Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doscientos Mas...

You get the idea....


213 comments:

  1. Pulling Smith out of your ass as the fall guy in the Jones incident if we're presupposing that Jones was murdered is all very well, BUT for the analogy to be equivalent there is no choice but to presuppose some actor that needs to 'account for' the orderliness of the universe.
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    In the matter of the 'murder' as relates to the idea of an ordered universe...
    Isn't the proper analogy, to first prove that a murder took place (that there is another agency at work, such as a deity) or not?
    If it looks like a suicide, one doesn't presume murder.

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  2. I mean, he uses the idea of a murder.

    Murders, invariably require a second party.

    Clever, that Eric.

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  3. Eric The Philosopher could make a better case that he was dealing with a bunch of ignorant "Internet Atheist" Philistines if he didn’t keep coming back. 
     

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  4. Plus, let us not forget the always-valid question, "if the universe was put in order by an outside agency, who or what put that outside agency in order, so that it was capable of doing it?"

    How is the typical answer to that 'Nobody, because God is eternal and was always ordered' not just adding in a new (and rather stupid) level to the problem, pushing it back rather than answering it?

    How is that not blowing parsimony out of the water completely?

    It's the equivalent of 'Jones was shot, so it was obviously an alien space creature that picked up a gun at a pawn shop on betelgeuse 5 and....'

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  5. "Sarah Palin guest-hosted the Today Show yesterday..."

    I thought she did a good job of lampooning herself, but of course she is so far to the right now it's ridiculous.

    She's down to claiming that goodness itself depends on being conservative(teabaggy).

    Not about to agree that taxes on the wealthy ought to never ever be raised? According to Palin, that makes you evil.

    They're good at diverting though. Seems they take their lead from theistic apologetics and rhetoric.

    "If you don't think as I do, you're evil." Isn't that your basic message Eric?

    Paul Ryan's budget gives the very wealthy bigger cuts than anyone else. They respond that they're closing 'loopholes', no one is talking about all the 'loopholes' that they're closing.

    It'll turn out that welfare is a 'loophole', medicare/medicaid is a 'loophole', social security is a 'loophole', because it is obvious that corporate welfare to the oil corporations isn't considered a 'loophole'.

    On the 'War on women', they just divert too. "Abortion availability and contraception are not the only things on womens' minds!"

    WHAT? As far as womens' health and women's equality are concerned, of course these are the top two things on womens' minds.

    All these pro-life women must either want a whole litter of kids or they're not very keen on having sex at all, or they're past child-bearing age.

    We all know that sex and babies are far from the things that most concern young women, don't we?

    All those advertizers on the telly, get sexier eyelashes, get sexier skin, loose weight, be sexier, sexier lips, sure thing, loose the wrinkles, be sexier, and on and on and on, are just dead wrong. How stupid are they?

    It's all about getting as many kids as possible, putting them is school so you can get out and make enough money to support those kids! Don't forget to vote for people whose job it is to get rid of public education(you're gonna need a much better job now), and to make sure you cannot backslide, no contraceptives for you, no claiming rape, that's not going to work on us anymore!

    What we really 'want' is a giant population of ignorant consumers! If we advertise it on telly, we want you to automatically want it!

    (didn't want to lose this in the over-200 pile)

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  6. Eric The Philosopher could make a better case that he was dealing with a bunch of ignorant "Internet Atheist" Philistines if he didn’t keep coming back.
    ------------------
    Maybe that's his way of 'testifying..'

    Or just practicing his philo-sophistries. The truth needs no rehearsing, but he's not dealing in that.

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  7. Palin is the classic example of how they speak out of both sides of their mouths. "The Liberals are trying to divide america!" "Only conservatives are patriotic real americans!"

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  8. When only the ignorant will fall for your policy ideas, it becomes necessary for them to keep their followers ignorant. Not only that, but to aggrandize the very idea of ignorance somehow, make it actually desirable, and demonize intellect, logic, and science.
    And they're doing a great job!

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  9. Religion: The only communicable mental illness.

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  10. Repost from last blog post:

    Brian and Pboy:
    Your last few posts are why I tune in to this blog. Too bad there is not a much bigger audience.
    I suspect Eric perversely likes to read them too. Otherwise why would he bother to keep up? I think one or both of you have wondered if he uses this blog to practice and sharpen his debate tactics. But, why? I mean hasn’t he shown beyond a shadow of a doubt how superior his ‘batin’ skills are? I think that even though he would probably not admit it, he gains much from this crowd. Perhaps he gets tired of discussing philosophy and religion with the “Stiffy Stiffersons” whom I imagine he hangs with in Cambridge. Just a thought.

    Another thought. Maybe Eric is really a cross-dressing male prostitute with an enormous IQ who likes to punish himself for his “sins”.

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  11. I think I've solved the 200 comment limit!

    I chose a new blog template that seems to allow all comments to post below, on one page, no matter how many. I went back to the older post where it's over 200, and they all appeared on the one page.

    Fantastic. Plus, I like the new design of the blog.

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  12. Although, when there are over 200, it seems that you have to click on a 'show more' button.... Still, better than before.

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  13. Fulfilled my dream of using loose instead of lose on a comment.

    One more ticked off the bucket list.

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  14. And you fixed your blog problem?

    It's a great day for America!(all of it, not just the States)

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    1. And apparently now we can reply to specific posts. Who knew what we were missing!

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  15. "Isn't the proper analogy, to first prove that a murder took place (that there is another agency at work, such as a deity) or not?"

    Of course it is. Eric's analogy fails since it is not at all useful.

    A better analogy would be, "It rains because a native Indian rain dancer periodically dances!" This is obvious to every native Indian.

    This is equivalent to, "The universe is orderly because God made it like that." This is obvious to every 'person of faith'.

    But this is not great philosophical reasoning on Eric's part. It's simply Eric assuming God, much like native indians might assume the efficacy of rain-dancing.

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  16. " Perhaps he gets tired of discussing philosophy and religion with the “Stiffy Stiffersons” whom I imagine he hangs with in Cambridge."

    LOL, maybe he gets fed up getting his ass handed to him every time he tries to debate 'Stiffy Stifferson'. With a handle like that ol' Stiffy better be a helluva debater.

    I think that someone like Eric would likely be interested in being a Supreme Court Judge, where he could just lord his ideology over everyone in the name of justice.

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    1. I absolutely can see that, Pboy. Absolutely.

      What a dream... the day when 'because I said so' becomes a valid answer for him!

      I think perhaps even the very idea would make a 'stiffy stifferson' of him immediately, if you catch my meaning.

      Hi Eric! Still love you! (It's a tough love)

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    2. Sorry. "Stiffy Stiffersons" is a name I heard years ago and forget where I saw it. (watched it? SNL, maybe)It refers to those people (Mitt Romney comes to mind) who seem to have sticks rammed up their asses.

      I can illustrate with this joke:

      A farmer from Virginia drives to Cambridge, MA to meet his cousin who attends Cambridge University. The farmer has never been to MA before and has gotten himself quite lost. He spots a young lad, probably a student himself, standing at the next intersection. The farmer pulls his car up along side of the student, rolls down his window and inquires, "Hi there, I don't know this town very well and I'm supposed to meet my cousin at the campus library. Can you tell me where the library's at?"
      The student (Stiffy Stifferson) replies in a haughty tone, "Around here we don't end our sentences with a preposition."
      The farmer replies, "Oh, excuse me; let me try again. Can you tell me where the library's at...ASSHOLE!"

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    3. "This, as an analogy of the orderliness of the universe presupposes that there is an actor(God) that can be added...In Erics analogy he adds a third character Jones to muddy the waters, but he really should know better. What's all that studying stuff about if he's not expected to know better?
      "Well, it seems to go like this. Eric studies philosophy and lords that over us. Eric expects us to bow to his greater intellect. Eric creates a flawed analogy which includes a presupposed actor as a 'better explanation'(actually more detailed explanation)."

      Floyd, man, I have to give it to you, my friend: *No one* -- and I mean no one! -- can miss a point like you!

      The *obvious* point with the Smith/Jones example was that parsimony is *almost always* sacrificed for explanatory power -- full stop. It had nothing *whatsoever* to do with the order of the universe, agency, etc. In case that's not clear to you, let me elucidate it further: You simply cannot appeal to parsimony, full stop, when evaluating an explanation without taking explanatory power into account as well. If that's not perspicuous enough for you, then too freakin' bad.

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  17. "The main point of the essay I linked, Eric (did you read it?) is that there's no sense to be made of trying to "account for" (explanatory scope, anyone?) the orderliness of the universe, because any justification you might formulate that depends on "Primacy of Consciousness" metaphysics (i.e., 'God as a necessary, immaterial conscious being before "Creation"...') begs the question because it assumes regularity and order to give an explanation for that order."

    Ed, yes, I read the article. I also understood it. Let me help you out a bit.

    Have you ever heard the phrases 'primacy of consciousness' and 'primacy of existence' before?

    I have, for you see, they're part of the pseudo-philosophical system developed by my erstwhile philosophical mentor, Ayn Rand.

    Yes, Ed, you've just fallen for the equivalent of creationism in the world of academic philosophy.

    I'd love to get into all the problems with Rand's metaphysics, but frankly it bores the hell out of me now, so I'll restrict myself to this simple, direct, obvious and devastating (vis-a-vis your charge of circularity) criticism: The only alternative to the primacy of consciousness is the primacy of existence, so if a POC metaphysics 'begs the question', then so does a POE metaphysics. (Of course, the notion that a POC metaphysics necessarily begs the questions is absurd: read some of the great idealists, for example -- do Plato and Berkeley and Kant and Royce 'beg the question' in their metaphysical argumentation? Rand unfortunately knew next to nothing about the history of philosophy (she learned most of what little she did know from her student Peikoff), so her thinking in these fundamental areas is childish and ridiculously simplistic. (As I've said before, I was an Objectivist, but I rejected it when I began to study real philosophy.))

    (con't)

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  18. "P.S. I don't need to provide an alternative "naturalistic" explanation to show that YOUR explanation is defective."

    Sure, but you haven't shown that my explanation is defective.

    I've demonstrated why an appeal to parsimony alone will do you no good here, and I've countered the charge of circularity you've premised on a simplistic Randian metaphysics.

    "1) You agreed with me, Eric, that my "world sans agency IS more parsimonious, since you didn't argue against it"

    Well, not necessarily (see, e.g. Swinburne on this issue), but I'm willing to grant it for the sake of argument.

