Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Blogger" Sucks Big Weenie

Yes, this 'blogger' space sucks.  200 comment limit, a load more button that doesn't work, and zero customer support.

So here it is again, room for 200 more.  I'll answer Eric's last post here:

Bad doubts come from pride, or from laziness, while good doubts come from a sincere effort to understand or to seek solutions to one's problems.
Bad doubts? That come from pride?

Pride doesn't cause doubt, you ninny. Pride causes blind belief. Doubt comes from the recognition that all is not right in the religion, that it is not logically consistent, truthful, or indeed, even probable.. And that's always good doubt. Doubts are never bad. One either realizes they were without basis, or that they were. Either way, the truth is found.

To an idiot in a dress, er, a priest, all doubts of faith, are from pride, because to that idiot anyone that doubts the dogma does so in pride, 'thinking they know better than me and the whole church, pfft!' Unless they're silly tame doubts about fine points of the religion, doubts that do not endanger the faith (blind belief) of the person.  Those are no doubt, your 'good doubts' there.  Doubts that do not lead to mental liberation, are your 'good' doubts.  

I find your answer offensive. Not because you try to offend. Because your belief system is offensive to all rational thinking beings.


  1. In fact, I would even say that the basis of all doubts of faith, doubts that are self-examining in nature like that, arise from HUMILITY and not pride. One who is PROUD, does not doubt themselves in the least. Only the humble can doubt in themselves. And that's what it takes to break the mental chains of lies that bind them to your church, Eric. Humility and intelligence. It's pride and ignorance that keeps 'em in the pews, you very silly boy.

  2. You christians do not understand the real nature of 'pride,'

    And that, is very very intentional.

    You likely never will, you know.

    It has been concealed from you. And you've been conditioned not to seek it.

  3. People that leave the church, do not do so from pride. It's not like 'I know better than those guys, I know better than god!' It's actually 'I feel very, very uncomfortable doubting my faith, but it just doesn't make sense no matter how I try to make it make sense, so I am FORCED TO DOUBT IT.' In order to overcome that conditioned faith in nothing, one must overcome one's pride, which was the only thing keeping you faithful to nothing in the first place. The pride, of actually believing that you know all you need to know, is what keeps the faithful faithful.

  4. Now, AFTER one has left the faith (through humble doubt) one might as I did, take some pride in the fact that one has awakened to life, because at that point one realizes how they were mentally bound, and that if they had not doubted, they would have been in a mental prison forever.
    I am proud that I was humble enough and smart enough to doubt myself and my faith. That's the extent of my pride in the matter. The original doubts however, would not have been possible without me doubting in ME, which is all about humility. Not that I'm so humble, no... but I was humble enough, just barely. Thank god! (lol)

  5. As I've learned recently, I still have a ways to go toward the goal of being a truly humble person.

    But I've made some progress over the years. And plan on making more.

    You people though, you, like my family, all religious the lot of them, live in a state of constant pride. You see, if one has enough pride, one no longer feels that they need to know anything else, anything more than they already know. What better definition of 'the faithful' is there? None that I know. Your religion actively encourages PRIDE in it's believers. It has to. That's how it works.

    So that's why it sees doubting the faith as pride itself. Being based in pride, the faith can't even see humility for what it is. Since it is warped, it sees reality through a warped lens. So it must necessarily label humility 'pride' in these cases.

  6. Oh, almost forgot. I was wrong there. It's not only pride that keeps 'em in the pews. There's also a whole lot of FEAR.

    Nice religion you got there. It's two 'reins' with which it steers the masses of the faithful, are pride and fear. How beautiful it all must be to you, Eric.

  7. What is 'leaving the faith' but an act of bravery and humility?

    It takes real bravery to just 'do it' and ignore all the dire warnings of damnation and perdition, designed for just this function, and designed very well indeed.

    And it takes real humility, to doubt in one's self, and when one has already been a believer, what else can it be but self-doubt that changes all that? The proud, do not doubt in themselves. It's not in their nature to do that. That, is why PRIDE is the mother of all 'sins.' Because it is the sin that BLINDS. Once blinded by it, one is then primed and capable of committing any horrific sin whatsoever. But first, comes the PRIDE. That's the enabler.

  8. I think you are missing the point B

    Good doubts are ones that serve as trite fodder for canned sermons.

    Bad doubts are those that concern empirical data or are an indication that one may be reaching intellectual escape velocity. Those doubts must be destroyed or else the cancer of rationality will spread.

  9. Christians have been conditioned to see all 'pride' as overtly talking proudly about yourself, overtly displaying one's pride. So all you have to do to get rid of it, is to learn not to speak in a proud manner.

    Hogwash of course. If that were all pride were, it wouldn't even be a sin. That, would not be harmful to people, other than by offending them.

    Real pride is much subtler than that. It BLINDS people. Christian dogma speaks of pride as a deadly sin, but doesn't explain what makes it so dangerous. Therefore, it leaves it open to be used as a control mechanism by that religion, *which must needs use it in that manner* in order to retain the believers and parisitize them for it's funding and power.

    One who is proud, is by definition, not aware of it. That's the problem. Christianity builds on that rather than battling against it. It uses pride to blind the faithful to any idea that they or the religion might possibly be wrong. No, it's everyone else that's proud, not you. They're the proud, so proud that they think they know better than god almighty! (more pride right there!)
    Such utter bullshit should not stand, but there you have it.

  10. Think of even the simple, common christian phrase often uttered upon encountering someone that is not a believer:

    "I'll pray for you."

    Let's do a pride autopsy on that phrase.

    It assumes one thing right away: That the person uttering it, is morally superior to the other person. And smarter too, because they are among the 'chosen' that can say such things to others. It assumes that the other person is not only completely wrong, but wrong in a way that will damn them. But of course, the real core of it is 'I'm better than you are, and you're so pathetic that all I can do for you is pray for you, since you're damned anyhow.' It's pure schadenfreude.

    Schadenfreude, is practically a christian sacrament.

  11. If I were to design an organization that attracted proud, simple people like moths to a flame, I could do no better than the church already has.

    Any organization that is known as 'where to go to be godly and chosen by god and holy and good and righteous and you get to live on after death while others do not' will naturally attract any egotistical self-righteous morons in earshot. That's just human nature.

  12. That's why people like Dennis Rader join up. Evil people want to be known as good. No better place to do it, than in a church.

  13. Hitler knew the secret of the church. He complimented it on it's use pf propaganda! It's on record!

    Then he also used it, used it's pride message, to further his own evil ends. Soooo easy, after all, because *that's what it was originally designed for!*

  14. The Doubting Thomas bit is one of my least favorite parts of the Bible. It’s the first Christian apologetic. It sets up the entire central premise that belief absent evidence or even in direct conflict with evidence, is the preferred mindset. The church’s subjective perceptions were more important than objective truth. Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain, just believe what you are told.

    We are still paying the price for this today.

    1. "The Doubting Thomas bit is one of my least favorite parts of the Bible. It’s the first Christian apologetic. It sets up the entire central premise that belief absent evidence or even in direct conflict with evidence, is the preferred mindset."

      Absolutely wrong. Thomas *was not* being asked to believe in the utter absence of evidence -- he had known Jesus, witnessed many miracles (for the moment treat it as a piece of literature only as you examine the story), knew Jesus' teachings, had performed miracles himself, he knew his fellows and their character, he was being told by them that Jesus had been raised, and so on -- yet despite all this evidence still refused to *trust* in the Lord. Jesus didn't say to some random fellow who had never known or heard of him, "Say there, chap, my disciples told you I've been raised from the dead, yet you refuse to believe? There's a poor fellow!" That's the first point.

      The second point concerns Jesus' "Blessed are those who believe, yet have not seen." Again, people, read carefully. Faith isn't contrasted with *knowledge* here, but with *sight,* and 'not having seen the risen Jesus' cannot be identified with 'having no reason whatsoever to think that Jesus has been raised.' Look at all the reasons Thomas had to believe (hello, the immediate context of the 'belief/sight' claim). Man, I sincerely hope that you people don't treat literature in this ham-handed manner. Stay away from the classics, people!

  15. You should change the comment format to disqus.

  16. Hmmmmmm, load more" works if you're using Google Chrome (I didn't try anything else). Might be a problem with your version?

    Anyway, and off topic, I watched a movie whose central theme was the ethics of cloning (an very powerful and sad movie, "Never Let Me Go", I highly recommend if you're not depressed already), but afterwards, in horror, I thought of Eric. He's the type of goomba who would actually wrestle with the question of if clones had souls.

    Idiot. You can't even prove you have a soul and you'd argue (pro or con) that someone else does! (I enjoy tilting at windmills!)

    Then I was reminded how the catholic church wrestled with the same question pertaining to Native Americans and Africans, and even though they came to the "right" conclusion, they really made themselves (in retrospect) look like complete morons for even asking it.

    1. "He's the type of goomba who would actually wrestle with the question of if clones had souls."

      As usual, Ryan opens his unschooled mouth and inserts his foot immediately into it.

