and returns' is, of course, the Bible. But the very basis of the authority of the Bible is acceptance that 1)the facts in it are correct. 2) that the very human authors of it were 'inspired' by some spiritual power. 3) that we have translated it correctly from the ancient texts. 4) that we have all the relevant texts (the status of the Gospel of Thomas is a bit awkward)...etc.
   And even if we can wrap our heads around all those necessary assumptions, we are still left with the question of 'Why, if we poor, fallible, easily confused humans are expected to follow the rules in those texts, were they delivered to us so long ago in such a haphazard way, with no regular clarifying visits since to remind us of our situation? Surely an all-powerful god would see that just are not capable of keeping straight what all the conflicting ideas of the rules ARE?

The Bible mentions The Tower of Babel...the world now has many competing 'towers' of Babel, of Theology, of Creed and of Authority.
I submit that they cannot ALL be true simultaneously. Choosing among them is more than most folks can deal with, so they usually just accept the prevailing force in their culture, or their parents' choice.
   Skeptics...for whatever reason...want more than the complex of issues I have listed: but some of us at least realize the historical and psychological forces and needs that cause most folks subscribe to one system or another, and are willing to live harmoniously with believers....unless...and you know the rest.

   I don't know what to say to skeptics who feel compelled to simply ridicule and complain. I see their points, but I do wish they'd try to understand 'belief' in the context of history & culture and be more aware of better ways to have discussions. Religion will always be with us, and we need to accommodate it, just as religions need to accommodate those who cannot, in good conscience, accept the premises necessary to pick a religious path.



Now...back to bed for me. Durned incision!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:16 PM

"Religion will always be with us, and we need to accommodate it,"


                            Maybe not; we could get lucky!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:29 PM

Rig...don't hold your breath...turning blue can be awkward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:34 PM

I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I won't quit breathing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:58 PM

First off, welcome back Bill, I hope you'll make a speedy recovery, and sorry to hear that you had to have any surgery at all - that's rough, especially over Xmas when you probably just want to relax and enjoy it all a bit.

re. the Bible. Yes, I know it can seem complicated and contradictory at times. But a lot of time has been studying it by highly tarined theologians and they seem to agree on the main important points. The Bible is chiefly important for what it reveals to us about what our potential relationship with God can be and His intentions for us.

I find of the two, the Old Testament difficult at times. Even in the New International Version it can be difficult to read, plus it's very long. It's hard to find anyone these days who'll actually sit down and read over 1,000 pages of anything (I'm stuck 2/3 of the way through Robert Fisk's "Great War for Civilisation'). But that's the only way to do it. Everytime I read it, I see anotehr layer, another piece of the puzzle. As you start to remember parts, it becomes easier to cross-reference and put things in the context that dispels much of the seeming-contradiction.

The New testament is much shorter and ofen, clearer (to me anyway). But it is easy to misquote either, or quote out of context. For example Jesus often speaks of peace, love your brother etc., then someone says 'but what about when he says "I come not to bring peace, but a sword...families will be divided, brother against brother..." etc., Doesn't sound very peaceful?

But if you read around it, and have read the rest of the Bible, you come to realise what Jesus was saying (think "my kingdom's not of this world', telling Peter to put away his sword, turn the other cheek...) that His message was not going to be an easy one. It would create upheavals. It would divide families: some of the family might become believers, while the rest might remain non-believers, or pagans, or whatever. They would fall out over Jesus' message, Christians would be persecuted for it. Jesus ws not saying (if I am not mistaken) that He was going to bring world war, or that He desired this state of affairs, or even that He was going to set families at each other's throats. He could just forsee what would happen if not everyone would follow His message. Not that there weren't wars and violence and disagreement already, but now people would be shunned, ridiculed and persecuted for believing in Him.

What He says Himself in much of the Gospels is quite clear enough. We only need to think of the example He gave when asked "who is my neighbour?" (the good Samaratin story) - what He was trying to say there couldn't have been clearer. He often seemed kindly exasperated with the apostles when they were slow to catch on. Sometimes He explained things again for them, especially after some of those famous parables. The Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of same only serve to clarify further, as the apsotles (some of whom, like Peter, were eyewitnesses and participants in the events they spoke of) began to gain better insight into what had happened. If it all seems a clear account to us today, we've had the benefit of some 2,000 years of the sharpest theological minds (St.Augustine etc) pondering over these problems, and the councils I mentioned previously. There may be further insights yet, but the Apostles Creed (from the time of the earliest councils, like Nicea, in response to heresies that had already arisen) summed up the main points of what Christianity stood for, and what Christian's believed. It has stood practically unaltered for the last 1650 years.

Jesus Himself was also a trained Rabbi. He regularly quoted from the Old Testament and Holy writings of Judaism, so clearly He Himself accepted their authority and correctness. As I metioned ina previous thread, when tempted by the devil, His response was to quote the Old Testament in rebuff.

As for the schisms that have occured in the church since, they are unfortunate, but arose for sound reasons. There is little doubt that the Middle Ages saw the church as an institution become heavily politicised and wrapped up in temporal affairs. This would have been ok if the temporal affairs in question had been simply moral questions rather than political ones (supporting this or that monarch cos they guaranteed church property etc.,). Afterall John the Baptist readily criticised Herod for his immoral lifestyle, for which he famously lost his head.

Then there were the selling of pardons, indulgences etc., (against which Luther rightly railed) but what was happening is what frequently happens in any institution, as much of its daily actions depend on the goodness of the people who represent it. Just think of how today the police have been caught on camera beating the s... out of Rodney King etc., We rightly condemn such actions, but we do not abandon the idea of a civil legal code or the concept of justice because of it.

I am not an expert on the reformation so I won't comment more on the history. But all Christian (inc Orthodox), the Judaic and Isamic faiths worship the same God. They also have a lot of common cause these days in face of the secularistaion of the world. But unfortunately they often prefer to focus on their undeniable differences. I would say they all hold in the truth to the extent they worship the same God. Obviously I choose Christianity over Islam because I believe Jesus was the son of God and the route to salvation, while Muslims regard this as blasphemy, as do Jews. So we'll have to find room for all of us in this crowded house, because I am sure God does not want us killing one another. In all three faiths (as well as amongst non-believers) there exist 'throat-shovers' but many of us simply want to practise our faith (or not), worship our God and tell others about it in a non-throat shoving way. I think friendly dialogue is possible for those interested in such matters. When it comes to religion & politics, I think seperation is not possible at one level. And that is when people exercise their vote according to their beliefs and conscience. And as I have pointed out in a previous thread, one cannot expect anyone, athiest or believer, to do otherwise without denying their own selves. having said that I would never vote 'yes' to any proposal to force people to go to mass or pray, for example. It would quiet go against the grain of anything I believed in and take away free will in religious matters. However I would vote 'yes' to ban abortion, just as I would vote against the death penalty (I DID vote against the death penalty in the referendum to scrap it). I would vote against war if referendum were held on such matters.

[footnote: why do we not have referenda to go to war? Afterall, who does most of the dying in wars? Senators? The president? Or Joe Soaps? But I would still vote against it even if most Joe Soaps wanted to go to war!]

I vote this way because of my religious belief that God has ordained that all human life is sacred and something special, and has told us 'thou shgalt not kill'. Other people may vote other ways according to their beliefs, whether in some other god or in secularism. That's democracy, for all it's shortcomings, and it gives the majority of people what they want for better or worse.

OK, time to sign off, I've got to head out and meet some friends for a beer!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 03:02 PM

BTW "Jesus ws not saying (if I am not mistaken) that He was going to bring world war, or that He desired this state of affairs, or even that He was going to set families at each other's throats. He could just forsee what would happen if not everyone would follow His message"

I am not ignorant of the crusades, religious wars etc., but I intend to come to that point later, i have been working on something prompted by a comment from one of Mrrzy's posts that got the brain juices flowing, back a bit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 03:41 PM

The Bible is chiefly important for what it reveals to us about what our potential relationship with God can be and His intentions for us.

I disagree -- it shows us these things no more accurately than Catcher in the Rye or East of Eden does.


Jesus Himself was also a trained Rabbi. He regularly quoted from the Old Testament and Holy writings of Judaism, so clearly He Himself accepted their authority and correctness.

THe word "trained" in this context is relatively meaningless, unless you simply mean trained in doctrinaire teachings,w hich is no great recommendation. "Authority" and "correctness" compared to what? In my view, authority comes from competency, and correctness must be measured against use and practice. What the devil merit is there in an appeal to dusty long-past authoritarian icons? Where's the beef?

As for the schisms that have occured in the church since, they are unfortunate, but arose for sound reason. Sound reasons like the urgent need to wui[pe out Muslims, track down and burn witches, and purify the Faith of any questioning free-thinking villains in the population? Come on--this is just rampant aplogism, screened by dewt rationalization.

But all Christian (inc Orthodox), the Judaic and Isamic faiths worship the same God. ...and murder each other gleefully for doing so, and have done so for centuries.

God has ordained that all human life is sacred and something special, and has told us 'thou shalt not kill' Apparently this is not what he told Mohammed and his followers; and I recall a few instructions about when to stone people and when not to suffer another to live that flies directly in the face of this all-knowing instruction. Just having a bad Infinity day? Multiple personalities? Divine schizophrenia? Hypocrisy? What?

Please understand, Nick, that I am more than happy for you to have these beliefs; but when you start trotting them out here as a framework of fact, I have to take exception, especially considering all the important gaps and lapses in the presentation.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:30 PM

On the 30th of September 2007, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens sat down for a first-of-its-kind, unmoderated 2-hour discussion, convened by RDFRS and filmed by Josh Timonen.
I thought maybe a few here would be intrested in viewing this.

http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,2025,THE-FOUR-HORSEMEN,Discussions-With-Richard-Dawkins-Episode-1-RDFRS,page2#98964


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 07:09 PM

Thanks very much dear Rustic. These are interesting intelligent people.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 07:34 PM

Here is a link to the actual discussion between these four thinkers: Richard Dawkins,("The God Delusion), Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon), Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason), and Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything ). Most interesting perspectives by very good conversationalists:

The Four Horsemen Talk -- a one-hour movie. Woth the listen.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 08:36 PM

For some reason, the term "preaching to the choir" pops into mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 09:16 PM

With all of the followers out there, you'd think there ought to be some goDs out there somewhere. Has anybody looked in Ireland?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 09:00 AM

Not to mention that anything interesting attributed to Jesus was already known to other civilizations for centuries... including the Golden Rule. It's not as if he were the first to see that being nice gets you farther than several alternatives.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 10:33 AM

Yeah, in view of the fact that even Mike Huckabee is willing to agree that mankind has been around for 6,000 years, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to make the case that somebody during the first 4,000 would have come up with some of those thoughts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:33 AM

See, there's one of the things that causes people like myself to speak up about the hazards of faith. How safe is it to have political leaders in the world's most powerful country who think the earth is 6000 years old and evolution doesn't/didn't happen? I could care less if Joe Cracker from Orlando believes that, but beliefs like that are in direct opposition to reality, no matter how many ways you say 'Goddidit'. How concerned are such believers, in positions of power, likely to be about global climate change, about funding the sciences, about keeping education free of such inhibiting notions? What happens when you elect a president who believes the Rapture is right around the corner, no need to take care of the environment or worry about a deficit?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:38 AM

Bee - Isn't that what we've got in the White House now?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:49 AM

Instant gratification

When obviously "mal"informed and relatively ignorant people are made to feel as if they were the most correct intelligently designed people on Earth, it makes them feel very content, very smug and diveinly correct regarding any kind of foolishness in the name of God.
Same thing when the Nazis advertised that all "true" Germans were made better than all Jews or when Arabs when they teach 6 year olds that Jews are Apes and monkeys. Instant elitism.

Add some hate for an emotion to push the agenda even faster alng with a dash of truth and you end up with extereist evangelicals who hate fags with the same verve that Germans hated Jews.

The guy across the street had the timarity to brag that while being an evangelical he is not one of those who believe that all dinosaus are 5,000 years old. With the look on his face you would have thought he was about to accept a Nobel PRize.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 12:30 PM

I guy I work with told me that there are no such things as dinosaurs, and that the fossil remains were planted by Satin as a way of confusing mankind.

               And this guy votes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 02:21 PM

Planted by Satin,
In a deep evil shade,
Carnivorous raptors
That the evil one made.
Hidden as fossils,
Deep under the earth,
Left to confuse all
Mankind from their birth,

And it's hard, hard, hard
Oh it's hard to make sense of it all!

Brought up on Cotton,
And petroleum oil,
Life's turning rotten,
Overflowing with toil,
Blessings from Heaven,
Never seem to arrive,
Only our own sweat
Seems to keep us alive.

And it's hard, hard, hard!
Oh, it's hard to make sense of it all...

Wrapped in white Linen
And left in the clay,
Feeding the fossils
Who had nothing to say.
Joining the traces
Of the great Tyrant Rex,
Dust is worth nothing,
But then neither is sex.

And its hard, hard, hard!
Oh, it's hard to make sense of it all.

...."


Further verses on the insidious nature of various fabrics are left as an exercise for the student....


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 03:41 PM

Mrrrzzy: "Not to mention that anything interesting attributed to Jesus was already known to other civilizations for centuries..."

I may be wrong but I think the case of Jesus was the first and only instance in any culture of a God deciding to come down and live amongst His creation as one of them, and die on their behalf in an act of love for them. I don't think you'll find a parallel in any other theology or mythology.

Amos, you may have missed my post when I said I wasn't unaware of religious wars either, but I'll get back to that anon. The picture isn't quite as simple as you may imagine.

"As for the schisms that have occured in the church since, they are unfortunate, but arose for sound reason. Sound reasons like the urgent need to wui[pe out Muslims, track down and burn witches, and purify the Faith of any questioning free-thinking villains in the population? Come on--this is just rampant aplogism, screened by dewt rationalization"

I'm sorry, old pal, but you simply don't know what you're talking about here. A schism is a split, and the schism to which you must know I was referring (and the only that is generally understood when the history of the Christian church is spoken of) is that which took place in the late 1400s onwards as the result of a challenge by Luther and others (like Knox and Calvin) to corruption in the church. The sound reasons I referred to were parctices like simony (buying your way into office rather than on merit), the selling of pardons (bogus or otherwise) by unscrupulous pardoners and so on. The church, like any other institution run day-to-day by humans, is suceptible to corruption, and this is what Luther was railing about (and not without justification).

BUT

He wasn't the first. St.Francis had already (back in the early 1200s) railed against corruption, with some success. he even made a trip on foot to Rome to see the Pope and try and get things put right. But with time corrupt officials within the church had managed to undoe much of the good of his reforms. Luther had hoped to similarly reform the church, not break away from it. When it was clear that was not going to be possible, he then decided to break away from it.

NONE of this had ANYTHING to do with killing Muslims (the first crusade occured back in the 1000s, the third was over by the end of the 1190s), burning witches etc., AFTER the schism both branches of Christian church (Catholic and Protestant) continued to condemn men and women to death on conviction of witchcraft. The protestant churches were probably more vigorous in this regard, especially in Switzerland and Scotland. The last person put to death as a witch was in the early 1700s in Scotland. Before that there had been a long break when the numbers of executions rapidly declined. The peak was probably from about 1480s - 1640s.

Persons tried as witches were as often brought before civil (i.e secular) courts as ecclesiastical (i.e religious) courts. The reason being that witchcraft was a staute crime at that time (the actual act was only repealed in the UK in 1956, though as I already pointed out, it had been centuries by then since anyone was condemned for it). Civil (i.e) secular courts employed torture as a means of extracting confessions (everyone seems to think it was the church / inquisition that did that) - in fact confessions were deemed suspect unles they had been extracted by torture. Church rules stipulated torture could only be for one session and that no blood could be drawn Though they found ways around this if necessary). Civil secular courts were not bound by these 'restrictions'. And of course secular courts in the US still allow de-facto torture to happen.

Yes, both prod and catholic churches tended to stamp hard on heresy (think Galilleo, btw the church finally issued an apology a few years ago.... bit late for Gallileo, sadly, but IMO that there were other reasons he ran foul of the inquisition than simply saying the earth went round the sun). They tended to stamp even harder on each other. Not very Godlike, and I'd be the first to agree. In the early years of teh Christian church they held numerous councils and discussions to sort out these matters, and did not do so without a lot of thought and effort. None were ever off-the-cuff decisions that I know of. Some people even seem to imply the Bible was scribbled down by cranky old chauvinistic men for some conspiratorial purpose, such as controlling women or just to generally rain on everyone's parade.

Now there's a thought...! If I was to write a book with rules to control women for the benefit of men, I think it'd make far more sense to have one where rule number 1 was all women would be required to wear bikinis year round despite the weather (except the ugly ones); rule number 2: "A woman shalt never say No" etc, etc., In other words, come on, pull the other one.

"The Bible is chiefly important for what it reveals to us about what our potential relationship with God can be and His intentions for us.

I disagree -- it shows us these things no more accurately than Catcher in the Rye or East of Eden does"

Ok - you're on. I invite you to make your case with those two titles.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 03:42 PM

By the way, I'll come back to teh Mick Huckabees etc., in due course.... I'm well aware of that particular strain of religion in the US, but don't forget the USA is not the world, and there are all kinds...!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM

IF you meant the Protestant Reformation, you might have said so instead of embracing all the schisms of the CHristian world, some of which have been absurd, predicated on interpretative differences in metaphysics such as UNity versus Trinity and whether or not the Holy Ghost was filtered, mentholated or what.

As for making my case, I am not making any assertions here in the first place, but merely responding to your assertion that there is a Being surrounding our existence who has precise intentions for us and whose instructions can be found in a 2500-year old anthology of mystical writings committed to parchment by people for whom a wheelbarrow would be emerging technology. I just don't see any grounds for that assertion and I think to justify it requires bending over backwards intellectually into abnormal postures of rationalization. Stoning adultresses and killing witches are two stupid examples that make your assertion untrenable, to my view.
And let me add that your explanation that witches were tried in civil court has little merit -- it was founded on scripture and would have had no merit or impetus without the underlying collision between polytheistic paganism and the Church of Rome.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 05:15 PM

Amos, if you go back and look at my post I think it is quite clear I was referring to the Protestant Reformation. I mentioned Luther by name, by way of example. It was the MAIN schism in Church history, the other being of course the split with the Eastern orthodox church almost 1,000 years prior. The Eastern Orthodox is considered closer doctrinally by the Vatican than are the Prod churches. The schism between Orthodox and Catholic is far less in degree than that which occured during the Protestant reformation.

Protestant churches, by nature of their character of individualism (as opposed to the centralised authority of the Vatcian) are prone to budding off into sects. These do not equate with schisms of the kind referred to above. No schisms occured in church history over the crusades / war against muslims; or over the burning of witches - two of the examples you mentioned in making your point.

Now, what multiple schisms are you referring to?

"As for making my case, I am not making any assertions here in the first place"

Ahhh, hang on there a mo' buddy...

""The Bible is chiefly important for what it reveals to us about what our potential relationship with God can be and His intentions for us.
I disagree -- it shows us these things no more accurately than Catcher in the Rye or East of Eden does"

This is a clear assertion that both book titles above can tell us as much or no more about our potential relationship with God and His intentions for us as the Bible does. Whether it was your intention or not, It trivialises the importance of the Bible by basically saying we can learn as much about God from any book, or from Marvel Comics. With all due respect, I'd have to disagree with you on that one. But if you feel you can make that case, I still invite you to do so, using those two particular books of your choice as a starting point.

On the other hand if you don't feel able afterall to show an equivalence with those books, I think it is an important point, as it at least suggests that the Bible is something of a different nature and in a different league.

"...writings committed to parchment by people for whom a wheelbarrow would be emerging technology."

Do I detect a note of 19th century social darwinism here?

"And let me add that your explanation that witches were tried in civil court has little merit -- it was founded on scripture and would have had no merit or impetus without the underlying collision between polytheistic paganism and the Church of Rome"

1) maybe it'd be a good time to check what Jesus had to say about the adultress

2) Re. the civil courts. Yes, the law was partly based on the fact that the religious reason for not wanting witches. But you are completely leaving out of the picture a very simple rationale for medieval and renaissance man not wanting witches in their midst. The actions ascribed to witches were rarely if ever benign. Apart from all the usual melodrame of dancing with the devil, they were accused of 'poisoning wells, crippling cattle, stealing babies, making people sick or die etc., etc.,"

The point here is that it was not religion alone that drove people to persecute witches, but a very practical fear of the physical harm witches might do.

Of course plenty of those accused of such activities were most likely innocent. But there were probably some who were carrying out such activities - basically simple criminality, malicious revenge or whatever, dressed up under the name of witchcraft. There were those who for personal gain, to obtain love or revenge, attempted to cast spells or make pacts with the devil. Probably their efforts were a waste of time but if they got caught enagaged in them they risked the penalty of the law and perhaps being blamed for every other bad thing that happened in the neighbourghood. No-one would have felt comfortable living near someone known or thought to be a witch. This was not down to religious prurience alone but very much down to simple self-preservation. We have the same thing today wiith people uncomfortable living or working with people they know or believe to be murderers / child molestors etc.

I hope it's clear anyway that the religious persecution case is not as simple as that and is often over-stated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 05:24 PM

Sorry about that, point "1) maybe it'd be a good time to check what Jesus had to say about the adultress"

was in reference to

"Stoning adultresses and killing witches are two stupid examples that make your assertion untrenable, to my view"


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 05:50 PM

You generate rationale from the simple premise that divinity was at work in the generation of the Book and the person.

I find no evidence for either of those premises, except by self-assertion.

From these premises everything and anything may follow.

But if they are not supportable, then they are simply justifications for a lot of other viewpoints and deeds which have no reason to recommend them, including many heinous acts.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 06:08 PM

Amos, excuse my slowness, but I'm not quite sure what you mean, I must confess.

"You generate rationale from the simple premise that divinity was at work in the generation of the Book and the person"

what are you referring to here in relation to our last few posts? What rationale are you talking about?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Monique
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 07:05 AM

For believers and non-believers, those who understand Spanish can order this book at their favorite bookstore (not presently available on line) Mentiras iglesia
It's been translated into Italian, Portuguese and Polish. Those who understand French can also read some excerpts online though no French book is available. There is no English version either.

Just an idea: when you have a group, this group has a certain spirit which is the result of a dynamics. So what if God were the spirit of the whole universe? Kind of the universe vibration or music...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 09:28 AM

Your complex rationale built around the whole divinity card, Nick -- for example the interpretation that the Bible reveals that nature of God, and that God has intentions for us, and so on.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 10:36 AM

Ok, thanks Amos. Yes, you have a point: I don't think I can give you any scientific empirical proof of the existence of God, at least not the kind physicists, chemists and biologists usually look for. So you're right in that one has to start out from the premise there is a God and He has a plan for each of us (which we are free to follow or not) in order to make the observations I have made about the Bible (for example).

My opinion is that the empirical view is microcosmic- it looks only at the little picture of what we can sense through the five senses or have rendered in form we can sense on machines (e.g infra-red photography). This is frustrating for both believers and non-believers alike. Of course I would like to hand you a photo of God if it were possible and say 'ok, here He is' (and not in an I-told-you-so way either, but simply from the joy of being able to finally share it). Of course that would remove the faith element, and possibly alos reduce the earnestness of the search one must conduct to find God. Maybe He really wants to know that the person approaching Him really wants to approach Him, I don't know; that just seesm to be the way He's organised things regarding belief.


On the other hand I think there is fairly good proof of another kind, in the form of the transition that I have seen (and experienced) taking place in people's lives when they've found Him and let Him work on them. That is evidence to another of our senses - call it a sixth sense, call it spirit - that empirical science is unable to grapple with. You get glimpses of it in the lives of the really rich who seem to have anything from a rational point of view: money, the girl (or boy), the luxury, the fame - all the things reason might suggest we obtain. Afterall if there is no life beyond death, we might as well have as mcuh as we can here and now. yet often these people find their lives are empty, something is missing. St.Francis was one example. the son of a wealthy merchant set to inherit the lot, he gave it all up. Famously he even handed his father the shirt off his back as a way of saying I don't need any of these things. His poor Dad must have been understandably upset - he'd worked hard to build all this up and hand it on to someone. There was the someone voluntarily rejectinga life of comfort for a life of hardship that could surely only shorten it. He had found soemthing worth more than all the material wealth. The Bible (Jesus specifically) talsk about this, likening the Kingdom of Heaven a precious gem or pearl, that on finding it, a man might sell and get rid of all he has in order to have it once he arelises its true worth.

You could find evidence in how Jesus has turned people's lives around, even when they seemd hopeless, and made good things of bad. It's a different kind of evidence, I grant you, but it can be repeated (a criterion of empiricism) though not always in exactly the same way as each person is unique. Once you begin to see these things and appreciate them for what they are, the Bible starts to make more and more sense. One begins to see the rationality in it. I should I suppose add at this point that reason does not equate with empiricism, though the two may interconnect.