    "2) You said, "I'm taking data most people would accept and from there inferring to the best explanation of our shared supposition that the universe is orderly." (my emphasis) This sounds suspiciously like the pot calling the kettle black. Just a moment ago, you were chiding me for making "a typical internet atheist error", yet you appeal to the collective opinions of a vague group of people and the vague data set that they accept (and I feel like if any of them showed up here to argue theology, you'd probably start correcting THEM, too!). This is skirting dangerously close to an ad populum fallacy, Eric."

    Um, no, it's not. In fact, it's not even close. See, you commit an ad populum fallacy when you argue that a conclusion is *true* or *likely true* because some significant number of people accept/have accepted it. I've done nothing of the sort. See, when we're talking about an explanation of X, it helps if X is widely accepted. I have no need to explain why Obama is relying on the advice of Crab People in crafting his domestic policy, but the orderly nature of the universe is something that seems to me to be the sort of thing one might want to explain.

    Alas, this is yet another common internet atheist error. You take the time to learn the names of the major fallacies, and take in a little bit concerning what makes them fallacies, but completely neglect the much more fundamental issues on which any logical analysis rests, viz. determining when an argument is being made as opposed to an explanation, observation, etc.; making an effort to understand just what the argument (if any) is, i.e. what the premises are, what the conclusion is, how they are connected, how the key terms are being used, etc.; and understanding the distinction between formal and informal fallacies (here's an example I often use: suppose you're on 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire,' you're stumped by a question, and so you choose the 'ask the audience' lifeline: are you guilty of any logical fallacy in concluding that D is likely the answer because 95% of the audience says that it is?); and so on.

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    1. "I'm taking data most people would accept and from there inferring to the best explanation of our shared supposition that the universe is orderly."

      data that most people would accept... that the world was "created" by God? Isn't that the question we're trying to answer? Or did you mean that "we all observe that the universe behaves in an orderly manner?

      A. I've never read anything written by Ayn Rand beyond quotes others have posted on the internet.

      B. You constantly appeal to authorities ("...do Plato and Berkeley and Kant and Royce 'beg the question' in their metaphysical argumentation?"; "..."see, e.g. Swinburne on this issue"; "Aquinas said bla bla bla..."). Here's a tip: I don't care what those jokers said. I'm doing my own thinking here.

      C. If you dodge the issue by saying such dreck like "That wasn't an argument, that was an explanation" again, I'll lose what little respect for you I have left.

      First things first, I started the discussion by telling Brian that "consciousness as the ground of all being is bullshit", and I posted an essay that discussed it. The prime conclusion of the essay is that consciousness (being defined as "awareness of existence", and dependent on material existence of brains for the ONLY examples of consciousness we know) cannot exist unless it exists, which demonstrates that existence supersedes consciousness.

      You cannot get around this.

      Furthermore, God (arguendo) followed natural law in the creation of the universe, according to scripture! I know you don't buy everything you read in the Bible; why then do you swallow whole everything Christian apologists have said about God and Jesus?

      Show me the money, man!

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  19. ""If you don't think as I do, you're evil." Isn't that your basic message Eric?"

    Yep, that's it, Floyd -- you nailed it. That's why I'm willing to say that atheism, a position I reject, can be rationally maintained. That's why I don't identify with any of the major political parties in the U.S., though I still vote. That's why I moved from being a theist to being an atheist to being a Christian. That's why I take the time to show you precisely where your arguments (when you bother to make them) fail, and take the time to teach you basic logic and basic philosophy (and, occasionally, basic science!), rather than saying, "You're going to Hell!" Yet again, Floyd, your analytical powers amaze me.

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  20. Mojomantra; LOVE it. I know the same joke but with southern belles and BITCH as the preposition killer.

    I honestly don't get Eric, he really should know better. All his arguments, in a practical sense, don't really get one any further than agnosticism (and who isn't, really?). Yet he believes some very specific, whacky things that go way beyond what he is willing to argue for.

    Most believes I get, because the motive is usually obvious, but not with Eric. If I had to make a wild ass guess I'd say maybe it's because he's an argumentative douche (and who isn't? No, just me?) and in the last decade, targeting atheism is something that let's one stay in the mainstream while fooling one's self into thinking they are a contrarian.

    Yes Eric, I know, I'm a fucking moron. Love you too.

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  21. "Most believes I get"

    Er... believers.

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  22. Yeah, Paul Ryan gives me the heeby Geebies, I AM NOT PAUL RYAN!!! Nor am I an Orlando Magic player or a National Guardsman who worked for Al Qaeda.

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  23. "Aquinas said bla bla bla..."

    Can I quote you?

    So, Eric, you WEREN'T making the analogy presupposing an agent then?

    If you say so.

    You teach me basic science? You used (delta)e = e + q, the change in energy is equal to the energy plus work, in an effort to show that I was wrong about energy neither being created nor destroyed.

    I don't care that it concerns a closed system, it doesn't matter. You either don't understand what this equation is saying, or you were hoping that I didn't understand what it is saying.

    It appears that not only Aquinas said, "bla bla bla". LOL

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    1. "You teach me basic science? You used (delta)e = e + q, the change in energy is equal to the energy plus work, in an effort to show that I was wrong about energy neither being created nor destroyed."

      What?! No, Floyd, you're wrong again.

      *You* were not merely defending the uncontroversial First law of Thermodynamics; rather, you were arguing that *given* the FLoT, the universe must be eternal. I explained to you that this is bunk *in any discussion about the existence of god* because the law only applies to closed/isolated systems (a fact you seemed completely unaware of), so to use the FLoT in this way is to *presuppose* that the universe is an isolated system (as most atheists maintain) and not an open one (as most theists maintain). Wrong again, Floyd.

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  24. Have you ever heard the phrases 'primacy of consciousness' and 'primacy of existence' before?

    I have, for you see, they're part of the pseudo-philosophical system developed by my erstwhile philosophical mentor, Ayn Rand.
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    She wasn't very creative. One no more has to read Ayn Rand to see that logically that is the argument, which came first as it were, than to read Julia Child in order to understand that cooking, involves heat.

    I know it makes you feel good to be able to have all these personalities right there at your fingertips, but it's honestly no more impressive than my knowing a lot of 'big words' at ten. What matters is being real. Why can't you? All the attributions do not show your intellect, just your memory.

    I'm just asking nicely, to argue like a person rather than a totally in-the-bag biased apologist philo-sophister for a change.

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  25. Here's a motive for you Eric...

    If you came across as more real, then maybe you'd even gain in effectiveness as an apologist!

    See, even Machiavelli would approve. And we know what a hero he was to the church. ;-)

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  26. The only alternative to the primacy of consciousness is the primacy of existence, so if a POC metaphysics 'begs the question', then so does a POE metaphysics.
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    Perhaps, they both do. But looking around, sadly, we have no instances of consciousness (as in 'minds') existing before an appropriate vessel exists for it to indwell, nor after said vessel has expired. So in the real world, the 'POC' side has more work to do. Of course, I'm not a philosopher, so I'm not aware of all the alternate meanings of all the words that I just used there, so I may be "wrong."
    And it again occurs to me that my arguments about 'all is consciousness' are, while admittedly a spiritual argument, an argument that is about a million times more probable that say, Yahweh. Yeah, it's all an egotistical sadistic brat pulling our fly-wings off for fun in between gambling with satan about how much pain a man can take and committing genocide... (Sorry, the sheer sickening-ness of it all gets to me sometimes...)

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  27. We humans have just started to understand how very small we actually are, as compared with the vast complexity of WHAT IS.
    And Yahweh shares in that smallness, unfortunately. He's, well, kinda embarrassing to me. Shameful that some of us are so gullible to actually believe that the Ultimate Being as it were, would share in all of our vices and pettiness and egotism. How ridiculous!

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  28. You used (delta)e = e + q, the change in energy is equal to the energy plus work, in an effort to show that I was wrong about energy neither being created nor destroyed.
    --------------
    Pboy, help me out... wanna make sure I still understand this shit.
    I missed this... So this was the first I noticed it. So I don't have the context.
    Is he saying that when you add work (energy) to energy, that the change (increase) in total energy means that more energy has been created?

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  29. Although if the Ultimate Being turned out to be an asshole like in Genesis, it would explain a lot of things in the world...

    Hmmmm.... Maybe I should re-consider religion?

    Yeah right.

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  30. Actually that equation doesn't seem to be true, does it? The change in the energy of the system would just be the work added.

    Meh, it was Eric's equation.

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  31. The first chapter reads like a, "What'd God do next, dad?", list after dad realises that he's gonna have to start the story 'from the start'.

    "Then God said, "LET THERE BE LIGHT.", 'cos HE spoke in a big booming voice like that so we could hear him from (clears throat), Heaven. He also didn't bother mentioning that it was a 'starter kit' and, you know, it all took billions of years for all the parts to assemble into a yellow dwarf planetary system and billions more for life to form and evolve into the 'creatures' and that.

    According to Eric and his fav philosophers this, without the stuff God forgot to mention, just the 'Hey it's here, we're sitting on it, there's the stars and the Moon, there's animals and us.', just as if people were anthropomorphizing forces of nature, just like all the other 'false gods' the other tribes made up, this is the story of God. HE is right in there causing extreme weather(it has better explanatory power, right Eric), causing wars(how dare you! God is not more explanatory for war excepting, you know, Biblical wars!)

    Funny how explanatory power, or explanatory scope(is it) is kind of arbitrary. God explains shit when theists WANT the God-did-it explanation.

    Otherwise, fuck you blasphemer!


    LOL

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  32. He's not very familiar with thermodynamics then.
    A tyro error. Unusual, from Eric.

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  33. so to use the FLoT in this way is to *presuppose* that the universe is an isolated system (as most atheists maintain) and not an open one (as most theists maintain). Wrong again, Floyd.
    ---------------
    If I recall correctly, the universe is such a perfect closed system, than when virtual particles arise, they must 'borrow' the energy from the closed universe and 'pay it back' almost immediately. That's how perfectly closed it is. A closed system is implied in the FLoT.
    I have never heard any scientist even imply that it is an open system in any way.
    What are you trying to say, Eric?

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  34. If an electron can't arise in this universe without paying back the energy it took to manifest, then it's not just a closed universe, its hermetically sealed.

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  35. ".isolated system (as most atheists maintain) and not an open one (as most theists maintain). Wrong again, Floyd."

    You are full of shit Eric, how does your little equation show anything at all? What the hell would be the difference to me if you thought that the universe is a closed system or an open system?