      I can see how a *substance* dualist might question whether clones of human beings have souls, Ryan, but Catholics are not substance dualists, but hylemorphic dualists. Now if you can explain to me how a fully human body can fail to possess a fully human soul on hylemorphic grounds, I'd love to hear it. I'm sorry, but you guys don't know your asses from your elbows when it comes to theology and philosophy, yet you all speak with such confident authority on issues that are decidedly within the purview of these academic disciplines.

      Ryan, you're an unreflective and decidedly *modern* cynic on the cheap in tatterdemalion skeptical dress. I for one would much rather be a sincere and committed but mistaken Catholic than that.

    2. Hylemorphic Dualism is as muc an invented crackpottery as any other postulation that asserts that the "soul" is somehow distinct from the body.

      All you've done by asserting hylemorphic dualism is muddied the waters of what it is to be aware of existence by inventing some 'life-force' that without which we would not be alive.

      Life is chemistry, and consciousness is a persistence of memory overlaid on instant perception. The fact that we can synthesize perception to the point where we can anticipate does NOT indicate that there is such a thing as "soul". We (humans) are just better at thinking than other animals.

  17. Eric's confusing "bad doubt" with ignorance, as has already been pointed out.

    1. "Eric's confusing "bad doubt" with ignorance, as has already been pointed out."

      No, Ryan, Brian didn't quote from my full post (which was only one short paragraph), though I suspect that even if he had, you'd still be confused.

  18. Ryan, but Catholics are not substance dualists, but hylemorphic dualists

    Why did Chatholics ask this very question 500 so years ago?

    You are a monkey fucking moron tard burger (see how useless the personal insults are?).

    1. "You are a monkey fucking moron tard burger (see how useless the personal insults are?)."

      Well, that was a useless insult. My claim that you're a thoroughly modern cynic masquerading as a skeptic isn't exactly reducible to a mere insult, though. Think about it a bit and you'll see that there's more to it than that.

  19. WTF is a Chatholics?


  20. Are you embarrassed that your church was confused over the fact that native Americans were fully human?

    It's a yes/no answer, and both, in their own way, will stop me from responding to you going forward, unless you throw in some surprise angle.

    Go for it.

    1. Provide your source and I'll comment tomorrow if I get a chance to.

    2. You need a SOURCE? For that which we already know as common knowledge? Do you also need a source to prove to you that we once kept black people as slaves, too?

      That screams dishonesty.

  21. "Why did Chatholics ask this very question 500 so years ago?"

    I'm curious what your source is. Can you provide it please?

  22. I can't find any way to change the comment format to discus or anything else for that matter.

  23. "Absolutely wrong!"

    Wow, glad we got that straight. Wrong? Hardly.

    Yes in the myth of Thomas we are told about a guy who we are told witnessed many things that we are told are miracles. Despite that, he alone among an alleged group of followers had a bit of doubt that Jesus could come back from the dead. We are told that he did - kind of like when Gandalf the Gray became Gandalf the White. Though not exactly, because Gandalf was seen by many people not just a handful with a vested interest in the claims. People want to believe this stuff. Hell, some people still believe Elvis is alive.

    “Again, people, read carefully. Faith isn't contrasted with *knowledge* here, but with *sight,* and 'not having seen the risen Jesus' cannot be identified with 'having no reason whatsoever to think that Jesus has been raised.' Look at all the reasons Thomas had to believe (hello, the immediate context of the 'belief/sight' claim).”

    This is sad, really. The lengths that apologists have to go to try to make this stuff seem subtle. I think most people are smart enough to see through it if they try for maybe - a second. I said that the passage says people should believe absent evidence. Eric says, ***NO*** It means that not having seen Jesus is not sufficient reason to disbelieve the whopper that is the claim of resurrection. Really? Fortunately, we don’t have to stop there. Since nobody has ever witnessed such an event outside of the unsubstantiated Bible accounts, that constitutes a pretty strong reason to be doubtful, absent some pretty hard evidence. And by evidence I mean something more than a story. That’s where the knowledge kicks in. All these *sights* don’t past muster. Sight, faith, holy spirit, whatever you want to call it. Provide objective prof of any of it, and it would be interesting. You will never argue god into existence.

    It's a simple message, really. I can see why you feel the need to be insulting and try to dress it up with all this nonsense with astericks. But all your obfuscation can't change the fact that the message is to believe without objective evidence (or not to reject belief absent proof, whatever). It’s not a mystery as to why they used the account. Without the resurrection, the story ends.

    And yes, I reject feelings, *******Sight*****, perceptions, anecdotes, etc. as evidence. Most rational people do. With the right pharmacopeia, I can induce them all, so it's not particularly godlike.

  24. I thought pliny meant that the Thomas story sets us up, sets up the readers of the book, to not question.

    I mean, all a sensible, normal person wants, is to have proof. That's the first question on any unconditioned mind on seeing any religion.

    Thomas asked for proof. He ass not damned for his temerity. He was SHOWN PROOF.
    That's all we ask. But we ask not for some semi-mythical apostle from two millennia ago to have been shown it once and only once. We ask for proof now. Since there is none, there's this nifty story wherein a doubter was shown proof, now shut up and go home Johnny....

  25. It's like the Thomas story was made up or included solely to answer the sensible doubts of people that naturally ask for proof.

    God showed it to us, even if he only showed it to us once, asshole, so go away, we've got it covered, see?

    Liars would put that story in there. It's too pat, too perfect a story about allaying doubts.

  26. What I mean is, if I were to create a fake story about a guy that rose from the dead, I'd also definitely create another fake story or even several stories wherein said risen person was asked to prove it, and did.

  27. I'm sorry, but you guys don't know your asses from your elbows when it comes to theology and philosophy
    I'll take logic and reason to block.

    With all your knowledge of both fields, you are still incapable of communicating to us why your defenses actually win the argument. Not even close. Sure you tell us why, but it just doesn't make much sense in the real world.

    ;-) I am a hylamorphic dualist. I believe tadpoles become froggies.

  28. Eric my friend, if you were as good as you think you are, you would be capable of actually winning an argument and leave us knowing that you've won instead of being certain that you didn't. I would think, if your side has any real validity, you'd have been able to get us to see it by now.

  29. Even if we were dolts, we're dolts that want to understand you and learn if there's anything there to learn, and I would think that the more intelligent a man is, the better he would be at explaining things in a fashion which even dolts such as we sad lot are capable of at least getting a glimmer of.

  30. I assume you’re familiar with the Valladolid debate and the bull Sublimis Deus.  What really puts egg on the catholic church’s face, I think, is that they weren’t really even arguing that they had no souls from any sort of evidence, “hey, these guys look different”, but rather because according to their theology, it just didn’t make sense that god would have created people who’d had no access to the gospel for 1500, so there is no way they could have had souls… So dumb!   
    That  is a great example of why religious thinking is dangerous, even when it eventually comes to the “correct” conclusion. 

  31. At least they called it a 'bull.' Closer to the truth than usual for that sorry lot.

    What a sick and twisted history that organization has, huh? Hard to believe anybody still wants to belong to it. Human stupidity knows no lower limits.

  32. Ouch! Republicans totally caught in the act of being total bullshitters! LOL

    If you're a mother, according to Ann Romney and ALL of the Fox crowd, you are working, working HARD. Damn anyone for suggesting anything different.

    Now we all know how they hate the very idea of welfare, and Mitt-baby is totally on record as saying that what a single woman needs to do if her youngest kid is two years old, what she really needs to do is go out and get herself a JOB!

    So, being a mother is plenty hard work if you have a man bringing home paychecks. Sadly though, if you're a single woman, being a mother is no work at all. In fact if you're a black woman with half a dozen kids, we have a term of respect for you which demonstrates the total respect we have for the work women perform raising their family. Welfare QUEEN!

    That right there is two opposing ideas that Republicans hope will never have to meet.

  33. Guess Eric is down to trying to make us laugh coffee onto our keyboards with his, "I might be wrong being a Christian, but at least I'm not dumb like you guys."

    You philistines just don't 'get' the deep meaning conveyed to Christians in the Doubting Thomas story, do you? You know, treating classical literature like this is akin to turning The Oddysey into a kid's movie, they'd never, ever go there, would they?

    Thomas:-"Know what, all those miracles I saw first hand, and the one's I did myself, that's one thing, and sure there's all the saints who have come back from the dead are wandering the streets, and Lazarus, totally b'lieved that too, but Jesus dying and coming back to life, well, come ON, what do you think me a FOOL? Sir!, I say SIR, GOOD DAY!"

    The Thomas story is a DIVERSION. We're not talking about 'whether Jesus actually died' now, that's a done deal for the writer and, hopefully, the reader too, Now we're talking poor Thomas' unwillingness to believe and spoon-feeding you this drivel that, "Hey, Thomas saw Jesus beating the crap out of an olive tree and everything, what's not to believe? It's an easy pick here, Lord, Liar or Lunatic? I know you'll make the right decision, or it's no Christmas dinner and present opening for you."


  34. I'm thinking that Eric's perspective is that we're not looking at the Gospels from his perspective. What's Eric's perspective, I can almost hear you asking out loud while your head tips to one side as though that question was a lead ball rolling over to the left?

    Well, Eric's perspective is that the Gospels are to be read like classic literature!