Taking the whole cosmos there's a kind of evidence in the order of it, the whole oft-noted coincidences that lead to life arising. Sure, you could put it down to statistical chance, but the odds are very long when you think of all the details that have to be just-so (and not simply close or approximate). You could possibly find it in our development of culture, how we have become something quite different to even our closest animal cousins (the primates - how come in all the millions of years none of them have ever evolved speech or culture to the level we have? Surely it's just as useful to them as us?) We have developed artistic and singing abilities that have nothing to do with our basic need to survive etc., (BTW I am not a creationist either in the Mick Huckabee sense, I don't hold that the earth is 4,000 years old or any such stuff, or that fossils were put these by satan to confuse us, you'll be glad to know)

Now I feel a very long post coming that I've been working on these last two days, some observations that have been growing in my mind for a while, so I'd better sign off here and give people a chance to draw breath!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 11:09 AM

Excuse me, Nick, but when you assert that "Jesus has turned poeple's lives around" I think you are beibng arbitrary in your selection of interpretations. For example, an equally viable proposition, based on the same data, would be "People have turned their own lives around after deciding that they could let go of confusions and.or regrets and/or guilt using JEsus as an icon to represent paternal forgiveness or other emotional needs."

In other words, you elect to take an interpretation that seems to me, at least, to be much more complex than they need to be.

It is pretty well-established that finding some stable point of reference, or some basis for confidence will generate all kinds of recuperation in people. Cf. placebo effects, the magical power for self-healing once the right "suggestion" has been made.

Be that as it may, my point is that postulating the cause to be a metaphysical intervention from a higher power whose name is really Jesus, in contrast, is a terribly complex, arbitrary hypothesis, and one which does not open the door to new data or make things easier to test, understand or see.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 12:06 PM

"People have turned their own lives around after deciding that they could let go of confusions and.or regrets and/or guilt using JEsus as an icon to represent paternal forgiveness or other emotional needs."

Doesn't sound any less complex than the Jesus hypothesis.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 01:20 PM

Well, it does not require the additional ingredients of mystic entities to which powers are attributed when those same powers in other corcumstances are found to be frequently demonstrated without those entities. For example, individuals have healed themselves of serious physical ailments because they read a newspaper article validating the efficacy of a drug they believed they were taking. Quite mysterious thing, generally called the placebo effect. But the thing about the placebo effect is that it can be triggered by any number of different significances. Finding Jesus is one of them. So is believing another cares for your well-being; so is a self-determined decision to recover. The trigger "symbol" varies wildly but the consistent element in the case histories is that the individual recovered from something without physical reason.

That's the simplicity of it -- the mind, correctly activated, can relieve distress and/or illness.

Taking that phenomenon and adding a whole bunch of material about the nature of Jesus is adding complexity, because the common elements are not centered around Jesus but around "some trigger to the mind" -- indicating it is thinking about "Jesus" or something comparable, not the substance itself.

Additionally your model requires that you postulate the long extension of positive affect by an entity who died many centuries back. This makes the proposition (as you said above) unprovable. There are of course millions of people about whom it can be said that they died long ago, and maybe a score or a hundred of them who claimed divinity, some of whom were probably used in ages past as comparable triggers for what is actually an act of self-elevation. So far I have seen no argument of merit for adding all that complexity into the picture.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 01:34 PM

To be sure, I know a man who turned his life of drinking, drug use and family disfunction right around by becoming a follower of Islam. It's been eight years now, and he has stuck to his conversion, prays five times a day, does not indulge in drink or drugs, has five children and a stable marriage. Jesus, of course, did not figure in this conversion.

I've known this man since he was four years old, he's in his late thirties now. He grew up with loving Christian parents, moved away to a big city, ran into some hard times, and was pretty aimless for a few years. It isn't a path to recovery I would have advised, and we've had some interesting conversations about Islam as practiced in Canada, but it worked for him, probably saved his life.

Nickhere, Islam historically worships the same father God, but does not see Jesus as divine or as the path to salvation. So here is a good effect on a person resulting, yes, from believing in God, but not in Christianity. And I've seen as good results for people who left the religion out of it entirely, focussed their behaviour changes on their family or some desired goal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 03:19 PM

Of course, many of us would conclude that he would have been better off in the long run if he'd just made the effort to get a grasp on reality, and dealt with the world on his own terms. But then, there's always the 75 virgins who await him in the sky, or wherever they hang out.


                Getting back to the point, though, I'm pretty sure I saw a goD coming out of a public toilet on 23rd Avenue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 03:59 PM

I think that was doG, you dyslexic silly.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 04:12 PM

Well what would a doG be doing in a public toilet, unless, of course, he was thirsty, but...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 05:36 PM

Tsk! You're too mature to be indulging in psychedelics, Rig.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 06:26 PM

Well, who's to say that a goD and a doG couldn't be easily confused. I mean, that one couldn't confuse one for the other, or...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 08:56 PM

Dog God


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 10:16 PM

Well, that one looks really confused to me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:05 PM

Amos "Additionally your model requires that you postulate the long extension of positive affect by an entity who died many centuries back. This makes the proposition (as you said above) unprovable"

I said the existence of God cannot be demonstrated according to the terms of empirical science as it currently stands (or words to that effect). Jesus did die centuries back, but as you surely know, the central idea in Christianity is that He then rose from the dead, stayed on earth in corporeal form for 40 days afterwards before ascending to heaven. Therefore for Christians He is not dead, that is to say He has transcended it. Death is also the end of the 'mortal coil', not the end of the spirit that dwells in it.

You've got a point about the placebo effect, though I would posit that it's effects are somewhat overstated. I doubt any doctor would risk using placebo drugs in chemotherapy, even if the patient had no idea they had been substituted.

Bee "To be sure, I know a man who ... by becoming a follower of Islam... Jesus, of course, did not figure in this conversion"

Yes, as we both point out, Islam does not see Jesus as divine. But from a Christian perspective, it makes perfect sense: Jesus is also fully God (the mystery of the Holy Trinity).
But Catholic (and unless I am mistaken, Protestant) theology also allows for many people outside of Christianity to find God. I forget the name of the doctrine, but basically it states that people who earnestly seek God, even from outside the monotheistis framework, will find Him. They may not even realise what it is they seek. A good example is Lame Deer, that I mentioned a few posts back. From reading what he says and his view of what he calls the Great Spirit, I have little doubt he is describing the same entity with which I am familiar (as far as I familiar with it).

Ringslinger....... oh dear, oh dear. What can I say? I always feel a bit apprehensive on these threads since they always seem to circle back to the same point sooner or later. And that's a chance for some people to use the opportunity to hurl insult at God. Though why anyone should want to insult something they don't believe exists is a mystery to me sometimes.
I don't take offence easily and I'm not *too* bothered about jibes against followers of Christ. It's par for the course apparently (though a bit saddening). What I do take exception to is is when someone gratuitously tries to offend God by juxtaposing reference to Him with the facile or scatalogical. Try and bear in mind that even if you don't believe in God some people (like myself) regard Him as a true and loyal friend. Try and think how you would feel if I were to belittle and jeer at one of your friends or one of your family. Wouldn't you feel disappointed in me at the very least? Wouldn't you want to walk away? That's what I'm tempted to do here. I wouldn't want to be party to any forum which becomes a means of insulting God, so please don't drive me away and maybe we can engage in rational discussion. And that goes for anyone else thinking of making 'God jokes' as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:11 PM

And now the BIG ONE! Excuse me if this post is rather long, but a lot of ideas rolling around in my mind finally found articulation at around the same time, coalescing into one argument finally. They are a response to posts made a while back on this thread.

Mrzzzy: "Do you believe that a leader should consult their personal supernatural force or being when making decisions involving your actual life?"

You're probably referring to his Dubya-ship here? Well, I agree with you most of the way. I too have a problem with such a leader consulting a supernatural force when making decisions, etc., Not because I believe it is wrong to ask God for guidance, but because 'by their fruits you shall know them'. I don't recognise the supernatural force Dubya seems to be in commune with, I'm not sure it is the God I worship, though perhaps he thinks so. If he is a Christian and is praying to the God recognised by Christians (as he claims) then surely he's heard of 'Thou shalt not kill'? He is trying to follow this commandment when it comes to abortion, which I am glad of, but bizarrely seems to abandon it completely when it comes to Iraqis, Iranians and anyone else outside the US who gets in the way of his ambitions. Maybe he believes God's laws apply only to American citizens, especially better-off white ones. That's unfortunate (especially for those on the receiving end of the 5.56 mm bullets, tank shells etc.,) and seems to be a particular problem in the US. Such 'Christians' in my opinion are trying to be the masters rather than servants of God. They want to harness God for their own ends. They believe what's good for them is good for God. Bob Dylan has already summed this up in 'With God on Their Side".Such hubris is not the sole preserve of the US political scene of course, we only need think of God-fearing ulster unionists ("For God and Ulster!"). Actually come to think of it, I'm pretty sure the republican party is composed largely of the descendents of emigrants from that persuasion…..!

But beyond that, let's look at that proposition a little more closely. First of all, we can discount George Bush's claim to be divinely inspired. Peter Singer has outlined in detail the contradictions in Bush's public pronouncements ("The President of Good and Evil" CIP 13579 10 8642). He makes a convincing case that what Bush is actually doing is astutely identifying the qualities that make a president attractive to a large number of voters. Bush uses the language of Christianity to make a connection with a sector of the US population. I don't like generalistaions, but we could typify that sector as being Christian in name, church-going, gun-toting and confusing nationalistic patriotism with religious belief ("For God and Ulster" / "With God on Our Side").

But we don't need a whole book to prove conclusively that whatever Bush says about being in commune with God, he either isn't listening to God or is in commune with something else. From what we know of God, God does not use either lies or murder to achieve His objectives. Bush and his cabinet rely heavily on both: lies – the WMD claims and a host of other farcical 'facts' about terrorism used to justify his murderous policies. Murder: all the Iraqi and Middle-eastern blood on his hands. Venezualan blood too, except the coup was nipped in the bud. None of this can possibly come from the Christian God. This is what Jesus had to say about such matters – He spoke of Satan falling from heaven, and described him as a 'murderer and a liar from the beginning'. I find the juxtaposition fascinating. Murder and lies seem to need each other. Bush must know this if he has studied the Bible like he claims.

So, those of you who are fearful of people who make policy because they are in commune with the God can relax. "By their fruit you will know them". Policies like those being formulated by neo-cons do not come from God, but from the neo-cons. Their abuse of Christian beliefs is exactly that – an abuse. Don't make the mistake of rejecting God because of the dishonest actions of these people. Rejecting God because you don't believe He exists is a different matter – it's more understandable and is a personal quest. All I'm saying is don't be confused and put off by the actions of these so-called Christians. Instead you could up-end them and surprise them badly by becoming proficient in Christian theology and attending the next questions & answers session where Bush goes……!! It would probably not be the best reason to become a proficient Christian, but at least they wouldn't have it all their own way, muddying the name of God.

So, may I propose Axiom No.1? –

"The evil actions of people who misuse Christianity for their own ends is not proof that Christianity is a bad or evil religion. It does demonstrate how people can take anything, however good, and misuse it"


What then of atheistic secularism? Can it provide a better model? Should we be worried when people vote out of their atheistic secular beliefs?

The first obvious thing is to look for existing models or precedents. Soviet Russia is the pre-eminent example. One of Marxism's axioms is that 'religion is the opium of the people'. The form of communism there was both highly secular AND atheistic. God was driven from public life. All mention of Him was made either illegal or censored. Churches were closed, priests murdered or sent to gulags (Soviet concentration camps). Christians were heavily persecuted in 100 petty and serious ways. If religion is the root of all evil in society, that should have made Soviet society a model for the world. Instead we all know how it served as one of the premier examples of 20th century totalitarianism. People tried to flee its stifling oppression, over 20 million people died under Stalin alone – the biggest genocide of the 20th century, even outstripping Hitler's holocaust. People were forced to recognise the state as the supreme social entity as it took on an almost totemic significance.

Soviet Russia collapsed, at least in part because the human being was not made to live such an unnatural life. But the experiment was tried elsewhere – China, Cambodia etc., all around the world we find places where there were attempts to introduce secular atheistic societies that left nothing but human misery in their wake. So the secular atheistic model doesn't seem to be able to deliver Utopia either – indeed it seems even more intolerable to those living under it than the theocracies so often derided in western media; such as Saudi Arabia. While I wouldn't like to live in such a society, the Saudis have not had genocide in contrast to the Chinese or Russian or Cambodian examples.

"Sure", you say. "But you could apply the same argument that I applied above to Bush – that this is not representative of the real thing. That's not real secular atheism, but various corruptions of it. There's no rationality in it. Now, if we had rationality…."

This is an old 18th century enlightenment idea. Various philosophers, engaged in rational thought themselves, began to extrapolate from their own enlightened minds onto the the human race and think that everyone was basically rational like themselves, and if all just used our reason we could do away with religion, superstition, perhaps even government (anarchists eat your heart out!) and just use our pure reason to govern ourselves for the common good!

Sounds like a wonderful idea, a Utopia based on reason…. But they overlooked human nature. They didn't factor in greed, egotism, dishonesty, avarice and so on, all of the inconvenient things that help to block reason, or that can appear very reasonable to someone interested only in short-term gain for themselves. Plus not everyone agrees on what is 'reasonable' How do we decide who is the most reasonable and therefore whose viewpoint should be taken as the model on which to base laws etc.,?

We can't really use the majority rule model. As several people on this site have pointed out, the majority isn't always right. The minority may have the better point of view. But in a democracy, people get the society they want. If that is so, and the people want a religious society, then that is what they should get. If they want a secular one, then that is what they should get.

It can be difficult to decide what is right or wrong since even rationalisations can be subjective. I gave the example of Grenouile (from 'Perfume') in an earlier thread to show what can happen when someone works off a different set of rationalisations to the majority. His actions – killing the girls but preserving their scent – were perfectly rational to him, however gross they might appear to the majority. The result is that such a person is termed mad and locked up. But once again we find ourselves back at the 'majority rules' model. And what happens (as in Nazi Germany for example) that a particular course of action is commonly thought reasonable and for the benefit of society?

Even in the Middle Ages – so stereotyped as being THE era of superstition, their behaviour was in fact, perfectly rational. If you believe in heaven and hell, it makes perfect sense to pray, go on pilgrimage etc., The difference is that today, because of the sucesses of empirical science in describing the physical world and its inability to decide on metaphysical questions, there are people who believe we are at the apex of social evolution (despite having to explain away two of the worst and most widespread wars in history which killed more people than all previous wars combined – wars that had nothing to do with religion and were based on cold logic) and that our behaviour is therefore superior and somehow more rational than the behaviour of all societies in the past.

So what of the secular atheists who believe in the power of empiricism and reason to provide a better society?

In a previous thread we discussed the contentious issue of abortion. A summary view of the debate shows it can be characterised as falling into two camps. On one side the 'religionists' are generally opposed to abortion, firstly on the grounds that all human life is a unique gift from God to be preserved until He calls it back to Him. On the other side you will find most 'rational secular atheists' are in favour of abortion to varying degrees. Some see it as a simple matter of choice, abortion-on-demand; others see it as an option in some cases. None view the life within the womb as an unborn human being up to a certain point – though they cannot all agree on what that point should be. Some say 24 weeks, others say when there's a nervous system, others say when you can see the humanoid form.

If we reject the religious objection to abortion - as secular atheists insist we do - can empirical science help us out here? Surprisingly it can. Empirical science has managed to prove beyond doubt that what is growing in the womb is in fact a unique human being, a new life. Powerful sceintific learning and equipment are able to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only time this new life is 'a potential life' (as those in favour of choice / abortion like to say in its justification) is when the child 'is a twinkle in his father's eye' – in other words when the egg and sperm are still separate.
   Once they meet and conception takes place, we have a unqiue genetic code and a new human being. It may be 'only a collection of cells' but then so are we all, and we all return to dust in the end.

More detail here: (link)

What matters is that in this instance empirical science has come out in favour of the Christian religious verdict that pre-dated it: each human life is something that begins from conception. Anything else is simply a point along a continuum that only ends at death.

So what happens when secular atheists are given this empirical science, that they insist should be the bedrock of our modern social policy?

They ignore it. They refuse to believe it. At this point they have abandoned both empiricism and rationality and crossed over into the belief they condemn. For they now choose to believe that the new life begins at some time of their arbitrary choice after conception. To me, this is even worse than flirting with Christian beliefs without implementing them fully, as Bush does. Without even the reference to the higher moral authority of God we can convince ourselves of anything. From there, any premise is possible and many heinous acts can be justified on the grounds the person was 'not fully human' – ranging from abortion, through to partial-birth abortion, to euthanasia, to war, execution, genocide, slavery and many other evils the Christian religion has traditionally condemned (I am aware of St.Paul's advice to slaves to obey their masters, much abused by plantation owners of later years to justify their actions and totally taken out of context. More on that later when I get round to it).

Bee "How safe is it to have political leaders in the world's most powerful country who think the earth is 6000 years old and evolution doesn't/didn't happen? I could care less if Joe Cracker from Orlando believes that, but beliefs like that are in direct opposition to reality, no matter how many ways you say 'Goddidit'"

But then how safe is it to have atheistic secular leaders who believe that children before birth are not really human at all, and not entitled to the same right to life as everyone else automatically expects. Even when such beliefs are in direct opposition to reality? It's certainly not safe for generations of children as yet unborn; or ultimately for anyone as it creates a sliding scale of humanity on which we may all slip eventually.


Axiom No.2 : "Secularism, atheism, human rationality and empiricism alone are no guarantees against the perversion of human nature or for a better society"


What use is empiricism and reason if they are so lightly abandoned when they stand in the way of people's desires? Are they of any greater utility than religion? I would argue they are of even less use. Of the two, empiricism is the more useless. All it can do is to give us certain facts about the physical world. This is good and potentially useful, but that all depends on what we do about this information. Empiricism alone cannot guide us in making the correct moral choices. It can give us the information we need to build an atomic device but cannot tell us whether we should use it. We need something else to guide us in this question which empiricism cannot touch. Can 'reason' be of use? Unfortuantely, it too, has its weakness. People can create rationalisations for almost any act they wish to commit. For example, someone reasons 'why shouldn't I help myself to a few pads of office notepaper or pens? I put in enough unpaid overtime to deserve it" and the company pays you without knowing. The Christian perspective is that both parties are enagaged in theft. The company is stealing from the employee by getting him to work extra time unpaid. Jesus said in the Bible quite clearly that the 'workman deserves his wages'. On the other hand, even though a Christian might be compassionate towards him knowing the circumstances, the employee is quite clearly stealing too and should stop. In other words, it is not OK to do something bad just because someone else is – 'never benchmark yourself against badness'. Christian morality takes commandment no.8 here – thou shalt not steal.

We see a neat dovetailing of science, religion and reason in the abortion question.

Christianity has long held human life to a unique sacred gift from God. It could not back up this claim scientifically where life in the womb was concerned. Yet in recent centuries empirical science has been able to do this. We can now see life at an ever earlier stage and understand its mechanics far better than those who formulated church doctrine all those years ago. We realise that empirically they were right, too. Reason can come into play: there is clear logic. Sperm + egg = the full set of gametes to create a new DNA, a new identity. Prior to that, that identity is a 'potential identity' only. Logically it follows that what grows from that point on is a unique human being that goes through all stages on a continuum until it reaches the end of its life and dies. Once again, Christians see this as the act of God calling that life home in His own good time.

So, for me, empirical science, reason and my Christian religion can all go hand in hand. The first explains the physical workings of the world to my God-given curiosity (my ultimate curiosity is for God, but I take great pleasure in understanding the workings of physical creation too), logical reason and Christian belief togther form the basis for understanding the metaphysical questions of life, and dealing with the moral questions empiricism alone cannot cope with.


Just a few final observations. In "President of Good & Evil" Peter Singer repeats the question "We need to ask to what extent is it appropriate for the elected leaders of pluralist societies to invoke their religious faith on official occasions… and to use it as a basis for policy on issues that affect others in the community who do not share those beliefs" (p.91)

To this we can point ot the following observations -

1)        the emphasis on the fact of pluralism as a motive for secularising society has a counterpoint in the implication that societies which are not pluralistic are free to be theocratic. Therefore we should hold our condemnation of say, middle eastern societies based on Sharia rule.

2)        But what are Christian beliefs? The Credo ("I believe in God…") sums these up for Catholics, and many points would be shared by Orthodox and Protestant also – is mostly about belief to do with the afterlife and about our relationship with God. We cannot pass any legislation dealing with the afterlife, so non-believers are safe from that. No legislation has, or likely ever will be, passed to oblige anyone to go to mass, pray the rosary etc., Even prayer in schools – where it exists – is optional. One might feel excluded, but one is not obliged to worship. The contrary was often the case in the past in pagan societies where christians were ordered on pain of death to worship some idol or other.

3)        Other than that, the central pillar of Christian belief are the 10 Commandments. The first 2 deal specifically with God. If one does not believe in Him, one is free to not to. But what of the other 8? Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat on your wife or husband. Don't want what your neighbour has. Don't slander or gossip about them.

We have to ask ourselves, what sector of society is it that 'doesn't share those beliefs'? Who are the people that consider it acceptable on the contrary to lie, cheat on your partner, kill and so on. These 'values' are not social, they are scoiopathic. We have to ask ourselves if any society interested in its own survival – even a very pluralistic one – can tolerate such socially harmful values in its midst. The only answer is clearly it cannot.

Yes, you say, but these are not the 'beliefs' we are talking about. We are talking about the belief that there is a God, that His son Jesus voluntarily died on the Cross on our behalf. That is what we object to!

But hold on a minute. Atheists say there is no God. If He doesn't exist, it doesn't make any difference whatsoever if people pray to Him. It changes nothing in this world. As I already pointed out, no-one in our western society is obliged to pray or believe in God, even if the President claims to (and I have already commented on what I feel about his actions). There may be sectors of society or geographical areas where one feels isolated or fearful because one is an atheist in a community where the majority are believers. That's socially difficult, but in a pluralistic society we must allow the believers their freedom to practise. We could take away their free will and oblige them all to be atheists and make ourselves feel more at home. And we have already spoken of places and times where this happened – as in Soviet Russia. I'm surprised there wasn't a flood of secular atheists to Russia in the old days where they'd be guaranteed separation of church and state, religion being regarded as 'the biggest evil of all'.

I am reminded me of a CS Lewis book called "That Hideous Strength" (part of a trilogy) where a central character, Mark finds himself working for a kind of corporation / organistaion called NICE. As often with such acronyms, the name hides a more sinister reality. As he is inducted further up the ranks and into the workings of this corporation, Mark is asked to demonstrate his loyalty to the way of science, progress etc., by trampling and spitting on a crucifix. CS Lewis writes this as the forces of evil overplaying their hand. "Having instilled in him by their [NICE corp] techniques a sense of the meaninglessness of the world, and the irrelevance of all religion, he [Mark] questions why they should then be so insistent that he desecrate a crucifix. If a crucifix has no value or meaning what is the point of abusing it? It leads him to wonder if there are not deeper forces at work than he ever dreamed might exist" (Gareth Knight in "The Magical World of the Inklings").


And there are many other sectors of society where it is believers who feel isolated. They don't often pray or express their beliefs publicly for fear of the ridicule of non-belivers. They just learn to live with it and endure the slings and arrows.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:13 PM

HOLY MACKEREL!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:16 PM

IF you can't beat them in debate, baffle them with bullshit. Been there, done that.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:21 PM

OOPs! Forgot the link in the last post, anyway it was just a link to the thread where we discussed the abortion issue, which you can easily find.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:26 PM

Alright, you guys clearly don't want rational discussion. I'll leave you to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:27 PM

Amos "F you can't beat them in debate, baffle them with bullshit. Been there, done that"

If you say so!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Mrr, checking in fast on another computer
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 08:16 PM

Um - Jesus was the first and only instance in any culture of a God deciding to come down and live amongst His creation as one of them... - no, actually most gods lived among the people rather than in the unattainable sky, if you look at the history of religion.

And lots of gods before Jesus died.

Now, it may be that the god of Abraham might be the first to have deliberately SENT an avatar to die, specifically - but that doesn't seem to be in that god's favor...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 10:40 PM

Nick: I'm going to speak strictly for myself here, not for all atheists or all secularists or all anybody. I'm also not going to speak of other religions, since here in North America, it is Christianity we must live with.

It's all very well to say Bush and others like him, who claim to be talking to God and Jesus, are not acting like Christians should act and therefore we shouldn't judge Christianity based on their actions, despite their claims of having God on their side. But a very large portion of the US population believes apparently that actions like those Bush has taken are perfectly in line with their Christian beliefs, and they will cheerfully bring up both Old and New Testament precedents to back them up.

You say: "From what we know of God, God does not use either lies or murder to achieve His objectives. "
But there are examples from the Old Testament that suggest God has done exactly those kinds of things, or told men to do them, in the tales of genocides ordered by God and in events like the hardening (three times) of Pharoah's heart, which is a kind of lying, since Pharoah was disposed to let the Israelites leave except for God's manipulation of his mind.

You may say, like some Christians do, that the Old Testament is irrelevant, but there are many who think the OT is as relevant as the New, and it is certainly the source of information about the Christian God, supposedly the same being as the 'reformed' God of the NT. The NT also still holds women to be lesser (despite the many attempts by genuinely feminist Christians to explain Paul's words away), and is the source of diatribes against homosexuality.
If we must ferret out whether a Christian leader is an OT kinda guy or an NT kinda guy before trusting them not to practice lying and murdering, we still have a problem with loudly praying Christians in the White House.

To your Axiom No. 1 I say, I think Christianity is as good or bad as the individual who professes it, but it is also a guide to how that person might act, once you figure out what kind of Christian they are, and if they are an OT believing, Young Earth Creationist, and evangelistic as well, how can we trust them not to undermine science research and education, reverse gender equality, and work toward Armageddon?