    Though a closed system implies that that is all there is, that's it, that's ALL there is and nothing more. We could use that information to find GOD, in principle. SEt up a universe energy detector, find a source of new energy, and, "TALLY HO BOYS! THE GAME'S AFOOT!"

    NO. Eric, you copy pasted that equation in an attempt to show me that what I was saying, that energy can never be created nor destroyed, wasn't true.

    That claim says nothing at all about your equation or vice versa, nothing about open or closed systems, so you're bullshitting AGAIN!

    YOU are the one not understanding what you're on about. Rabbitting on about open/closed systems, bullshit Eric..to use the FLoT in this way is to *presuppose* that the universe is an

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    1. Wrong again, floyd. The issue was whether the fact that energy is conserved in a closed system implies that the system is eternal. It doesn't.

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    2. Future eternal anyway.

      Delete
  36. This replying to individual comments below them instead of at the end of all previous commentary... BLOWS!

    Got to hunt through the commentary to find out who said what to who last.

    It's bullshit.

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  37. Well, we don't have to use it. We can opt to simply keep commenting on the bottom of the page.

    This is the only one of three possible comment formats that defeats the 200 comment limit.

    I feels yer pain.

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  38. "If a person holds unsound presuppositions with sufficient tenacity, facts will make no difference at all.  They will be able to create a reality of their own, separate and untouched by, the truth."

    Rev Dr Robert S Rayburn, June 1, 1997 (Ironically, in an argument ranting about scientific skepticism amongst other things.)

    Sound familiar?

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  39. "Wrong again, floyd. The issue was whether the fact that energy is conserved in a closed system implies that the system is eternal. It doesn't."

    No it wasn't. There's no reason for your silly equation except to try to show that 'energy can neither be created nor destroyed' is wrong, that's what we were arguing about, that's what you thought the equation showed.

    I was reminded of this while watching a theoretical physicist talking about how, it is against the rules, seems to be against the rules for a complicated system to get sucked into a simple system (black hole)thereby losing it's complexity, since it would seem to reverse entropy.

    But, that energy is neither created nor destroyed, is true, always has been, always will be, whether you think of the system as open or closed. I wasn't arguing open/closed systems since a closed system is hypothetical and 'ideal'. We can do the math to find the ideal answers then do the experiment and find that the numbers aren't going to match the ideal, ever.

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    1. Floyd, you're clueless. I've never argued that the FLoT is false. This is absurd. Then again, you rarely understand what's right in front of you, so why should I expect you to understand a discussion we had many months ago?

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  40. "If a person holds unsound presuppositions with sufficient tenacity, facts will make no difference at all."

    Guess us poor losers are just presupposing away that Jesus wasn't nailed to a cross as a sacrifice to absolve us from our sins, whereupon the graveyards opened up and a multitude of walking dead(zombies) roamed Jerusalem for over a month!

    I'm presupposing that Christians are likely to 'hand-wave' this important FACT away, though I cannot for the life of me presuppose why.

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  41. [27] "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

    Of course American Christians cannot hear Jesus.
    Jesus didn't specify, "All the time."
    Jesus was using words in a special way, 'love', in this case meant, 'beat the hell out of', or maybe, 'care nothing for'(as is the case where God loves you yet is allowed to treat you with contempt, since, hey, HE'S GOD!

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  42. That's like how republicans don't have a war on women, they're just enforcing god's laws about women as dictated in the bible. Because those darn women, so immoral by nature. That damned Eve, she got us all into this crap...

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  43. What is politics if not a dangerous temptation toward controlling others rather than reforming oneself?'
    Andrew Sullivan

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  44. My bird is hilarious. Doesn't want to go to bed, like any 2 year old. (he's likely 10 or 12, but he'll never be smarter than a 2 year old). So he goes with 'Mommy' into her room and hunts for something to do, anything at all.

    There's some flakes left from morning, have to eat those, there's my dark mirror image in the clock to give shit to. Uh oh, that's not working, quick, quick, oh wait, there's mommy to visit..

    Time to go get him and convince him it is his bed time now.

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  45. I remember one time when I had my sun conure Loki, I left him on the windowsill to look out on the world. He seemed to love it... stayed there, wasn't trying to get down... then I noticed that he wasn't so much looking out the window as systematically destroying the casement. Chomp chomp chomp, and each chomp removed a nice chunk of wood.
    He was more like a two year old Jeffrey Dahmer. Beautiful creature though, all bright orange and deep blue.... and he was very affectionate, watched movies on my shoulder, went to sleep with his head under my ear...
    I'm not really a bird person, but I did like him.

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  46. One thing about conures though. In their natural habitat their screams have to penetrate a couple of miles of rainforest... So for a small bird, they're about as loud as any parrot... they are close to macaws in their volume, and only about eight inches tall. So when Loki screamed for attention, the whole neighborhood knew.
    Cockatiels are a lot less loud for about the same size. Lovebirds however, are intensely annoying to me... they have this whistle-scream that is just like fingernails on a blackboard.

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  47. I wonder if the smart Christians will ever be able to admit that atheism isn't a belief system?

    Some of these guys are doctors in their field and yet they argue from this strange perspective that is common between them and the most ignorant.

    We have this weird situation where very smart people, some are willing to be very critical of atheism, very skeptical of atheism, using skepticism the way any non-gullible person would, our main reasoning tool.

    Atheists don't believe everything everyone tells them.

    Christians don't believe everything everyone tells them.

    Nothing unusual about being skeptical, in fact we can get a rise out of people for trusting us to be honest. Not so much honest as sincere. On April 1st. how hard would it be to go ring the doorbell, then head through to a bedroom and tell whoever that the police were at the door looking for 'whoever' in connection with some crime, car theft, or shoplifting or whatnot, just for a laugh?

    So what's with this insistence that being skeptical is a counter-belief system to Christianity, when Christians themselves are just as skeptical of Muslim, Hindu etc. etc. claims?

    This isn't something that only people with doctorates in their fields can understand.

    How does Eric deal with this? Which rhetorical technique works best to divert us from the simple truth that skepticism is an important decision making process for us all, and not an alternate belief system for atheists?

    Help us understand Eric.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I wonder if the smart Christians
    ------------
    I'll stop you right there. If they're ignorant enough to be a christian in the first place, then they're already a 'believer' rather than a 'thinker,' at least when it comes to the important stuff like how to live your life. And a 'believer' can't even imagine that other people do not believe in anything. It's a given, to them. Just a matter of identifying it. And so, it's disbelief that is our religion, that *must be* our religion, as incredibly buttfuck stupid as that actually is.

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  49. It's funny though, that they accuse us of having 'faith' and a 'religion.'

    So, they're bad things to have, then? Thanks for informing us, christians! We'll try to avoid that.

    ReplyDelete
  50. You know what really kills me though...
    One time I was trying to get through to one of them, and said something like 'well, if you think of all the other religions...' and they said that christianity wasn't a religion.
    Huh?

    ReplyDelete
  51. I was reading, how they're pretty sure that the bee hive collapse syndrome is a particular pesticide.

    Here's where I don't understand reporters and the news.

    I also just read part of a piece that headlines 'Bayer says study is deeply flawed.'
    Bayer, the manufacturer of the pesticide, gets to release an article that gets serious attention? They get to 'push back' on a scientific study? For the money? Get 'their side' out there? REALLY?

    Reminds me of the oil industry commercials that promote fracking like it was a panacea. Either we get to hear that skinny blonde cunt talk about how we've got a hundred years of oil right here in america, or we get to see a 'discussion' between a professor and two students, one of which says 'we've got all the oil we need' and the other of which says 'yeah, but don't you care about the environmental impact?' to which the prof says 'oh, it's great, we've solved all of that, it releases kittens ans puppies into the water table' or whatever, and the environmentally conscious student says 'Gee, GREAT!' and that's all folks, problem solved, so shut the fuck up.

    You know, we need to go extinct. We're hopelessly stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  52. The people that reprinted that Bayer pushback *should* have been very highly critical of it, in print, period. Should have, perhaps, even made a mockery of it. Yes, that would have been appropriate.
    Reporters aren't just supposed to print what people say. They also need to *interpret it.*

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  53. So, the basic idea is that we all have to believe in 'something', is it?

    But we all have to be skeptical too, and I, for one am skeptical about the idea that 'we all have to believe in 'something'.

    So, neverminding any of the other stuff about philosophy or theism, a lot of peoples' basic premise, where they are really coming from is the idea that everyone has to believe in 'something', specifically meaning that everyone has to have a religion, a belief system.

    This is not saying that they won't overgeneralize this idea to try to make a believer out of you, as in, "WHAT? You say you DON'T believe that we have to believe in 'something'? Then you must believe in 'nothing'. Why, you're just a liar, you don't REALLY believe in nothing at all.", and so on and so forth.

    This opens the door to Pascal's wager or maybe a bit of bullying if we're dealing with folk who tend to 'win' arguments by making their opponents bleed out a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Y'know, Eric replied to me on an old thread here that if we redefine "worship" to mean "being gripped by some concern or another" (paraphrased) that everyone has things that they "worship".

      Any bets that I can't find the original comment?

      Delete
  54. LOL, yea Brian, the old, "Christianity isn't a religion."

    Gotta love that one.

    It's in the same vein as 'miracles aren't magic'.

    It's a diversion. There you are with your train of thought, trying to get them to admit that their religion is no better than any other and, "Christianity ISN'T a religion!", stops THAT dead in it's tracks.

    Same thing with denying that Christianity has anything at all to do with faith.

    It's a way to divert anti-religious argument, leave them without the words they need to argue their case. So what if they themselves talk about Christianity as their religion and about having faith in Christ, just saying, 'It's not a religion and faith has nothing to do with it.', simplifies the argument to, "Yes it is.", "No it isn't.", which is a level that a five year old can 'hold his own'.

    ReplyDelete
  55. "Floyd, you're clueless. I've never argued that the FLoT is false. This is absurd. Then again, you rarely understand what's right in front of you, so why should I expect you to understand a discussion we had many months ago?"

    I laughed you off the blog Eric. You fell silent for a couple of months after that huge gaff.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Yea Ed. If I go to a church on any given Sunday and sit at the back, listen to the sermon and the singing and that, I can get a pretty good idea of what 'worship' is.

    These people are so disingenuous that they can say, "Why don't you come worship at our church with us.", meaning just that, then turn around and claim that 'worship' has such a broad, vague meaning that everyone is worhipping away everything all the time really.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I wonder if the smart Christians will ever be able to admit that atheism isn't a belief system?
    --------------
    No, because this is all about debate strategy not truth. It's a standard tactic to create false equivalency when you have nothing substantive to say.