    But why should we believe that the Bible is an historical document?

    Well, Eric's perspective is that the Gospels are to be read like journalistic reports, eyewitness accounts.

    Now you see? If you're reading it from a journalistic perspective, you're WRONG, and, if you're reading it from a classical literature perspective, you're ALSO WRONG. On the other hand, if Eric the hedgehog is reading it from either perspective, he's ALWAYS RIGHT! Don't you ever get tired of being wrong, here on Eric the hedgehog's Chronicles?

  35. Are they still getting mileage out of Hillary Rosen's accidental mouth-poop?

    Jerry wants to know why I think they're evil. Doesn't seem to see it. And yet, here it is. The party that is doing everything it fucking can do to take women's rights back to the 1890's, is pretend-upset at the VERY IDEA of a woman staying home, making that CHOICE to stay home and raise the kids, of that not being real work!
    But the context was, having a job, where you get paid, work for a boss (not your hubby) and have to do that in order to survive, like so many single moms and married ones too. It's a false comparison. Ann Romney really hasn't had work experience outside the home, and that was the point. And I just love to hear them talk about how women should be FREE to MAKE THAT CHOICE, all the while working very very hard to assure that they won't have enough money to make any other choice BUT to work outside the home and NOT stay and raise the kids.
    Am I so wrong to think them evil? What use is the word, if you aren't allowed to use it when you see people that want to change the country in ways that would quite literally kill off many of the old and sick people, create many more of the very poor, take away sustaining services,remove all safety nets, and create a situation where there's only the very poor, and the very rich, no in-between, with a lot of people on the streets, dirt poor, and of course, hugely more crime for all that? Oh, the guns are on them! So have at it!

  36. I love it when an apologists say about the apostles, things like 'why would they lie? They had no motive' and so forth... Are they really that simple, or do they expect that we are totally ignorant of all human nature?
    And of course, they always gloss over the FACT that nobody named Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, ever wrote one single gospel. That the real authors of those four books are anonymous people that named the books AFTER the apostles whose opinions they were supposed to represent... and of course, none of those authors ever even met one of the apostles, nor did they know Jesus.
    They're just stories! Can't they see that? Is it so hard? Are they that conditioned to never see anything that goes against their programming?
    If this isn't evil, then nothing is.

  37. Apologists use the bible in a way that is astounding to me.
    They use it as 'variable amount of the ratio of fiction to fact.'
    They vary the ratio at their convenience.
    When challenged, they can revert to 'that part is allegorical' or whatever... fiction. But then they turn on a dime and will maintain that most of it is fact, when that suits them.
    It's all fiction. That's the real answer. And apologists are just official liars for god, sanctioned by the church.
    Eric is a PR man, pure and simple.

  38. A 'mad man' for religion.

    The reason that I never once fell for anything Eric has tried to pull on me/us, is that I was in sales. I recognize sales bullshit when I hear it.
    And that's all it is. That's all he's got.

    But boy, is he insistent. Never lets on that he's bullshitting, no matter how tenuous his position.

  39. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Eric once say that people who died for Jesus, the early martyrs, would not have laid their lives down for a lie... would not have died for a false belief... thereby in his mind lending credence to the idea that Jesus definitely lived and was the son of god...

    Like that's never happened! People die for false beliefs all the time! Jonestown, Guyana comes to mind....

  40. I think it was about the martyred apostles... so the very early martyrs....

    Yeah, no way anybody would let themselves get killed just for a story they believed with no basis in fact, no way...

  41. What I don't get, is why they can't admit that, since the book is so old, written in a different era, by anonymous authors, is proven to be rife with errors, is not historically accurate in many instances, and whose premise is that one time and one time only in man's history, someone came back from the dead... (except for lazarus of course)
    ...why they can't admit to themselves that the book, cannot be relied on in any real way, that it is totally invalidated as a reference, and that it cannot prove anything, much less that Jesus even existed, never mind had any powers, returned from the dead, or was any relation to any god, or that that god even exists.

  42. Take away the Bible, and there's no christianity.

    The bible is not accurate nor historical nor can any of it be substantiated. It is full of inaccuracies. The parties that created it as a book, had every motive to lie. Every motive to use that lie to control the masses...

    Ergo, the Bible, is invalidated.

    Ergo, no christianity! A false belief based in a false book, period.

    Why can't they SEE that!?

  43. I’m glad we have one of the so-called sophisticated theologians and philosophers in our midst. This way we can dispense with any of the unsophisticated stuff, since the high end arguments are so unconvincing.

    Going back to Thomas for a bit, Eric has made may case for me. I said that Thomas was the origin of Christian apologetics, and Eric proves my point.

    He actually does make a good point. He tells us that the moral of the myth can be condensed to the fact that disbelief is never justified absent evidence. This is part and parcel of everything Eric, his spirit guide WL Craig, and all other apologists tell us. ‘You can’t prove that we aren’t right, so we win.” This is the granddaddy of that argument. Of course we only have the words in the Bible to tell us what is true, but that doesn’t seem to bother them any. I guess that’s a big difference between a philosopher and a scientist. A scientist is constantly nagged by a sense that they are off the mark when they can’t find any objective evidence to support their ideas. A sophisticated theologian feels vindicated because you haven’t proven them wrong.

    But you’d think that some sophisticated philosophers might see that self-referential arguments are problematic or some special form of narcissism that insists that everyone agree. No wait - some do. Just not apologists with that special sight we hear about. Those rose colored x-ray glasses that let them see evidence invisible to us mere mortals, or that arguments based on nothing more than gossamer and frog hair are sound. Armed with the Bible and the conviction that you can argue god into existence with it as a starting point, they go forth to enlighten us. When you buy in to a big idea like this, you are loath to give it up no matter what. Which is of course why science works. It forces us to give up wrong ideas. At least us unsophisticated philosophers who try to see the world as it is, not how we’d like to argue it to be.

    Craig has told us that there really is nothing that will change his mind. All that talk about being open-minded to evidence is just a convenient falsehood. I don’t call it a lie because when a sophisticated philosopher buys into something as incredible as Christianity, well they have to keep spinning yarns to make it seem legitimate and they talk themselves into thinking it’s profound. Craig is clear that when push comes to shove, he’s just arguing for the sake of arguing because he knows what’s true and all us dolts are too thick to understand. Not really. We just realize that the Emperor is naked, and say so.

    Which is why I usually keep out of these ‘discussions’. I’m neither thick, nor stupid, but I just can’t get all that interested in the self-referential nonsense that sophisticated internet apologists insist is weighty. We’ve heard it all before. In all the obfuscation and convenient definitions, there is not a shred of evidence that any of it reflects how the universe actually works. Without that, it’s not really any more sophisticated than any other form of marketing. Come back with some hard evidence or don’t bother.

    So why did I comment on Thomas? From a historical perspective it’s interesting to look back at the origins of all these circular arguments that we still hear today. They aren’t any more convincing, but it’s interesting.

  44. B I agree with your sales analogy. A good salesman comes into the sale with confidence and the absolute knowledge that he or she can get you to buy. They can try the soft sell or the hard sell. The apologists all seem to come from the DD hard sell camp - "Hear me for I come with profound knowledge that you lack!"

    They may try to relate to the mark. "I had the same problem before I bought the Electrolux 345000!" "Or I was a skeptic same as you."

    A good salesperson tries to control the conversation. All the claims are usually made up anyway so it comes down to showmanship. If the vacuum eats the carpet during the demo, 'It's a great example of the sucking power!"

    If the mark pushes harder you bad mouth the competition.

    Another great sales ploy is to make the buyer feel inadequate unless they buy the item. Something like, "all the sophisticated people understand these arguments".

    It works on the weak minded which is why marketing is so successful. It's useful whether you are trying to sell a vacuum cleaner or a vacuum of sound ideas.

  45. Eric seems to think that we must be not understanding his excellent command of philosophy and theology, because we do not come to his conclusions with the same data....
    ...when in reality, we understand it *better* than he does, for he cannot see its falsehood if it were to slap him in the face. I think he confuses elegance of verbal structure, with truth.
    After a while (and boy, have we been at it for a while!) it becomes clear that eric would not and indeed could not accept his arguments being wrong, no matter what. He's too emotionally attached to them. He's in love, for crying out loud.

  46. It's useful whether you are trying to sell a vacuum cleaner or a vacuum of sound ideas.

  47. Brian, the argument is people wouldn’t die for something they KNEW was false.   It’s differentiates between people who are willing to die for something they believe to be true, but don’t necessarily know (like Jihadist) and people who know the truth (i.e. eyewitnesses).  It’s a good argument on the surface, but it makes a fatal assumption.  It assumes, for each individual, that the motivations and benefits derived by belonging to their cult did not outweigh the risks of being caught and possibly executed.
    It’s like saying no one would ever rob a bank because everyone knows the police could shoot you.  We know the police occasionally shoot armed bank robbers, but we also know people still rob banks…
    Also, and really more importantly, we know from Pliny’s letter to Trajan that even almost 80 years after Jesus’ death, Rome did not have a coherent policy on how to handle Christians who recanted their faith.  Pliny, as governor, had no idea what to do with some Christians he’d captured and asked that very question of the Emperor.  We can’t say with any certainty that the martyrs who actually witnessed Jesus’ death were even given the chance to recant.  Or perhaps they did recant and were killed anyway.  We simply don’t know. 
    I think you could make a case that the martyrs who actually knew Jesus may not have even been aware that he was supposed to have risen from the dead.   You could definitely make a stronger case that the opposite is true, but it’s certainly a possibility.