I'm inclined to call your argument by Soviet Russia and French rationalists a scare tactic. I don't think there are many atheists who want to stop people from worshipping however they like - we just don't want our lives constricted or devastated by wars or made shorter and nastier by a refusal to allow science to progress. What is wrong with running a country based on rationality and compassion, two aspects of humanity which can be found and practiced regardless of who or what you might or might not be inclined to pray to?

You say: "But then how safe is it to have atheistic secular leaders who believe that children before birth are not really human at all, and not entitled to the same right to life as everyone else automatically expects. Even when such beliefs are in direct opposition to reality? It's certainly not safe for generations of children as yet unborn; or ultimately for anyone as it creates a sliding scale of humanity on which we may all slip eventually."

If I get into the abortion topic, my post will get longer than yours, if it isn't already. I will just note that science has also found that between forty five and sixty five (some estimates are higher) percent of conceptions - that's after sperm and egg unite to form your unique human - naturally abort, miscarry, slough away, during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Given God's care of unique human life, he appears mighty careless of what happens to it those first few weeks.

You speak as if atheists would wholesale stop the reproduction process, which is ridiculous, since atheists are humans who have babies themselves. Atheists, however, would not place barriers before women trying to get various forms of birth control, would not refuse to prescribe morning after pills (or even refuse to sell contraceptives, like some Christian pharmacists), and might try to offer poor women better health care and better prenatal care, and better financial and social assistance if they actually have children. The person who is for choice says, don't have an abortion if you don't want one. The anti choice person says, you have no choice because of our God.

Again: I don't care if people believe in the supernatural. I do care if they require me to live as if I believed in it, and Christianity is muddy enough to let politicians claim it sincerely and still act like monsters in the real world.

Lastly, I cannot believe that living in the US you could describe Christians as 'feeling isolated', when Christians are eighty percent of your population and almost fifty percent of people profess themselves to be creationists (don't believe in evolution).


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:55 AM

OK, here is a very common misapprehension:

Atheists say there is no God. If He doesn't exist, it doesn't make any difference whatsoever if people pray to Him. It changes nothing in this world.

Our argument is that it DOES make a difference because people are wasting their energies doing something useless, that (indeed, as you say) doesn't change anything, when they could be ACCOMPLISHING something, like fixing whatever problem they are praying about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 11:04 AM

Nick:

Instead of reviewing your deeply embedded premises, you have rolled out extensive (to put it mildly) discussions about the world as it would seem to be if those premises had actual validity in the working of the world.

This is an endless screed. The reason our human history from HErod's infanticide to the destruction of the World Trade Center and the insurgencies of Iraq is so riddled with insanity is because of the same gap in reasoning which informs your lengthy dissertation.

This is the simple truth of the matter, in my view: if you postulate inaccurate assumptions abotu any system, then any analysis of the system will breed multiplying complexity and generate endless efforts to compensate for that complexity, which was introduced by mis-assumptions in the first instance.

This is the actual reasoning behind my terse dismissal.

What you have defended as rational dialogue is actually something else -- a long tape of noise which will not be resolved because it embraces the very generators of noise in its premises. These premises are built intot he terms you use, and the intermediate assumptions that lie behind the steps of your reasoning, and color the whole thing. To my view this is trying to measure a curve-ball universe with a straight-edge. It will never come out quite right.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 11:15 AM

Bee - Wow, you really laid it out!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 12:05 PM

I am going to find out from the Sartre people if it's OK, so we don't get into any kind of copyright troubles, and, if it is, I'll have Joe change this thread from "..no gods..." to "No Exit"--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 01:54 PM

well...maybe I should be glad my recent minor surgery kept me from sitting up and following this much the last few days. My penchant for agonizing over the details would have eaten up hours of sorting out logic from linguistics from theology from silliness from history from .....whatever.

I think I will just thank Amos for HIS version of what I tried to say a week of more ago about embedded assumptions, circular reasoning and linguistic confusions.

Nickhere...if you are still following.... I see in your posts a very common, but highly developed, form of complex rationalization to support and defend your belief system. You mix psychology with cultural ideas and connect themes with subjective notions of relevance and value in ways in which 'seemingly' obvious facts prop up dubious claims with largely rhetorical links.

If I were to write a paper on 'why' religious concepts have such staying power among humans, I might use your screed for many examples, but in the final analysis, all we are left with is that you 'feel' comforted and supported by your personal interpretation of the value & relevance of a particular version of one religious tradition.....which is fine. No one expects you to 'change' because a bunch of skeptics pick at you. But be aware that the more complex your defense and argument, the more you expose yourself to critiques based on your employment of faulty logic and careless use of terminology. Religion can be explained and defended from within, after a set of assumptions and beliefs is clarified and understood by those discussing it...but...and this is important....there is a reason why religious tenets are described as beliefs! (Yes, I know that it is possible to claim 'value' for religion quite apart from 'truth'...but that introduces a different debate.)

In any case, it is always edifying for me to read and participate in these discussions, as it helps me to clarify my OWN thoughts and practice expressing them within different contexts...but after awhile, most of these discussions begin, as my daddy used to say, to be "the same, only different".

I think this tread has achieved new horizons in my daddy's view of it all...*grin*

I


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 09:36 PM

OK, now, somebody please tell me what a screed is? Is it a fast creed?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:01 PM

Google knows all

in this case, a long, informal piece of writing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:03 PM

at least it's not the past tense of a verb.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: bobad
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:29 PM

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.Unknown

The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.Eric Hoffer

More here Top 50 Atheism Quotes


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:32 PM

I think the past pluperfect of the verb you are thinking of is scrod.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:08 AM

Thanks for the explication...

Great quotes! I especially like One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion (Arthur C. Clarke)!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:23 AM

And also: attempts to introduce secular atheistic societies [have]left nothing but human misery in their wake - You are talking about attempts to IMPOSE atheism upon societies. Totalitarianism is not a good form of government, whether theistic or not. None of us "radical" atheists want atheism imposed - we just want religion to be UN-imposed.

I'll get to your misapprehensions about abortion later. I wish I had more time!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:14 AM

It is a nice thought, but not really true. In fact, one of the most common, and, to my way of thinking, most valid criticisms of both religious groups and individuals, is that they often fail to apply any moral judgement to either themselves or to the world around them.

Some random xamples include failure of many religious groups to oppose the invasion of Iraq and Pope Pius XII's public indiference to the holocaust. Also in the fact that leadership in morality based issues, like physical and sexual abuse of children, drunk driving, public smoking, sexual exploitation of women, involuntary servitude, not to mention environmental activism, tends to come from outside, rather than within religious movements.

Given that, there are many religious groups and religious people who have taken and take courageous stands on these and other important moral issues. There should be way more, though--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:37 AM

As Ted points out handily, clear, courageous moral judgement is sometimes present, sometimes lacking in religious groups.

Oddly enough, but what I expect would be comparable porportions, clear and courageous moral judgement is sometimes present, sometimes lacking, in the population at large who are indifferenty to religious standards.

My tentative conclusion from this is that moral courage and clarity come from within, and are independent of which set of icons, precepts and myths one does or does not espouse.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:41 AM

Oh, I don't know, sexual exploitation of women is alive and well and living in both Christianity and Islam, if not elsewhere in religions...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:50 AM

Mrzy:

Exactly my point; these things are turned on individual sensibility.

In fact, I suspect that belonging to an agreement-cluster centered around some arbitrary power-icon can actually damage one's moral clarity, because one has to filter one's data to keep it consistent with the mythology, rather than focusing clearly on what one has seen or experienced directly.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 12:19 PM

Amos...I just read that about 6 times, and about time 4 I was working on a translation that would remain succinct, yet convey the overwhelming significance of the observation.
   I'm not there yet....but I do remember a story from long ago about a girl in a Catholic school who wanted to do a report on a book that was on the forbidden list.
She asked (a priest?) why she couldn't, and was told "We have already read certain books and determined that they are not suitable or necessary for students." (paraphrased)

She replied, "Why not let US read them and see why they are not suitable?" (again, paraphrased)

anyway...I offer my corollary to your observation..."If you rely mostly on authority, you will inherit all the problems stemming from any flaws, dishonesty or incompetence embedded IN that authority."


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 05:26 PM

China is an avowedly atheistic nation, which embraces rational, scientific solutions to problems like population growty. Though I could blame atheism and population control advocates for the female infanticide, and the related boom in kidnapping and slave-trading of women, that have resulted from their "one family/one child" I don't--

This problem, and others like it, result when monolithic power structures control human society--it doesn't matter whether the power structures are nominally religious or atheistic, the
results are the same.

Gendercide:Female Infanticide

in September 1997, the World Health Organization's Regional Committee for the Western Pacific issued a report claiming that "more than 50 million women were estimated to be 'missing' in China because of the institutionalized killing and neglect of girls due to Beijing's population control program that limits parents to one child." (See Joseph Farah, "Cover-up of China's gender-cide", Western Journalism Center/FreeRepublic, September 29, 1997.) Farah referred to the gendercide as "the biggest single holocaust in human history."

According to Peter Stockland, "Years of population engineering, including virtual extermination of 'surplus' baby girls, has created a nightmarish imbalance in China's male and female populations." (Stockland, "China's baby-slaughter overlooked," The Calgary Sun, June 11, 1997.) In 1999, Jonathan Manthorpe reported a study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, claiming that "the imbalance between the sexes is now so distorted that there are 111 million men in China -- more than three times the population of Canada -- who will not be able to find a wife." As a result, the kidnapping and slave-trading of women has increased: "Since 1990, say official Chinese figures, 64,000 women -- 8,000 a year on average -- have been rescued by authorities from forced 'marriages'. The number who have not been saved can only be guessed at. ... The thirst for women is so acute that the slave trader gangs are even reaching outside China to find merchandise. There are regular reports of women being abducted in such places as northern Vietnam to feed the demand in China." (Jonathan Manthorpe, "China battles slave trading in women: Female infanticide fuels a brisk trade in wives," The Vancouver Sun, January 11, 1999.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 05:28 PM

I meant to say "population growth", and everything that follows the blue clicky is a quote from--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 05:50 PM

This is the kind of news story about the country next door that worries me:

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Huckabee_Amend_Constitution_to_meet_Gods_0115.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 06:37 PM

Oh, good grief! Just what we need... a quiet, reasonable, personable fellow who flatly can't CONCEIVE of separating church & state!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 06:46 PM

"....I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

Does he REALLY not see the problems with that assumption that everyone would just shrug and 'see' the virtues of "the living god"??!!??

How can a serious presidential candidate be so oblivious to the affront he is giving to non-"Christian" folks?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 08:02 PM

The fact that a nice, bright guy like this could have graduated from college without learning either science or civics is a damning indictment of our educational system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 08:20 PM

The man is being a lickspittle to his base; it makes him dangerous. More dangerous than McCain? I dunno.


Between wanting to wreak havoc using the power of the Almighty and wanting to wreak havoc using the power of the U.S. Marines is six of one, half-a-dozen of the other. In both cases insanity and woe will ensue.

Someone should tell him "All your bases are belong to US!!"

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 08:37 PM

Clearly, being unprepared to defend the Constitution, he is not qualified to take office.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 08:52 PM

I followed that link from Pharyngula at ScienceBlogs, to Raw Story, just to verify - I can't view the video, but I assume Huckabee indeed said that.

BillD said "Oh, good grief! Just what we need... a quiet, reasonable, personable fellow who flatly can't CONCEIVE of separating church & state!"

Exactly - I've seen the man speak a few times (American politics is inescapable in Canada, pretty much) and could easily see having him over for dinner and pleasant conversation.

I imagine in reality it would be fairly difficult to legally revamp the American Constitution in such a gargantuan fashion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:29 PM

It would require a massive state-by-state consensus, and would not happen lightly. But stranger things have happened -- the experiment with Abolition, the election of GW Bush, and the effort to impeach Bill Clinton come to mind.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:20 PM

BillD:

Well, thanks, I think. Sometimes you just gotta say it as best you can and let the chips fall where they may, kinda like ole Bucky Fuller. Impossible to read, but he always at least seemed brilliant.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:45 PM

On the other hand, Noam Chomsky is hard to read too, but if you stay with it long enough, he kind of makes sense in the end. Would he even bother to comment?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 11:02 AM

You're welcome, Amos....I meant it in the best way possible.
Your remark falls into the same class of aphorisms as

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
and
"It all depends on whose ox is being gored"

But the phrasing could use a wee bit of polishing to achieve 'timeless classic' status...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 01:23 PM

According to Business Week magazine Buddism is growing among the young urban professionals of China. The story is called China's Spiritual Awakening

Read here


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM

It's sad to see them backslide that way!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 06:16 PM

Actually, Buddhism is the only one of the major religions that doesn't cause a person to backslide into an authoritarian, other-defined world-view, but to find their own center and spiritual nature by their own experience. This places it miles ahead of what passes for religion most places. So-- do you call it back-sliding because it doesn't get them to realize how apathetic and hopeless life as a collection of molecules has to be?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 06:29 PM

It's kind of like the NRA. If you let them take your Sherman Tank, the next thing they'll want is your Weatherby Rifle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 06:35 PM

Ah, but, M.Ted, it's religion that is keeping us from educating our children!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 07:08 PM

ah, be fair, Mrrzy...one man's education is another man's indoctrination .

This debate has two sides, and it requires us on the atheist/skeptic side to be very careful what WE teach and claim, lest we be guilty of the same logical errors common with many on the other side.

It ain't easy........


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 07:30 PM

Still, it doesn't make a lot of sense to be teaching buffoonery to children.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:06 PM

BillD - "the atheist/skeptic side to be very careful what WE teach and claim"
Indeed.....

eg:

Bee: "I don't think there are many atheists who want to stop people from worshipping however they like"

Mrrrzy: "…And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality…"


And

Mrrzzy: "Oh, I don't know, sexual exploitation of women is alive and well and living in both Christianity and Islam, if not elsewhere in religions..."

For example? Maybe you're thinking of how secular western society exploits women in the form of pornography, lap dancing etc., and above all in the way in which almost any product or newspaper you care to name is sold utilising sexually suggestive images of women. Then there is the pressure on women to present themselves sexually (read John Berger's "Ways of Seeing") I think you underestimate the extent to which Muslim women, and many Christian women, regard such a humiliating degradation of their sexuality with horror. The freedom to be made a spectacle of for commercial gain doesn't seem like much of a freedom. A bit like having the freedom to be beaten up or something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 09:30 PM

Nickhere said: "Bee: "I don't think there are many atheists who want to stop people from worshipping however they like"

Mrrrzy: "…And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality…"


And

Mrrzzy: "Oh, I don't know, sexual exploitation of women is alive and well and living in both Christianity and Islam, if not elsewhere in religions..."

For example? Maybe you're thinking of how secular western society exploits women in the form of pornography, lap dancing etc., and above all in the way in which almost any product or newspaper you care to name is sold utilising sexually suggestive images of women. Then there is the pressure on women to present themselves sexually (read John Berger's "Ways of Seeing") I think you underestimate the extent to which Muslim women, and many Christian women, regard such a humiliating degradation of their sexuality with horror. The freedom to be made a spectacle of for commercial gain doesn't seem like much of a freedom. A bit like having the freedom to be beaten up or something. "


Mrrzy is one atheist, and I doubt she means what you seem to be implying.

Speaking for myself, I think it's unfortunate, and does a disservice to children, when they are taught only the misperceptions of reality fed them by a variety of religions.

As for the secular use of sexuality for commercial gain, that is something that demands social change, not religious prohibitions surrounding how women comport themselves.

Outside of religion, women have the freedom to work themselves toward changing society any way they feel is good. Within religion, women are told variously: don't preach, don't speak, don't uncover your head/legs/arms/torso/face, don't speak to men outside your church/family, don't try to become educated. They are told men will lead them, protect them, and speak for them - and we all know how grand a job religious men have made of that.

Time after time we find religion exploiting women, using their labour without compensation and without granting them power in accordance, hiding the sexual misbehaviour of the men who are supposed to protect them, punishing them for their sexuality, preventing them from acheiving full lives on an equal footing with men. Just because some Christian Protestant churches espouse full gender equality, and other Western churches at least don't have the power to control women as they once did, does not mean that the vast majority of religious organisations in the world are not acting just as they always have, holding women to be inferior to men.

You needn't look outside Christianity for the vestiges and unpleasant remnants of these beliefs: Promise Keepers and their cult of the male, the many churches which still disallow women to preach or become priests, the Amish and others like them who hide the sexual crimes committed against women in their communities, various Evangelicals with their odd moralities surrounding pants and skirts...

Go over to christianforums.com and hang out for a while: it is a huge forum with thousands of contributors of all Christian denominations, a scattering of other religious, and a few atheists. A frightening number of people there interpret Paul directly and believe women are to be ruled by men.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 08:56 AM

I meant that the Christian and Moslem treatment of nd attitude towards women is disgraceful. Judaism isn't much better but at least they can work.

The women in the old Star Trek episode were happy with their freedom to wear the skimpiest outfits... I can understand Christian and Moslem women being shocked, but reasonable thinkers? Why would they mind?

And teaching children the realities of the natural world as demonstrable through science and observation, which is becoming forbidden in this country (US) when it contradicts some people's Scripture, cannot be termed indoctrination without a terrible misuse of the term. The term indoctrination, I mean.

Are we having fun yet?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:08 AM

Bee: Mrrrzy: "…And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality…
Mrrzy is one atheist, and I doubt she means what you seem to be implying"

Whether it was an unguarded comment or intentional, (the most charitable) meaning is clear - 'up to now atheists have been indulgently tolerant of the self-harming foolishness of 'believers'. But the time has come to be more forceful and 'believers' must no longer be allowed to carry on as they have'. And if that's the patriarchal tone on an internet forum, I can only quake at what would happen should such a person gain responsiblity for the legislature.

Mrrzzy may be only one atheist, but I have found the same tone emanating from many others (on and off mudcat). The comments on education are a drift in the same direction. In essence, they say 'children must not be educated by 'believers'. This would be their detriment. Education should be in the hands of secularists or even better, atheists'

Only BillD has sounded a note of caution over this approach, every other atheist seems happy to go along with it unquestioningly. The result will be, as usual, either Totalitarianism A or Totalitarianism B. Why not teach the children both theories (e.g the Big Bang AND creationism) and let them make their minds up for themselves? If creationists are wrong and the kids hear both accounts, reason should triumph. Wouldn't that be the most open-minded thing to do?

BTW, I myself am not a creationist as in 'the world is 6,000 years old; dinosaur fossils were put ther by satan' etc etc


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:19 AM

Nick - If you know creationism not to be true, why would you want to teach it to children in science classes?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:20 AM

Mrrzzy: "I meant that the Christian and Moslem treatment of nd attitude towards women is disgraceful. Judaism isn't much better but at least they can work"

Last time I checked, Christian women are allowed to work too. Though 'sexual exploitation' encompasses 'disgraceful treatment' the reverse is not necessarily the case. All three monotheisms you speak of have at least not exploited women sexually as is openly done in our 'civilise' western society. Sometimes I get so fed up of it I am tempted to write to the big companies and TV stations and tell them specifically I will NOT buy any products they advertise using gratuitous images of women. Of course they'd probably write me off as a 'fundamentalist' or a 'killjoy'.

You seem mostly to have Islam in mind in your comments on women. While you say the problem of sexual exploitation in the secular west is a social problem, you don't seem to realise the status of women in middle eastern societies is also a social issue. While it's true (as far as I know) that the Koran says women should obey men etc., it's unlikely men would have taken this religious justification much further unless it served some use. When you scrach the surface it has less to do with religion than chauvanism. All through history, in religious and secular societies, there has been a tendency by men to treat women as sex objects and exploit their physically weaker nature.

You also overlook the tireless work done by many religious, pastors, priests and nuns in saving women from exploitation, such as being sold into sexual slavery, kidnapped etc., (as M.Ted noted in China). They often risk their lives to do so, and act both from rational human compassion and the belief - based in their religion - that all human life is sacred and God-given.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:23 AM

Ringslinger - freedom of speech, freedom of choice. All the things you atheists profess to believe in. I disagree with atheists on many points as well, but I don't want to silence them. 'The truth will always out' as they say. It doesn't need censorship to help it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:26 AM

It's not an issue here, no one wants to teach creationism. But it seems that that's not the case in the USA. So maybe, in a pluralistic society, a way can be found to accomodate everyone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:38 AM

at least not exploited women sexually ? What do you call sewing them shut?

And I repeat, repeat, repeat, I am not arguing against faith. I am arguing against denying reality when it contradicts your faith.

Why can't people just believe that their god created the world the way it actually is? Then all this demonstrated reality wouldn't have to be denied, it could be just a test of faith.

And even a pluralistic society should have a DUTY towards the children in it to give them an actual education, even if said education includes demonstrable facts that contradict their parents' superstitions. It is to me a cruelty to the kids to kowtow to their parents' religious beliefs (those that contradict demonstrable reality) in the name of "respect" those demonstrably-false beliefs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:54 AM

"And I repeat, repeat, repeat, I am not arguing against faith"

That's not what it sounded like before, as I mentioned.

"at least not exploited women sexually ? What do you call sewing them shut?"

A horrible, dreadful violence. But is this the result of religion or of a chauvanistic society? What do you call getting a women hooked on heroin and then forcing her into prostitution or porn flicks?

"Why can't people just believe that their god created the world the way it actually is? Then all this demonstrated reality wouldn't have to be denied, it could be just a test of faith"

I do believe God created the world the way it actually is - He got the ball rolling and nature and evolution both took their course. There's no reason why intelligent design couldn't have guided the initial steps that led us to where we are today. I just don't believe the world is 6,000 years old etc. That flies in the face of geology, and so on.

When you talk of the duty of a pluralistic society, have you forgotten that 'pluralism' means a variety of viewpoints and voices - precsiely what'd be lacking in your model where the wsihes of parents are overriden? What you are trying to create is a monolithic society.

And who is this impersonal 'society' that has a duty to kids? Are their parents not members of society too?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:01 AM

There's no reason why intelligent design couldn't have guided the initial steps that led us to where we are today.

God rolled the dice, and left the casino?

Where's the payoff?

Or did he see it was a losing roll and walk out?

Interesting argument -- it pushes the God factor back behind the Big Bang, where it can't be evaluated. A perfectly good creation myth.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM

Back to the facile God comments, Amos?

What's the difference between a pile of stones and a house?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:27 AM

Nick, it is not atheist politicians who are calling for changing the US constitution to bring it in line with the Bible, disregarding the millions of citizens who don't believe in the Bible at all. Have you no comment on Huckabee's speech, which I posted about in this thread earlier? You keep trying to make out that Mrrzy would make it illegal for you to teach your children your religion, when all she asks is that you NOT teach it to ALL school children. Do as you like at home.

You say: "Why not teach the children both theories (e.g the Big Bang AND creationism) and let them make their minds up for themselves? If creationists are wrong and the kids hear both accounts, reason should triumph. Wouldn't that be the most open-minded thing to do?"

There are many, many creation myths. Should they all be taught as alternate theories in a school science class? Teaching creationism as a theory on the same plane of reality as evolution is tantamount to opening your mind enough to let your brains fall out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:29 AM

Nickhere

Why not teach the children both theories (e.g the Big Bang AND creationism)

Both? Surely if you are going to teach one creation myth, you've got to teach them all. Here's a few to be going on with.

It's not an issue here, no one wants to teach creationism.

I'm not sure where "here" is for you, but if its the UK, have a look at this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:38 AM

Nick:

Your remark indicates you have a weak grasp of the nature of evolution.

Your question would be better phrased, "What's the difference between a house with one window missing and the same houose with the window in place?". Evolution does not go from a pile of stones to anything but -- possibly -- a slightly wetter pile of stones, or a fallen pile.
THere's no inconceivable change involved.

May I recommend, for as further explanation of this, "The Blind Watchmaker".

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:42 AM

Both? Surely if you are going to teach one creation myth, you've got to teach them all.

Some churches do, as a matter of fact.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:48 AM

And churches are welcome to. But not in my kids' - or any other kids' - science class.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:57 AM

Bee, Mrrzzy, you guys still seem to be missing your own point. You describe yourselves as atheists and actively promote a pluralistic society as part of your worldview. In one of her recent posts Bee lamented the fact that the majority of the US population are fuzzy-headed believers who would teach creationism in schools. What kind of pluralism is it that wants to silence the MAJORITY of its population? Are you saying you want the views of 20 percent (your figures) of the US' population imposed over the other 80 percent?

And sure, why not teach all various creation myths as you call them? It could be done in comparative religion class, or similar.

And yes, Bee, I have already commented on Huckabee - I said I'm not like him (at least from what I hear of him). "Our brains fall out"? So, we do need to be at least a bit close-minded, afterall?

"You keep trying to make out that Mrrzy would make it illegal for you to teach your children your religion, when all she asks is that you NOT teach it to ALL school children. Do as you like at home"

Mrrzzy's words speak for themselves. That was not all she asking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:58 AM

"Evolution... from a pile of stones to a slightly wetter pile of stones..."

Nice, but meaningless metaphor. And where did the wet come from?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:01 PM

I'm asking that religion not be taught as if it were reality. I am asking that reality be taught even if it contradicts some religions.

I am not saying make religion illegal. I'm saying, it's OK to find it silly. I am saying that there is nothing disrespectful in laughing at silliness. Or, that there is nothing to respect in the silly attitude that reality can't be true if it contradicts prior, unfounded (on reality) beliefs.