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  58. ""If you don't think as I do, you're evil." Isn't that your basic message Eric?"

    Yep, that's it, Floyd -- you nailed it. That's why I'm willing to say that atheism, a position I reject, can be rationally maintained. (and so forth)
    -------------
    Eric, for what it's worth, I don't think you're telling us we're evil of we don't think as you do. You are just a defender of that attitude, whether you know it or not, even to the point of pretending that it's not true that christians do that. Or maybe I should say, usually by pretending it's not true.

    The extreme, almost dare I say pathological, level of ignorance and hostility in the typical christian fundamentalist, doesn't bother you at all. Can you even see it, I am forced to wonder? Apparently, as long as they're 'believers' in any way, even their particularly pernicious way, they're just hunky-dory with you.
    Blame it on Vatican II, or blame it on whatever, you just don't give a shit that your religion can be and often is interpreted as a license to let one's pride run amok and to be an ignorant amoral hateful self-righteous prick.
    You just don't care. Not your problem. After all, in a way, you must want them to remain stupid and foolish, because when someday you write a book, they'll be your target audience.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Like say, Dinesh D'Souza for instance. A catholic whore to the protestants.

    He knows that when you cozy up to the morons, they'll love you with their money.

    Doesn't bother him that he's selling his soul in the least. Cha-Ching!

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  60. So, there you have the charge, Eric. Your religious affiliation leaves it's advocates unable to do anything but claim that atheism is a belief system, equivalent to their belief system.

    The Outsider Test of Faith needing to pass itself. Does that ring any bells?

    What is wrong with the Jewish faith? Why aren't you a Jew?
    What is wrong with the Muslim faith? Why aren't you a Muslim?
    What is wrong with the Hindu faith? Why aren't you a Hindu?
    etc.
    etc.

    Now can you seriously suggest that, 'What is wrong with the atheist faith?? Why aren't you an atheist?', is equivalent?

    IOW are you saying that creating a false equivalency between all the faiths and non-faith is just fine and that John Loftus should at least rename his OTF the Outsider test of faith or non-faith?

    Oh yea, that, according to you was the 'fundamental problem' with the OTF, it somehow eluded testing itself, right?

    But there's no-one holding a gun to your head saying, "Use all your big brain power to defeat the arguments that Islam makes for itself against Catholicism. Do that with the other religions, then keep going with Catholicism.

    Surely, "But I can't do that because it's the one I believe is true.", can't work, since that's why Muslims are unmoved by your argument, that's why Hindus are unmoved by your argument, and so on.

    You cannot use that argument since it doesn't defeat any of the other religions, now does it?

    Or do you just have a 'feeling' that yours is the right one?

    ReplyDelete
  61. My Outsider test of faith.

    There are no gods, not even one, therefore Christianity is wrong, Islam is wrong, Hinduism is wrong, Mormonism is wrong, the Jehova Witnesses are wrong, Scientology is wrong and atheism is just a word which means that all religions are wrong since there are no gods.

    Oh yea, MY outsider test for faith. "You can't prove there are no gods, can you? It is only reasonable to conclude from this that all religions are equally right and let us pray that we get some valuable gifts from Santa at Christmas!"

    Amen

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  62. Just saw a cheesy commercial that used as a plotline, the ancient Mayan calendar. Joking about it, about the world ending, and so forth... the basic attitude being 'as if!'

    And yet Christians are so gullible and so desirous of their end times prophecies to come true (it being worth even death to them in order to have that brief moment of 'I TOLD YOU SO!') that they're even willing to believe in the Ancient Mayan calendar, as long as it might indicate that the world's coming to an end soon. Even though that wasn't the intent of the designers of the Mayan calendar, and even though it was a completely different religion.

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  63. Or do you just have a 'feeling' that yours is the right one?
    -----------
    You may be joking, but that's it precisely of course.

    Strong feelings always trump all logic and reason. One has to *learn* not to let them.
    Religion teaches the opposite, to allow that to happen, and even to encourage it.

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  64. Shine on you crazy diamond..

    ta to tu .. taratuto.. tu.. ta.. tataTA. dudaduDAO.. mudpeople are our slaves.. tutaTAU taw tatutau... okay then, we imprison them and .. they're our slaves.. tatatata ta dow.. fuck 'em then, just jail 'em.. duDOW..

    ReplyDelete
  65. I'm surprised the christians aren't worried about Ragnarok, too.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Don't be ridiculous, they've got front row seats!

    ReplyDelete
  67. 'God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians,' Portland Church's Sign Reads

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  68. Anything God does to hobos is alright by Eric. HE made hobos, HE can make them live a horrible, shameful, painful, short, pointless lives, 'cos HE LOVES them. God's little helpers know the deal too. (whisper) It's their own stupid fault.(unwhisper)

    ReplyDelete
  69. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MomKfsbFpQ0

    Okay, see, this cat has a problem. It thinks it's a dog... unless someone is looking.. Yes, the cat BARKS, but only until it realizes someone is watching, then it REVERTS TO MEOWS!

    And I absolutely swear this is true: We just played this, and the cat barking sound sent my pug running to the screen door, barking (himself) at the 'perceived dog threat' somewhere in the neighborhood.
    So that cat's barking in a way that my dog understood as a bark!

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  70. 'God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians,' Portland Church's Sign Reads
    ------------------
    We need more churches that see it that way. And more christians. Good for them!

    I never did understand why they can't realize that by hating us, they're the ones sinning!

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  71. If you REALLY wanna see hatred on parade, any christian site that is discussing Rachael Maddow... unreal. They fucking HATE her. The word 'HATE' is not even enough to describe it, even all caps like that. They fucking despise her. They absolutely LOVE to hate that woman..... Rachael Maddow brings out the very WORST in christians. And republicans.
    (And those two sets are becoming more and more identical lately)

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  72. Atheists were put here by God to test Christians ability to love others!

    We need to promote this idea! Heck when an atheist is insulted by a christian, he can be the one to say 'you're going to HELL!!' before the christian can get it out!

    ReplyDelete
  73. And Rachael is just about the nicest person on the planet. She can't even say mild swear words that other hosts say... she's a prude, actually. And so concerned with others... very empathetic person, not a mean bone in her body...
    Sad.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Never mind hobos, I wanna see a good old-fashioned bindlestiff.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Christians don't like Rachael Maddow? Only thing I don't like about her show is the format she uses for the comercials. She 'books out' for commercials, a couple or three roll then she comes on and announces what is upcoming, after a couple more commercials, sort of injecting herself in as a commercial for her next 'real' segment.

    I like how she exposes the right's tactics, layin out very clearly Romney's strategy of deliberate projection. 'Take your weakest points and denounce your opponent as having them so it blunts any effect they have when used against you.'

    I think it would work to blunt the force of Obama's side except when it's shown that that is what he is doing.

    Another weird thing about that is that Romney must know that they're his weak points and that he wants his supporters to hate Obama for them and his high finance supporters must realise this too, so I guess the target audience is the middle class/working class suckers who would rather believe that the rich care for them than think they're getting thrown under the bus too.

    Maybe they are right that in a totally fucked up mainstreet economy, the big boys will look after the majority of white Christians with just enough token well-off coloured people to make the system appear equal.

    I'm not sure why they want an army of young poor people though. Cannon fodder?

    ReplyDelete
  76. ".. atheism, a position I reject, can be rationally maintained."

    Hmmm. I don't imagine I'm maintaining a position, it's a fact that gods are imaginary and the only power religion has is to try to maintain it's hold over peoples' imaginations.

    Tell us why Islam is not the truth Eric, other than the fact that you didn't grow up in a Muslim family? Tell us why Hinduism isn't the truth, other than you didn't grow up in a Hindu family? What is it that you studied about those two and any others you studied didn't ring true?

    I'm sure you have a response but is it an answer?

    Hopefully those days of fighting for the right to be right and building giant edifices to ourselves are over.

    Maybe they ought to smelt all the gold in the world into that 60 metre cube(is that right?) that's all the gold ever been mined and you can all go worship that.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Maybe they ought to smelt all the gold in the world into that 60 metre cube(is that right?) that's all the gold ever been mined and you can all go worship that.
    --------
    hear hear!

    (I love how my american spellcheck redflagged "metre...")(americunz r stoopid)

    ReplyDelete
  78. Halloo, Eric!

    I was just wondering... How well do you feel that you know the Bible?

    Not a trick question. I am curious. Do you think yourself very well versed, pretty good, what? I already know you're well read, and wondered if you've read the Good Book as much as Aquinas and other philosopher's take on things...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eric doesn't have to adhere to a "literal" Bible... he's Catholic, remember? And if one doesn't have to adhere to a literal Bible, then of what use is reading it?

      Delete
  79. Well that's kind-of what I was thinking, Ed, but I wanted to ask. I agree that, as long as we've known him, there have been a distinct and even conspicuous lack of biblical citations, and so I'm thinking that he doesn't live his life by the bible nor does he bother remembering quotations from it, when after all so many less embarrassingly obviously wrong sounding citations are out there to be cited.
    So it interests me that we argue with this christian that doesn't seem to have much christ in his life. Not enough room with all that aquinas and plantinga and whoever else strikes his fancy in his head.
    The interesting thing to me about all this is that I don't really see a person like that as a 'Real Christian.' Do you?

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  80. Oh, I forgot to add in his admission that sometimes he has DOUBTS that he's even right about god.

    No real christian would say that. That is a tacit admission of a lack of faith. May as well be an atheist.

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  81. Although to be sure, it also occurs to me that the christian dogma kind-of runs like this: You absolutely MUST have ABSOLUTE, UNSHAKEABLE FAITH IN GOD. There can be NO DOUBTS!
    (Then some parishioner confesses 'father, I have doubts.')
    "Why, to doubt is normal! All the faithful have doubts of course! Not a problem, you're still okay with god!"
    (They can't lose a paying customer, after all...)

    ReplyDelete
  82. And even further than that, as in 'to really have faith, one also has doubts, doubting is a part of real faith!'

    Whatever works in the moment, is the point.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I've had that conversation with Eric, and he's of the latter school, that doubt is a part of faith, which is belief, which is thinking you know something that you have zero proof for, which is just another way of saying that you don't have real faith of course. Eric's doubt prevents him from attaining heaven. He's as 'damned' as any atheist, in the eyes of the Lord.... of course, who cares what *that* primordial asshole thinks anyhow, eh? As long as he can comfort himself with the words of people that think they've figured out how to have that cake and eat it, too.