  48. I remember learning the 'choice-close.'
    I hated it. Hated the whole idea.
    But I'd never tried it, so I decided to just do it to see if it actually works.
    So next time, I was with a nice young couple looking for their engagement ring.

    I opened the case, asked them about several rings they were looking at, and narrowed it down to the two they most liked. (NOT the one!)
    Then I closed the case, and asked them deadpan 'Which one do you prefer of these two you've selected?'
    They chose one.
    I put the other one back, closed the case again, and asked them 'would you like to put that on a house charge, or pay with a credit card?'
    They responded 'VISA.'

    I hated myself for it. I never used it again. How can salespeople live with themselves?

  49. Enough on the moldy stuff

    How do you guys feel about the 'Stand Your Ground' Laws?

  50. They're great if you're a white guy that wants to go coon hunting with no consequences...

  51. In other words, I can't believe those laws passed in this country.
    License to kill. And kill they do. "Justifiable" homicides are up 50% in some of the states that have them, and are also way up in the others.
    White guys with little dicks and big guns to compensate that are terrified of black people love them though.

  52. What I think had a lot to do with the stand your ground is, several years ago Texas passed a right to carry law, and crime with guns dropped dramatically. I believe several states looked at that, and used the info to pass this crazy law. Having owned guns since I was teenager, and at one time in Houston, a gun dealer, I do understand some of the ideas that gun owners have. The NRA is way past common sense, and until their back is broke it looks like more of the same in the near future.

  53. Dude, you were a gun dealer in Houston?

    I owned guns since I was eleven... a .22 rifle at that age... loved them, knew all about them... and a good shot, too... Rifles, pistols... take 'em apart and put 'em back together again.... but as I got older I started to not like them so much. They're a lot of fun, but too dangerous to leave lying around.... I have nothing against the average gun owner, but the right-wingnuts that own twenty or thirty of 'em, assault rifles and so forth, just scare me into wanting better gun laws.

  54. And the NRA is run by fanatical idiots. Ray LaHood is still claiming that Obama is gonna come for yer guns... he hasn't done it yet, so that's how you know he's gonna.... what a paranoid nutcase.

  55. My friend and I dealt in guns at gun shows for two years. I have never had much desire for hand guns, but I did do a great deal with long guns. Got runner up for the southwestern zone in trap shooting one year. Guess where the contest was held, in one of your not so favorite cities, Amarillo. It was a five state zone. Had a target rifle that I shot a .3 of an inch 5 shot group. It was so accurate I could kill a fly at 100 yards, for real. Won several turkeys at different turkey shoots with that rifle, 22/250 Remington heavy barrel with a 20 power scope

  56. Wonder what the fuck Romney has to say to become president? I think he is willing to try to say anything at all really. How about cutting or drastically reducing the Education Dept.? Maybe that's just spit-balling? Ryan has a great budget? Defunding Planned Parenthood? Mothers are great? How about RICH mothers are great?

    Still, no-one backed Hillary Rosen, who of course was saying that poor mothers having no choice at all when it comes to working REAL paying jobs are in a completely different situation than Ann Romney who likely chose to send her kids to an hoity-toity child-care if she didn't have nannies looking after them and of course private schools.

    Why don't all women just marry rich guys and have the job of rich wife and rich mother, is what they're saying, isn't it? Fucking Mitt, every time he opens his pie-hole about stabbing moms who have to go waitressing and bartending in the back, trying to cut their health care and minimize their choices even further, displays the same lack of regard for women as Eric the hedgehog and his Pope.

  57. Republicans are basically arguing that rich mothers should have the choice to stay at home! And how DARE democrats try to take that away from them.

    Amazing. They're all like Eric, aren't they? Twist everything to their advantage.... all lies and misdirection. And you can't WIN an argument against such people... all we can hope for is that the public will be smart enough in November... and that's a terrible thing to have to hope for.

  58. Of course they can't say 'rich mothers' so they say that all mothers should have the right to make the choice to stay at home! How DARE those nasty democrats try to denigrate such mothers who make that choice!

    Mitt, HOW does a poor mother that has to hold down two jobs, make that choice?


  59. I can't believe they're getting this much mileage out of that silly Hillary Rosen comment. It's out of context. Can't the dems defend it somehow as being taken out of context? Too hard?
    Now I understand the dems are seen to be using the phrase 'war on women' less... because why? Because some people (republicans) seem offended by it!

  60. It's all marketing just like apologetics- "Hey look over here at the minor comment while we Republicans dismantle the social safety net and push real women's rights back a century."

    We need to stop apologizing to idiots and liars.

  61. Agreed, emphatically!

    It's just plain nuts to acquiesce like the dems tend to do... I don't know what's worse, immoral republicans trying to gut society or wimpy democrats with no balls letting them do it out of *politeness!*

  62. Marketing is why the Dems are always playing defense. For once, I'd like to see a dem candidate with a couple of brass ones.

    Somebody to get up and say, "Hey, if you want to live in a box, wear a burka, and have your kids turn out to be empty-headed ignoramuses who work as indentured servants, while we exponentially expand the rights of rich people and firearms, vote for that guy. If you want to move out of the dark ages, vote for me."

  63. It goes back to our discussion about empathy - empathy does not mean unconditional acceptance, which seems to be the democratic platform.

  64. I'm thinking that the republicans have *trained* the dems to be wimpy by their very effective demonization of anything ballsy that they try over these many years. What do you think, Pliny?

  65. That's part of it, but I still think it has to do with the liberal trap: That you have no right to make value judgements. Of course I think that's not true at all. But we all do it. It's why the apologists keep coming back here. We all want to be PC, (well some of us :)) so we try to be polite when people utter insults, lies and misinformation, instead of just tuning them out until such time as they can provide any proof for their claims outside of word games.

    Not to say that we have to be rude, just stop waiting for them to make the first move. It's what Obama should have done with healthcare. Go out to the people and make the case. Call the Repubs the petulant little children they are, and go for it.

    "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."


  66. So the bankers figured out how to get rid of the post office, painting it as a huge expensive dud, then they get the billions, which they've forced the post office to put into a retirement fund, which makes it look like a huge expensive dud, to themselves.

    Basically the Republican POV is kill Obama, kill the Post Office, kill government, but it's Dems who are unAmerican?

    At this point I'm thinking that Obama is only the President so that the centre and the left can have some hope since there are no left-wing policies in the works. Every nickel they can take out of poor peoples' pockets is fair game to them but that Buffet rule, with it's billions, well that was just a gimmick, just chump change.


    They finally say something good for a change.

    One thing I didn't know that I learned in this article...

    Ayn Rand was a proud atheist?

    The hypocrisy is never-ending.

  68. Andrew Bowen, Man Who Spends 12 Months Practicing 12 Different Religions, Finds Peace

  69. To me, saying that someone is a proud atheist, as in proud of being an atheist, doesn't make any sense. Are we proud that we know 1+1 = 2? More than that though, are we to be proud that we know that 1+1 isn't 3 or 4? To know that there aren't monsters in the woods and in the ocean, to know that I have no need to pander to other folks' gods.

    Nope, nope. What we're dealing with here is worldviews, people with the sense of entitlement, the winners in life who know they are screwing everyone else over, yet able to bullshit themselves and others that they deserve their status in society, that they are the foundation of society, versus people who don't buy into that.

    What's to be proud of here?

    There are some who wish to have their cake and eat it, status in society and be atheist, sort of, "I know it is bullshit but I'm proud of my position on that ladder(I'm smart and in the money, I get respect).", but I think that they're proud that they straddle two 'worlds', you know, libertarians(anarcho-capitalists).

  70. No, I agree with you, but you see, she was indeed a PROUD atheist, and that's why she was as evil as any religious person. It's all in the pride. It's her sense of pride, her proud sense of entitlement, that drew in so many people, most of them christians. Pride loves pride, when it's on it's side....

  71. Check out the Dilbert blog today, about Steve Jobs and 'reality distortion.'
    The link's on the side of my blog page.

  72. This is interesting:

    We're using neutrinos in astronomy now? How cool is that? And where can those levels of radiation possibly come from?

  73. Catholic Bishops Protest House Budget

  74. About time the do something good. I'm actually shocked that they are adhering to Jesus' principles as much as that. Good for them.

  75. ACTUAL Church Bulletin Bloopers:

    · Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

    · “Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.”

    · "The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus."

    · "Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered."

    · The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to conflict.

    · Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

    · Don't let worry kill you. Let the Church help.

    · Thursday night will be a potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

    · For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

    ·A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

    ·This afternoon there will be a meeting in the south and north ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

    ·Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

  76. I like 'prayer and medication to follow' best.

  77. Idiocy. Another example of how the religious mind set is flawed.


    Religious quiz. I got two wrong, one of which I knew but was confused about at the last second... So I'm smarter than an atheist!