The wet comes from rain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:01 PM

"But not in my kids' - or any other kids' - science class"

And what if the majority of parents WANT their kids taught that in science class? Have you ever heard of democracy, Mrr? They could get in a special teacher to teach it, so that an atheistic teacher wouldn't be obliged to teach it against their beliefs.

The 'any other kids' extends your reach over the chilldren of other parents. Suppose I insisted your kids be taught religion? You can't have it both ways.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:09 PM

I am trying to live in a democracy, here. If the majority of Americans wanted slavery back, would that make it OK? I think not. This is no different.

And they ARE insisting that my kids be taught religion, which would be OK with me if it were in a philosophy class, but it's not. It's in SCIENCE classes, and that is wrong, and unfair to my children AND to other children, religious or not, who by virtue of having been born American (or brought here by others) have the right to a decent education.

We already, I believe, prevent the Christian Scientists from letting their children die from appendicitis, or other easily-fixed-by-medical-skills problems. Is that wrong, in your book? Would it be less wrong if more Americans were in favor of it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:12 PM

'Reality' is already being taught even if it contradicts some religions. The important question is how far do you want to go with that? Personally I feel it's ok for a tecaher to explain all about earth's 4-billion year timeframe etc., even if some Christians say it sin't so (I beg to differ with them on that one). I do not think it's ok for any teacher to say God doesn't exist, as that is something that cannot know; moreover if they insist on empiricism for their world model, they should also realise there is no empirical evidence to prove their belief.

I once had a teacher who dismissed the Holy Spirit as a pigeon (He's represented as a dove in old paintings). Now there's no way she can say for certain there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit, but she was presenting her belief (however well-founded) as fact. Moreover, she was missing the point - the Holy Spirit is a spirit, not a pigeon. This is only a representation in art, a symbol. I felt like standing up in class and saying "Miss, you're right - and the United Nations is just a bunch of leaves and wood!" (maybe I wasn't too far wrong either!) But being a small boy against the 'might' of the teacher and realising from her tone it wouldn't have gone down well, I kept silent.

And where did the rain come from?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:15 PM

Rain happens. It comes from clouds.

I'm not saying any teacher should say God doesn't exist. I'm saying, when what the teacher is trying to teach contradicts someone's superstitions, even those of the majority, the teacher should still be teaching whatever they are supposed to be teaching. It's exactly that feeling of small children against the teacher that I worry about.

Are you American, Nickhere? Where do you live?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:24 PM

As you point out in the slavery issue, I think there are degrees of seriousness. Teaching creationism and letting your kids die of appendicitis are in a different league. I agree that teaching creationism might be better doen in religion class, but I can see why some parents might want it done in science class.

We are - believer and atheist alike - all going to see our kids taught stuff we don't agree with in school. Our job as parents is to give them what we believe is the correct version at home. I think any cioncerned parent already does that. If your kids are taught creationism in school, you'll remedy that when they get home. When the teacher assigns homework, you'll give it to them 'both barrels' by helping your kid with their homework.

Nick: "why do we not have referenda to go to war? ...But I would still vote against it even if most Joe Soaps wanted to go to war!

As you can see from my earlier posts I don't believe majority rule always equates with moral correctness either. You stress your concern for kids dying from appendicitis due to Christian Science. That's not right, of course. But neither is it right that millions of unborn children have died because of atheists' belief in a right for people to have private control over their lives and deaths either.

What I am saying is you can't have it both ways - you can't argue for a pluralistic, encompassing society and for the silencing of some viewpoints you don't agree with in the same breath.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:38 PM

I haven't been arguing for a pluralistic, encompassing society. I have been arguing for freedom from religion.

How do you see teaching creationism as science, and letting your kids die of appendicitis, as in a different leagues? Aren't both just letting the parents have freedom of religion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:43 PM

No Mrr, I'm not American. I live in Europe. But I've been stateside (our word for the US) a few times. Thanks to a common langauge and the US' domninant position in world affairs i follow news from there, and have some sense of the culture as well. It seems to me to be a land of extremes - pacifists and gun-toting patriotic NRA all in the same land. Atheists and fundamentalist Christians. Perhaps if people could meet half way a bit more, it would help. To my outsiders view, it appears that Americans tend to view the world in very black or white terms, like Bush's 'your either with us or against us'. When I was in the US, I was surprised to find how few people had a passport or travelled outside the US. I suppose it's such a vast county that you have everything on your doorstep without having to go abroad. The culture of the US seems fairly uniform despite regional differences. The lanaguage is also widespread despite the rise of Spanish in Arizona and California.

In Europe on the other hand any time you go abroad you end up having to speak a different langauge, adjust to very different customs, eat different food (despite globalistaion) adjust to a different timetable (different shop opening hours for example), different cultures, until recently use different money. And you are still effectively ina different country, without a federal government (though Eurocrats hope to change all that soon).

So maybe we Europeans are more used to having to live alongside each other and adapt to difference. Maybe we realise there are many shades of grey, which is why most European countries were unenthusiastic about supporting Bush's simplistic world view of Muslims v. the civilised world.

For all that, the political scene in Europe these days is heavily atheist. You guys would be really happy here. The EU Commission a few years back got rid of one of their commissioners because they deemed him too 'religious' even though he promised to keep his religion a private matter. They knew what I have argued all along here - one's beliefs - religious or atheistic - can never be simply kept a private matter and one will always try and shape society according to them. But there is active hostility to religion from the political establishment here too. Having outgrown the need for church support in a heavily secularised world, political leaders are less wary of baring their atheistic teeth when the occasion rises. The way I see it, it may only be a matter of decades to a new kind of religious persecution. Already it is present here in the form of how religious people are ridiculed or singled out for villification by an secularistic and atheistic media.

BTW, I know rain comes from clouds... the comment was for Amos to figure out.... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:44 PM

In different leagues? I'll let you think about that one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:46 PM

"the teacher should still be teaching whatever they are supposed to be teaching"

It seems to me that that's part of the debate in the US. What are they supposed to be teaching?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:53 PM

You want freedom from religion. You want other people who want religion to be free of it as well. Other people want freedom from atheism. In the end in your country it'll probably come down to whoever shouts the loudest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Emma B
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 01:10 PM

'The EU Commission a few years back got rid of one of their commissioners because they deemed him too 'religious' even though he promised to keep his religion a private matter'

ROCCO BUTTIGLIONE -

'As a Roman Catholic, Buttiglione believes that homosexuality is a sin, and that "The family exists in order to allow women to have children and to have the protection of a male who takes care of them"' BBC News item

'Rocco Buttiglione sabotaged a European directive intended to outlaw discrimination in the workplace by introducing exemptions that allow the Italian military, police, prisons and social services to refuse to employ gay men and lesbians. Three years ago, during his first week as Italy's European Affairs minister, he called for a ban on artificial insemination and started a campaign to outlaw abortion. So much for the preposterous claim that Buttiglione, whose nomination by the incoming Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, caused an unprecedented crisis in Brussels last week, would not have permitted his private views to influence his public role.'
-- Joan smith writing in The Independent

"I would not want, as a Spanish citizen, to have a minister of justice who thinks that homosexuality is a sin and that a woman should stay at home to have children under the protection of her husband…. These are shocking attitudes—that is the least that one can say."
--Josep Borell, president of the European Parliament, October 7,
2004.15

'Mr Buttiglione has reactionary prejudices against gay people and women and that he tried to get sexual orientation removed as a ground of discrimination in the constitution. He has also proved himself, as a member of the Berlusconi government, complicit in widespread non-respect for the rule of law. On asylum, the Italian government is breaching the UN Refugee Convention by deporting migrants without allowing a determination of whether they qualify as refugees.'
--Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP

just for the record....


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM

Nickhere...in the latter part of my disclaimer, which you did not include in your quote, I said that we must be careful "lest we be guilty of the same logical errors common with many on the other side."

   Now...you say that you are comfortable with the idea that God " got the ball rolling and nature and evolution both took their course."

Fine....that is about the only way we can reconcile both viewpoints....some of us accept that idea, and some of us don't, but it allows us to study HOW evolution proceeded.
   The difficulty is that religious groups don't stay with that model. They tell us the God came back and intervened a number of times and held personal conversations with a 'few' humans and left instructions about how we were to behave (never mind that we had "free will") and proceeded to use metaphysical, 'spiritual' powers to create beings that could NOT be explained by evolution (angels, saviors, prophets...etc.) God did this when records and languages were rudimentary and, as I say only to a few men, whose word we have to take. No clear update or intervention has happened in a couple thoudand years, yet various humans...in many countries...have created ever more complex myths and stories....as men are wont to do.
I am supposed to believe that God gave us reason & free will, yet I am NOT to question the validity of old parchments and stories handed down for umpteen generations. Seems to me that a god, with infinite wisdom, would see that we have kinda muddled the original message...(and some areas of the world never got it at all)..and he'd drop in occasionally to 'remind' us of the rules. (What WOULD be the modern equivalent of a burning bush or stone tablets?)

...well, anyway, you see where I am going. It is not the **first cause** that keeps us arguing, as neither science or religion can really do more than speculate on that, but some really complex claims made later....some of which are in direct disagreement with each other.

THIS is the situation that makes me say "I can see 'why' believers accept various stories and scriptures...for various cultural, psychological and historical reasons...but I see nothing that clearly validates any of the specific belief structures."

For THIS reason, I and others need a world where 'believing' is understood, but not compelled...and what we see is some VERY strong attempts to compell adherence to certain rules imposed BY certain belief structures.

THIS is why we continue to resist, argue and worry when men like G.W. Bush and Mike Huckabee seem to be advocating government BY some religious doctrine. Even our money says "In God We Trust" when it is obvious that many of us do not!
THIS is why we complain when Christian prayers are foisted on meetings & schools where many are NOT Christian.
THIS is why we suggest that the answer to not believing in abortion is to not have one, instead of demanding that those who do not share the underlying religious stricture, still share the restriction.
THIS is why we are upset that a country with a Constitution that states "....shall make no law respecting establishment of religion" still requires the Pledge of Allegiance to say "under God". The rest of the clause says "...or prohibit the free exercise of (religion)..", but I can't see see how "free exercise" allows the tactics of intimidation used by the more zealous Christians to pressure and demand special privileges.

THIS is why, along with my ongoing attempt to accommodate perfectly understandable religious convictions and live happily with those who practice their religion quietly and non-confrontationally, I still feel the need to remind folks of the reality of the situation and refute obvious, public claims that any one group has **THE ANSWER**.

As I said...it ain't easy. But not trying is worse....


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 01:37 PM

The only place any religious doctrine has in a science class is as a classic example of pre-scientific thinking. However, to do so would probably upset those who cleave to the partiuclar religious doctrine in use.

Placving ten or twenty Creation Myths side by side might be instructive as to human nature, and would be a good thing to demonstrate such.

But arguing such beliefs as data in the scientific sense, or even in the psychological sense, would be harmful. They are metaphors,stories, myths and legends. The moral guidance they provide is not (for the most part) entered into one way or another by science.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 01:48 PM

For the record, Christian Science does not, and has not, required that its followers to use prayer only--Mrs. Eddy said, from the beginning, that if Christian Science wasn't working, the patient should stop using it and move on to a more conventional treatment--

Mrzzy said--"Ah, but, M.Ted, it's religion that is keeping us from educating our children!"--That is also not true. Nobody is keeping you from educating your children. If they aren't educated, it is your own fault.

Riginslinger is right about one thing--a lot of buffoonery is taught in schools--the most important thing that you can teach them is to recognize it, even when it isn't religious in nature--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:00 PM

BillD, I can see where you're coming from. I understand why some people in the US are in a flap over Huckabee and Bush. We're in a flap in Europe over Bush. You speak about God giving us freewill yet leaving us a set of instructions as if you find these terms mutually incompatible. But surely you must see that they are not. The 'set of instructions' are designed for our own good - we've been over this one on another thread and I think I demonstrated how we would be better off if we observed them. Yet we are free not to follow them, and many of us do not, often to our own detriment.

I perfectly accept your argument about not foisting prayer on schools. Any such prayer would be insincere at best, a pain on God's ears at worst (the pain coming from the fact that people were being forced to say them).

I can even understand why atheists have reservations about adherence to rules based on religious belief.

What I cannot understand is why atheists suddenly abandon reason when it comes to an issue like abortion. My opposition to abortion is based both in rationality AND religion (nor are the two mutually exclusive). It is based on the empirically-backed view that the embryo is a human being. It is also based on the sanctity of human life.

It is disingenuous to talk of 'choice' in the matter of private right to control the life and death of another human being. What you are basically saying is 'if you don't want to murder anyone, then don't. But let people who do want to murder make up their own minds'.

If that doesn't alert you to the pitfalls of secular atheism, nothing is likely to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:13 PM

Nickhere, why do you totally ignore the issue of the wholesale natural deaths of embryos in utero? Again, if you have forgotten already, 45% to 65% of fused sperm and egg, your priceless unique human, (and some estimates are higher, as high as 80%) die, are lost, slough off, miscarry, naturally abort, before the mother even knows she might be pregnant or within the first three months of gestation.

If God is so very concerned about the deliberate deaths of embryos, then why is he so cavalier about all those billions of unique human beings that he apparently 'ensouls' for five minutes or three days or a week or two, only to haul them back, presumably to heaven where they must all fly about like angelic gnats?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:16 PM

And Bill, of course one can question the validity of old parchments. For me at any rate there's no problem there. We've discussed them at length on another thread and I've addressed some of the common misconceptions about them. But if you do the homework and then strongly feel there is something to them afterall you find they demand further action. They are not like historical documents like the Magna Carta or a Charter of Trade granted to some medieval city - these latter do not make demands on our lifestyle and actions, however interesting they may be historically.

You also mentioned the notion that I find 'comfort' in my religion. I might also find comfort in atheism and the idea, for example, that therefore I will not be called to account for my actions in this life, in the next. If I were to look for comfort, I could at least not pick such a demanding religion!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM

Furthermore. desiring to spare a woman from the tribulations of enforced pregnancy is not a byproduct of atheism, but of normal compassion.

Your definition of human being is somewhat arbitrary, a necessary step in order to fuel the rhetoric you offer.

As for "a set of instructions for our own good", this sounds like a child's defense of arbitrary orders from parents.

The only set of instructions that is ultimately, genuinely "for your own good" is the set of uinstructions you yourself can take full responsibility for. This paternalistic model of an interfering, ordering, and somewhat perverted God is one of the least attractive aspects of this particular sub-branch of Xorastrianism.


A


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:32 PM

Bee, that's the second time you've made that point, and I cannot understand why you are unable to see the difference.

Abortion is the deliberate killing of an unborn human being by another human being (or two, to be precise - the mother and the person who performs the abortion).

What you are describing is a natural process.

If you are still having difficulty seeing the difference, let me explain it another way; someone is dying a natural death in their bed, of old age. They might have a week, or a few weeks, or a few days left in them. I walk in pull out a .45 and put a couple of shots in their head. Now I presume you can understand that if the person dies of old age, I stay a free man. If I shoot her before she dies, I go to jail.

Re. your comment about God and embryos:

First of all; murder, by definition, is a sin against the law of God in that a human is appropriating to themselves the power of life and death over another human being, a right reserved only to God. If God calls a life back to Him, He is only calling back what He freely gave in the first place. Thus it is not murder. The nearest thing we humans get to giving life is in the act of conceiving children (part of what makes it so sacred from the Christian theological point of view).

Secondly God allows natural processes to take place and seems to interfere very little or as little as possible. I don't know yet or exactly why this should be so, but perhaps it is to allow the maximum freedom to this world. If people - believer and non-believer alike - fall foul of the same accidents and natural catastrophes, at least no one can accuse God of being unfair even to those who reject Him. Jesus spoke in the Gospel of the same sun shining on good and evil people.

Thirdly, death is only an absoulte catastrophe to an atheist. To a Christian, death is not a catastrophe (while accepting that the sense of loss for those left behind is very great - I know, as I've experienced it myself). Death is a passage to another phase of life - one without a physical form - and the phase which forms the longer part of our existence.

I hope that answers your question


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:41 PM

Amos, we've been over the abortion issue before. I do feel great compassion for a woman who is having what might be called a 'crisis pregnancy'. I helped one raise her child to 2 years of age, and have close personal experience of another woman in a similar situation. I ahev already outlined what I believe to be the correct Christian repsonse to such a situation on a previous thread, and I think you will find a good measure of compassion in there.

But in a pregnancy we are dealing with two people, not one - the mother AND her unborn child.

How is my definition of a human being arbitrary?

"As for "a set of instructions for our own good", this sounds like a child's defense of arbitrary orders from parents"

Whatever it sounds like is your own subjective opinion, perhaps based on your experience. Nonetheless I have demonstrated - not that it's very difficult - that a lot of benefits would follow if everyone tried to practice them. But that's up to them. For myself, I take full responsibility for following them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:53 PM

Nickhere...It would require another 9 paragraphs to reply adequately. But look at the embedded assumptions in your post:

"It is based on the empirically-backed view that the embryo is a human being. It is also based on the sanctity of human life."

That 'empirically backed' view is hotly debated and variously understood! What do you SAY to someone who argues that a human being is something that can live OUTSIDE the womb? What makes a zygote suddenly become a 'human'? Most who accept your view are saying that at the moment of conception, a 'soul' enters the zygote...and off we go again. Even the linguistic construction "sanctity of human life" implies something metaphysical...otherwise, why use it? Do penguins have 'sanctity'? Or goldfish? Do they have 'souls'? Why not? Where do souls come from? Is God sitting 'up there' with a holy assembly line? When there were only 1,000,000 humans, were there 6 billion extra souls waiting? Are souls recycled? If reincarnation is possible, do we get a new one each round?
*sigh*...no, you are not expected to actually answer such questions...they are just examples of the awkward implications of accepting certain premises.

You say "The 'set of instructions' are designed for our own good... " but this [being designed]is what is being debated! Did some Supreme Being say so, or did we just work out for ourselves that some rules are a good idea? Kant says the latter...but there is a HUGE difference between a moral imperative that is required by a deity and one that is suggested as a pragmatic way of behaving.
At what point in our evolutionary development did bashing someone over the head to get a meal or a mate suddenly become 'forbidden morally' instead of just dangerous?

We have created many, many sets of religiously based 'moral standards' over 15,000 or so years...some of which oppose any form of killing others, but most of which allow certain types of killing, and some of which directly encourage killing in certain circumstances....mostly to protect the religious beliefs on which the rule is based. Talk about circular reasoning! Sorry, but it all looks like rationalized self-interest to me.

My overall, basic point is that 'most' of us skeptics get where we are by seeing these questions and confronting the implications and refusing to adhere to a system that has no plausible1 answers.....while 'most' members of religious groups stay where they are by not seriously confronting awkward questions, and when necessary, saying something like, "well, it certainly is confusing, but it is God's will and we can't hope to understand why He does many things".

Not only ain't it easy, it ain't likely to GET much easier when we seem just to be wired to take one path or another.


1..plausible- meaning answers that do not just lead in circles to more questions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 03:23 PM

Well Bill, you made a start on the 9 paragraphs, at least!

The embryo.... the empiricism to which I am referring is the basic science that states at the moment of conception gametes from both parents fuse to form a complete set of humna DNA. Moreover, this DNA has not existed before and is more than the sum of its parts. It will give rise if nothing intervenes to stop it, to a new human being who has not lived before. Now, what part of this is 'hotly contested'?

A zygote, being the new life I described above, is already a human. If it continues its gestation, what do you think will emerge from the woman's womb? A penguin? A sea-lion?

It seems to me that the rationalised self-interest you assign to various religions (and that's one reason why 'believers' do not value all religions equally) can also be found among those hotly-debating when a human becomes a human (as if the statement itself isn't a contradiction in terms). When will sceptics confront the implications of that?

Do penguins have sanctity? Yes, I would argue they do, in that they are God's creation too, and deserve our consideration as such. God expects us to treat all His creation with respect. Unlike humans however, they lack free will and so there is a qualitative difference between us. For example we don't talk of penguins being 'saved' or of 'sinning'. Now, before you rush off to say 'But that's circular reasoning, we must assume God exists to rationalise that' etc., remember it was you who used the word 'sanctity' which put the question outside empirical science and into the religious sphere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 03:26 PM

As for your other questions about souls, assembly lines and so on, there are answers, but metaphysical ones. You won't find scientific empirical information about them anytime soon, as you know. Ok, now I must go an eat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:01 PM

If we won't find scientific answers about souls anywhere in the stratosphere, why would we tolerate creationism in science classes?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:33 PM

I think you have a double standard, here, Nick. You would like to assert that empirical information is the rule to judge cases by, EXCEPT when your own views go off into areas where empirical views are very scarce. Then, it's not empiricism that matters, but orthodoxy.

Does it not strike you that this is a bit of a tapdance?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:34 PM

I'd like a clarification from BillD--from the tone of your comments, one gets the impression that you see the idea that life has sanctity to be a product of circular reasoning.

Do you believe that life, human or otherwise, has any particular sanctity (sanctity meaning that it is entitled to special deference, or protection)? If you do, what logical foundation do you have for that belief?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Mrr elsewhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:43 PM

M.Ted: Mrzzy said--"Ah, but, M.Ted, it's religion that is keeping us from educating our children!"--That is also not true. Nobody is keeping you from educating your children. If they aren't educated, it is your own fault. Mrr: I have the time, and the education, to spend hours with my kids teaching them what school is supposed to be, and un-teaching what it has taught incorrectly. But it is not the fault of the other parents who have neither the time nor the education necessary if their children get through public school without learning anything. It's the fault of the public school system.

And as a professor teaching science I've had to deal with students who don't "believe in" the fundamental fact of life that our evolution was/is just like that of any other DNA-based life form.

As an aside, to me, a pregnancy is a woman's body part. But to bring it back to the thread, I read recently in a great book called Mu(t)an(t)s, about clergy who wonder how many times to baptize conjoined twins. If the "human" begins at conception, then do all the pregnancies that start out as twins and one fetus absorbs the other involve fratricide? What about outlawing IVF, which makes and discards zygotes? And what about if conjoined twins turn out to happen by fusion rather than fission, which I found incredibly interesting as a possibility, would that matter? If fission, then when does the second one become human, since only one was actually conceived? The can has many, many worms, if you want to go there.

I also read somewhere the point that now that we have the technology, any cell is a "putative" human being, so scratching your ass is killing hundreds of such... *BG*!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:56 PM

"...what part of this is 'hotly contested'? "
The 'status' of a zygote which "will become" a human if nothing intervenes. You move from "will become" to "is" with no qualification. This simply is contested.

I an not clear about your question "When will sceptics confront the implications of that?" Are you claiming that self interest is the rationale behind abortion...and that this is some sort of logical contradiction?

As to 'sanctity', it was my point that it implied something outside empirical science...I do NOT assume that using a word gives any particular status to its implications....just the opposite.

and...well...as to "God expects us to treat all His creation with respect." That has been debated VERY hotly as to implication when reading the part of the Bible that says "...have dominion over..."...and there are some pretty bad examples of 'respect' going on these days.

If God is monitoring our behavior, in this and other matters, I kinda wish he'd explain it clearly...NOW...to some serious offenders, instead of waiting till some vague 'end', and then judging them after it's too late. If I got my freedom to have such ideas FROM God, I assume he is clever enough to understand my reservations about the details.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 05:09 PM

M.Ted...from a dictionary
sanctity..."The quality of being holy"

therefore, it DOES assume that some special protection outside simple pragmatic consideration is being applied. This assumes that there is such a thing AS holiness....and this IS one of the issues under debate.

Short answer: No, I do not believe that life "has any particular sanctity" related to the definition above, but that we can argue in ways similar to Kant's Categorical Imperative that we can extract logical bases for respecting life and each other, and by implication, other things related to having 'quality' in life.

need more detail?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 05:19 PM

I guess one of the implications of my own position is that many specific questions must be answered on a case-by-case basis, and that few ,if any, absolute rules are available to run complex questions thru...which THEN implies that in order to deal with many uncomfortable questions, one must take into account current legal strictures about certain issues (such as gay marriage, abortion,etc.) but not because of metaphysical moral guidance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 05:46 PM

Sure Bill, a zygote is of course a human being - I state as much a few lines later. I should have been a bit more attentive while typing and clarified - a zygote will give rise to a child, adult etc., human if nothing intervenes.

Mrr: "As an aside, to me, a pregnancy is a woman's body part"
A pregnancy is not a body part. a pregnancy is a process whereby a new life grows inside its mother and is born (passes out of its mother's body).

I have heard this argument many times, about 'a woman having control over her body'. This ignores the fact that there are two lives in question. The new life growing within her is not simply an organ of the mother's body or a piece of waste. If it were so, denying a woman an abortiion would be as unreasonable as denying her laxatives if she were constipated. The fact that the unborn baby is a separate human being puts it in an altogether different category.

As for the twins - no, I don't think it is fratricide. What is happening is a natural process. One embryo gets more nourishment than the other and survives, but neither sets out to kill the other. If they did, it would be murder of course. Though at least froma legal standpoint one would have trouble prosecuting, as in the case of older children who murder.

The cell you described could at best be a possible potential human being in the same way a sperm cell is not the same thing as a new human being.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but even identical twins do not share the exact DNA. I seem to remember that however similar their appearance, ethy at least have separate finger prints. And no matter how close they are to each other, they both regard themselves as individuals.