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  84. I finally see that it is actually possible that eric was a 'temporary atheist.'

    A real atheist, but with a huge religion-shaped hole in his heart. (But not really a god-shaped one!)

    He had to find a religion that didn't sound as simple as a child's primer. That was all he needed.

    So he found Catholicism B.

    Catholicism A, produces vegetative morons who think they are all Einsteins.

    (Darned Vatican II, huh Eric? Nothing to be done now about THAT mistake, huh?)

    But Catholicism B, that's the Advanced Version, designed to catch the smarter fish that shy away from the big nets. That way, the huge sea of catholic morons have a few smart defenders that don't seem to mind the fact that they're defending a group of people that need velcro shoes for the lack of ability to tie successful knots.

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  85. Haven't I said many times that I don't quote scripture here because, well, you guys are *atheists*!

    ReplyDelete
  86. "I was just wondering... How well do you feel that you know the Bible?"

    I know the Bible pretty well. I've only read it in translation (though I've checked the Greek here and there), but I've read commentaries and the like on it (from both believing and unbelieving scholars). And I know the NT much better than the OT.

    "Eric doesn't have to adhere to a "literal" Bible... he's Catholic, remember? And if one doesn't have to adhere to a literal Bible, then of what use is reading it?"

    Um, Ed, *no one* simply reads the Bible 'literally.' When Jesus says that he's the 'way,' the Greek word is '(h)odos,' which means 'road.' I suspect he's not speaking 'literally' there, just as he's not speaking literally when he calls himself the 'good shepherd,' and you're not speaking literally when you say that it's raining 'cats and dogs.' Language is subtle, Ed -- let's not treat it in the clunky, ham-handed manner in which you want to insist Christians must treat it, but apparently no one else must.

    "I agree that, as long as we've known him, there have been a distinct and even conspicuous lack of biblical citations, and so I'm thinking that he doesn't live his life by the bible nor does he bother remembering quotations from it"

    I don't quote the Bible because *you're atheists*. I've seen how you treat those who come to you with Biblical citations -- you dismiss them out of hand because you're not believers. Rather, I meet you on your own (purported) ground -- reason -- and deal with you there. When I speak with Muslims or with Protestants, I quote scripture much more freely.

    "So it interests me that we argue with this christian that doesn't seem to have much christ in his life."

    Now that's something we agree on! I am a horrible Christian, as I've said many times.

    "Oh, I forgot to add in his admission that sometimes he has DOUBTS that he's even right about god.
    No real christian would say that."

    This is absolutely false. You're supposing that 'real Christians' are perfect Christians, which is clearly false. This is a variation of the no-true-Scotsman fallacy. There's nothing inherently problematic about positing degrees of faith -- strong faith, faith, weak faith, and so on. Is my faith weak? In many cases, I'm sure it is. Is it sometimes strong? You bet. Is ti more often weak then strong? Probably. Does it follow that I have *no* faith, or that I'm not a Christian? Absolutely not. (Incidentally, I'm no saint, but it's well known that most saints go through a 'dark' period in which they doubt and lose the sense that god is with them, and there's quite a precedent for this -- remember Christ's words on the cross, "Eloi Eloi, lama sabacthani?")

    "I've had that conversation with Eric, and he's of the latter school, that doubt is a part of faith, which is belief, which is thinking you know something that you have zero proof for, which is just another way of saying that you don't have real faith of course."

    Brian, I've told you a million time that faith is *not* "thinking you know something that you have zero proof for," and I've demonstrated, a million times, that I'm right to say it. (Note, Ed, that's not *literally* a million times!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed, *no one* simply reads the Bible 'literally.' When Jesus says that he's the 'way,' the Greek word is '(h)odos,' which means 'road.' I suspect he's not speaking 'literally' there, just as he's not speaking literally when he calls himself the 'good shepherd,' and you're not speaking literally when you say that it's raining 'cats and dogs.' Language is subtle, Ed -- let's not treat it in the clunky, ham-handed manner in which you want to insist Christians must treat it, but apparently no one else must.

      Well, DUHH, Eric! I wasn't talking about euphemisms; I was talking about seven-day Creation, Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, Noah's Ark, The Tower of Babel, fire & brimstone raining from heaven to destroy select cities, etc. THAT'S the literal stuff I was talking about, and you know it.

      Delete
  87. So what we have here, is someone who believes the Aston Martin One-77 is the coolest car on the market, but isn't certain that cars even exist.

    Makes no sense.

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  88. Yup. No sense at all.

    Still love you, Eric! Have no fear, hypocrisy is allowed here. If it weren't, we'd never talk to any christians at all!

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  89. Eric, why are you 'anonymous' still here on the new format?

    (what, we're not worth having a name??)

    ReplyDelete
  90. So Eric, you're at what now, then? What's your position on god?
    You really, really, really, really, really hope he exists?

    And that's enough to ARGUE as if he definitely, positively, irrevocably does?

    And act as if all our arguments don't hold water?

    How did you ever develop this kind of personality?

    ReplyDelete
  91. Um, Ed, *no one* simply reads the Bible 'literally.'
    -------------------
    Everyone except atheists take at least some of the bible literally, and the rest allegorically or whatever. The thing is, they're all different as to *how much they take literally.*
    When Ed says 'take it literally' he's referring to the typical way that an evangelical fundamentalist, protestant OR catholic, reads it. And sir, you damned well know what the difference is. Don't even try to say that you just didn't know what Ed meant. If that's true, then you're a computer that can't pass the Turing test.

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  92. Brian, I've told you a million time that faith is *not* "thinking you know something that you have zero proof for,"
    ------------------
    That's what all christian wannabe's say when they know they don't measure up.

    What proof does a fundy have? Because they take most of it literally. Word for word. In fact, it tells us to take it all literally, every jot and title, lest ye forget. And by jimini, they do!
    So you're right, you're a terrible christian. Too terrible to be arguing for it.

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  93. See Eric, when I told my wife a while back that you aren't even *sure* that god exists, that you have doubts from time to time, her reaction was 'well then he doesn't have faith.' She was raised a catholic, although now she's an atheist with wiccan tendencies. She knew the definition as well as I did.
    So what does this prove? Well, to me it proves that the common person definition of faith, even the common catholic version, involves absolute belief, and if you're having doubts, better get to a priest *fast* because that means you might be losing it. THAT'S how most people, non-formally-educated roman catholic apologists, think of faith.
    So does it matter to me that you and your fellow apologists have your own definition that allows for doubting? Not in the least. However, it's not real faith. Not as commonly understood by the common christian, and guess what? That's all that really matters, how most people take it. Not how you and your peculiar minority take it. And if your version IS INDEED the correct, biblical version of faith as correctly interpreted by your catholic clerics and priests and cardinals and popes, then you and your organization has done such an incredibly shitty job of informing *your own parishioners of the truth of it* that your definition isn't even viable anymore. If it ever really was. If faith is as you say it is, then the church had a duty to let every member know, in no uncertain terms.
    You didn't. It's easier to ignore the ones already in your column, isn't it? Easier to concentrate on the completely unfaithful such as the likes of us, rather than to correct the misapprehensions of your own flock.

    What a shitty religion. But don't feel too bad; they're all full of crap in one way or another.

    ReplyDelete
  94. See, I just 'got' it. Why you don't tell the believers about how you don't really have to totally believe and it's still faith.

    Because when you tell an atheist that, it might lure them in, but telling an already-believing faithful catholic or whatever, you might lose them to their doubts that they now know are 'legal.'

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  95. Even taking the super-liberal apologist non-definition of faith, it seems that the fundamental difference is till that "faith" is believing in something despite your doubts. Believing by overcoming your doubts. Where as skepticism, at least to me, is embracing your doubts and hopefully learning something new.

    William Lane Craig said he'd not doubt the Christian narrative if he had a time machine and saw with his own eyes Jesus NOT rise from the dead. And I doubt very much that Eric will likewise ever discover if he's wrong or not about Christianity (he's really set it up so he can't).

    He'll admit (disingenuously in my opinion) to being wrong about things here or there (things he can afford to be wrong about) but skepticism/atheism/agnosticism/whatever is for those who don't mind being wrong about anything and everything

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  96. William Lane Craig said he'd not doubt the Christian narrative if he had a time machine and saw with his own eyes Jesus NOT rise from the dead.
    ------------
    He admitted to being a moron? Like that? Wow. They don't usually admit that they're idiots like that.

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  97. Eric, why doesn't William Lane Craig have any doubts? He's so certain that he's even admitted having a non-functional brain that wouldn't be able to disbelieve even with absolute proof! Now that's devotion! Like a psychotic dog to it's cruel, nonexistent master.

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  98. Can't seem to develop that level of schizophrenia, Eric? Some christian you are! You need to try harder!

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  99. Guess that explains how they can have those, "I'm so fuckin' smart!" degrees yet basically lie about the reason you ought to beieve.

    WLC, in On Guard pretends to expose an historic Jesus but at the end of the book he's down to telling everyone that there is no good reason to have prejudice against the miracles.

    Dead guy in a tomb is missing in the morning, what happened? Well, either he wasn't dead or someone took the body away. The only miracle here is that anyone gives a crap. Christians are going to believe that Jesus died for their sins anyways, right?

    It takes no faith at all for the creepy old guy character in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to have faith in Narnia, it's in the back of his fuckin' wardrobe.

    Even in the Gospels themselves it takes no faith for the characters to believe that their Messiah rose since the booklets are propaganda for exactly that.

    Guess it takes quite a bit of faith to believe that the Messiah turned out to be God though since that's not how he's described in the O.T.

    It takes quite a bit of faithe to believe that when Jesus says, "Why call me good, only God is good.", he's actually saying that he is God in sneaky political way, in case the rich man is trying to trap him into admitting he's God.

    And of course it takes a massive stinky dollop of faith to believe that anyone else who is told about the story should automatically believe it or they're just God-haters. Bad faith, if you ask me.

    Takes more bad faith to shrug your shoulders when it comes to the obvious con men like Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff who are so obviously gaming the system.

    Since when exactly did it become hunky-dory for scared old people to be fleeced by con men in Jesus name?

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  100. Since it occurred to people that yes, they're really that dumb. Say the magic name and they give you money! Tell them to believe in you and they do, as long as you speak the lingo.
    There's really no limit to the idiocy of people that gave up their critical thinking ability on purpose, because god (read: priests, pastors, televangelists, and so forth) told them to.
    They are a carefully cultivated crop of ignoramuses that believe they're holy for it. You can't get more gullible than that.