    No wait...

  79. The old patriarchy is reaching out from Rome to squelch any traces of modernity in their nuns. Nicely done, evil boyfuckers...


    Catholic Bishop likens Obama to Hitler and Stalin


    These amoral sad excuses for human beings should stay home in their prom dresses instead of getting involved in politics.

    Eric, do you agree?

  81. I got all the answers on that quiz correct, according to the survey, even though the answers given for several weren't on the list. Fr example, a couple asked 'Do you know the most common..." Yes and no were not options ;)

  82. I noticed those poorly worded ones near the end.

    I got the one about the guy, jonathan edwards, wrong. I'd barely heard of him. The one I really just screwed up was 'nirvana' which I f-ing KNEW was Buddhism but when I saw Hindu I went blank, chose it and went 'ah shit!'

    So still, not bad. They were mostly very simple, too. So average is sixteen, really? And the christians score poorer than that... not a surprise at all, of course. If they knew more, they'd know better.

  83. I missed one. I was reading too quickly and missed that it was asking when the Sabbath started, which of course is when the first three stars become visible

    I remember when this little bit of data came out (atheists know more about religion than christians), but I can't remember if any apologists were critical of the test for being more about Freshman level world religions than American Christianity.

    I know a good bit of catholic, mainline protestant and evangelical/charismatic/pentecostal doctrine, but I'm not sure I'd beat an apologist on every bit of tortured logic their particular sect uses to justify their belief.

  84. Yeah, but it could be even worse - I hope they missed Zeus and J Smith and not Job and Abraham ;)

  85. I noticed those poorly worded ones near the end.

    I thought the "conversationally" phrased questions were weird. "Say, how about you tell me who..."

  86. Yes Ryan, exactly. Weird. Like it was copied from some paper test that was supposed to be administered verbally(?) or something(?).

  87. On average, Americans got 16 of the 32 questions correct.
    Atheists and agnostics got an average of 20.9 correct answers.
    Jews (20.5) and Mormons (20.3).
    Protestants got 16 correct answers on average, while Catholics got 14.7 questions right.

    Apparently we here aren't doing too badly at understanding religion.
    Catholics got 14.7 right? Out of 32. Heck, americans on average got 16!

    Darn that Vatican II, right Eric?

  88. Catholics were the only group to average less than 50%

    Atheists, agnostics, jews and mormons blow all the christians out of the water, on religion. Funny.

    Makes so much sense that the group that knows the most about it, doesn't buy it.

  89. My theory on why jews and mormons do almost as well as atheists and agnostics...

    Jews are taught to think, culturally. Learning is in high regard.

    And mormons are the new kid on the block, so they need to know as much about the people that can't stand them as possible.

  90. I missed one question, the one about salvation through faith alone. Probably because I was never Catholic...

  91. Liberty University website comments when the students found out that Mitt Romney is their commencement speaker are very negative... but one positive student comment went like this:

    Bryan-Paul Ignatowski Wow this is not a debate of educated christian adults. Some people in her sound like whiny children. I love how people are acting like this speech will change their lives or someone else's. Because we all know that Jesus said we were sinning if we listened to someone who wasn't a Christian.
    (sarcasm) im not a supporter of him but I would definitely listen to him because of how far he has gotten in life ambitious.

    NOW I see how christians use sarcasm! They say (sarcasm) right after the sentence to show other christians not to take them seriously! How simple! How easy! Wow!

    Incidentally, Liberty U. is Anti-Gay Central. So Romney needs to court them, just before turning pro-choice next week...
    (sarcasm!)(but likely true sarcasm!)

  92. Now I know why christians never get my ironic comments and take them seriously. I never put the word (irony) after the sentence!!!
    What was I thinking?

  93. So even the occasional christian that uses sarcasm or irony knows that he or she needs to clearly label it or else it will be misunderstood.

  94. I missed one question, the one about salvation through faith alone. Probably because I was never Catholic...
    Those are the protestants though. I take it that, with catholics, 'works' are in the mix too.

    So with protestants, you can just rape, pillage, and murder all your life, but if you truly believe that Jesus is your lord and salvation, you get to go to heaven with all the other rapists, murderers and plunderers. Cool, eh?

  95. I mean, why did Jesus even bother trying to tell us all how to act in the world?
    That was obviously a mistake.

    In the pursuit of selfish ends, religion will be whatever it needs to be. Whatever the believers want it to be for them. If being a good person in life is just too darn hard, then Jesus says that you don't need to! (Or he implies it somewhere no doubt... that book can be used to justify torturing kittens if one looks hard enough...)

  96. Actually, B I think you also have to highlight in this way: *SARCASM*
    Otherwise it would follow conventional language and require the reader to draw their own conclusions.

  97. "There are more neurons in each individual brain than there are atars in the universe." - Newt Gingrich

    "There are more neurons in Newt's brain than there are bananas in an eight-foot bunch." - me

  98. Guess he actually said 'stars' though.

  99. He might have said 'atars.' He's not very coherent at his best.


  100. I just heard from Botts! He's still in Nigeria apparently.... Told him to stop by here when he gets the chance, that we've been wondering where he went to...

  101. The two secret service men that have been fired for the hooker thing, are Chaney and Stokes.

    Anybody see the name coincidence?

    Cheyne-stokes breathing, anybody? Last gasps?

  102. I have a question, that may be too obtuse to ask properly but here goes?

    Without the Bible, would Christianity have come into being?

    Would people gravitate toward the specific tenants of Christianity minus the Bible?

    Would people detect the truth of it absent a preconceived set of expectations from centuries past?

    For example, B you and Jerry express spiritual sensations and perceptions that could be described as identical to some religious experiences absent the Christian template. Does that speak to the truth of a spiritual realm or is it an example of why these kinds of belief templates gain adherents?

    I'm not being too clear, I realize. It's a hard question to articulate.

  103. In short, are all religions nothing more than a template applied to a common set of human perceptions that provide a convenient or satisfying explanation for the sensations?

  104. Without the Bible, would Christianity have come into being?

    Would people gravitate toward the specific tenants of Christianity minus the Bible?
    No. It would not have. It would have been just a cult that faded away like the Roman gods, instead of a cult that survived till it was large enough that people didn't realize that it was a cult anymore. (To me, all religions, or at least the vast majority, are cults, no difference but the number of members)

    Would people detect the truth of it absent a preconceived set of expectations from centuries past?
    What truth of it? I don't see any. Unless you mean the words of Jesus that happen to be truth, as in love thy neighbor and so forth,.
    No bible, no christianity, period.

    For example, B you and Jerry express spiritual sensations and perceptions that could be described as identical to some religious experiences absent the Christian template. Does that speak to the truth of a spiritual realm or is it an example of why these kinds of belief templates gain adherents?
    It proves nothing about the truth of a spiritual realm, unfortunately. A spiritual realm can still exist, but the experiences do not prove it. As you are well aware. So it is definitely the latter, the 'why these kind of things gain adherents' and only possibly the former.

    Unfortunately, we experience our inner thoughts even more directly than we experience sight, sound, smell and so forth. Everything is filtered through our inner experience, so there's no way to tell which parts are external, even if they seem to be, and which are entirely internal. A dream is as real as reality, when we're in it. Thus, reality can be no realer than the dream. It almost takes an act of 'faith' to accept that reality, is indeed real and external to us. (if it indeed is!)

    I take both positions, just to be safe.

  105. In short, are all religions nothing more than a template applied to a common set of human perceptions that provide a convenient or satisfying explanation for the sensations?
    Yes. Of course. I think like this all the time... I can see that we're pre-disposed to be religious. Or at any rate, to be believers rather than thinkers.

  106. On a side note, my salvia usage is, over time, giving me more control over 'dream states.' When on salvia, it's much like a dream, so by learning to recognize it as such and to 'wake up' within that state, I seem to also be learning how to have real lucid dreams. I had one the other night. Only the second one of my life, btw.
    I have this recurring dream that seems like the afterlife, or an afterlife of a sort. It takes place in my memories of other places, like texas and florida and others, all melded together, plus other things thrown in. I meet a lot of people there, but was never aware enough to ask them any questions, till that other night.
    I asked one of them 'are these people dead?'
    He answered 'some of them.'

    What do you make of that? :-)

  107. I had a weird dream the other night. There was a bear sleeping in an alley outside an apartment block which I apparently knew since it didn't bother me being there I mean. Anyways before I woke up I was mostly concerned that the bear wasn't dead and that maybe I should plug it again to be sure, or at least string it up by lassoing it's feet.

    Anyways, I've never lived in a city apartment with an alley like that, I've never shot a bear, sleeping or no. I did own a .303 rifle though I don't remember firing it, some 30 years ago.

    It's obvious to me that our dreams are mysterious, imaginary scenarios, in which we attribute intelligent agency, our own(duh), to anyone, any animal, any weather that occurs in the dream. Now, to me, it is no great leap of faith to imagine that, since our imaginings, our dreams, are about what we have seen and what we feel about it, not to mention what we imagined those things felt.