I would be in favour of outlawing IVF that makes and discards zygotes, given that I see each zygote as a human. That might not be popular I know, but here now we have a problem where scientists want to use these zygotes (humans) for experiments, claiming they'd only be thrown out anyway. True, but if they hadn't been created in test tubes in the first place, there wouldn't be anything to 'throw out'.

This is an example of the failure of science to address moral issues. Clearly it cannot, since science is about finding out what makes the world tick, and seeing where it can take that knowledge further. But it's a bit like a boy pulling half the wings off a fly to see if it will fly more slowly: an interesting experiment, but one wonders should he be conducting it? That's why I say we need something more than empirical science to deal with moral and social questions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 05:47 PM

Bill - what I was getting at was that (in my experience) atheists usually appeal to science and empiricism as the bedrock for their worldview, since these give concrete facts we can deal with (as opposed to an 'empirically unprovable' God). But in this instance the empirical facts point in the opposite direction to the world view of most atheists. They favour choice in the matter of abortion even when the empirical facts suggest that to do so is to favour murder in certain cases. From a rational and even human moral point of view, that seems difficult to sustain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 06:01 PM

Bill "and...well...as to "God expects us to treat all His creation with respect." That has been debated VERY hotly as to implication when reading the part of the Bible that says "...have dominion over..."...and there are some pretty bad examples of 'respect' going on these days"

I certainly agree there's some very bad 'respect' for nature these days. Sale Kirkpatrick (the Conquest of Paradise) has argued that European civilisation has in fact been degrading nature for over a thousand years. He suggests in his book that it is essential that children coming into their teens develop a bond with, or respect for, nature in order for their character to mature properly. But I'm going off on a tangent here even though I agree with him.

The obvious answer to your observation is that from what we know of God, we would expect 'dominion' to mean having management of something. That management in turn should reflect an awareness of the propietor's rights. To put it another way - imagine someone lends you his car and tells you you can use it for all your daily needs, but that it ultimately remains his car. I think it's easy to imagine what his reaction would be if we were to hand it back with the bumper smashed in, a big dent on the side, bald tyres and the gas tank empty. Not very respectful management, I think!

A 'good' person would look after the car carefully while using it both in acknowledgement of the fact that it was only on loan and out of respect for his friend. even if his friend gave it to him I think respect for the friend alone would prevent him from maltreating it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 06:41 PM

Nick, my point is that given the extremely high natural rate of embryos failing to survive, it is not reasonable to regard them in the same light as a born human. Embryos have no brain, no cognition, no pain receptors, in fact, very little to distinguish them from other fleshly parts of the mother's body. Even the fact that an embryo contains DNA from two individuals is not a unique circumstance, as there are people who have two sets of DNA in their cells (chimaerism), as a result of fetal absorbtion of a fraternal twin. I have read that research is now suggesting this is more common than previously thought.

I see an embryo as a potential baby, but I do not regard it in the same light as I do a born baby (or late term fetus), which has grown, developed a brain, and reacts to its environment. Embryos are a common product of unprotected human sexual intercourse. They seldom survive, which is a good thing or there's be sixty billion of us instead of six. Ridding oneself of an inconveniently timed embryo seems like common sense to me.

Other mammals have different methods of controlling fertility and thus population. Most large mammals are only capable of conceiving at one point in a year. Some small animals adsorb already viable foetuses if environmental conditions (overpopulation, food scarcity, etc.) make it unlikely they would survive. Mammals which have large litters will let one or more die by not feeding or abandoning the weakest. Humans have a multiplicity of weak embryos, most of which will not survive to term.

It is only now, with the understanding of human reproduction science has given us, that people like yourself have become so adamant about saving the embryonic. In Biblical times, a woman's foetus was not regarded as very important, worth only a small fine by law if destroyed as a byproduct of conflict. The church, for centuries, did not worry a lot about early abortions, and had varying views on the actual time of 'ensoulment'. It was only when a child was about to be born that any religious sentiment really crept in, at which point, of course, the woman was considered only a 'vessel' for the new soul, and often as not, if possible in a difficult birth, the child was saved and the mother let die.

Even the most adamntly opposed to abortion do not react emotionally to an early known miscarriage as they would to a stillborn or to an infant death (unless other circumstances, such as infertility affect their thinking). On some level they understand that it is not so important.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 07:09 PM

14:37 17 January 2008
NewScientist.com news service
Andy Coghlan


A cloned human embryo has been produced for the first time from a man's skin cell, raising the prospect that such embryos could be made to provide stem cells tailored to any patient.

Only one cloned human embryo has been made before, reported by a team at Newcastle University, UK, in 2005. But it was made by cloning human embryonic stem cells that are not routinely available from patients, and so would not be practical.

The embryo newly created from a skin cell potentially gets round this problem. The ultimate aim is to make temporary embryos from which human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) could be extracted – these are the cells in embryos from which all tissues of the body originate. ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 07:37 PM

Nickhere...even those who agree with you as to the scriptural source of the "dominion" quote have differences about its interpretation. Some wish to allow almost unlimited hunting and fishing, while others want to allow 'only the minimum required to sustain life' ...which has led to unusual stances...such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with often contradictory rules of behavior and various defenses of vegetarianism. Some will not eat animals for supposed health reasons, some for perceived religious reasons (Jainism) and some simply because of what a friend of mine once called 'BBES'....Big Brown Eyes Syndrome.

I am absolutely confident that many who oppose ALL abortion begin emotionally with the equivalent of BBES, then adopt religious concepts to justify their stance and avoid it seeming arbitrary.
Now...please understand, I am not accusing anyone of dishonesty or outright Gerrymandering of the conscience in this. Most are sincere and feel they have made a perfectly natural connection - but it IS difficult for many of us to see the causal factors in our own motivations. (We might admit it regarding choosing the color to paint the kitchen, but not about 'serious' matters.)

I'm not sure the above is the best I could do to make my point...which is: Since there ARE such wide divergences in opinion and perceived justification FOR opinion, we must allow some pretty broad tolerances in law for consideration of issues of marriage customs, sexual preferences, abortion etc. This will upset those who feel the need for simple, tidy, one-rule-fits-all answers to complex questions, but true fairness requires something like that....and yes, I do know some problems in determining which situations can be treated as I propose...... it really ain't easy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: bobad
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 07:44 PM

Referring to an embryo as a child or human being is more than a little specious. This rhetorical device is commonly used by self righteous deists in an attempt to inflame the debate surrounding abortion affording them license to hurl accusations of "murderer" and "baby killer" at women who are seeking an abortion. To anyone who has even a basic knowledge of biology it is quite evident that an embryo is a potential human being, in fact, from a strictly zoological term of reference an embryo is a parasite ie. An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 07:51 PM

Of relevant interest, a recent experiment has demonstrated that individual experience of the taste and bouquet of wine can be re-defined by changing the price-tag seen on the bottle.

A post concerning this phenomenon can be found here on the MOAB, and the original article can be found here at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 08:09 PM

What! Evidence of subjectivity which is dependent on wishful thinking? Mercy's sakes...who woulda thunk it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 09:03 PM

I am not quite sure, but it seems like you are saying that human life has no special value, and that the worth of each life should be judged on a case-by-case basis. That still leaves me wondering what criteria you'd use to judge each case.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:58 PM

Kind of a delicate linguistic line I walk, hmmm? Every answer to such questions depends on careful regard for the relativity of the circumstances.
In everyday interface with other people, I DO treat other lives as valuble and deserving of care and consideration, but this does not mean that I see some intrinsic value to 'life' itself in relation to the Universe as a whole. If we are, as we seem to be, a complex, temporary hiccup in the state of one small planet in one average galaxy in one tiny corner of an unimaginably huge cosmos....then what does it mean to ascribe 'special value' to our minimal impact on it all?
But from our biased viewpoint, we are quite important, and we (individually & collectively) **impart** value to individual lives according to subjective views of what is worthwhile. How else can we explain a history which includes Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer...and Ghengis Khan and Adolph Hitler?

Now..in order to 'judge' some individual case, it again depends on the relative importance of the circumstance and the ...again... subjective view of what is involved. If presented with a situation where you must choose to lose some lives in order save others...how do you proceed? They had to do that on the Titantic...are women & children 'intrinsically' more valuble than ...say...a doctor? *shrug* I hope I am never faced with such a choice.
   Climbers on Mt. Everest regularly have to decide whether to risk several lives trying to rescue someone who is injured or out of oxygen in a precarious situation.
   In the same way, doctors have to decide when to try to save a baby at risk of the mother's life....or vice-versa. Often, their best advice runs counter to the wishes of the family.

So...what criteria do I use? What can I say? **IT DEPENDS!!** 20 years ago, my wife & I had to face that....we were trying to have another child, when amniocentesis revealed a condition in which the baby seldom survives to birth...and we were at 20 weeks! Even our doctor was opposed to abortion, but he offered no hope of successful outcome. You think we didn't agonize over what to do? I'll tell you this much...we did NOT apply some pre-digested standard worked out by some group claiming absolute knowlege of what was 'right'. And I'd never dream to tell someone else how to decide something like that, even if it was different from my own opinion.

In essence, that's what I mean by case-by-case....there are no absolute rules. There are sometimes laws which attempt to codify general attitudes, but some seem, as in Roe V Wade, to treat it like a game in which "if we get more votes, we can override their position, because WE have right on our side!"
The whole point of Roe V Wade was to allow those most affected, like my wife & I, to decide our own situation as best we could and NOT make it a rubber-stamp ruling based on some vague notion that it followed a subjective interpretation of some arcane religious text.

....well, you asked. I'm sorry if my answer is not specific enough, but I flatly don't KNOW any universal rule that covers all the stuff we fallible little beings can contrive to burden ourselves with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 10:54 AM

...denying a woman an abortiion would be as unreasonable as denying her laxatives if she were constipated... - exactly. It IS as unreasonable - to those of us who think of a pregnancy as being a woman's body part.

identical twins do not share the exact DNA - Yes, they do, the exact same, nuclear and mitochondrial. They have different fingerprints because fingerprints are not 100% genetic. Neither is personality, which is why they consider themselves, and are, distinct people. There is a case right now in the news somewhere about a woman who slept with identical twins and now cannot say, and neither can the DNA tests, which is the father of her child.

Cells from adults are not "a possible potential human being in the same way a sperm cell" because sperm are haploid, and cannot be technologically made into humans, but ass cheek cells (or any other except red blood cells, which are enucleate in humans) are diploid and CAN be cloned into a full human. So masturbation isn't murder - but cleaning out your fingernails is. If "potential" people are people, that is.

And science doesnt "fail" to address morality - it has nothing to do with it. It is intelligence that makes science and makes (or should make!) morality. What the Nazis did was horrible - but if they collected good data, their science wasn't "bad" -Note that they didn't, in most cases - but if they had, which would be worse - not using the data because of how they were collected, or using them despite how they were gathered?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 11:15 AM

IT would be an interesting experiment to track the lives of a set of test cases who had somehow been indoctrinated or persuaded to adhere to various moral codes or precepts int heir decision making process, as an examination of the consequences. I suppose a simulation set up could be done, wherein the subjects faced comparable situations which sought to emulate the behaviors of real-life consequences, and had to decide their courses of action based on different mores.

It has not, as far as I know, been done, and a simulation of this sort owuld only capture a fraction of the actual variables each individual faces as he moves his past into his present and contemplates his possible futures in every moment of a day. It should be obvious, I think, that to boil such a confluence of dynamic variables into a short list of rules is not going to acheive any absolute map of right choice, even when such rules help the individual find workable solutions.

I do believe that living along principles based on observations about the hierarchy of good consequences is a positive choicein the individual life. People often estimate the psychological damage of making choices which harm others, for example, because those consequences are not immediately visible; but the pattern of them is worth learning. The use of such principles, however, is successful as a pragmatic exercise. Choosing not to accumulate a lot of crimes in one's life is desireable not for purely moral reasons but because life becomes more difficult when you have to be secretive, for example. SOme people learn this slowly.

It is also important to realize that different rewards motivate different people; some people value power more than their own natural affinities, for example. Aberrated as this may be, it is a fact about the members of our kind. There me be general directions of "good" and "bad" but there is no catalog or map that applies to all beings.

Attributing such principles to an external Entity with absolute power over your fate in detail is, to me, an absurdity barely worth considering seriously.


A




A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 05:55 PM

But if you could do that, and you believed in forgiveness, then you could do anything that popped into your mind. No matter what damage it might do to other people, once you performed your dastardly act, you could simply beg for forgiveness, assume the external Entity bestowed it on you, and you're off on another wild adventure.

                   Most of the people I know who go to church are that way, though their adventures are usually boring and only bring financial gain to them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM

Whereas, Riginslinger, if you don't believe in any higher authority, you whatever dastardly deed that you want, without having to beg forgiveness--you just eliminate the middleman--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 06:20 PM

No, you can't, because you are responsible for your own actions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 07:00 PM

BillD--Thanks for the wonderful , and personal answer, it was so engrossing that I forgot the question;-) To a great degree, I think our differences are only semantic.

Everyone makes choices--even when they decide to make no choice, or they defer to the judgement of another, be it friend, family, church, or government. I believe we have the both the right and obligation to make our own choices--

I believe in everything that empowers us to make choices, and I'm against everything that tries to take them away from us--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 07:15 PM

"I believe in everything that empowers us to make choices, and I'm against everything that tries to take them away from us--"


                  You mean like Dr. James Dobson or the Pope, for instance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 08:12 PM

Among others--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 08:15 PM

Riginslinger--RE: The other smarmy remark--who would you be responsible to?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 08:17 PM

Incidentally, I think Dobson is as big a jerk as Richard Dawkins--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 08:34 PM

"Riginslinger--RE: The other smarmy remark--who would you be responsible to?"


                      Myself!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 08:48 PM

Sorry--I should clarify--The reason I've mentioned Dawkins is that people know that I don't like him-I think he's obnoxious and egocentric--in that way, he is a jerk--I also think that Dobson is obnoxious and egocentric, and in that way he is a jerk.   

Though I disagree with some of the things that Dawkins says, and think that he could say the things that I agree with in a much more positive way, I do think he is honest in what he says.
Not so the other guy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 09:05 PM

It all gets confusing if you stay with it long enough, at least it does for me. I know those kinds of guys can get to be a pain in the ass sometimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 09:07 PM

That is a truly cozy arrangement--it even beats out nepotism--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 10:52 PM

One thing I keep in mind is, whoever it is, they've always got a book to sell--and the more controversy they create, the more they sell. That's the world we live in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 11:28 PM

Yes, there's always that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 12:14 AM

Being responsible to yourself is the closest any of us are going to come to Godhood in this life, so I think it behooves us to practice as much as possible.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 08:24 PM

*Sigh* I'm going to have to write a book, I can already tell... yikes! And one should be responsible to one's loved ones as well as to one's self, no? And to one's community? And to those upon whom one depends?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 08:36 PM

"No, you can't, because you are responsible for your own actions"

Forgiveness and responsibility...

I guess everyone is responsible for their own actions, except perhaps the insane and children up to acertain age who lack what is commonly called 'sense'.

From what you are saying it appears that you think Christians see 'forgiveness' as a sort of blank check to do what they like. Perhaps you think they shift the blame onto God. That's not so. That's not how Christians see forgiveness (any Christians out there are welcome to comment on my generalisation if they like)

Christian concept of forgiveness explained as best I can:

All things we do to hurt people are sins on two levels: they are sins against that person and since God has commanded us not to hurt each other, they are sins against God (i.e rejecting or going against His plan for creation)

Therefore forgiveness operates on two levels: God can (and does) forgive us for sins committed against Him (all sins fit in this category as we have seen). But He also expects us to 1) be sincere in our apology and have at least a sincere intention not to repeat our mistakes (though being human and weak it's unlikely we'll succeed for long). and 2) to make up / make restitution to the person we've sinned against.

An insincere apology is unlikely to sit well with God, and if you've experience of Him, you'll know what I mean. He's VERY patient but you'll know all the same...!

Part of that sincerity is trying to make up with the injured party, or if that's not possible (because they're too angry or hurt to even talk to you) to make it clear the door is open to them. If I steal from my friend and tell God I'm sorry, God will still expect me to give back the money as soon as I can to show my apology is sincere and to restore harmony. Sometimes it's impossible to make restitution directly, so there are other ways of doing penance: charitable works, self-sacrifice and so on.

God has a funny way of ensuring you do these things properly or you won't find much peace or rest. I don't remember where I saw or heard it, but a phrase I once heard was that every stolen thing cries out to God to be reunited with its rightful owner (I doubt that meant in an actual voice, but in the sense of somehow disrupting the balance or harmony of creation).

The corollory is of course that He expects other people to do the same for us, so it's a win-win situation when everyone pulls their weight. He also commands us to forgive each other and not hold grudges. This is difficult to do sometimes, it depends on what someone has done to you and whether they're even sorry. Prayer comes into place here - you can ask God to help you forgive.

One thing I have realised over the years, one significance of the Lord's prayer "and forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". One way fo reading that is we are asking God to match our mercy with His mercy. If we don't forgive people, can we expect God to be lenient with us? Just and fair, yes, as always, but merciful? We must exhibit the quality of mercy in order to expect it.

When we don't forgive people, we carry that around with us like a weight on the shoulders gnawing away at us. It's amazing how when you let go, the weight is immediately lifted off.

So Christian morality demands we be responsible for our actions - 1) sincerely saying sorry 2) accepting the sincere apologies of others as we would expect them to do for us 3) make restitution both to God and person.

Sounds easy, but as we all know in practice, it depends on what people have done! Some grudges are harder to shake off than others. But in my experience, prayer does help a lot in loosening them, and makes it easier for me to approach people I've hurt as well and be truly sorry in the ways outlined above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 08:42 PM

Unfortunately, the current philosophy of crime seems to be punishing the criminal rather than making restitution to the victim, as older societies do...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 09:10 PM

Agreed, Mrzzy. There's a much bigger element of revenge (as in victims / victims' families coming along to watch the gruesome spectacle at executions in the US) and in simply sweeping criminals under the carpet - the 'lock them up and throw away the key' approach

Nature v. nuture aside, I believe most kids would grow up ok if they weren't maltreated one way or another by grown-ups (whether through bad example, the kind of self-perpetuating society grown-ups have created etc.,)

So it could be said behind every criminal there's a couple of hundred or more people who've hurt him / her, bullied etc., We all owe a debt to seeing criminals re-integrated into society. That's not to say either criminals aren't responsible for their actions!

Equally importantly the victim needs to be have restitution made. The criminal needs to come to see their victim not as a walking bankomat but as a human being of equal value. I have heard of community 'restorative justice' schemes in the UK whereby a convicted criminal is invited to return something to the community or individual they've hurt. Anybody know more about these?

One thing I'd do right off is end this habit in courts of lawyers making apologies on behalf of their clients. While it's one thing having a lawyer representing you in dealing with the intricacies of the law, if someone can't make an apology themselves, it can't be much of an apology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 12:07 AM

MrrZy:

As far as i am concerned full responsibility for self includes responsibility for one's connections, friends, family, lovers, business acquaintances, and even enemies. You cannot make decisions for others (in the sense of forcing your ideas on them) but you can be take as much responsibility as you can for the areas in which you communicate and be willing to take causative action where you can.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 12:15 AM

I wonder how believers such as yourself, Nick, would describe God if they were not allowed in any way to anthropomorphize him?



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 02:52 AM

An interesting point, Amos--it occurs to me, often, that a lot of perceived differences come from the fact that one group of people is uncomfortable with the metaphors that another group of people use to describe the same things.

When Nickere talks about bringing people to God, it makes people like Mrzzy bristle, and when she talks about making people confront reality, some of the rest of us get a bit bent--we never get any farther than that, though, and I really believe that, to a much greater degree that is clear, we are often referencing the same things--albeit with very different metaphors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: autolycus
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 06:08 AM

iQuote - Bill - "Having an "open mind" in this context is just a euphemism for "not questioning". A **TRULY** open mind always considers all possibilities, and in doing so sees the weaknesses in assertions about metaphysical claims" Unquote

To see the weaknesses in assertions is to do something from a particular point of view. A point of view which itself seems not to be in question. I'd like to know why that point of view, here called 'an open mind', is not in question. And how open it can be if it is already in a judicial (judging others) mode from the start.




Quote -
i it requires some effort to break out of it and look for other kinds of evidence and realities beyond the mere five senses. Unquote


I think there's a bit of a premature move away from the senses, when people still haven't learnt the full use of them.

The refinder of my practice - Gestalt by Fritz perls - said he wanted people to 'lose their mind and come to their senses.' So I can rhink someone is angry with me because my beliefs orexperience or both are constantly trumping my senses, where if I heard better, for example, I may discover my belief is in error.

Quote -
i Reality is defined by demonstration - if it can't be demonstrated, it probably isn't real. But if it can be, then it is. Not my definition - just reality! Unquote

I can think of rather a lot of things that I think are real and I wouldn't know how to demonstrate.

And I don't believe I'm alone.


Mind you, i rather like Scrates's line,

"All I know is I don't know anything."

Peace, I love that Cherokee tale. Tho' I do like the Gestalt way of handling conflicts within the person.

Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:00 AM

"From what you are saying it appears that you think Christians see 'forgiveness' as a sort of blank check to do what they like."


                   Yeah, Nick, if every case, that's the way I've seen them use it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:42 AM

"And one should be responsible to one's loved ones as well as to one's self, no? And to one's community? And to those upon whom one depends?"


                   One would have to be responisble to himself, before he could be responsible to all them other scissorbills.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 12:51 PM

"To see the weaknesses in assertions is to do something from a particular point of view. A point of view which itself seems not to be in question. I'd like to know why that point of view, here called 'an open mind', is not in question. And how open it can be if it is already in a judicial (judging others) mode from the start."

autolycus: This is among the hardest points to clarify in these discussions. What you have done is to first characterize my statement as if it were merely one in a list of subjective opinions about how to approach issues.
   It is not easy to explain why it is merely an attempt to do a meta-analysis of the very logical/linguistic structure of arguments in general. It in no way disproves any particular conclusions, but merely analyzes how well they manage to be both internally consistent and how well they avoid certain common rhetorical errors.

It is possible, thus, to state a true conclusion, yet use quite slippery and invalid premises to get to it. In the same way, doubtful claims can 'seem' to be supported if one is careless about the structure of the premises.

All I am trying to do is link the idea of a **TRULY** open mind to the attempt to see why metaphysical claims, as a class, can usually be shown to involve some sort of error of one of the types described in the link above.....most commonly assuming certain facts within the structure OF the claim.

This whole process, if done as neutrally as possible, both understands the historical & cultural pressures to accept many forms of metaphysics, and recognizes why they can ONLY be 'believed' and not 'proven'.
   To me, this leads to a basic attitude of scepticism and formal, philosophical 'doubt', while continuing to be 'open' to any form of new ways to look at things.

As I said elsewhere, this is why certain claims ARE called 'belief', and why I type long, tedious disclaimers when I see what appear to be attempts to move 'beliefs' into a stronger position than they 'logically' deserve.

Now...have I totally muddied an attempt to clarify? *grin*


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:11 PM

Reality is, fundamentally, a function of agreement about perception.

There is a threshold of material reality. Disagree with buildings or gravity and you can put your survival at risk.

There are a LOT of propositions which have fewer subscribers than material reality constructs have. Any proposition having to do with consequences, for example, or future events can be considered   risky in proportion to the degree it tries to extrapolate variables. Weathermen run into this all the time.

But in terms of material reality, demonstration to others with experience or measurement is pretty much the gold standard of evidence.

When you start penetrating the Wonderland of human psychology, or spirituality, while it is still true that agreement is a core index of reality, the territory gets nebulous, volatile, not to say miasmic, riddled with opinions, and colored strongly by the individual creatuve will. So common denominators and demonstrable phenomena are harder to come by.

Most psychologists who have spent any time counseling will have their own ideas about common denominators, but it is still pretty much a jungle out there, a metaphor augmented by the myriad of jungly superstitions and witchdoctors involved.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM

"Open Mindedness" is sometimes a dubious value. As a musician, I find the creative process really favors closed mindeness--which is to say, finding useful devices like Travis-picking, for instance and eliminating all the extraneous possibilities--Bill's kind of "open mindedness" would be counterproductive, because it would require me to return to a neutral position and consider a lot of things that aren't very useful--

And, I bring up Travis-picking here because its definition and validity are as hotly contested at Mudcat as the idea of God--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:57 PM

This is not a comment on the most recent philosophical musings (interesting as they are), but something like a consideration of belief opposing non-belief.

There is never an equal ground from which to begin any discussions regarding the existence of a god. Those who don't believe in a god are unconcerned about the metaphysical consequences of their unbelief. They (we, I) don't expect to end up in hell, or outer darkness, or tormented by our separation from godly light, or to be denied eternity, because of atheism. The religious expect the worst.

Our concerns are more likely to be ensuring that believers act within reason when promoting their supernaturalism, and that they do not infringe destructively on our reality by insisting on adherence by all to those parts of their beliefs which include science denial, oppression of individuals or groups, or insisting on their morality being the only morality. These are important concerns, and all have solutions that are social or political in nature - within the realm of human capability.

But the true and kindly minded believer in god must feel particularly anxious and unhappy about those who don't believe, especially if they like or love the individual unbeliever, since their expectation is that atheism leads to an un-necessarily permanent death or worse, or to eternal torture. These would be horrifying prospects, if real, so I can entirely understand, for example, that a truly religious parent seeing their atheist child 'on the road to perdition' must feel tragically devastated.