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  101. I'd guess religion is one of the oldest ways to separate the gullible from their money.

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  102. At least with a prostitute you get something in return. Besides crabs, I mean.

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  103. Dead guy in a tomb is missing in the morning, what happened? Well, either he wasn't dead or someone took the body away.

    No, no, no, both of those options are impossible because [insert unverifiable claim from Gospel or unfounded speculation by apologist, e.g. rocks are heavy, Roman Guards assigned to the hinterlands were uncorruptible, etc...].

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  104. WL Craig is the typical Internet apologist - He talks about truth and skepticism and the rational basis for his beliefs but in the end, it's all affected rhetoric designed to make he seem more intelligent and rational than he is. Evidence be damned, as long as he can craft a slippery argument that supports his faith as long as you don't look behind the curtain, who cares because he *************************knows************************************

    Sorry my asterisk key got stuck ;)

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  105. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/pa-priest-convicted-of-child-porn-charges-wasnt-defrocked-until-years-later-jurors-told/2012/04/10/gIQAB1RK8S_story.html
    Another pervert priest convicted of child porn charges, and guess how fast the church defrocked him? Um.... years later.....

    Eric, I have to wonder, does this embarrass you at all? Your church, is perverted, on top of everything else. Those men wearing dresses serving you communion, they have panties and corsets underneath you know...

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  106. What a fucking disgusting organization... bunch of boyfuckers in gowns destroying lives for centuries. Perverted from the start, too... the early church was just as bad, even a lot worse because they could get away with it.
    You guys are sickos, no doubt.

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  107. Now defend it to me again, Eric. Tell me how it's not all priests, how it's ONLY a small percentage of them....

    See how you share in the disease by coming to its defense, even a little bit? No, huh? Oh well...

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  108. From WL Craig:

    "If the universe were discovered to be eternal, we'd be obliged to give up biblical inerrancy (as well as the kalam cosmological argument), since the Bible teaches that the universe was created a finite time ago. But obviously, that wouldn't imply that God does not exist or that Jesus didn't rise from the dead."

    As Ryan points out, this is disingenuous since he has been clear that nothing would really shake his faith in his own feelings.

    This is ridiculous word play. Arguing that inerrancy is substantively different from literal, is a debater's trick. One rests on the specific semantics and word choices and one on the real truth of the claims. Inerrancy means that the claims of the Bible are all literally true, period. It's a house of cards. It's either all true, or it's all suspect.

    Interestingly, Christian fundamentalists understand this while sophisticated theologians don't seem to. Or maybe they do but realize that being honest about it would end any pretense to rationality of belief. Honestly, I have more respect for those who believe, "how do I know, the Bible tells me so", since at least they are internally consistent.

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  109. Agreed. I can respect them more even though they've no leg to stand on.

    At least they're honest about it. They just believe, period. With the apologists, they try to sound rational while proclaiming the utterly irrational, and that just makes them look like total liars with no moral center of any kind.

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  110. Arguing that inerrancy is substantively different from literal, is a debater's trick.
    ------------------
    Not to mention idiotic. Talk about trying to have that cake and so forth...

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  111. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/07/conservative-politics-low-effort-thinking_n_1410448.html

    Conservative politics linked to 'low-effort thinking.'

    Tell me something I *don't* know.

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  112. "If the universe were discovered to be eternal, we'd be obliged to give up biblical inerrancy (as well as the kalam cosmological argument), since the Bible teaches that the universe was created a finite time ago. But obviously, that wouldn't imply that God does not exist...
    --------------
    No, it only gives him no function other than a security blanket for people scared of reality.

    Too funny. These people... what a bunch of maroons.

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  113. And in reality, if the universe were discovered to be eternal, they'd deny science as usual and it would be same shit different day.

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  114. So basically science has recently discovered links between lazy thinking and being afraid of everything and hating anything new, with conservatism.
    Gee, I would never have guessed!

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  115. You know what I never got?
    How christians don't seem to look at history very much.
    Especially their own history.
    A thousand years ago, god was responsible for just about every thing under the sun. Oh, and the sun. And the stars.
    Then science came along. Just a word meaning 'logical systematized critical thought.'
    And since then, one thing after another, has fallen to it. Christianity's god used to be the creator of everything ex nihilo. Now all he really needed to do, was create some primordial hydrogen.
    Now, graph that out.
    It's a line with a sharp slope indeed, and where the line is going, is obvious. It's headed toward ZERO. Toward 'zero' things that god had to do.
    Can't they see the trend?

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    Replies
    1. Brian:

      Unfortunately, this curve is an asymtotic curve (it wil never reach zero, just keep getting closer and closer). Thus, believers will always be able to say, "But, what we still don't know about the Universe.... GODIDIT!!

      Delete
  116. I mean, they haven't been RIGHT about one single fucking thing yet.

    What a shitty record.

    Doesn't seem to bother them any, though.

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  117. MI will be so distressed. He was so presidential looking.

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  118. Poor MI. Another fantasy shattered. At least she still has the big one about god.

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  119. So it's Romney.

    Huh.

    I wanted to have the debate between secular rationalism and religious fanaticism. Damn.

    But hey, I feel more comfortable with Romney. First of all, if he got in, of all of them he has the best chance of not destroying the country, except for Huntsman of course, who was just too darned rational.
    But second of all, he's damaged goods in so many ways. The Ryan budget being a huge one. And his healthcare being identical to 'Obamacare.' And his being known to be a liar. A flip-flopper. No center. Finger in the wind.
    And him being the perfect symbol of the One Percent.
    No enthusiasm for him. Santorum at least had the nucking futs crowd. And religious frenzy scares me when translated to a voting booth.
    We won't be having any of that now, except perhaps from the Mormons, and who cares...

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  120. Romney had better be damaged goods, because the republicans will cheat if it's even close, and they also have made Florida a lot harder to win for Obama by limiting new voter registration by draconian laws as regards technical points of the process, and by requiring voter ID. Nicely done, Machiavellian assholes...

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  121. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the Reps. got their way, don't you think? Seems to me that these people are the kind of folk who are NEVER happy.

    The only trouble with their policies is that they are designed to grab power for it's own sake, and it'd be 'not so interesting' to try to get some real democracy BACK once they have it.

    I'm not sure that you guys have anything at all resembling a democracy since it takes only one senator to stall everything, wanting and having power for it's own sake means that there is nothing that that senator wants more than NOT what the other guys want, since that's the very definition of power.

    No-one is that stupid that they'll listen to 'jobs jobs jobs' as the proposed mandate only to find that the real mandate is the usual suspects, efforts to retain power for it's own sake, over and over surely, unless they can be convinced that it's a zero sum game where they lose and some hated other wins.

    Apparently we are nations of children, easily lied to and manipulated by 'authority'.

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  122. Funny you should say about MI crying because her candidate, erstwhile KING of anti-abortion morals and values, should be brought low by the money that they so love to use to grease their candidates into power.

    A real LAUGHER!

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  123. He also was pretty stupid, in not being organized. He wasn't even on the ballots in several areas, such as DC... He had no ground game, just 'faith.' God will provide... an exit. God did so by making his daughter sick, I guess.
    And Romney, what a piece of work... "gee, I was just putting out this nifty attack ad on you that really destroyed you, made you look like the FAILURE you are, but since your daughter's sick I'll pull it, and then you'll appear with me on the campaign trail, okay?"

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  124. Apparently we are nations of children, easily lied to and manipulated by 'authority'.
    ------------
    More and more, even science is coming around to the fact that conservatives have child minds. So you are correct. Of course, some democrats are also conservatives... muddies the water a tad...

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  125. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fg%2Fa%2F2012%2F04%2F06%2Fprweb9375729.DTL

    Gee, apparently marijuana using drivers, are safer drivers!

    (I already suspected as much, of course)

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  126. I still have problems with the fact that one party is running on a platform of 'fuck the poor and let them die, the sluggards' and like half the people are okay with that. Amazing to me. We suck, apparently.

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  127. I read this article, forget where, that said 'all of the candidates that God endorsed defeated by Romney'

    Pretty funny.

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  128. Enjoyed the MJ article. If that is true in the medical states, looks good for the future.

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  129. Except that would be logical, Jerry. Logic is notoriously a liberal thing, and so all good conservatives will continue to fight against it.

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  130. Swiper no blogging
    ...............Oh Man!

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  131. I will be going to a 99% training session Saturday. Is anyone else on the blog involved with the 99%?

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  132. Um, I see that last post about swiper there, is not by me. Fortunately I know who it was. My lovely wife is giving me hints. Lol....
    (The 'swiper' reference is to a character on Dora the Explorer, one miscreant named 'swiper the fox' who loves to swipe things but for some reason is always defeated by the simple repetition of the phrase 'swiper no swiping!')

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  133. I used to be involved with 99% of the women I dated... That's about it.
    Not much in this area... Few protests and so forth.

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  134. Shweder's research...... shows that when people think about morality their moral concepts cluster into three groups, when he calls the ethic of autonomy, the ethic of community and the ethic of divinity. When people think and act using the ethic of autonomy, their goal is to protect individuals from harm and grant them the maximum degree to autonomy which they can use to pursue their own goals. When people use the ethic of community their goal is to protect the integrity of groups, families, companies, or nations, and they value virtues such as obedience, loyalty, and wise leadership. When people use the ethic of divinity, their goal is to protect from degradation the divinity that exists in each person and they value living in a pure and holy way, free from moral pollutants such as lust, greed and hatred. Cultures vary in their relative reliance on these three ethics. In my dissertation research on moral judgment in Brazil and the United States, I found that educated Americans of high social class relied overwhelmingly on the ethic of autonomy in their moral discourse, whereas Brazilians, and people of lower social class in both countries made much greater use of the ethics of community and divinity.
    From "The Happiness Hypothesis" by Jon Haidt

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  135. I don't believe that your paragraph is telling us anything. Ethics of autonomy, community and divinity seems to be portraying ethics as a zero sum game, which is nonsense, and he seems to be conflating goodness with Godliness.

    The biggest crooks in the world are likely the most generous seeming people for obvious reasons, it wasn't theirs to give in the first place and easy come easy go, kind of 'wtf, the more people trust me the more I can manipulate them'. Al Capone for example, gave a lot to charity simply to have public opinion on his side, and that worked fairly well.

    I'm feeling that these people, Shweder and Haidt, are arbitrarily selecting their criteria in order to reach predefined conclusions, as in the case of 'people thinking'(sub)'morality'(sub)'my arbitrary divisions', kind of thing.