    "Sometimes I wake up to the screaming of the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots!", might be a bit overboard as far as empathy goes, but I'm pretty sure Brian won't be making the salad from now on.

    Anyway, every single person can relate how other people look when they are happy, sad, angry and so on and can translate that directly onto the sky. God is synonymous with 'sky' in early languages, this is no coincidence. To this day when people think of God they think of the sky, we look up to talk with God even if we no longer believe in such a being.

    There are simple 'rules' which every kind of theist knows about gods. They live in the sky. They can be bargained with since our connection with them is mental(imaginary). If they answer us in dreams(the only way folks, really), they are mysterious and enigmatic since they are powered by our intellect and cannot answer problems which we have no solution to.

  108. Sounds about right.

    When I'm in salvia space as it were, I try to establish the 'reality' of my experiences, looking for experiences that could not have come from me.

    So far, amazing incredible awesome experiences, any one of which might totally convince the average believer type that they're in touch with god or the universe or whatever.

    But, when I kick in my logical side, they all fall, one by one. So far, none that convince me that they're not just in my head, none that gave me any information that I didn't already have, and so forth...

    I have found out that my 'head' is one hell of a lot more complex than I'd even thought. But it would seem that, at least so far, I'm playing in my mind and not the 'spirit world' or whatever. (I'm disappointed, but realistic)

  109. Pretty convincing though, especially when you go to 'other universes' or planes of existence. Still, they could be all in the mind, nothing about them allows for any proof, and nothing that I could not have imagined/hallucinated.

  110. I'll tell you though, when I am looking (eyes open, in the room but seeing things, not 'out there' in full vision mode) and I see a membrane that delineates the border of another universe and can stick my head through it and see an infinite distance off to the sides, and then can pull my head back through the 'membrane' and not see it, and then do it again, stick my head through again and see it, and it is constant or relatively so in the room, it's pretty convincing.

  111. Pliny, what do you know or what have you heard, about 'hypnagogic hallucinations' in children?

    I had them, is the point. And still do, to a lesser extent, no salvia required. But the salvia enhances them into very vivid sparkling effects all around me.

  112. To clarify my salvia experiences, I usually do not 'trip out' by taking a large dose. I have found that I can get a lot of the same (or even different!?) effects by taking what I think of as a 'twilight dose' which is nothing more than a smaller dose that, by experimentation, I have determined will cause me to 'go deeper' than if I'd taken a dose of the plain leaf or even several of that, but not as 'deep' as a higher dose.... so I'm in the twilight zone where I still retain *control* (mostly; it varies) but still have large rather than small 'special effects.'
    If I trip out, there's little control... not good for experimentation.

  113. I asked one of them 'are these people dead?'

    He answered 'some of them.'

    What do you make of that? :-)

    Statistical certainty.

  114. LOL! I guess it is, at that.

    An intriguing answer I concocted for myself, no?

    I wish it was just a bear outside my apartment.

  115. Pliny-the-in-BetweenApr 20, 2012 12:16 PM
    I have a question, that may be too obtuse to ask properly but here goes?

    Without the Bible, would Christianity have come into being?

    Would people gravitate toward the specific tenants of Christianity minus the Bible?

    Would people detect the truth of it absent a preconceived set of expectations from centuries past?

    For example, B you and Jerry express spiritual sensations and perceptions that could be described as identical to some religious experiences absent the Christian template. Does that speak to the truth of a spiritual realm or is it an example of why these kinds of belief templates gain adherents?

    I'm not being too clear, I realize. It's a hard question to articulate.

    Yes I believe Christianity would have come into being as the stories were being told around before the bible was written, at least the part about Jesus. Christianity is mainly about Paul's thinking instead of Jesus so it could well be named differently. I think it would be quite different from what it is today without the bible. I do think that regardless of what the name or beliefs of the religion called Christianity, religion is part of evolution, and the advancement of it would be about the same regardless of the belief system being used at the resent time. As for my personal ideas about the spiritual level of life, it is based almost altogether on my personal experiences. No doubt the reading I have done has had at least some affect on my thinking, but the experiences have been the main factor. I have been born again, and had what the Eastern call the awakening experience. The realness of these experiences do not leave any doubt that something is going on that transcends our understanding. Many/most people come to different conclusions about the reason for these experiences, and their specifics. I think the reason for so many people being drew toward deeper moral thinking is caused by spiritual gravity that constantly, gently, pulls our thinking toward higher thoughts. I can say more about my personal experiences if you would like. Hope this attempt to answer your question does the job.

  116. My salvia experiences, I would bet, are 'realer' than even your born-again experience was. Because they are 'realer' than reality. They seem realer than waking reality. Really. So be careful about the 'realness' of inner experiences, Jerry. Just saying.

  117. Also, I don't really see any quest for 'higher thoughts' in christianity. I think wanting to be moral is logical and common sense, really. If everyone did it, we'd all have peace finally, and that's not hard to see. So it's logically obvious that that is the optimal way of being, of thinking. Unless a religion comes along and tells you not to of course, teaches you to be selfish and xenophobic and paranoid and ignorant, like christianity often does.

  118. caused by spiritual gravity
    human desire to do good unto others, is not spiritual, it's logic and common sense, or at least it should be

  119. I would like to hear your personal experience of being born again, though. I don't get to hear that many. Curious.

    Any mysterious coincidences? (lol) Because maybe I got born again and didn't notice.

    Does that mean there's two of me around?

  120. When salvia hits you this is what it feels like.

    It feels like it's stripping away all illusion.

    Now, imagine that. You inhale, hold your breath, let it out, and reality as you know it and can see in front of you and around you, is torn aside like a set of cheap draperies, and what you behold (yes, BEHOLD) is the REAL reality (so it seems) and you UNDERSTAND IT, and you REALIZE that you've discovered the secret behind the curtain...
    Then you wake up, and hopefully realize that all of that doesn't mean that you've actually solved the puzzle of reality. Certainty, is still a mental state, and that can be induced, unfortunately, and sometimes we induce it without even realizing we're doing it.

    That's the main feeling about the experience, and it's so personal and so *certain* and so vivid, that it really leaves no doubt in your mind.

    My doubts arise afterwards, when I think about it. It just can't be doing what it's doing, can it? And on thinking about it, well, even with all that CERTAINTY, I can't justify saying that it's true. The weak link here, is me.

  121. I'm sure that if bees could talk they'd tell you that to love the hive more than you love yourself is very spiritual, the very meaning of spiritual.

    Not sure what that means, but I like bees......

  122. Jerry, you are very aware of the significance of the two words 'I AM.'

    On salvia, I can and have at times, meditated on my I AM, on the core of that which makes me me, turning my attention inwards and focusing it on itself... and I've found that the I AM inside of me, is really an illusion too. I know that's a strange thought, but I go past it now, and I see that my sense of identity, my I AM, arises when parts of my consciousness 'dialogue' with other parts. The sense of identity arises from the interaction of 'one of my 'i am's and another one of my 'i am's. There are many of them in my mind, but they blend so well that I don't normally notice the subtle divisions of my mind. I can sense the mind that takes in information from say, my left eye, and the other mind that takes in information from my right, and I sense the interaction of those two minds (they're really good at trigonometry, as it turns out) and I also sense that those two minds, report back to yet another me somewhere in the middle if you will, and that me processes that information and even reports back to those other two me's. I AM, as it turns out needs another word. I AM LEGION, perhaps?
    (dark christian joke, sorry! lol)

  123. Brian,
    John Lilly built a situation that eliminated the five senses as much as possible. A room that could be made totally dark, a pool of water to deal with weight, temperature in room and water exact temp so no feeling what so ever. Sound proof. Then the LSD. Took several trips and wrote the book "Center of Cyclone". I think you would like to read it.

  124. Ian; I'm not sure how much there is to this, but I'd read that we dream many different dreams each night, and they are all actually quite normal scenarios based on what new information we took in during the day, but what happens is when we wake up, our memory of the dreams gets conflated. So you probably actually had two different dreams, one about a bear hunt and one about an apartment, and they got confused after the fact.

    It always made sense to me based on the nonsensical natural of most of my dreams.

  125. I have (as I said recently) one recurring dream, or rather, I have different dreams all set in one locale, which is a composite of many places I've visited, but not of my home area... so it's Texas and Florida, mostly Texas, with New Hampshire thrown in... plus roads and such that I've never seen to my knowledge.... At first I thought it was a kind of a take on hell, because in one dream I met the devil and he asked me what I thought of it, and I leaned into him and said into his ear 'nice place you have here...' For some reason he didn't bother me after that... I've seen my mom there, but she didn't seem to know I was there, she was at a table in a dining hall in like, a high-rise hotel of some sort, talking to friends... And the other night I 'went lucid' in it, in that place, for the first time... that's when I asked someone (there are often crowds, in restaurants and other places, and in parks and such as I walk around) 'are these people dead?' and got that reply 'some of them...'
    So it's a recurring place, but new dreams every time...
    There's also a building in it that is a cross between this old (actual)condemned dance hall where I used to play table tennis, a scary old building with many rooms filled with dust-covered desks or furniture and such, and a creepy attic filled with pigeon poop... crossed with the community college of RI, where I went to school as a kid. A composite of the two places.... and when I'm in that building, I can never find a way out of it...