So to those who really, truly, heartily believe in a judging deity, I am sorry when atheism close to home gives you pain. While I would much prefer you were able to see behind the curtain, or note the lack of imperial glad-rags, or otherwise, of course, see things my way, I can actually see why you feel you must so adamantly defend your faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 03:51 PM

Extending from what Bee said back in to the philosophical musings department, there is one school of thought that argues that all experience is a byproduct of belief, perhaps beginning with "I am" and extending through more and more complex and intersecting and self-counteracting beliefs such as "I am in space", "Time is", "I am in a body", "I am a body" "I am male/female", "Force is overwhelming" "Space is infinite", "I must be ___ in order to survive" and so on and on. By this theory each of these spheres of reality is a postulated construct which engenders experience, and which of course compounds and complexifies as the granularity decreases and the sheer number of such postulated certainties increases and becomes internally inconsistent.

While this is not a theory in the sense that material science approaches theories, there could be a counter argument that material science is climbing up this pyramid from the most solid bottom layer (and thus the most heavily agreed-upon fabric of coincident beliefs) toward the layers that might differentiate between consciousness and structure.

Just more food for reflection.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM

The problem with your position, Bee, as reasonable as it seems to you, is that, you make an amazing number assumptions about what "believers" believe that are neither universally, nor even broadly true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 04:25 PM

Amos

and which of course compounds and complexifies as the granularity decreases and the sheer number of such postulated certainties increases and becomes internally inconsistent.

Well. Of course. Who could possibly disagree?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM

A little bit like Professor Irwin Corey, isn't he, Snail?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:11 PM

Well, it's perfectly obvious. The density and persistency of shared experience decreases as the degree of untrammeled consciousness increases and the number of simultaneous beliefs decreases. The density vector approaches zero as the consciousness factor approaches infinity. Symptotically or asymptotically I cannot say for sure.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:56 PM

Amos,

you didn't by any chance use this

Lingo-maker


while coming up with those last two posts? ;-)) Just joking!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:57 PM

Bee... who was it said that the optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears that is true?

Amos - symptomatically, perhaps (*BG*)?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:06 PM

M.Ted said: "The problem with your position, Bee, as reasonable as it seems to you, is that, you make an amazing number assumptions about what "believers" believe that are neither universally, nor even broadly true."

I would appreciate it if you would enumerate that 'amazing number of assumptions', rather than making a blanket accusation of this sort.

I am not speaking from a vacuum, after all, having been a Christian for many years. I doubt I have ever stated anything about 'believers' as being universally true, other than the fact that they profess to be believers in a supernatural entity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:12 PM

I certainly did not; I said what I did in complete, uncompromising seriosoity....
:)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:13 PM

And,

400!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:13 PM

Would you be willing to offer an explanation for 400!!!?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:14 PM

400 posts, Ringslinger, if I am not mistaken, and still going strong!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:32 PM

Nickhere - where you say "I believe most kids would grow up ok if they weren't maltreated one way or another by grown-ups" - ever read Lord of the Flies? They won't grow up civilized without discipline...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:45 PM

Yes, there should be a place in the world for grownups. The problem is, they never seem to make it to positions of influence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:49 PM

Yes, I remember reading that many years ago. I agree they won't grow up without discipline. Indeed I remember reading somwhere "10 top tips for turning your child into a delinquent" and it included such advice as "make sure he only eats the best organic food etc., while allowing hsi mind feast on any junk it likes on TV etc., / Give him everything he wants that way he'll grow up thinking the world owes him a living / laugh when he uses bad langauge so he'll think it's cute and clever..." etc., I can't remember the rest of it now, but it was going round for a while as one of those posters you sometimes find in novelty shopps and bookshops.

But when I said maltreated, I wasn't thinking of discipline, I was thinking of the ways adults can mess kids up through inconsistent parenting, lack of love, selfishness (kids have to come first, and by that I don't mean getting spoiled either). It's a tough job, no doubt.

In the area where I live, you sometimes see the kids playing. Most of the time it's just background noise you hardly notice, but now and again they do things that make you smile or wonder. There's one kid who, though he's still only about 9 or 10, just can't seem to leave other kids alone. He's always playing with them ina rough way and doesn't seem happy until he's amanged to upset someone. It amkes me wonder what kind of examples he's had that he feels the need to act like that. It'd be just as easy to be nice, and probably more productive even for him, but no, he has to act the jerk. I dread to think what he'll be like when he gets into his teens, unless he grows out of it. I had to knock on his parent's door one day to complain about something he'd done (which I didn't want to have to do, as it's very embarrasing for both). I wanted him to come out to the door so I could explain to him in person what the problem was. His mother's response? "He's just about to sit down to his dinner". ! I thought to myself 'well, actually I was just about to sit down to my dinner as well until I was obliged to come up here after finding your son climbing round in my back garden - again". My problem didn't matter a whit to her, all that mattered was that her son ate his dinner and she had a stress free life. So I began to undertand why he had no respect for anyone, it seemd clear he'd learned not to from his parents.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:57 PM

Yes, indeed. I wrote a paper on drug use (not abuse, that is recreational drug use that doesn't lead to addiction) and found that the only real consistency in people who become addicted is a history of alternating spoiling and neglect... apparently that leaves you not having enough of anything till you have too much of it. It was an interesting research topic.

Whereas, one of my sons was BORN civilized. Didn't have anything to do with what a completely nice person he is...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:05 PM

You're lucky with your son, I'm delighted for you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:07 PM

Yes, he is a delight. There are times I wish I could take credit for him, though!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Will
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:08 PM

"There is a terrible lot of us who don't think that we come from a monkey, but if there are some people who think that they do, why, it's not our business to rob them of what little pleasure they might get out of imagining it." -- Will Rogers


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:23 PM

Well I guess you can at least take credit for bringing him into the world and start from there. And when he's a grown man (if he isn't already) sounds like he'll make some woman a great husband, too. So she'll have you to thank for that. I often think of this if I'm starting to feel a bit cranky towards my mother-in-law (she can be difficult at times): I think well, I have to admit if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have met my wonderful wife, so I have to at least thank her for that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:47 PM

Or some man a great husband... And yes, I didn't like my grandmother but she did make my dad who he was, so I admired her anyway...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 11:25 PM

Well, since you've asked--

Firstly, most religious denominations do not categorically deny science. There are, in fact, many religious institutions that actually teach and advance science. Catholic Unversity of America, for instance, has reputable Departments of Biology, Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry.

Secondly, most religious denomination do not advocate the oppression of individuals or groups.
In fact, many are actively engaged in civil and human rights activities. Martin Luther King, Jr. for instance, was a Baptist minister. And then of course there is liberation theology.

Thirdly, though there are certainly many religious persons who believe in an afterlife, for many, the concerns are primarily in the here and now, and for whom the reasons to live morally and ethically have to do with real world consequences. In a 1996 Presbyterian Panel survey only 51 percent of members and 46 percent of pastors said they believed in hell.

Even your statement about believing in a supernatural entity is up for grabs. It has been a long time since Christianity advocated that there was an actual guy walking around in the sky--St. Thomas Acquinas pretty much put that idea to rest for mainstream Christianity, and that was quite a while back.

Given that, yes, there are some people out there who believe things, advocate things, and do things that we disagree with. And it would be nice if they'd get out of our faces--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 11:28 PM

Most religious denominations do not categorically deny science... - Not categorically, no; just when it contradicts their dogma.

Most religious denomination do not advocate the oppression of individuals or groups. - Sure they do - any individual or group that doesn't believe as they do.

See, there is usually only one god/supernatural being/ between theistic beliefs and atheism: The one that the theist believes in. All others, we all agree (theists and atheists) don't exist...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:08 AM

So you're saying that most religious denominations deny science, and that most advocate the supression of those that don't agree with them?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Tweed
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 06:28 AM

Ain't no Heaven
Ain't no burning Hell
There ain't no heaven
and no burning hell
When I die, Where I go..
Nobody know


John Lee Hooker's "Burning Hell"


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 07:52 AM

"*Sigh* I'm going to have to write a book, I can already tell... yikes! And one should be responsible to one's loved ones as well as to one's self, no? And to one's community? And to those upon whom one depends?"


             Mrzzy - This has been bothering me for a while now. I think there is some confusion as to what was meant by the statement, "One should be responsible for oneself."
             It was in the context of: what do you use for moral guidance?
             An individual who is not addicted to some ancient superstion has to depend on his own sense of right and wrong when making these kinds of decisions. Church goers make the case that they are morally superior because they have the "dogma" to direct them.
             In most cases, churchgoers have the luxury of using the "dogma" for a cleansing mechanism.
             One learns--as I have on many occasions--that if you are going to engage in doing business with church goers, especially if you engage in doing business with a whole gaggle of them at one time, you need to keep your guard up.
             They will happily screw you to death--in a financial sense--and then grovel around on the floor of their church on Sunday morning, god forgives them, and they are ready to go out and screw some other poor sap on Monday.
             So beware if you intend on doing business with a gaggle of churchgoers.
             A rational, free thinking individual, on the other hand, if he does you wrong, has to deal with his conscience. So that's what was meant by being responsible to oneself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 09:46 AM

A charming quote from a columnist, Ms. L:ovell, writing in the NEw York TImes:

"I live in Lower Manhattan. In my seriously secular neck of the woods, Christians are often dismissed as those homophobes on the news hell-bent on keeping half the population of Chelsea out of the wedding pages. Once, I told a member of the fabled East Coast Media Elite that I was raised Pentecostal and he asked if that meant I grew up "fondling snakes in trailers."

I replied: "You know that book club you're in? Well, my church was a lot like that, except that we actually read the book."

Until my heathen Damascene moment during a ninth grade unit on Greek mythology — my disbelief that a great civilization could actually believe in such far-fetched malarkey made me take a hard look at the virgin birth — I was one of the meek majority of Christians who never make the news, who would never dream of judging or hating others because the primary occupation of a true Christian is self-loathing. (All that wretch-like-me, original sin talk meant I spent my entire childhood believing I was as depraved as Charles Manson when in reality I might have been the best-behaved 9-year-old of the 20th century.) "


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 10:32 AM

Okay, but you have to wonder about a book club that reads the same book over, and over, and...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 11:23 AM

At least they can read, Riginslinger;-)

As to your other comment, if you're doing business with a gaggle of free-thinking individuals, you need to keep a close eye on them, as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM

I see what you mean, Riginslinger - yes, one's own conscience is what one should answer to.

And no, I'm not saying "most denominations" deny science. I'm saying that many denomination deny scientific findings that contradict their dogma. Here in the old Southern US, you can belong to one of many, many "denominations" and still be a Christian who doesn't "believe in" evolution. This is the crux of what I am so against - people who insist that mindless dogma trumps intelligent discovery.

And all religions do claim that all others are false. Thus all religions preach at the very least that nonbelievers are worse (in some way, you can pick your Axis of Evil) than believers. Christianity and Islam, more so than Judaism or polytheisms, specifically teach that in order to be a good follower you have to convince (or kill) others who do not believe as you do. But of course the First Commandment, No Other Gods Before Me, was jewish before the other monotheisms happened.

Again, there is only a slight difference between followers of any one religion or god, and atheists, and it's that one religion or god. We all agree that all the other religions are false. Atheists just go one god farther.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:37 PM

people who insist that mindless dogma trumps intelligent discovery.

I think this is a good thing to be against, Mrrz.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:44 PM

Thanks, Amos!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 05:06 PM

It other words, Mrzzy, you're saying atheism is just another mindless dogma. No big surprise here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 05:12 PM

One question, Mrzzy, why don't you just get a job teaching somewhere that people think more like you do? That way, we wouldn't have to listen to all this complaining.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 06:05 PM

Nonsense (to the mindless dogma comment). Conclusions are drawn from data; beliefs form from nothing. We've been through this one before. It is not dogmatic to believe what has been demonstrated.

If people thought like me, i wouldn't have to teach them, now, would I (*BG*)?

And, nobody is making you read my posts, either. We've been through that before too.

M.Ted, why do you repeat old, discarded arguments? Nothing new to say? You know perfectly well that intelligent conclusions drawn from data are anything but mindless. Trying to get my goat? Heard the joke about the railway tie?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 06:08 PM

Bee - " Embryos are a common product of unprotected human sexual intercourse. They seldom survive, which is a good thing or there's be sixty billion of us instead of six"

I still find it difficult to get my head round atheistic 'reasoning' here. From what you say, lots of people die naturally while they're still at the embryo stage. Surely with all the natural mishaps that occur that only makes the ones that do make it even more precious? Surely what they need is all our humanity and help, not our murderous intervention?

Then another oddity - atheists keep on going on about all the progress and benefits science will bring. All those embryos who are sacrificed in embryonic research etc., in the quest for knowledge that might save someone or another, all this is good we are told, if we can save even one life! Science will bring us benefits, extend our livespans, improve the quality of our lives.... Sounds wonderful. But scientific research doesn't come cheap and experience has shown that the only ones who'll benefit from cutting edge science and medicine - with a few exceptions - will be the well-off who can afford it. Only recently have big pharmaceuticals caved into pressure to allow generic drug manufacture, arguing their R&D investment must be compensated for. Fair point, but it shows money and not so much altruism, to be at the base of their operations.

I seem to hear a contradictory message, too - "it's a good thing there's abortion and spontaneous abortions or there'd be too many of us on this planet. But it's also a good thing there's scientific progress or there'd be too many people dying on this planet from disease etc.," ???????

I should add that a drastically falling birthrate is one of the biggest demographic, economic and social problems facing western society these days. There's a recognition that Europe, for example, is only managing to maintain a healthy aged v young population balance through immigration and the children born to immigrants. There's a realisation that there will for example, be a pensions crisis in 30 years or so unless enough younger people can be found to work, pay taxes and support the social welfare net. Maybe we've been pulling the carpet out from under our own feet?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 06:32 PM

From what you say, lots of people die naturally while they're still at the embryo stage. Surely with all the natural mishaps that occur that only makes the ones that do make it even more precious? Surely what they need is all our humanity and help, not our murderous intervention? - No, what I think Bee means is that lots of embryos never become people, and that is the way that nature works - you always have more than can survive so that those that do, will be the strongest. That doesn't make the ones who are not going to survive precious - it makes them expendable, and needing to be expended to keep the species going. The wolf keep the caribou strong, in other words.

And if only rich people benefit from science, that is a failing in society, not in science. The point here is to keep people from dying in ways that are preventable - like diseases and accidents - not to keep people from dying at all. Death at the end of a fulfilled life is not tragic; premature death is.

And here in the good ole USA, the pension crisis is already upon us...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 06:45 PM

What have we been through? You don't really seem to know much about what people believe--and you have a bad habit of combining unsubstantiatable overgeneralizations with insults--not logic, not science. Not even good Atheism, which was a respectable tradition, til you got a hold of it.

That is what I object to--not your belief in God, not your ideas about drug use, not your apparent dislike for the Charlottesville area.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 06:55 PM

I actually love living in Charlottesville, so I am as confused as you. What ideas about drug use? What belief in god?

Could you tell me please, where what I say inmplies, or states, that atheism is a "mindless dogma" - Then we can have more facts to shout at each other - arguing's more fun that way. I'm quoting Larry Niven here, not being serious...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 07:39 PM

Mrrzzy: No, what I think Bee means is that lots of embryos never become people"

Maybe that's what she means, I'd say she is using the word 'people' in a very loose way. People is the plural of person, and 'person' is an individual human being (Collins English Dictionary). On pro-choice criteria, many adults are not 'people' either. Who gets to decide who's a person and who's not?
Perhaps she, or you could explain to me when you believe the unborn human in the womb becomes a human?

Mrrzy; "And if only rich people benefit from science, that is a failing in society, not in science"

I think one needs to take into account more the context and environment in which most scientific research takes place. Whether done in university, but especially when done by private companies - who often fund university research anyway through grants etc., - scientific R&D is mostly conducted through patronage. And we must ask who are the patrons and what is their purpose in promoting the R&D they do? Science does not occur in a vaccuum. Do any scientists reject R&D money even though they know the results are unlikely to be used for the benefit of the populace at large? Then scientists themselves are part of the problem.

"The point here is to keep people from dying in ways that are preventable - like diseases and accidents - not to keep people from dying at all"

It's a losing battle though. Scientific research and support from NGOs might have helped eradicate smallpox, and I'm all in favour of that, but since then a host of new diseases have appeared on the scene. People are also living longer, long enough to get illnesses they would never have been troubled by in the past.
While science has contributed to our knowledge of the spread of disease etc., what has made the real difference has been more basic - better sanitation and diet principally. Headline-grabbing surgical breakthroughs and new genome mapping techniques (for example) are there too, but compared to the former, are of far less impact overall.

Science will never eradicate disease, I think that old 'hubris' has been replaced by the more realistic assessment that science is only tinkering around on the edges of a system it has a far from perfect grasp on. A typical case in point is the antibiotics example. Hailed as the wonder drug for a while it seemed all our ills were cured. That turned out to be only because scientists hadn't counted on bacterias' ability to evolve and adapt at such speed (which should have been a basic realisation). Science seems to suffer often from the Frankenstein approach - the desire to gain new knowledge is rarely tempered by the more sober thought that the new knowledge may turn out to be a pandora's box. And only of late are scientists beginning to realise they usually cannot forsee all probabale outcomes of their interventions.

But that still does not explain why so much time and energy is spent on curing disease and helping people live longer (at great cost) when another key concern of these latter day Malthusian economists is the over-population of the earth. Why not just encourage people to die off and that problem could be solved? Wouldn't the resources be better spent in ensuring every new human life was protected as much as possible, to introduce 'new blood' into the world? Young energetic and productive people who don't have all the ailments and handicaps of the ageing fogies. This would also comply neatly with the Darwinism you espoused above. Why should science be helping the (albeit wealthy) diseased and infirm of this planet if this is violating the natural order of things?

Once again it seems to me this kind of 'science' is tearing itself in two opposite and contradictory ways, setting istelf contradictory goals.

"Death at the end of a fulfilled life is not tragic; premature death is"

And what is a 'fulfilled' life? Who defines it and why? When is death 'premature'? Surely being deliberately killed before you're even born is the most premature and easily avoidable / preventable death of all?

And if the pensiosn crisis is already on you in the US, maybe it's a good time to rethink the abortion stance?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:00 PM

My take is, if you live to be old, your life has been fulfilled... but I grew up in an ancestor-worshiping society, not a child-centered one as here. Premature death = death before you're old, in that case. One of the points of human life is to live to be old. This isn't Darwinian, FYI.

Science may well never eradicate disease, but we'll give it a run for its money!

And I'm not worried about overpopulation; I'm worried about distribution of resources.

Humanity's specialty is "violating the natural order of things" - agriculture, domestication, vaccinations, etc. That is natural to us... we are ruining our gene pool anyway, and have been for millennia, by protecting the weak, making glasses and canes and wheelchairs, having kids while diabetics or albino, and so on - we are hardly being Darwinian when we are being kind. But I'd still prefer a human society that takes care of people (defined as having been born already). If it comes to a crunch between the "rights" of a fetus against the "rights" of a woman, I'd vote for the woman every time. No unwanted pregnancies! No unwanted children! (I have a fantasy where a pregnant woman could legally register a fetus as "wanted" - then (a)she has to wear bright Baby On Board clothing so people know she's being considered, for legal purposes, 2 people; (b) she can get in trouble for behaviors that are known to damage fetuses; (c) somebody who assaults her and causes a miscarriage is then guilty of infanticide; (d)if she miscarries she can have a funeral. This allows for early miscarriage of embryos, which is so very common, not to be an issue, no pun intended. It also allows for abortion of unwanted pregnancies, especially in the first trimester. Later abortions could still be chosen if there was something wrong with the fetus such that a "wrongful birth" would otherwise occur. I haven't thought it all the way through, but that's the approach I'd like to see taken. Coupled with, of course, and pun intended, enough education that women would know if they were pregnant, had access to contraception, and used it.)

But when you get into the patronage of research, now, you're getting somewhere. Have you read State of Fear? Crichton goes into a whole thing about how funding should be as blind as design. Yes indeedy. But I'd rather have science than superstition, even if it isn't the best science we could have come up with.

How would preventing abortions help the pension crisis? Or do you mean making them illegal (now, they are just unobtainable in most states)?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:04 PM

You are talking around the counter-argument, Nick, deviously.

A person, in the full sense of the word, is one who is born to a human mother.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:07 PM

Was it you that wrote this, or are my eyes even worse than I thought--"Yes, indeed. I wrote a paper on drug use (not abuse, that is recreational drug use that doesn't lead to addiction) and found that the only real consistency in people who become addicted is a history of alternating spoiling and neglect...""

Atheism is a belief about God-which makes it a theism, when it comes down to it. Paul Tillich had something to say about fervant

As for Charlottesville, just tell me when you usually go to "Whole Foods" and I'll go to Harris Teeter instead.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:09 PM

Would it help to point out, as Darwinism relates to abortion, that the most feeble minded individuals are prone to go to church, and less apt to get an abortion so...?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:18 PM

It does no such thing. The proposition that "evidence available provides no or little support for the existence of God as proposed in CHristian tradition" is a statement about a hypothesis, not a statement about God, and not a theism.

It is very different from the proposition "God does not exist" or "God is dead" or others which pre-postulate a meaning to the word.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:38 PM

Mrzzy, I think i'll leave you to the mercies of Nickhere--but only after I finish my thought about Tillich, who said , "God does not exist. He is being itself beyond essence and existence. Therefore to argue that God exists is to deny him."

It would follow therefore, that to argue that God does not exist afirms him. Which pretty much makes you a Christian Evangelist, Mrrzy--ready for your first communion? Don't worry, most evangelicals believe the wine is only symbolic of, well, you know...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 11:05 PM

M. Ted:

Unfortunately,. your statement, while cosmically meaningful at some level, perhaps, is meaningless in the semantic terms it uses. Being itself MUST exist, for anything at all to exist, if that particular cosmology is to be accepted at all. So the proposition of Tillich's is semantically nul. Apparently, God-according-to-Tillich is substantively nul, and therefore all is well in the screwy world of metacosmics.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 01:15 AM

My word!! An epigram that turns on an aphaeresis!! How could I have been so blind!! Remarkable!! And here on Mudcat, of all places!!!



:D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:01 AM

Atheism is a belief about God-which makes it a theism. Nonsense - atheism is the absence of beliefs about god. And it is a logically-drawn conclusion, not a dogmatic affirmation. If you have any DATA that contradict that hypothesis, we'd all love to see them.

And my research about drug use was just that - research - so again, what I wrote wasn't my BELIEF, it was a FINDING. A datum, if you will.

I don't shop at Whole Foods. Are you a local here? I'd love to meet you! Imagine the talks we could have at Greenberry's!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:13 AM

Just checking if any gods turned up. Yes or no, folks? Did He wander in here yet?

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:39 AM

Yeah, actually, it did. But it was so different from the usual definiton used by organized adherents that no-one recognized it. It wouldn't answer to male pronouns, had no beard or visage, didn't care about weewees, was indifferent to morphemic abuse, and had no babies. Absolutely unrecognizable.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:00 AM

Hey, I'll answer to male pronouns, if they are addressed to me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:27 AM

Absolutely unrecognizable.

That's exactly what the spiritual gift of discernment is for.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:34 AM

LOL!

I was referring to Tillich's metaphysical proposition, which is the first definition of Goddyness I have seen which makes intutiive sense despite being semantically null. It is also a definition which would pull the rug out from under all the efforts to turn any sense of Goddyness into blathering moralization and social control, secret superiority, self-satisfied pomposity, emotional starve-and-binge personalities, and other merely human failings to which Its name is so often attached erroneously.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:34 AM

It's good to have spiritual gifts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:07 AM

"It's good to have spiritual gifts."

Yeah - but you really have to hunt around to find a good deal on spiritual wrapping paper and bows.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM

I dunno--some ORganized SPirituality efforts present all the colors and bows, layers of wrapping, furbelows to the max, and then when you get through all that, you either can't open the box or it's empty when you do.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:14 AM

For an excellent non-Christian treatment of the spiritual gift of discernment, see or hear George MacDonald's 2-volume children's novels:

The Princess and the Goblin
The Princess and Curdie

Available at audiobooksforfree.com

Top recommendation.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:44 AM

I grew up on those two books. I am amazed to see them resurfacing.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:07 PM

"At the Back of the North Wind" is even better.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:20 PM

Ooh, good books all. I loved Curdie. How about the Golden Key, not to be confused with the Golden Compass?

And what I should have said earlier (esprit de l'escalier strikes again) is, if I say I don't believe in unicorns, does that mean that I have to believe in unicorns to say so?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:31 PM

I'll bet you didn't even clap to save Tinkerbelle when you watched "Peter Pan".


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:37 PM

? I guess not growing up in the States you miss all kinds of things - but I don't remember clapping for Tinkerbell...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:51 PM

That explains it then.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: autolycus
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 01:07 PM

Warning. Interruption from another part of the conversation. :-)

Quote (which I wrote cos I never know if the italics thing will work or not


autolycus: This is among the hardest points to clarify in these discussions. What you have done is to first characterize my statement as if it were merely one in a list of subjective opinions about how to approach issues.
   It is not easy to explain why it is merely an attempt to do a meta-analysis of the very logical/linguistic structure of arguments in general. It in no way disproves any particular conclusions, but merely analyzes how well they manage to be both internally consistent and how well they avoid certain common rhetorical errors.