    Let me demonstrate. When people think of the economy, they naturally fall into two groups, 1)those who'd rather not be poor. 2)those who blame the system.

    Point is, are these two groups legitimate, can they tell us anything substantial or did I simply use categorisation itself to take your thoughts in the direction I wanted?

    Where does Shweder's research and Jon Haidt's hypothesis leave 'free will'? Does an American of high social class are using their ethic of autonomy on their own situation are they automatically abusing the other ethics 'on others' in an effort to fool others as to their motive?

    Just saying that I can see 'cans of worms' floating around in the 'can of worms' they're trying to open here.

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  136. Morality is a giant unsolvable mess where the motives of those hold particular views are themselves in question. Am I immoral if I act instinctively and much later I'm condemned by a group of people who view morality from a much different education level, a different religious POV and are obviously grading my deed on 'how bad was it'?

    I'm not acting with a much higher/lower education level than I had, am not free to consider different religion's morals(since I'd never be able to act if I had to mull through all possibilities), and 20/20 hindsight, although a wonderful thing, cannot help me at the time of the deed/incident.

    Perhaps some judge, knowing every single thing about me, might grade my culpablity in a certain fait accompli, but in reality there is much to be guessed at.

    Point being, I suppose, even if there were a set of objective moral values written in stone(or in our hearts even), there's still plenty room for bad interpretation or simply different interpretation of those values depending on individual circumstances on both sides of a 'court'.

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  137. Yeah, I didn't get much out of it, either. Seems made-up to me.
    And it confuses morality and ethics, which to me are very different. Ethics are particular to a situation whereas morality is more universal. When I think of morality, I don't think of any kind of ethics, I think of being humble and loving all others. Which of the three ethics is that? It's closest to the 'ethic of community' but I don't think of a community other than the community of all living things. That's too broad to even *be* a community. Do I value virtues such as obedience, loyalty, and wise leadership? Obedience, no. I value individuality too much to see obedience as a positive thing. Loyalty? Depends on 'to what?' Wise leadership? Sure, but it's not a defining characteristic of my morality at all. I value love, not self-love but other-love. I value wisdom in the sense of free thinking and self-critical thought and knowledge tempered with empathy.
    I can't really see any use for these artificial categories introduced by that author.

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  138. For example. Say I'm a businessman and may have committed a heinous, selfish crime, defrauding millions out of their wealth.

    Let's say that you know that I'm an atheist, but the court doesn't, and I'm willing to tell the court that I am indeed a Christian who fully intended to emulate the highest of moral values when I supposedly committed the supposed crime.

    Do you stand up in court and shout, "But he is an avowed ATHEIST and therefore HAS NO MORALS!!"???, would that be fair?

    Or, if the court takes into account that I am obviously a person who comes from a high moral perspective lets me go, and I give you a wink as I pass you down the aisle towards freedom, is that fair?

    You can never really know.

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  139. And one other thing.

    I never saw 'lust' as evil or degrading. People are evil or degrading, with or without lust. Lust is just a word with negative connotations for loving physical sexual satisfaction, and that can be one of the most rewarding things on the planet. I lust for my wife. And that's a good thing. I see the whole issue as just another way that authorities in religion have tried to make normal human sexuality into something evil that we should feel guilty about and repent, when that's just their psychosis showing.

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  140. Ethics should be applied morality, as in, it should reflect the moral code of the society, such as it were.
    However that's not the case. Professional ethics for instance, often allows for 'cheating' and 'misinformation' and many things much worse, even outright stealing sometimes, couched in such terminology as a 'win-win situation.'
    Morality is how we should act, but too often ethics are what we can get away with.

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  141. In sales, it is very ethical (though completely immoral) to cheat a customer out of their money, as long as the customer is both unaware that they've been cheated, and the customer is happy with the deal. In the salesman's mind, that's a 'win-win' because the customer is happy (in their ignorance of what really happened) and the salesperson has gotten their money, so he's obviously happy.
    Totally immoral, but no salesperson I know thinks it's unethical in the least.

    Somehow in sales ethics, the math goes like this: One sin of stealing plus one sin of lying, equals no sin at all because they cancel out. (?)

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  142. Seems made-up to me.

    All words are made up. All definitions are made up. So what? It is obvious that you do not understand in the way I do which only probes we are looking at it from a different viewpoint. As far as you seem to be into individualism I thought you would surly see that is the autonomy ethic.

    And it confuses morality and ethics, which to me are very different.

    According to Webster the definition for ethic is, a body of moral principles. For ethics, a system or set of moral principles. If you are going to insist on using your definitions instead of trying to understand the authors meaning, it will always be hard for you to grasp the meaning of some ideas.

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  143. As far as you seem to be into individualism I thought you would surly see that is the autonomy ethic.
    ----------------
    That is, of the three, the one which I would LEAST say I am 'into.'

    I see a lot of value in community. A lot. Franky, the reason that I disagree with the categories you gave there, is that I agree and disagree with parts of all of them. So I'm not in any one of them. Sorry.

    Jerry, you tend to get authoritative when you argue, are you aware of that? As if you have all the answers, if only we dummies would get them. I think I used to do the same thing a lot. Just an FYI.

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  144. Seems made-up to me.

    All words are made up. All definitions are made up. So what?
    --------------
    Well duh.
    What I meant by that, is that it seemed that he pulled it all out of his ass. Created categories where none really exist, or at least, not any like the ones he created.
    Better? ;-)

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  145. Let's break it down a bit, shall we:

    Your quote:
    "When people think and act using the ethic of autonomy, their goal is to protect individuals from harm and grant them the maximum degree to autonomy which they can use to pursue their own goals. When people use the ethic of community their goal is to protect the integrity of groups, families, companies, or nations, and they value virtues such as obedience, loyalty, and wise leadership. When people use the ethic of divinity, their goal is to protect from degradation the divinity that exists in each person and they value living in a pure and holy way, free from moral pollutants such as lust, greed and hatred."

    Okay, so here goes. #1:
    When people think and act using the ethic of autonomy, their goal is to protect individuals from harm and grant them the maximum degree to autonomy which they can use to pursue their own goals.
    ----------
    Sure, I agree with that, but with the addition of 'the maximum degree that is consonant with the good of all and just not the individual.'

    #2:
    When people use the ethic of community their goal is to protect the integrity of groups, families, companies, or nations, and they value virtues such as obedience, loyalty, and wise leadership.
    ----------
    I see a lot of value in community; it's perhaps the biggest positive about religion, that it provides that, even though a lot of it is lies that hold it together. However, as stated, I do not value obedience in and of itself; obedience to the law is important, but not to stupid laws which violate morality. Obedience to others? Which others? Priests? Nope... So I'm not into the 'values' that I'm supposed to be into in order to love community I guess.

    #3:
    When people use the ethic of divinity, their goal is to protect from degradation the divinity that exists in each person and they value living in a pure and holy way, free from moral pollutants such as lust, greed and hatred."
    -----------
    #3 is really bullshit. I see all of that as a part of being in a society, in a community if you will. Plus, we can't prove any 'divinity' present in anybody, can we? And the term 'moral pollutants' is actively evil. People that think like that, are assholes.

    Morality is best expressed, I think, as the simple term 'Harm None.' This has to be modified on occasion to 'harm as few as possible' when both or all available choices are harmful in some way. If this is followed 'religiously' then the world would be a much better place. All those categories more confuse that simple issue, than reveal anything of use to me.

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  146. their goal is to protect from degradation the divinity that exists in each person and they value living in a pure and holy way, free from moral pollutants such as lust, greed and hatred.
    -------------
    This is all societal. Christian society. Or other religions. It's not real, is my point. In the past we had societies that valued their prostitutes as holy women. It was the most moral thing you could do, to go to them and pay their temple offering for sex. It was considered holy and it fostered the 'divinity within.' It wasn't a pollution.
    It isn't a pollution unless the person considers it one, is the point. And that's not healthy.

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  147. Although the 'greed and hatred' part conforms to what I see as real morality, 'Harm None.' So that part's fine. The lust-degradation part is just asking for a mental illness, imho.

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  148. My point is, lust is not a sin. It's biology. To deny it, now THAT'S a sin! It's self-hatred and needless self-infliction of frustration because of that.

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  149. Maybe I should ask you Jerry, what you saw in that quote that was of use to *you.* Maybe if you explain that, I can better understand what you're getting out of it and see if it can mean that to me as well. How's that?

    ???

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  150. What I saw in the quote was...First the guy who did most of the leg work interviewed thousands of people to find out their idea of morality/. He tried to place his discovery into three categories that showed most people using all three but most of their morals came from one of the three. I consider all three as valid viewpoints, and believe any person that favors one over the others to have a legitimate viewpoint. The first ethic was autonomy which is to me individualism. Ann Rand was hard into this viewpoint, but it has its redeeming qualities so that most if not all of us are well aquatinted with this. Most people want to recognized as individuals, but want to be included in the group which is the community ethic. This ethic has such overwhelming attraction that many willingly give up their individuality to be accepted by others. Very civilizing altitude, can be extremely hard on the individual. This ethic would be the balancing between self, (individual) community, and the highest thought patterns one can achieve or imagine, divinity. The divinity ethic to me is the spiritual. I have a little problem with the word divinity because of the religious use of the word so I stick with spiritual. My hope was that you would be able to see the possibility that the people buying into the autonomy ethics as their main position, right wingers, were looking at things from a ligament viewpoint rather that being evil.

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  151. But Jerry, I think Ayn Rand was insane. It's a utopian viewpoint, that is incredibly narrow in its perception of reality.

    They may believe they're not evil, but they accomplish evil works in the world.

    Are you perhaps, not seeing the agenda in toto? The master planners, as it were, that influence policy and law? They're believers, in whatever it is. And believers are the most dangerous of people.

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  152. You are seeing to narrow of a view point from that position. The best of thinkers embrace some individualism, or you just trying to argue rather than understand? That may seem like to harsh a viewpoint to think about the arguing position but remember I have been subject to pboys shit spreader and am a little gun shy to get involved in a serious discussion. As far as what you call evil works, that can, and does come from any of these three positions, depending upon the individual.

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  153. Jerry, you know how highly I hold the quality of empathy.

    Ayn Rand had none.

    I have no use for her.

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  154. I absolutely disagree that the republicans of today are not evil, in the sense of having no problem harming lots of others for many years, preferably forever. If you have found a way to see them in a better light, I would say that you are from where I sit, not seeing them accurately. You of course, think precisely the same of me. Impasse.