  126. Well, sure that may well be Ryan. I was thinking that if a Christian was really into it, studying their Bible real hard, they'd likely start dreaming about Jesus and the Gospel story and how it's all connected to themselves and start having dreams about it. If they started real young and went through the process they'd actually be teaching them all the tricks, how to easily side-step reality, "How many fingers do you see?", kind of thing.

    They're not stupid, they know that kids are talking all the time about what they know to each other. "Where'd all the water come from?", "Where'd it all go?", "God can do anything." The idea is to teach you to become an apologist, to get you to believe in the face of it's sillyness. The idea is to get you to compartmentalize religious stories as 'holy'. What on Earth does, "Where'd the water come from?", and, "Where'd the water go?", have to do with a Bible story? In a Bible story, God makes it happen, that's all.

    That there is the kind of truth that Kyle was speaking when he claimed that Planned Parenthood spent 90% of it's funds on abortion issues.

    Of course it isn't FACTUAL, that wasn't the point. The point is that if you agree with Kyle, it is ideologically factual.

    This is where dreams come in, if the facts don't mesh with reality, you have to 'dream it'. "How many fingers am I holding up?", and you have to SEE four.

    When you read the Gospels you learn that there is no good that is good enough, the Godly will crucify you for being good. Not that I think that Jesus was particularly good in the stories, it was more part of the story that he was good.

    This stuff is so ingrained in them that Pliny could trick Eric into saying that the Thomas story wasn't an apology since it was an apology, why couldn't we fools realise this?

  127. Just reread that last comment. Did I mention them dreaming about it?



    Charles Coulson died today. Former Watergate felon, turned evangelical leader.

    I did not know that.

    Wasn't I just talking about how those who know that they are evil are drawn to religion like moths to a flame? Yeah...

  129. Did I mention them dreaming about it?

    Plus 25 years, I KNOW!!!!!!!!! Seriously!!!!

  130. But no, it's a "historical fact".

  131. Wow, what a creepy guy. He didn't have to change his attitude that nothing he did was wrong, he's a typical Rightie Christian.


    This is funny.... I especially love the transition from stupid annoying little boy to terrified in fear of life little boy. That made my morning more than my cup of coffee.

  133. Thanks for the responses. Very interesting. It's amazing that with such a small sample size (responders to this blog) we have such a wide representation of of approaches to perceptions and sensations. We have at least 2 people who accept a historical structure to explain their perceptions that they follow without question, one who requires convoluted logic exercises in order to feel more comfortable with the doctrines obeyed by the first two, at least two people who believe wholeheartedly in the reality of these perceptions while struggling to find a cohesive doctrine to explain them, and at least two people who put no stock in unsubstantiated perceptions at all. A couple of others straddle the fence.

  134. Ste B, my best answer to why your personal experiences seem to get more intense are these two posts I did a while back on neuroplastcity. I believe that these mechanisms account for the experiences people describe. The combination of physical and physiological changes to the brain reinforce perceptions and behaviors. Some of these changes are atypical (ie, the ones induced by pharma).

  135. Yes Pliny, thanks, and I believe we've touched on these points before and I know where you're coming from, but just one question: Did I say that I wanted to know why my personal experiences re getting more intense somewhere? I don't see it in the posts and I don't recall it... maybe I seemed to somewhere? Because they're not. They were most intense at the start, actually, and now I can more control them... so I'm wondering when I gave you the impression that I was asking you why they were 'getting more intense.' What I was asking you about though, was hypnagogic hallucinations in children...
    Also in your second-to-last post there, the one that begins 'Thanks for the responses...' Which one was me?

  136. Without reading your two posts there (I may have read them before, and I will get to them a bit later on in any case) I have to ask, do they involve neuropeptides and receptors and such? Because that was the Candace Pert article in that Smithsonian coincidence... just wondering.

  137. Pliny, isn't it funny how 'Gnothi Seauton' turns out to be the most difficult thing in the world to do? I guess the old oracle was right...

  138. My wording was off a bit. My point was that the experiences themselves are all consistent with neurochemistry. Essentially we are talking about shortcircuiting the brain. Dream states probably do the same because of a lack of grounding sensory input.

    As for the hallucinations, i don't know much about them (other than from persona; experience) but I suspect they are within the continuum of epileptiform conditions.

    Which are you? Hmmm, what makes you think you are on that list ;)

  139. I know that new pathways happen in the brain when new types of thinking take place, and that that can be (and is) caused by pharma as well as say, learning math. That the new pathways are permanent or nearly so, and that if you take away the pharma it can cause problems...

  140. I concur on the 'epileptiform' conclusion there. I basically had seizures... in face I DID have actual epileptiform seizures as a child as well, brought on by (they think, or rather thought) my cat allergy that I no longer seem to have as an adult. So the hallucinations were connected to them... makes sense...

    My parents told me they were just my imagination, and that they weren't real... thus discounting everything I was telling them, and calling me a liar.

  141. Which are you? Hmmm, what makes you think you are on that list ;)
    I suspected that I was a 'fence-straddler...' why, is there another category for me out there somewhere?

    Since I am the patron saint of godlessness and all... Sanctus meus, no deus to free us, and all that...

  142. I still have the 'remains' of those childhood hallucinations, you know.
    If I think about it, I always see them... I have just learned to mostly ignore them... it's like everything is sparkly, an effect like a million tiny 'floaters' in the eyes.... Movement, sparkling, small things floating in my field of vision... my resting state, when I just close my eyes and relax, is a lot like a tv screen filled with white noise static... "They're HEEERE!" Like that... (poltergeist ref.)

  143. Maybe I'm picking up the cosmic background radiation...

  144. Ah, yes pliny, I'd read those two posts before. I think maybe I'd get more out of them if I were more conversant with that area of biology. I 'get the gist,' as it were.

  145. (you know you're out of your depth when you are looking for the 'in summary' at the end, and it just isn't there....)

  146. aw crap

    Okay, truthfully, I can get most of it, but in order to do so I have to stop every sentence or so and really THINK about the meaning, then be satisfied that it makes sense in context, then go on, and so forth... and I'm a lazy man.

    I'll take a better look later on when I've got actual free time and not a minute here and three there.


    Good article on science encroaching on philosophy...

    A quote:
    "I want to start with a general question about the relationship between philosophy and physics. There has been a fair amount of sniping between these two disciplines over the past few years. Why the sudden, public antagonism between philosophy and physics?

    Krauss: That's a good question. I expect it's because physics has encroached on philosophy. Philosophy used to be a field that had content, but then "natural philosophy" became physics, and physics has only continued to make inroads. Every time there's a leap in physics, it encroaches on these areas that philosophers have carefully sequestered away to themselves, and so then you have this natural resentment on the part of philosophers. This sense that somehow physicists, because they can't spell the word "philosophy," aren't justified in talking about these things, or haven't thought deeply about them---"

  148. Very interesting, Ryan.

    It verbalizes things that I could not put into words. I saw these objections, but more intuitively than consciously. That is why I maintain that there is no proof that Jesus ever even lived. People tend to jump down your throat when you say that, but there it is. In fact, if I had to bet, I'd say that Jesus never lived, period. Or that maybe one or even several 'jesuses' lived, itinerant preachers, and they based the story loosely on that meme. But it's made up, that's for sure, at least to me.

  149. I've never been too clear as to why the believer crowd makes such a big deal about this issue. After all, we know that David Karesh, L Ron Hubbard, and Joseph Smith all lived, but so what. It's an enormous leap from having lived to being divine or in possession of special knowledge.

  150. Well, it cuts them off at the knees, that's why.

    They believe that they KNOW that Jesus lived, and much more, that he was divine. They see this in their minds, as fact. As a 'given.' It is attached to their egos. So tell them there might have not been a Jesus, and you're basically telling them that they just might be drooling idiots. So you'll get a reaction every time, is the point. And not a good one. Far easier for a believing christian to believe that you're an evil satan-lover, than that they are even slightly WRONG.

  151. That's why you even get some christians saying that even if absolute proof that god does not exist came to light, they would still believe in him.

    To me, that's just retarded, right on the face of it. But they have ego-attachment to the idea, and so challenging it is tantamount to telling them off, telling them they're stupid... And in addition to the egotism, there's the fear, too... fear of NOTHING.... They need there to be SOMETHING and not NOTHING. They run screaming from it in their minds, the idea that they're wrong and there's just nothing, no god, no supernatural... They cannot accept even the possibility... they see it as evil, to even suggest it... They have made themselves as little children, little CONDITIONED children... there's really no reaching them at all, as far as I can see.

  152. I used to try the approach of telling christians about the devout believers in other faiths. I'd ask them, 'don't you think that a believer in Islam is as sure that he is right, as you are that you are right? That they have as much conviction as you do and quite possibly even more? So knowing that, can't you see that it means nothing that you are SURE that you are right, because that's how all true believers in ANYTHING feel?

    Nope, nothing, nada... they're little children and I'm threatening their egos. They respond with incredible lunk-headedness 'but I am really sure that I am right, absolutely positive, and they believe in a cult, a false god!' (As if that isn't precisely what they say in turn!)
    It's a lot like trying to tell a marmot about the krebs cycle.