   Unquote.


Yes, Bill, I think there is a crux here.

As far as I'm concerned, I don't count yours quite as 'a subjective opinion' - it is your adding 'subjective' that may be part of the dispute. You are being objective abour logical analysis; from that viewpoint, you are not in deep subjectivity.

However, analyses of views in terms of their logicality is analysis from a standpoint (Aristotelian logic), not from a viewpoint outside debate looking in on the whole field, the impression its practitioners sometimes (wish to) convey.

I'm saying it is a standpoint, not a God-like place; that it is a standpoint as much open to discussion as any (and not in a lordly, beyond examination place); and that, given it is not master, I for one am not happy with it taking on the role of judge of all other positions (outside the limited area of logical analysis of that which is fit to be analysed.)

From my understanding, there are matters, levels of existence and experience, et cetera, that lie outside the realm of such analyses. Exactly what items are in that 'class' is no doubt also a field for discussion.

Mayne, using some upthread discussion, religious belief may be one of those areas. maybe the experience of great art is another.

Very very down=to=earth people like you and lots of scientists just will not (or seem not prepared to) engage outside of stuff like logic and the Western scientific method.(?)

La coeur a des raisons de laquel le mind ne saut pas. (Pascal?)

End of interruprion.




If memory serves, the author of the optimism/ pessimism quote is James Branch Cabell.


    Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 01:56 PM

A) If you don't believe in unicorns, you're pretty much stuck in that same predicament that has been mentioned before.
B) "Atheism is a theism" is the aphaerestic epigram that amazed Amos--perhaps it "Amazes Amos Most". I forget what that one is called.
C) With due respect, logic is a funny thing--When some people say that logic validates God, and some say that logic invalidates God, I am inclined to wonder about the validity of logic and the logic of validity(I forget what that one is called, as well)
D) I am in Charlottesville on occasion, but never, ever talk about God when I am there. I do buy groceries, though. And coffee.
E)Being a bit later, I haven't seen any gods, but the UPS truck has been down my street twice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 02:11 PM

"...I haven't seen any gods, but the UPS truck has been down my street twice."


                      Maybe you've got one coming from Amazon.com...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 03:18 PM

If I don't get the exact one I ordered, I'm sending it back--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 03:42 PM

La coeur a des raisons de laquel le mind ne saut pas. (Pascal?)


I regret to inform you that this translates as "The heart has some reasons from which the mind cannot jump." I think the original was "Le coeur a raisons que la raison ne connait pas."


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM

Sorry--it's "Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. "
(The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 04:12 PM

Well the last one makes a lot more sense, at least in English.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 04:13 PM

Well, PM me when you come to Charlottesville, we'll have coffee and talk about music...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 04:27 PM

My comments about logic are similar to saying that it is irrelevant how many sheep you have and how intelligent they are or are not, 25 over here and 25 over there do NOT add up to 60. Math is what it is...and logic **APPLIES** to the internal coherence of claims, no matter what 'might' be final truth. Therefore, it is NOT subjective to assert this, except in so far as it is subjective to bother with the distinction. *wry grin*

   The only real point, therefore, is that one should be aware of what they assert, and to whom, and under what circumstances, lest one's assertion be shown to be **technically** invalid.

Folks who see this just fine when discussing the 'quality of life in Toledo', often cannot see why it also applies when it is applied to some 'tender' area, such as religious beliefs.

If I explain I just don't WISH to live in Toledo, or don't like rhubarb, I can get shrugs...if I explain that I don't WISH to have my 'soul saved', I often get arguments and sadness. (I grew up in Kansas, where it was close to dangerous in some places to admit that you were not a Christian.) As you see, I have reacted to those attitudes.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 06:46 PM

I don't know--if you turn out not to be some raving atheistic lunatic, I might end up feeling somewhat foolish. Also, when I am there, I have a small but noisy entourage. Plus, I am very persnickety about music--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 07:08 PM

Persnicketing is fun! And so are some raving lunatics...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:56 PM

I am over "raving lunatics"--it's so 90's--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:00 PM

I have to disagree with you, BillD--it is not irrelevant how many sheep you have. And the fact that there are 25 here and 25 there doesn't preclude the possibility that there are 10 somewhere else, meaning "lost"--which is why everyone is so upset--

I felt that that had to be said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 10:04 AM

Oooo! LEt's have a squabble on that one: "Resolved--The number of sheep Bill has is relevant." Discuss.

Your remark about the book club was very funny, Rig. They would probably counter that it was a very, very good book.

Bill's love affair with the gods of Logic and Boolean Propositions is charming, but it overlooks the fact that real life is awkward, volatile, shape-shifting, and often balks at holding still for propositional logic. Logicians HAVE to eliminate a lot of material in order to make their propositions even manageable. Acheiving internal consistency in a set of logical propositions is definitely virtuous, don't get me wrong. But if one ignores the edges, you can end up making your vessel all ship-shape and Bristol-fashion only to discover it is sitting in the middle of the Sahara Forest.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 10:12 AM

Ooh, good books all. I loved Curdie. How about the Golden Key, not to be confused with the Golden Compass?


Isn't it funny how DUMB a name can seem till you read the book, and how sweet it is once you have? I'll look into Golden Key, on your recommendation.

If God hasn't turned up then, have any great-great-grandmothers who have strange powers, or do we now think that Curdie and the Princess made it all up? :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 10:19 AM

Intelligent women have always had powers strange to mehums (someone's term for Mere Humans, anybody remember whose?)! And intelligent OLD women, even scarier powers!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 10:25 AM

If God hasn't turned up then, have any great-great-grandmothers who have strange powers, or do we now think that Curdie and the Princess made it all up? :~)



But It did!! Ergo, non sequitur...



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: autolycus
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 01:45 PM

And that's the point, Bill. They are attitudes. Not propositions.

And re your last post, right, it is not subjective to assert that distinction that you made. And it is not purely subjective to take logic to propositions to matters like that, just ss you said.

But thet use of logic is not appropriate for all subjects, and some of us are pointing out subjects where logical analysis aint the way to go. Like quality of life. Or taste preferences, to keep the argument simple.

If logical analysis is your only tool, then the quote comes to my mind,
"If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."


Amos , thanks for correction. Corrected pascal quote makes my point another way.

Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 03:33 PM

Ah, yes, but what do you use to draw conclusions from data, if not logic? I understand that one can get to one's ideas without logic, but how does one get to a conclusion?

Does that make all data, nails?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 03:49 PM

No, it does not, of course.

It is the filter on acceptable or perceivable data that maketh all the difference.

It is the insight into ramifications of data and the relative importance of it. Boolean logic is not very good at defining relative importance. A lot of data skirmishes come from difference of opinion about weighing relative importance of information.

A single white crow might be statistically negligible in a world of usual crows; but in the universe of people believing that all crows are black, it could be extremely important, because it offers a crack in the doorway into a better model by presenting an irritating anomaly. Depending on your logic, you could throw the datum away or elevate it to great importance.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: autolycus
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 04:16 PM

i Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy - PM
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 03:33 PM

Ah, yes, but what do you use to draw conclusions from data, if not logic? I understand that one can get to one's ideas without logic, but how does one get to a conclusion?

Does that make all data, nails?




Mrrzy, that sounds like your hammer is drawing conclusions from data. That's the scientific caste of mind, isn't it?

And all the assumptions hidden in that phrase are what even only philosophers of science (never mind those of other experiential/existential frameworks) would seek to uncover.

Just as with Bill, you seem not (to me) to realise that your framework/philosophy/vision/point of view is exactly that, a f/p/v/pv. LIke most of us, your f/p/v/pv is reality,for you. It is, for you, the way it is; THE way to handle the rest of the world, and to know it.

Just as each of us is liable to believe from top to bottom that OUR take on things IS NOT a mere take but, quite simply, the way it is.

That's how come so many of us get aggravated,annoyed, frustrated, angry, depressed, exasperated, contemptuous, et cetera, when another comes along and disagrees with our blindingly obviously true take on things.

Drawing conclusions from data is no less A way of dealing with the world than any other, omo.

When we are in the , for want of a better word, 'grip' of our view as the self-evident way, then other views, well, are wrong ot incomprehensible or both.( uh -eh- er -er - a - (like out of breath )


Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 05:29 PM

It would seem that first there is the IDEA, then DATA, which is drawn by LOGIC to a CONCLUSION.
But where does the IDEA come from?
Can DATA exist without an IDEA?
Can there be a CONCLUSION without an IDEA?
Can there be LOGIC with neither an IDEA or DATA?
And, if there is no need for a CONCLUSION, is there no need for LOGIC?

Just curious.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 05:35 PM

In spite of all of it, you'd think somebody ought to be able to scare up some kind of a god somewhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 05:36 PM

It is all considerations of various data, including the data hat says Logic worls one way or another.

Some data aligns better with material space-time phenomena than others.

Of course a concept exists in the instanrt of creation before it can be called data.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 08:36 PM

Interesting, M.Ted. Lessee:

It would seem that first there is the IDEA, then DATA, which is drawn by LOGIC to a CONCLUSION. Yes, idea can come first, but sometimes the idea comes from the data, as in, I can't seem to draw a conclusion from these data, maybe I can think of another way to get more data and clarify something. Or, hey, these data lead me to a completely different idea than I had when I first asked the question.

But where does the IDEA come from? Oops, already answered.

Can DATA exist without an IDEA? Well, there are data all over the place, but we would just call them facts, or something, if we weren't trying to look at them as data (with an idea in mind). For instance, ungulates have various shaped hooves, which is data for their evolution, but they had the hooves long before humans evolved to wonder how the horses did, I hope that makes sense...

Can there be a CONCLUSION without an IDEA? Sure - at least the conclusion could be a different idea than the idea that started the data collection...

Can there be LOGIC with neither an IDEA or DATA? Now that is more interesting. Would logic exist without humans to use it? I would say yes, just like the data did. I would say that it was true before humans evolved the idea of equivalence that if A=B and B=C then A=C. Just Pi was equal to 3.14etc before we figured it out. I guess I would call logic a discovery rather than an invention. Arguments?

And, if there is no need for a CONCLUSION, is there no need for LOGIC? That is also an interesting one. Conclusions will happen whether we need them or not - we can't help it, with our minds. But without logic we would have a hard time drawing the correct inferences - but I wouldn't go collect data if I wasn't interested in drawing some conclusion or other, would you?

VERY interesting thoughts. Slightly afield, but still fascinating.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 08:57 PM

I submit there are two different definitions of "datum" in play here. The scientific version is a measured or observed fact deemed to be reliable in formulating a hypothesis.

In general discussion about minds and how they work, "men are all the same, out to get you" can be a datum. It won't be a very workable datum, but it can be found in some minds, usually adopted under duress of some sort. "Sunlight reminds me of angels" can be a datum as surely as "steps for long division..." can be. Some data proves out in life, and some doesn't, and some folks can change their unworkable datums easily and some cannot do so as well.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 09:52 PM

It occurs to me that DATA would only be DATA insofar that it is being considered for some external purpose, that being an IDEA or QUESTION. The IDEA or QUESTION, would define the DATA.

Whether LOGIC has an existence outside of the human mind depends very much on what LOGIC is, or, I suppose, how you define LOGIC.   From my view, LOGIC seems a tool of INTELLECT--but that can't be your definition of LOGIC, for obvious reasons--


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Subject: THE JESUS STONE
From: Donuel
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 09:52 PM

Proof of Jesus is on Ebay.

There is a guy auctioning off the Jesus Stone...here it ishttp://thumbs.ebaystatic.com/pict/3600140011016464_1.jpg


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 09:59 PM

Amos:

Here is a definition of DATUM:"A fact or proposition used to draw a conclusion or make a decision."

The other thing that you mentioned is more likely a DICTUM:" A statement, comment, or opinion."


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 10:02 PM

As for collecting data--I know a lot of people who just like to collect things. They even, often, leave them in the bags, and pile the bags up in back rooms and basements. That's a whole other thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 10:04 PM

Here is a guy auctioning off some pretty old (literal) shit
http://cgi.ebay.com/COLORFUL-SPECIMEN-OF-COPROLITE-DINO-DUNG-ROCK-FOSSIL_W0QQitemZ260205679890QQihZ016QQcategoryZ15915QQssPageNa


I guess its has to be a couple hundred years older than Jesus :< {


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 10:59 PM

Wal, Ted, as far as I can see they is all pickchoors from the same side of life, dancing in the mind of folks to help them pose problems and resolve them.

I acknowledge the distinction, but I can't say I find it especially useful.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 11:45 PM

I don't know what is useful to you, Amos, owing to the fact that you are all the way over on the other side of the country. If you were here, you'd need some horrible chemicals to melt the ice.
I'll bet they're not even legal in California.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 11:34 AM

The ultimate Faith Fighting Game to stimulate reflection and provide hours of entertainment.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM

I'll have to try that at home.

But it's an interesting philosophical question... I would say that the data exist even if nobody is collecting them if we're talking naturalistic observation. Lab data, on the other hand, have to be created by the investigator's subjects. That is, even if nobody is drawing conclusions from the mating dance of the stickleback fish, the fish, nonetheless, dances.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 03:35 PM

Well, I couldn't get the FFF game ot work. So I abandoned it.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 03:57 PM

The fish may dance, but it is not data. A datum is a representation of a state of being (or non-being) in some universe. The raw state of the universe is not a representation (unless you want to be really, really metaphysical about it, I guess). Making numbers, for example, is forcing the raw states of being into a framework for representation whichi s alreayd partially distorted by that act.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 04:32 PM

I don't think I understand what Making Numbers is, in that context, Amos.

So you would argue, if I comprehend you aright, that if nobody is watching the fish dance for research purposes, the dance, which exists, isn't data? I guess I would say I am being really, really metaphysical then - I think these kinds of naturalistic data are discovered - rather than created - when someone watches the fish dance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: john f weldon
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 05:16 PM

And, on a lighter note...

Science and Religion

the flood

Mammon


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 05:16 PM

Well, I am quibbling on semantics, but I think it is important. FIsh dance all day. The moment you measure the dance, or take a mental picture of it, to take it out of its original instant for comparison, or lump things together for counting purposes, you have interjected some distortion, but all representations of the universe are necessarily distorted from the original instant they represent.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 06:23 PM

John, your videos are well made and very funny!

But I think you show two extremes - the VERY reasonable polite scientists v. the totally unreasonable and violent 'religionists'. Ok, so you were dramatising for effect (I hope!) but I think it'll give people a skewed view. There are many 'religionists' who are perfectly capable of discussing their beliefs calmly and in a rational way. They recognise that 'conversion' is not up to the force of their argument or their experiences, but to the spirit of God. However the former might at least provide food for thought for the religiously curious. They will arrive at a point when they will politely agree to disagree on occasion. These are people who give their beliefs a lot of thought and mull over them regularly and are always seeking to understand more. They are not the blind automatons so often portrayed as religious stereotypes. Of course there are many of the latter as well! Your curiosity about religion and matters of the spirirt can often depend on which kind you meet first!


Then again if you have any experience of academia (and I'm sure you must, if you are qualified in any field of science) you will know how territorial some scientists (and academics generally) can get about their research and theories. They will defend the most absurd theories long past their sell-by date because they have often staked their reputation or academic careers on them, or because they have passed their own sell-by date and realise it would just be too painful to go back to drawing board and start from scratch. The unseemly academic spats of duelling scientists raraely make it to the front page of the tabloids or the prime-time news, firstly because it rarely involves death or suicide bombing (though at least one shooting, in Italy) - which is good, of course. But also because the material under discussion may be too opaque to the reporting journalist who fears a migraine trying to make sense of it all and just prefers simpler cliches about 'religious intolerance'. It doesn't make for good headlines is what I'm saying.

Of course such academics are not common, but my point is they do exist and it is a hidden side of academia and science that rarely gets a public airing. It helps create the fasle impression that scientists by virtue of their vocation are a more reasonable and reliable lot than humanity at large. You see scientists are humans and humans bring their personaloity and character with them into the classroom and lab just as religionists do into the church and their neighbourhoods. That's why you get interesting, open-minded scientists who it's great to chat with, and mean-minded scientists who sneer at dissent in the lecture halls (which may often stem from a fear of having their assumptions put under closer scrutiny). We're all just human at the end of the day.

Regarding 'Mon-Sat scientists' I suppose it depends on which kind you are talking about, but I think it's quite possible to reconcile an interest in science as a useful tool for explaining the physical world and spirit / religion as a way of addressing metaphysical questions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,cosmostician donueles
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 06:38 PM

(the observer effects the observed concept)
So if it is life or consciousness that imposes parameters for measured perception and in doing so distorts the universe , then a Universe unsullied by life would be without distortion, in the same sense as the fallen tree would make no noise without someone to hear it.

The distortion is within the consciousness of the life form's perception as well as the observed universe. The photons passing through 2 slits and displaying the pattern on a wall are indeed influenced by an observer in a manner which is like a supreme being calling quanta into existence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 06:46 PM

The God and mammon video made some good points. You're right about lots of 'religious' people demanding money or abusing religion to defraud the unsuspecting. But this has been going on for a surprisingly long time. You know the way you sign off a letter with 'yours sincerely'? Ever wonder the origin of that phrase? It comes from pagan times (in the Roman empire) when vendors would hawk little statues of the various gods outside shrines. Now the 'proper' statues would be made of gold or silver, or perhaps at least a base of copper with a generous coating of silver for the cheaper ones. But even copper and tin are expensive so the really unscrupulous used-car salesmen of teh statue trade found a way to make an even bigger profit. They used hardened wax as the base with a thin coating of gold or silver over. Very cheap, and a tidy profit. Of course it wasn't long before this trick came to be known and people were wary when buying their votive statues. So vendors would put up signs telling their prospective clients their statues were without (sin) wax (ceres) = sincere (latin). This word has come down to us through time to mean 'without deception' or 'honestly'.

In the middle ages the abuses of selling pardons and indulgences was well-known. Chaucer roundly mocked the vendors in his stereotypes in his Canterbury Tales (see "the prologue to the Pardoner's tale", plus the tale itself). It was one cause of the schism with the Vatican that led to the reformation.

But we find people in all walks of life engaging in such dishonest practices. I remember reading of a sociologist who wasted 18,000 dollars of tax payers' money in the form of a grant form his university. The title of his thesis / research? I don't remember it now exactly, but it was along the lines of 'the interpersonal relationships found within a Peruvian brothel'......

Since you've read the New Testament you'll be familiar with Jesus' approach to money. Apparently He didn't even own a purse into which to put it. Judas (Iscariot) was the one who took care of all the finances. Jesus warned the Apostles 'carry no purse, no haversack' but told them to accept such help and support as people offered graciously (no hint of extortion). He drove the money lenders and merchants out of the temple in a very rare burst of righteous anger accusing them of turning His father's house into a den of thieves. My feeling (without wanting to slander anyone genuine) is that much of this televangelism today is along the same lines as those merchants.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 07:06 PM

Nice story about "sincere", but, not true, according to the dictionary people atMerriam-Webster Online:

" The "without wax" derivation of sincere is one that we've heard for ages now, it seems, but there is no evidence that sincere ever had anything to do with craftsmanship, statues, or wax. According to our sources, sincere is from the Middle French sincere, meaning "honest," which in turn derived from the Latin sincerus, meaning "whole, unsullied, pure, honest, genuine." Sincerus most likely derives from sem- or sim- (a Latin root word meaning "one") and –cerus, which is most likely akin to the Latin verb creare, meaning "to create." We can say it is clearly not related to the Latin cera, "wax." We have ample evidence of the Latin sincerus through Classical and Medieval Latin, and it has never been used to describe anything having to do with "wax." Sincerus has meant "honest, pure, genuine, whole" since the classical era. "

This is all by way of saying that the "without wax" story is just that—a story. It is a good one and makes for great copy, as they say, which is why it is so oft repeated. But unless we see some new evidence of early uses of sincere that make the connection between honesty and wax clear, we have to reject this explanation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 07:08 PM

Of course I forgot to add the example of the religious people who see money as a menas to an end, not an end in itself. For example, billions and billions of lire passed through the hands of the famous Italian, Padre Pio, but he never kept a cent for himself. The money (in donations0 was all used for various charity projects etc., Now whether OTHER people along the way creamed off a few lire here or there for 'administration' I don't know, but i haven't ever heard of it in that particular case.

I also recently finished reaidng a book called "Where God Weeps" by a Belgian priest called Wienfried Von Stratten who after WW2 tirelessly raised funds for the millions of 'displaced' and impoverished people left in the aftermath of that war in Europe. Now who do you think the first people he sent money to were? The Belgians? The French? No - the Germans. Thousands upon thousands of German families and children impoverished by the war recived money, food pacakges and Xmas presents to help them. He persuaded Belgina schoolchildren to save up their sweets at Lent (a Christian festival of 40 days when people try and make some small sacrifices such as giving up cigarettes or sweets) in order to have them sent in packages to German children.

His reward was to be able to pass on to the donors thousands of letters of gratitude from German families, many along the lines of "I can't thank you enough, I saw my children smile this Xmas when they got the sweets. We Germans didn't deserve this, we would have perfectly understood if after the war, you Belgians wished us dead. It has renewed our faith in the goodness of humanity in the midst of so much evil'.

Von Stratten made a point of getting people from one country to donate to former enemies in another country. Thus Germans who were able to do so were encouraged to send parcels to French etc, This way, he managed in thousands of individual cases to rebuild the spirit of a shattered continentt, and give practical meaning to the phrases "love your enemies' and 'turn the other cheek'.

It may not be an exaggeration to say that the work of people like him, and other religionists who joined his work, did as much to rebuild European humanity as did the 1957 Treaty of Rome which was the foundation treaty of the now-European Union. Yet today you would hardly even know such a person existed.

Von Stratten went on to South-east Asia and latter Latin America crusading to lift the unwanted poor of the world out of their filth and poverty. One of his tactics in latin Amercia was simply to squat land the government was allowing to go to waste and organise the locals to build a school, medical clinic, church, homes. These would then be supplied by the proceeds of his endless requests for money to the more (or less) well-off in other countries. He often upbraided the Church hierarchy for coming to compromise with the Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union so that an emasculated 'official' church subservient to the secular state would be left unmolested while the reality for the ordinary people was of crushing secular oppression of religion.

There isn't space here to write of all the things he did, this tireless man and champion of the earth's downtrodden. But I just wanted to show another side of the coin to those money-worshipping 'religious' mentioned by John.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 07:13 PM

Thanks for that M.Ted, I stand corrected. I had heard this story a long time ago and it seemed to add up, but now I know better. There were other fakes, more easily spotted - such as 'manager' being about 'men in charge' whereas in fact the word comes from the root 'mano' or 'manus' (good old latin again) meaning 'hand'. The concept was of someone who had a hand over something, as in guiding or controlling it

But the veracity of the 'sincere' story aside, I'm sure there were 'religious' fraudsters back then..


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,donuel
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 07:25 PM

With all sincerity Nick, the televangelists of today are far worse than the money lenders of yore. Today they just keep your money and wouldn't dream of lending you any of theirs.




Here here John of Weldon, your features are a fine introduction into even more specific and fun filled issues. I have been known to do a few cartoons myself.


I for one was cast into public Jr. High School hell and sent to the principal's office for writing an essay on evolution in which I began "Man and other animals..." Although I was punished further by being castigated to the coat closet my spirit was not dampened. When they passed out clay for art class I did an anatomically corret female nude. I was cast out of art class yet I still do art. In English class I was given an F for a poem I had written because it was so good, the teacher determined it must have been plagerized. There was a piling on by teachers that I remember to this day.

It seems I was never directly punished for any scientificly held belief but rather punished for beliefs disrespectful to Christianity.

Last year I wrote 'a comedy of errors' based on the premise that the dead sea scrolls included deciphering copper scrolls that brought the whole bible into its true intended focus. For example many names were changed to protect decendents. Noah's ark was really Jonas ark and the flood was merely a global warming effect. The book of Levidicus when deciphered with the copper scrolls was really are really funny joke thread. Even the ten Commandments when deciphered were indeed as Mel Brooks guessed, The 10 condiments...etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 07:30 PM

People using spiritual desire as a means for controlling or defrauding others goes all the way back before your Gilgamesh was a twinkle in anyone's eye, back to the first guy wo discovered if he could do the Voodoo Hoodoo well enough he could eat without hunting.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 07:49 PM

Well there had to be the first charlaton, but often the Spritual leader of the tribe was a medicine man based on his knowledge of healing plants.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 09:39 PM

"the first guy wo discovered if he could do the Voodoo Hoodoo well enough he could eat without hunting."


                   And more importantly, he was left home alone with all the women. Which might explain why there's so many of them, assuming Darwin might have been onto something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 09:10 AM

The moment you measure the dance... you have interjected some distortion - Not to the dance, though. The fish won't differ from being looked at or not. Your representation OF that dance will be distorted from "reality" by your perceptual system, expectations, etc. - but the fish just dances on.

There are many 'religionists' who are perfectly capable of discussing their beliefs calmly and in a rational way. - Sure - but their faith itself is NOT rational. (Almost by definition.)