    So, how's the weather?

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  155. "Has social psychology become a Tribal Moral Community since the 1960s? Are we a community that is bound together by liberal values and then blind to any ideas or findings that threaten our sacred values? I believe the answer is yes.." - THE BRIGHT FUTURE OF POST-PARTISAN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY [2.9.11]
    A Talk by Jonathan Haidt

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/haidt11/haidt11_index.html


    Sure it all sounds reasonable enough until you consider what 'conservative' actually means in today's North America. Union busting, voodoo economics, war mongering, freedom limiting, womens' rights denying, in fact womens' rights denying denying too, etc. etc.

    I don't want to hear how fiscally responsible they are since those Bush tax cuts are one of the major causes of the deficit, so how the hell is THAT 'responsible'? That along with the Ryan budget and we'd imagine that 'conservatives' off all stripes are out to bankrupt the federal government in order that the very richest Americans will have billions of worthless U.S. dollars.

    These are some of the most ignorant people on the planet requiring of THEMSELVES that they be 'leaders of the free world' AND 'a maverick among nations'.

    And this guy thinks that social psychology could do nothing better than get themselves some of 'them' to inject 'their' lunacy into their science?

    HAH!

    Where's all the Creationist evolution professors then? Surely they deserve some representation too, no?

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  156. Now, I don't mean 'all republicans' of course, but those in charge, and many in the tea party, and also Ron Paul; even though many of his positions are good ones, his bad ones are HORRIBLE.

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  157. Jerry, you know how highly I hold the quality of empathy.

    Ayn Rand had none.

    I have no use for her.

    Well we can get down to reality, and see how much empathy you show toward MI, Observant, and Eric. I really do not see much difference between you, and Rand in these instances. You said yourself MI was a sick person. Yet you are every ready to kick the shit out of her. Looks like self deception here. Or is it just use empathy when it is convenient?

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  158. Jerry:
    As I see it, the problem with the three "categories" is that they all simply describe human behavior, rather than helping us to understand the reasons that we behave as we do. Certainly, there does not appear to be any "utility" in these three descriptive categories.
    A strong case can be made, in my opinion, that we humans ALWAYS choose (when choice is possible) that alternative behavior that we believe will either result in the most "good" results or avoid the most "bad" ones. When making these decisions, we are always primarily concerned with self. It can be shown that the most seemingly altruistic of choices are still based upon the individual's perception of how these decisions will impact him/her. This has been referred to by philosophers as "Egoistic Hedonism". The problem with this construct is that if humans always behave this way, they really have little autonomy to decide otherwise: therefore, this fails as a moral or ethical guidance to how we "ought" to behave, not to mention what it may mean with regard to so-called "free will".
    Even the Golden Rule (with which, like Brian, I largely agree) can be readily explained within this philosophical description of human behavior.
    So I must ask you, "Do these categories simply describe one or another of our chosen reference points in deciding what is "best for us", or do they have any utility in guiding people to the best decisions in life?"

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  159. Harvey, Always enjoy reading your post, guess I like your writing, (thinking style). I posted that post for a very narrow particular reason. After the fact I think I understand why I now consider it a mistake. Not because of a change of mind about what it says, but because of my seemingly constant thinking about things in an abstract way coupled with my inability to make my point clear to others. As you are probably aware our national discourse often uses words like evil, and hate. If pursued far enough, which I do not think will happen, it will lead to a civil war. I like Brian very much, and when I hear him using the word evil to label certain people I feel very sad. I was raised by and around conservatives, and have some understanding where they are coming from, and I fail to find them evil or anything close to it. So I made the post hoping Brian would be able to see it in a different way. Did not work. As for the reasons that we do what we do the author may well explain it to the readers satisfaction if one read the whole book. I do find, in my way of thinking, a great deal of utility possible. While I agree with you that many to most of the decisions we make is for good results, or to avoid bad results. It does make a big difference where a person is coming from, or in other words, what his/her philosophy is. I think the conservative has a different philosophy than a liberal, and I think one as valid as the other. The philosophy I grew up with was, I could plainly see that it was a dog eat dog society, and I stuck with that until I was about 30 years old. I was so far into it that I would have made Rand look like a missionary. It was then that I discovered that Shakespeare was right when he said, (paraphrased) there is nothing in the world that is good or bad, it is thinking that makes it so. I found out that the world we live in is to a large degree created inside our head. My take on the three categories if understood the way I see them would make a person more tolerant of others viewpoint. The reaction was quite different than I had hoped for.

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  160. I get upset with christians BECAUSE they do not consider the lives of others, of the poor, of the disenfranchised, of the elderly. And MI and I have gotten into fights about her bigotry and lack of compassion, and many other *related* things. Same with Observant. It's their lack of empathy that I try to bring to their notice, with no luck, and then when they get indignant about it, we fight. So to you, if a person gets upset at another person because that other person lacks empathy, then that first person doesn't have empathy? That's silly, Jerry. You're firing blanks, dude. In fact, that's precisely the kind of thing republicans do... attack the people that are attacking them for not giving a shit, and pretending that those are the ones that really don't give a shit.
    So, you're a conservative christian? Sounding a lot like one lately. Interesting.
    Now get all pissy with me again... what the hell, MI's not here, you'll do I guess.

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  161. From my perspective, I think that sometimes people mistake unconditional acceptance for empathy. I think it's very different. Empathy is a reasoned attempt to walk in another's shoes to better understand their point of view and motivations.

    And sometimes while walking in another's shoes you may end up understanding that they truly are a dick.

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  162. I like Brian very much, and when I hear him using the word evil to label certain people I feel very sad.
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    That is because you do not listen. I have defined it here many times. I am not a theist. I do not believe in metaphysical evil or the devil, Jerry. Would you prefer that I use 'intentionally harmful to others and even taking joy in that?' That's how I mean it.
    I call it evil, when it's impossible to change the person, when they are in a circular trap, when they believe they're doing GOOD when they're doing BAD. That's how I see evil, Jerry. Believing you're doing GOOD when you're doing the very opposite. And there's no telling them of the error of their ways, Jerry, none at all. I have gotten very angry with people about that, and am only recently trying to change that.

    Ayn Rand is insane, Jerry. Believe it or not. I don't give a shit, really. And republicans are evil, in the sense I delineated. Ron Paul would let people DIE Jerry. Die. You understand 'die?' He'd let them die, and look in the mirror every morning and kiss himself for it. Then he'd strain his arm patting himself on the back about it.

    But you're not seeing that, huh?

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  163. That's the difference. Empathy helps you understand others but just because you better understand them, doesn't mean that you have to accept what they are doing. That's the classic liberal trap.

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  164. Empathy is a reasoned attempt to walk in another's shoes to better understand their point of view and motivations.
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    Egg-fucking-zactly.

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  165. My take on the three categories if understood the way I see them would make a person more tolerant of others viewpoint. The reaction was quite different than I had hoped for.
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    So let's say that all liberals took your viewpoint.

    They'd be run down like roadkill by the republicans. The balance, such as it is, would be gone. No push-back, and the evil, oops, 'determined to do harm while thinking it good' ones get their way. People like me would be in a gulag.

    Funny thing, it seems that you're not really getting the concept of empathy here, and telling me that it's me that isn't. Listen to pliny, never mind me. Unconditional acceptance is not empathy, it's stupidity.

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  166. What happens when a person that has empathy, empathizes with a person that does not?

    The person with it, learns to what depth the other person lacks it.

    This can be horrifying, to a sensitive person. It was to me when I first started to realize the truth about it.

    Now horrified, you would have that person what? Make friends with the other one, the other one that lacks all empathy? Impossible. Doesn't work that way.

    Empathy tells me, when I step into republican's shoes, that their inner feelings, are all about themselves and about acquiring power over others, and pushing their pseudomorals down everyone else's throats. It's like learning to read minds, and then by accident, reading the mind of charles manson or the devil or whatever. One is naturally horrified. And one then, if one has the balls, seeks to find any way to fight against it.

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  167. Real empathy isn't hearts and flowers. It's not a happiness trip.

    Real empathy can be crippling, Jerry. I know. It's that way to me. It's incredibly depressing to develop empathy only to realize how very few even give a shit about such things.

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  168. I think you're trying to find a way for 'us all to get along,' Jerry, and that's commendable.

    It's also impossible. The dems would do it, if the reps would stop insisting on their way or the highway. However, it's not in their nature to give anything up. They believe that to compromise on their religious principles is a sin, and so they're not going to give, ever.

    The energy that I feel today in the republican party is the same energy as I feel when I read about the Reichstag fire. It's macchiavellian manipulation of reality for the purpose of conquest. If that isn't evil, then the word is useless.

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  169. Oh, and when I say 'religious principles' they don't have to be of any religion, they only have to be something that is believed in without question. Religion is in the mix, but mostly a misinterpreted version that Jesus would throw up if he saw.

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  170. Jerry, the question that comes to mind is, do you feel enough empathy for the poor and the ill and the downtrodden, to give up your (apparently ingrained due to your upbringing) cuddly feelings toward those who would oppress them?

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  171. Neville Chamberlain had your kind of empathy, Jerry.

    Just compromise with Hitler and all will be well. After all, he's human too. That's the right thing to do. It 'feels' right, doesn't it?

    The good people compromising with the evil ones, meeting evil halfway, is precisely what empowers the evil ones.

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  172. The democratic desire for good will and compromise, is seen by republicans as their Achilles' heel. Because, it is.

    One must have BALANCE. Even the empathetic, must learn to steel themselves and fight for what is right, or they'll lose it.

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  173. If one is empathetic enough, it becomes possible to sense others utter lack of empathy and their contempt for it.
    So anything that you do or say to them that reflects your own empathy, is seen by them as a weakness, and therefore contemptible in their eyes. By your own empathy, you make the situation worse, and even empower them more.
    It's a hard balance, Jerry. One cannot be totally accepting of others, or they'll gut you like a trout for it and laugh about it over thanksgiving dinner for years to come.

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  174. Oh, and Jerry,

    I've seen YOU get really pissed off before, at pboy.

    You were anything but empathetic to him. What I mean is, you definitely weren't seeing his side of it. And the fact that he wasn't seeing your side, was what was pissing you off!

    So perhaps best to not be the one casting stones in his own glass house, huh?

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  175. So this is the 200th comment. We'll see what happens. I think it'll just require we hit a 'show more' button at the bottom of the page.

    Testing...

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