  153. Semantically, there is no difference between the sentence "even if proof were found that there is no god, I would still believe in him" and the sentence "I admit that I am a moron."

    It kills me that they can't see that at all.

  154. I used to try the approach of telling christians about the devout believers in other faiths.

    This also baffles me, and in no small way disappoints me as well. At least the way my brain is wired, this really should be the silver bullet.

    But no, just because we know snake oils are bogus, doesn't mean all snake oil is bogus... sure, whatever...

  155. Eric's version is called 'herpetological lipid extract' It sells for ten times as much, too.

  156. Or the other way they can explain it to themselves is that all other gods are all really the one god, but the names have been changed to protect the genocidal... So it's really all Yahweh, in disguise. And sometimes, in drag.

  157. I think the latter is eric's way...

    Wonder where he's been? Hope we haven't out-argued him too much for him to want another dose....

  158. Georgetown Faculty Latest to Chide Ryan

  159. In rebuttal to all the 'religiosos', Paul Ryan claimed, "Any fool knows that I'm of the 'I'm alright Jack!', school of politics.", and I'm just hoping that the people who have the I.D. required are of the same 'school'."

  160. Just remember that Jesus said 'there will be poor, always' so that means that Jesus agrees with Ryan that the poor just don't matter. Since it was said in the context of Jesus using expensive oils on his body, that puts god's official 'okay' on hoarding riches when others are starving.

    The bible is so good for this sort of thing.

    (It absolutely KILLS me that they, the christians, are the ones that least can see Jesus' message. They are too busy finding loopholes in it)

  161. LOL

    Try not to look like a Mexican, you guys! LOL

  162. I heard the cops in AZ *have to* ask *everybody* they stop for their immigration papers...

    Seig Heil, apparently.

  163. How long can the Reps. keep saying that they're not doing what they're doing and people still believe them?

    I could see bad times coming with G.W.Bush's supposed 'fiscal policies'. I'm sure that a Rep. commenter would be happy to explain that the problem lay with Clinton's policies and now lie with Obama.

    The 'problem' as far as I can tell, with Clinton and Obama is that they're not actively trying to CREATE crisis, they're trying to deal with the crises imposed by Bush.

    I've heard that these are extractionist policies, where a few benefit and the hell with the rest. In Biblical terms, I'm thinking that this would be the, 'Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.', attitude.

    I wonder if it's too late now, if the system is so rigged that it's impossible for the majority to clearly state their choice of representative for reasons that are clearly for the benefit of everyone?

    Even your highest court in the land, where presumably if you cannot get justice anywhere else, you could get it there, seems to not be concerned with justice now, but with a right-wing ideology.

  164. Yes, we have a biased supreme court now... they exist to rubber-stamp whatever draconian right-wing legislation comes before them.
    Imagine how great that feels, to know that you live in a country that prides itself on it's freedom, but is completely corrupt. So it's all empty pride based in egotism.

    It's really got ugly. Hard to take. Sickening. And nothing can really be done about it.

  165. We have to stop criminalizing poverty.

    Marijuana. It may be silly to smoke it but it should not be a criminal offense.

    Cocaine. It may well be God's way of telling you that you have too much money, but it should not be a criminal offense.

    Heroine. It might be a really stupid habit to take up, yet it should not be a criminal offense.

    What is amazing to me is how different white kids are treated than black kids, or Latino kids. Seems the idea is to treat the white kids as if it were a disease, which an addiction is, and to treat the 'coloured kids' to a 'gotcha law' where we all knew it was illegal for the purpose of putting them in prison.

  166. Got quiet here. I've been following the Carrier/Erhman thing. I agree with both that if there is indeed a 'core person' at the root of the Gospels, he is so watered down in the legends of his miraculous powers that it makes no difference at all, excepting to Christians who, in their heart of hearts know a fable when they hear one.

  167. Yeah, I can't imagine the pure "mythicist" theory is true. There was likely someone (likely several someones in my opinion) that these stories coalesced around, but it seems like a tempest in a tea pot to me, as even if every bit of the gospels was true about one single, historical person, except the miracles, then it's still "mythicism" right?

  168. Seems quite obvious to me that early Christians were:-

    1)looking for a Messiah
    2)had scoured the OT for any and every possible 'sign' of said Messiah
    3)realised that they could 'storify' their collection of OT possible prophecies.
    4)realised that they had lost the physical battle for supremacy they could yet salvage a spiritual victory(mental victory) in the tradition of their prophets and storytellers, "Why we are not overlords of this World and the Egyptians/Persians/Romans/whoever ARE, in spite of us having God on our side, sort of?!" by yet more 'fulfilled prophecy'.
    5)Reading the drivel of guys like John of Revelation and thinking, "Any idiot could come up with a better story than THAT!"

  169. 5)Reading the drivel of guys like John of Revelation and thinking, "Any idiot could come up with a better story than THAT!"

    It's not a story, it's political commentary.

  170. That may well be Ryan, and I suppose we could view the entire Bible, starting with the OT as political commentary from a Hebrew and later Jewish POV. I don't think that the Christian council added Revelation to the end of the NT 'AS' a political commentary since by that time the politics would be way out of date.

    If it is politically revelant, as, at the time of it's writing it no doubt was, it wasn't much use to the Gospels' composers who had, as I was trying to point out, the agenda of turning a collection of possible OT prophecies about a Messiah, together with Hellenistic and Persian ideas concerning a more spiritual(mental) connection between individuals and God through a spiritual saving.

    The Gospel stories themselves are simply a vehicle developing human relationship with the 'spiritual'(mental) and the 'spiritual'(supernatural) using the physical, Jesus purported physical presence.

    John's Revelation is completely off the wall by comparison.

  171. I have to say that at least some of the catholics are coming out in public against the Ryan budget. Nuns and such, and school faculty at georgetown I think, wherever he was speaking....

  172. Yea, but Paul Ryan is oblivious. That is exactly what is wrong with the Christian right, they're racist, they're ignorant and there is a lot of them.

    But it's easy to see where they get their ideas. The OT is racist, all about 'God's chosen people', so it cannot be hard to translate that attitude from the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews to the new 'God's chosen people', white Christian Americans. They know they're 'chosen' because they're white, they're rich and they have the power.

    Sad to say but it seems to be human nature. If anyone else feels that they've broken through some kind of glass ceiling it seems as if there is a way more than 50/50 chance that they'll throw their own under the bus too. And 'God-forbid' there are others who they thought were inferior to them prior to them breaking through.

    I guess it's easy to get sucked in to the attitude that 'they're just jealous'.

  173. "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." -- Albert Einstein

  174. I find it strange that the people that are being oppressed pray to Jesus Christ for salvation and help them with their needs, and their oppressors pray to Jesus Christ for guidance and help in their oppression of the first group.....

  175. Wanna know what sickens me?

    Read any article that has a positive take on Obama, then look at the comments.

    BLECH! More hatred than at a klan picnic.


    Typical priest abuse situation, but I loved the priest's comment "The Rev. James J. Brennan said he later realized his decision to let the boy view porn and sleep next to him that night in 1996 was “borderline” inappropriate."

    So he sees that as borderline inappropriate. Nice. Too funny. I guess when you're a horny repressed gay priest, the 'borders' of 'borderline' can be moved a bit...

  177. It's not bad, apart from their own institution's policies, that there are gay priests. The bad thing is that they are pedophiles, that they are breaking kids' trust.

    When it comes to priests, everyone assumes that they take their vows, made to God, who we must presume they believe exists and that their vows are of the most serious nature that anyone could ever muster, they are breaking every believer's trust in the priests.

    How can we know that one priest takes his stuff seriously if there is any evidence of any priest not doing so? It tarnishes their entire culture from top to bottom, and I don't believe that they understand this.

    Knowing that a very tiny percentage of priests or other religous leaders get caught abusing children doesn't make me feel much better towards the high percentage of priests and that who, as far as I can know, just happen to not have been caught.


  178. Yes right. And I didn't mean to say that the gay priests become pedophiles. (I don't think, though, that there are gay priests that are 'out' so they're basically all heavily closeted, in denial, and loathing themselves) So thus enters mental illness. It's 'company policy' to deny nature. One can't deny nature without consequences of some sort. We (rightly) consider them perverts, but in many cases they are only perverts because they were perverted by a perverse belief system in the first place.

  179. Now republicans are saying that women make as much as men in this country. No seriously. Rachael Maddow ran headlong into it on Meet the Press yesterday and was visibly amazed, and did a section (the opening one) on it tonight. They are ignoring hard statistical data, or rather, claiming that it is inaccurate for reasons that the surveys *had already compensated for.*
    Unreal. Repeat the lie(s) often enough..... they really expect reality, or at least our memory of it, to change just because of the sheer level of *conviction* they are projecting. That smirking republican liar on MTP telling Rachael how nice it would be for her if she were as accurate as she was enthusiastic, well, it's hard to think of that without a genuine desire to punch his lights out...
    They're winning, pboy. With sheer bullshit. Damn McCain for pickling that evil witch Palin, she started all this unbelievable bullshit.