And the growing evidence is that the Darwinian advantages of religion accrue to the PRIESTHOOD (loosely speaking), not to the believers upon whom they prey.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 09:25 AM

I read, elsewhere, an interesting conversation someone was having with a Creationist. Usually, creationists make ill advised efforts to square their beliefs with reality by making up their own 'science' or distorting known scientific facts, or just stating that goddidit and that's that. Not this fellow, who seemed like a pretty clear thinking person otherwise. He had read his Bible carefully and literally, and pointed out that the god of the Bible is described as impatient, jealous, even fearful of his own created beings (after all, there was that angelic rebellion). His reasoning is that god is neither omnipotent or omniscient, at least not as we would define those qualities.

He noted that God said, after creating the planet, that it was 'good', not 'perfect', and that in his impatient haste to 'get it done', mistakes were made, steps were skipped, and a few bad decisions crept in. He thinks the universe was a separate creation from the earth, maybe even always there, and that God formed earth out of that only 6000 years ago, explaining all the appearances of age we see.

Of course, it's a completely off the wall notion, and I doubt any theologian would agree with him, but it interested me that in order to salvage the 'young earth' belief, this fellow was willing to take at least two 'omnis' out of his god's bag of tricks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 09:26 AM

I would submit that there are benefits to having groups formed around nominally spiritual and benevolent principals. In other words, churches are good groups, perhyaps in spite of any intellectual predation or spiritual distortion they include in there metaphysics. But this is because they are really more social groups than religious ones. Some churches, that is. The problem enters when they inject mind-crippling assumptions into the thinking of their young, rendering them stupid in certain areas of thought.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 09:29 AM

MRRZY I know what you said about the fish not being effected is rational but it isn't true/

The weird and bizrre fact is they are changed. Even the light we look at is changed. It is changed right down to the quantum level.

I would ask you to look up split beam experiment.
I Put it to you that in this universe something CAN even be in two places at the same time. It is observable fact.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 09:39 AM

I have seen with my own eyes how a benevolent group of people in a buddist sect gradually became reactionary, exclusive and took on aspects of Nazi party. After an attitude of "specialness" was introduced an exclusivity began to subvert inclusiveness with rules like "a true beliver must remove books from their dwelling that could sour the words of wisdom in our holy texts".

The proximity of items became a threat. Then questions became a threat and finally the people who asked the questions became the threat.

Every club has dues. Some dues are evil dressed in angelic clothing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Keinstein
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 10:20 AM

Even the light we look at is changed. It is changed right down to the quantum level.>/i>

Only at quantum level, though. If you look at higher levels- molecule size and above- quantum effects average out.

I would ask you to look up split beam experiment.
I Put it to you that in this universe something CAN even be in two places at the same time. It is observable fact.


Only quantum scale objects. Not fish or cats, even Schroedinger's. Though I've heard it argued that, as they travel at the speed of light, time doesn't exist for photons, and that there could be just the one in the whole universe.

Now what would happen if Schroedinger's cat met Pavlov's dog?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 10:35 AM

He would drool, or not.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM

"The problem enters when they inject mind-crippling assumptions into the thinking of their young, rendering them stupid in certain areas of thought."

True, Amos, but don't blame it all on religion--check this Bad Science


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 11:29 AM

The Pathetic Fallacy


"The pathetic fallacy is the name given the specious attribution of emotions --- which is to say, pathos --- to the inanimate. Thus, when NASA tells children that, Òthe moving object, due to its mass, wants to keep going,Ó it misleads them with the pathetic fallacy. For, to the best of anyoneÕs knowledge, an inanimate mass doesnÕt have any wants. Well, there is a belief system which posits that everything contains a spirit which motivates and directs its actions, and that system is called animism. But, animism is not science. So, apparently we have NASA promoting animism among our children under the guise of promoting science. This is scary. (One then wonders if NASA thinks this way, or it only wants children to do so). "

Jolly good stuff...


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 11:46 AM

My point exactly, in general, MT -- I do not blame all the stupefaction on religion, just that which centers around the areas of thought in which religion injects its data -- you know, the nature of the universe, the nature of ethics, the best methods of right action, stuff like that.

When it comes to thinking about science, of course, religion has nothing to say that could possibly confuse a person wanting to learn. Oh, except in matters of anthropology, archaeology, biology, geophysics, cosmology, and sociology. The damage imposed by religious teachings is more in areas of individual comeptency to think clearly, and in sociological areas like ethics, human interdependence, the nature of decency and so on.

Other subjects, of course, inject false data into student's wits. A major example, of course, is the video gaming industry and the entertainment industry. False emotions, false precepts, false values, false analysis, false news, mis-evaluation of importances, distorted views of sequence and consequence... no wonder kids end up in apathetic confusion.

A
A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 12:18 PM

Yes, the fish dance would change at the quantum level from being perceived - but not at any level WE live on.

Who asked the following questions or posed the conundrum:

Evil exists. If God can't stop it, he isn't omnipotent. If he can stop it and doesn't, he isn't benevolent. And there is more to it but I can't recall, help, someone?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 01:02 PM

Yes it seems irrational and at odds with what we are taught but

The fish dance does change. It may even change at great distance from the observer. The next dimension up from our percieved 4 dimensions has the unimaginable ability to be in contact with all points of 3D space at once. (but don't ask me to show you) ;< }

The molecular dances are keenly influenced by quantum changes and molecular changes keenly effect the larger systems of a nervous system.


Rarely do we really take in this reality...

One DOES see with the naked eye a macro partical in two places at the same time so it is not strickly at the quantum level. The cloud chambers in which you can see this effect are at several university labs. Yes size matters but it only effects the probabilities.

Indeed once things get sufficiently large the potential for bizarre quantum effects becomes potentially small. For example pushing your hand through a pane of glass without breaking the glass is possible but becomes somthing like 10 to the 20th power unlikely.

Of the billions of moments you have lived it is probable you have seen or sensed something "impossible". When this happens we usually don't see it since we have no context to put it in, or we don't believe our eyes. Of course believeing ones eyes is a whole different story.



PS
the cat may or may not have died prior to scratching the hungry dog's nose.

I do not know however if the cat scratched the dog's nose after it died.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 01:16 PM

Well, if it changes from the unobserved, we'll never know anyway, since we can't observe the unobserved, so why worry?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 09:54 PM

Getting back to the task of finding gods, I think it might pay to look at the process of cleaning carpets.
                Muslims, you'll notice, roll their carpets out on a stone floor and spend hours and hours, five times a day, banging those carpets with their foreheads.
                In the west, of course, we throw the carpet over a clothes line, and beat the dust out of it with a worn out old tennis racket.
                In the west, I suspect we end up with cleaner carpets, but it's not hard to understand why no one has discovered a god. In the Middle-East, however, one would think, with those Muslims beating their carpets over and over--by the millions in all parts of west Asia and Northern Africa--pounding and pounding with their foreheads, they would surely have chased up some kind of a god by now. That is, if there'd been any kind of a god to find anywhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: bobad
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 10:05 PM

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
- Epicurus


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 10:06 PM

You can stop any time, Riginslinger.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 10:08 PM

Epicurus spoke well, but the steps have a false middle in the statement that if he is able, but not willing, then he is malevolent. It conflates allowance with causation. It is possible he is not willing for perfectly benevolent reasons, like allowing humans to work out their own destiny.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 11:16 PM

"You can stop any time, Riginslinger."



                            Sorry!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 11:35 AM

Thanks, bobad. I hadn't realized it was THAT old.

And you can avoid Amos' pitfall by just saying "then he isn't benevolent."

And my Why Worry thing works for the theory that god is outside/beyond the universe, or that s/he started the Big Bang but that's all, etc. It's the same as no god, then, for humans.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 11:52 AM

No prob, Riginslinger, that's what friends are for;-)

And Mrrzy, atheism actually preceded the existance of Christianity--there were lots more gods to object to back then-


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 12:38 PM

The point must be, then, that for all human purposes, God is actually an infinite Zero, a nothing of no location, no energy, no mass, no location in space-time, eh?

That makes mne feel much better, I am sure.

Mrrzy, your re-wording does not respond to the point I raised -- his non-interference policy COULD be a benevolent one for reasons not taken into account.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 08:54 PM

Yes, Amos, but it's less of a jump.

And M.Ted, I don't recall claiming that Christianity came first?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 01:44 AM

I was just pointing it out, as a convenient reference, like the cups to tablespoons conversions on matchbook covers--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 12:42 PM

Joseph Campbell said it best. "We need our myths". The pacifist myth of Jesus is a good one. The other guy that the Theocons produce is a fraud.

Nothing wrong about feeding the poor, caring for the less fortunate, and turning the other cheek instead of ginning up for NATO's new program for mass destruction. (Nuclear pre-emptive first strike to "protect" us. What bullshit!)

I think the Pacifist Jesus is the sane part of Christianity. I don't care if he existed or not.

I care more about what people "do" than what the profess to believe. Talk is cheap.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 01:43 PM

I tried this once before, but it seemed to have gotten erased, miraculously. But I'll try it again. There is another thread running on the "ins and outs of colonoscopy." Okay, here's the dilemma:
                   What if they were giving somebody a colonoscopy, and they discovered a god? What if it was a member of the Genovese crime family?
                   Should they order up and exorcism, use massive amounts of Milk of Magnesia, ignore it...?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 02:40 PM

The subject is becoming "thread-bare".

Next!

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 03:47 PM

I don't know why you tried it even once, Rig!! :D

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: autolycus
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 04:07 PM

If this is getting threadbare, I posted and got no response.

So if you don't want me to sulk like a true Cancerian........

Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 04:17 PM

Just trying to liven things up :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 06:09 PM

How would you know it WAS a god, r?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 09:43 PM

Indeed...perhaps it was a tapeworm. Gods are clever - they can assume all sorts of shapes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 10:04 PM

I'm not sure, never having stumbled across one myself, but I suppose it would have to identify itself as such. At that point, I suspect there would be rigorous testing, but...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 10:47 PM

When you think how many disappointing claims have been filed for godhood -- from THogmagog the lazy Neanderthal to reincarnations of L. Ron Hubbard -- it seems unlikely that such an assertion owld be genuine, and certain that it would not be accepted as such on first blush. Of course a couple of world-enhancing miracles would work a quick sea-change in that. "Shazaam!! The dollar is robust!! Sha-booom!!! Iraq is at peace internally and fullly conscious of individual responsibility. Bzazzzz!! The green glass Coca-Cola bottle is back in use....".




A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 01:29 PM

Here's the deal. I agree with Pat Condell. You can't argue with dogma. There is no
civilized conversation that can take place here.

You can make jokes and ridicule the ridiculous ideas of religion but it serves no purpose
someone tries to force their dogma down your throat. Then, it's open
season.

So if you get politicians like Obama, Hillary, Huckabee, Edwards, Romney, McCain,
Paul or any one of them who starts their political religious crap, I agree with Katha Politt,
tell them to stuff a cork in it. Keep their religious babble out of the public discourse
in politics. It's a violation of the Separation of Church and State and it's unAmerican.

I don't want to hear about their sex lives or personal religious beliefs.

In the meantime why beat the proverbial dead horse?

I'm feeling ornery this morning so don't talk to me about your religious beliefs.

Again, actions speak louder than words and if what you believe informs your good
intentions toward concentrating on the genuine issues that face our country, OK,
but stow the dogma.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 01:51 PM

YEah, Frank!! "By their fruits, ye shall know them." I think Bob Dylan said that.... ;>)

Hope you have an uplifting day in any case!!!



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 03:46 PM

If you want to get people really upset, Frank, judging people by what they do, instead of what they say will do it--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 04:30 PM

And what if you see them going to church?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 09:20 AM

Back to Amos - if you're doing something for a good reason, it isn't evil, so you defined yourself out of what Epicurus was talking about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 09:57 AM

I thought we were talking about divine intercession in evil generated by humans. So even if he tolerates it out of deep Divine Wisdom, it is still evil, not of His doing but ours.

You could argue, in counterpoint, that If God tolerates it and God is benevolent, then it isn't evil, we just don't see where the good will come from (for example in the slaughters of the Tutsi or Darfur) being much less knowing than Him. But this sounds downright Bushian, and vaguely sickening, given the bizarre premises embedded int he terminology.

It's spinny stuff inventing a term with as much and many meanings as "God" and then having discussions about it. Real wheel-spinning. I'd rather discuss similar but more bounded faith-based terms, such as "caloric", "phlogiston", and "aether".


A


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 10:59 AM

Gee, Amos...if I had a dollar for every time I've noted the linguistic fallacy that assumes that if something has a name, it somehow acquires 'reality', I could at least have a good meal in a restaurant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 11:18 AM

Does that mean, BillD, that without a dollar for every time you've had to note the "linguistic fallacy" that you describe, that you cannot have a good meal in a restaurant?

I don't see the logic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 11:26 AM

Ted, you missed the implicit predicate, "..on that money alone".


Bill: I know, I know. You have long fought the good fight, alone against the barbaric hordes, struggling on through the lonely night, wielding the sword of Reason, wading through the blood of your enemies, unthanked and unsung.

But, I believe (unless I am mistaken) that it was your choice so to do, no? :D



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 11:42 AM

Yup, Amos! I spend a week or two tilting at windmills, then when Pancho starts grumbling, I come home and clarify important issues for Mudcat.

Now, as to whether I 'freely' chose this adventurous life....that's another long debate...I can only say, "it felt like it". So, I take responsibility for foisting uncomfortable truths on the populace, knowing it is much like teaching pigs to sing..."it wastes my time, and it annoys the pig"

But Max swears this will all be here for...like...ages! Maybe I'll be famous in 30-40 years!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 12:31 PM

But Amos, he says "I could at least have a good meal in a restaurant.", which means that he can't have a good meal in a restaurant now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 12:44 PM

Well, maybe he can't, because he spends all his time correcting logic on the internet instead of tending to sales and production at home.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 03:46 PM

There are people who occasionally invite me out to restaurants just for the scintillating and stimulating conversation....but elderly, retired curmudgeons who whiled away their youth without mastering a remunerative trade don't go out often on their own dime. Those potential donated $$$$$$$$ for cumulative reiteration of relevant nuances of points in philosophical linguistics could, in time, allow me to indulge in a rare experience with Ethiopian cuisine....with Tej!

..."...spends all his time correcting logic on the internet instead of tending to sales and production at home."

tsk...Nicht wahr, mein freund! in addition to. Wanna buy some Torrey vauquelinia?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 03:48 PM

(I'm expecting Peace here any moment to critique the straying from the topic)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 11:23 PM

"An 'Electronic Mufti' is currently under development that will use artificial intelligence techniques to issue opinions on contemporary Muslim affairs. A mufti is an Islamic scholar who offers interpretations of Sharia, Islamic law. A fatwa is a ruling on Islamic law issued by a credentialed scholar of that faith. There are many variations; fatawa are not binding for everyone, there are differences based on sects and national groups.

Dr. Anas Fawzi, an Egyptian engineer, is the only Arab in a group of French computer scientists working on the artificial intelligence computer project. Dr. Fawzi consulted with Islamic scholars before undertaking his role in the project. He says that they assured him that "such a device is not 'haram' [prohibited by Islam]. But there are fears and scepticism regarding misuse and causing any misrepresentation or defamation to the figure of the Prophet. There are also fears in terms of Arab and Islamic public opinion and their acceptance of a machine such as this.""

(LiveScience.com)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 08:34 AM

As long as they don't call it Mahammad. Remember what happened to the lady with the first graders and the Teddy bear?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:10 AM

And just to go back to logic, if someone says If I had other people's money, I could eat out, it doesn't necessarily follow that they can't eat out now on their own dime, just that they could on OPM (other people's money) - if they had it.

The other conclusion was rational, but not logical.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 11:23 AM

The notion of using massively parallel processing and neural-net AI methods to generate a more reliable set of mufti-fatwahs and interpretations of Sharia is really appealing to me, in a sense.

One reason is it could be programmed to be sensitive to the impact against well being of such things as distorted importances, obsessive fixations, altered sequences, and "hobby-horse" fanatacism, while still preserving the elegance of the positive traits of Islam.

It would require a humane software engineer, which might be a hard HR project, but once that was accomplished, it could make a serious step forward in normalizing the postive benefits of religion in social constructions and provide a governing hand in tricky transactions between tribes and between nations.

It would need a good PR man, though...


A


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 12:37 PM

From the Daily NEws:

DAILY NEWS STAFF

Wednesday, January 30th 2008, 11:05 AM

A co-pilot was reportedly dragged screaming from the cockpit of a London-bound flight from Toronto after a suffering a mental breakdown, forcing the jet - with 149 passengers onboard - to make an emergency landing.

Witnesses said the first officer was seen shoeless and restrained by crew members with the help of a passenger who was a member of the Canadian military. The co-pilot's wrists and ankles were shackled as he was escorted off the Air Canada flight which landed in Shannon, Ireland at 3 a.m. EST Tuesday.

Passenger Sean Finucane told CBC News that the co-pilot had said, "he just wanted to talk to God.

....



(Well, who can blame him? We ALL want to do that. AND fly around at will, too.)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 12:38 PM

Is that a hint, BillD?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM

perish the thought, M.Ted!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 01:26 PM

"Passenger Sean Finucane told CBC News that the co-pilot had said, "he just wanted to talk to God...."


                         Maybe he had reason to suspect there were gods in Ireland, and that's why he forced the plane down there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 01:27 PM

Unfortunately such wild rumours are often the source of extreme acts among the religiously assertive.

It is more likely the copilot was on Ecstasy or ergot-derivative.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 01:57 PM

In which case he could have talked to god without ever having left his living room.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 11:56 AM

As can easily be demonstrated right here on Mudcat there are lots of folks who want to, or believe they HAVE talked to God. IT's their version of spiritual experience, and it is probably better, overall, than having no spiritual experience at all.


But it depresses me when the sharer of such an experience immediately claims that they have landed in the center of all spiritual experience, and mapped it in the definitive terms of the only acceptable description, using the very best receivwed Nomenclature with complete aplomb and authority. In doing so they invoke the very worst of our proselytizing forebears, and their mishmash of Victorian moral codes and Puritan obsessions, to the great cost of those on whom they descended.


A

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 12:07 PM

Amos - when you say:

"As can easily be demonstrated right here on Mudcat there are lots of folks who want to, or believe they HAVE talked to God. IT's their version of spiritual experience, and it is probably better, overall, than having no spiritual experience at all."

Are you saying there are a lot of posts where folks claim to have had a back and forth conversation with God? Or just a religious experience? Those are two different things. If it's the former I'd like to see some examples because I've missed them. Could you point out some links to those types of posts? I would have a hard time believing those too - but it's not up to me to validate anyone elses experience.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM

If you believe that there is a spiritual center, common to all of humanity, or that we are all part of a larger living system, it is only logical to suppose that we can, and do experience that connection on an ongoing basis.

My own thought is that, as a musician, it is pretty hard to deny that their is a spiritual center that we share with one another, and as a living creature, it is pretty hard not to notice that we are part of a larger living system.

Whether you personally experience the connection, what you make of it, and what you call it, is your business.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 12:35 PM

"Whether you personally experience the connection, what you make of it, and what you call it, is your business."

Sigh - That isn't too much to ask for - is it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 02:37 PM

I was referring tot he folks who have "come to know" God in some personal transaction with him. While these may not have the form of two-way discussion, they are surely some sort of communication, and certainly some two-way exchange is involved, unlike the long nights of peopel like St. THeresa who spent may many long hours sending out prayers and apparently not seeing the answers. But that aside, that's the kind of "talk" I was referring to. I dunno that it is all that different, really; most two-way communication is only slightly on the level of mechanical / vocal signals, and the rest is in a very different space indeed.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 03:15 PM

It's just from your post it first looked like there were lots of folks posting about personal conversations with God on a regular basis. I don't see any of that here - but maybe you had on other threads. If so I was hoping to see some examples. From what I've seen personal testimony types of threads are few and far between. Vastly outnumbered by Shatner and Chongo threads for instence. I think if folks actually started looking at the number of threads of that sort they would be suprised at how few there are. So I'm confused why they bother people so much. To me it would be like channel surfing - when you come across Brittany Spears singing on TV you have the choice of changing the channel. Or watching a performer you dislike and comlaining bitterly about it. While you hit the rewind button.

I'm just trying to understand the thought process of others - that's all. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 05:46 PM

The god freaks make the world a miserable place to live for those of us who actually think for ourselves. That's the problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 05:54 PM

Sorry Rig - If you think it's the god freaks that make your life miserable you're giving them too much power over yourself. People are as happy as they decide they want to be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 06:59 PM

Your problem, Riginslinger, seems to be with certain petty qualities--inflexibility of thought, lack of social boundries, intolerance of the views of others, tedious repetition of simplistic aphorisms, insistance on formulaic solutions for complex problems, agressive self-righteousness, and associated behaviors.

And of course, you're bothered that the people who exhibit this sort of boorishness feel they are entitled to it, because of their affiliation with a higher cause.

Can't disagree with you on any of that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 07:24 PM

"And of course, you're bothered that the people who exhibit this sort of boorishness feel they are entitled to it,..."

                No. It doesn't bother me at all that they feel they are entitled to it. It bothers me that they elect buffoons to public office who start wars, don't pay their fair share of taxes, and try to hi-jack the public school curriculum. The list is endless, but I'll stop there, just to make the point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 11:21 PM

Well, you're in luck--it looks like we've got a pretty good chance to move a whole new group of buffoons in, with a whole nother political agenda. You're going to have to get ready for the fact that they'll start new and different wars, won't pay taxes, and will hijack the school curriculuum. Way of the World.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 02:50 AM

>>>>>>>The god freaks make the world a miserable place to live for those of us who actually think for ourselves. That's the problem. <<<<<<<<< No riginslinger...that's not 'the' problem..that's your problem! Why waste time posting on here since it annoys you so much?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:06 AM

>>>>>>Happy New Year! Maybe this year superstition will take its rightful place in the world...<<<<<<<<< This was your first post on this thread Mrrzy. I guess Christianity causes me far less hassle than superstition did before I became a believer. Superstition is for the fantasists. Christianity is for the believers!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 08:13 AM

"Superstition is for the fantasists. Christianity is for the believers!"


                         There's a difference?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 08:21 AM

Obviously one you haven't yet come across friend but many of us have.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 10:17 AM

"It's not superstition!!!! It's TRUE!!"


GS, while I deeply sympathize with the embrassment the position may cause, I submit that, no, there is not a difference. The worshippers of Baal were just as sure as you are, just as clear in their perception of the Truth. So, indeed, are the followers of Mohammet, and the many antecedent faiths with their various pantheons.

Superstition and truth are intersecting sets -- ask anyone who has been taken out by a juujuu man's curse. The reason they intersect is because of what is often caleld the placebo effect, the ability of the human mind to bring about phenomena. While medical people limit their discussion of this to the ability of the body to be healed by the mind under power of suggestion, of some disorder or other, it extends as well to the bringing about of all kinds of other perceptions and phenomena including deities, spirit guides, deja vue and precognition.

I believe you, and Slag, and the other devout I have talked to about this, are in that interesecting realm, and that what you say you have experienced is perfectly sincere, and unarguably real in the important, experiential sense. I honor it. But it is not in the realm of empirical and objective "truth". SImilarly, the statement that brings about a placebo effect does not have to be true for the effect to be solidly real.

This is a tricky area, is it not?

A
A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 10:32 AM

So Amos - Why is your objective truth the one true objective truth? And why should it deserve more respect that any of the other one true objective truths the world has to offer?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 10:52 AM

It's demonstrable truth, is why. It's not necessarily objective, but it certainly holds a stronger claim to "truth" than beliefs which aren't demonstrable, like beliefs in invisible friends, no matter how many people insist on adhering to them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 11:00 AM

Oh, my....I...


*sitting on my hands, lest I provoke rhetorical rationalizations from BOTH sides of this little discussion...*



(...why yes, I did type this with my nose...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 11:47 AM

Wes:

I believe you are putting words in my mouth.

There are (as far as I know) objective facts, demonstrable and measurable. Gravity, on average, will accelerate an object downward at 9.81 meters per second squared even if you invoke all the Gods ever knwon to man or beast to intercede against it. I don't have to re-invent the historic legend of the Dane's King Canute, surely. The big key in this set of phenomena is demonstrability as Mrrz points out -- they are part of the agreed-upon apparency of things. People see them the same way.

Any individual, of course, is free to use the power of denial to obscure any fact. This is what breeds Flat Earth societies.

But totally aside from that there are infinitely wide ranges of individual realities, subjective perceptions and certainties, which bring about some interesting side effects in perception and CNS response, and glandular corrections too. This is a very under-researched area, IMHO.

And there is an intersecting set, or overlapping, wherein phenomena which are subjective induce agreement and possibly measurable physical impact. This is a really poorly understood zone. One example is where "psychics" bring back messages from "beyond" to people in an audience about whom they presumably know nothing, and yet deliver details that only the questioner could know. Obviously there is all kinds of argy-bargy possible on this front. Reports of spoon bending and changing the course of history by thought alone I tend to take with several grains of salt, and I have not myself done a research project collecting hard data in this region -- I am but an amateur student.

The important thing is not to mix things up and insist that, for example, all subjectivity is physical, or all objectivity is opinion. Neither of these is the case.

Bill, you certainly have a prehensile nose there!! Are you sure you're not a Republican?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 04:27 PM

In the other thread (God still with me...): Bee said: "I note no one's gone into the Imbolc thread and told the people there it's all nonsense."

Wesley S. said: "I've noticed that too. Why do they get a pass? It seems like when it comes to the religions that must be rejected and objected to that Christianity tops the list. Anyone for fair play?

Or better yet - maybe we shouldn't trash ANYONES r