Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ahh, you know...

Just running out of room, so here's more...


226 comments:

  1. I'm not sure how you have to twist the words of that particular book to make them make sense. I'm skeptical if it can even be done.
    --------------
    And make sense? No, not possible. It cannot make sense logically. It contains inner contradictions and inaccuracies, and much hypocrisy. It can only make sense to the senseless.

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  2. "Gods are obviously an attempt to understand the world through the eyes of a social animal."

    Begging the question.

    "How so?"
    .....................................



    "Why don't I believe that there are gods? I have no need of that hypothesis."

    So you have an alternative explanation for the existence of contingent being? For being itself? Great! I'm all ears!

    God isn't an explanation. Goddidit is identical to 'That's just the way it is.'

    "Why don't you believe in those things about gods? If you don't, then you must know why I don't believe in your god."

    Nope, still unclear.

    Put your Thinkology cap on, it's clear as sparkling water to me.

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  3. By "exceedingly stupid" I mean "post hoc rationalization" of course.

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  4. "So you have an alternative explanation for the existence of contingent being?"

    Once again, if you describe all being as contigent, using examples of beings which are contingent, you're using the notion that infinity is not possible. If your solution is a being with infinite properties, then it's no solution at all, since the conclusion is the antithesis of your thesis.

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  5. So you have an alternative explanation for the existence of contingent being?
    -Eric from last post
    -------------
    Some old asshole made up a term to invoke god into being?

    Hey, I got it right first time!

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  6. So, Eric, your 'solution' boils down to categorizing stuff in such a way as to dazzle us. We're not supposed to notice, what with all the worshipping of God and respect for your religion and that, that you're claiming a continuum, starting with an infinite being, moving on to an infinite being + a finite universe and claiming that since we can only comprehend the finite universe, we are constrained to believe that there is, indeed an infinite being proven by demonstrating that everything around us is finite.

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  7. Arguing with Eric is like masturbating with sandpaper in your hand.

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  8. Yea, what's the use of talking to atheists about all the metaphysical ins and outs if they're not going to buy it?

    I guess it seems to be the height of 'reasoning' to see that infinity is impossible, which brings us to our next step. You're not really allowed to look at the big picture, which is that processes are not 'material' as such, and the universe is a process! It's not just a bunch of matter floating around doing nothing, no.

    If it were, we wouldn't be here to talk about it.

    So, is the universe a never-ending process? Why the fuck not?

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  9. Eric always seem to go on hiatus when I'm asking this same question. My guess is that he would use the Standard Apologetic Answer No. 43, "I've answered that many times before!"

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  10. Eric:
    Sorry to chime in so late, but....
    1) What is your strongest objection to belief in some sort of god?
    I have no objection, but all the "evidence" and "arguments" for the existance of God(s) that I have so far run across finally boil down to "a kernel of faith". If I cannot convince myself that one even probably (more likely than not) exists, I simply cannot believe. Moreover, after more than seventy years thinking about such issues, I still haven't found a "God shaped hole" in my psyche/heart.
    (2) What is your strongest objection to belief in the Christian God
    in particular?
    Even if one accepts Aquinas' (your Guru, so it seems) contention that he could reason to Yahweh if one had that small kernel of faith, without 1) above what's the point? And oh yes, since I can read Hebrew and Aramaic for myself, there are so many inconsistancies and mistranslations in English versions of scripture (the Torah, that is) that any conclusions drawn about them in the New Testament are even more pointless. Finally, even if I could come to the conclusion that some entity exists or existed that was somehow responsible for all of our existance, it would still be a very long haul from that possibility to any need to recognize that concept with any sort of modification of my behavior in response to it. As far as I am concerned, if there were a creative force, we are most likely like drops of sweat trhat fell off its nose in the distant past and that creative force, it seems to me in my lack of conceit about my individual self worth, is much more likely to have had no further awareness nor concern for that drop of sweat than I would under similar circumstances.

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  11. I'd like to ask you folks a couple of questions:

    (1) What is your strongest objection to belief in some sort of god?
    (2) What is your strongest objection to belief in the Christian god in particular?
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    I'm wondering if we ought not turn these questions around a little bit. Wouldn't it be more interesting to find out how one's beliefs or unbeliefs affect one's life?

    So, with all due respect to Eric, I'd like to know the answer to the following questions.

    For the unbelievers:
    How does your atheism/agnosticism/humanism affect how you live your daily life and how you treat others?

    For the believers:
    How does your belief in God affect how you live your daily life and how you treat others?

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  12. For the unbelievers:
    How does your atheism/agnosticism/humanism affect how you live your daily life and how you treat others?
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    How does the fact that I do not believe in God affect my life? All the effects are positive. I feel like I am free to be who I am inside. And who I am inside, is a person much more concerned with how I (and we) treat others than who is trying to force me to conform to some horrific false moral code based in egotism, coercion, and fear. Emotionally I feel relief that I missed falling into that circular trap. When you do not have the false morality system in front of you blinding you, you can see that true morality is not about obedience and fear, it is about love. Being moral, feels good, so why wouldn't we want to do that?

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  13. I like to think that I live by the rule of logic, mostly. And religion is just too illogical to have as a belief system... it is like being in mind-prison... stifles all independent thought. It clouds the mind... stops one from asking one's self the hard questions, such as 'shit, could I be wrong here?' It makes people believe that they have all the answers, and so they can no longer *listen* to anybody with a different opinion. Plus, it creates assholes by the score.

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  14. So Lloyd, I really like the way the LDS looks after people, making sure no one goes hungry. The anti-gay stance, the position of men compared to women and the pro-life thing are different stories of course and you seem to be telling us that you guys are making an effort to see people as they really are, as opposed to through a religious lens.
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    Pboy,

    Thanks for the nice comments about the LDS looking after people. A few weeks ago a few of us participated in the Feed My Starving Children" program, which is a Christian based effort to provide meals to hungry children throughout the world. It's quite impressive. If anyone is interested, check out their site at www.fmsc.org. The coordinator for the event held at the local United Church of Christ told me that she admired the LDS for how we take care of our own.

    I took that as a nice compliment as well, but it's also slightly damning as well. We're generally very good at taking care of our own, but we're also known as keeping to ourselves and not being very active in our local communities. There are some efforts going on to ameliorate that. The church as a central organization does very well in disasters, but we don't do very well in being involved in the fabric of our communities on local issues or problems. We have a long way to go there.

    "The anti-gay stance, the position of men compared to women and the pro-life thing are different stories of course and you seem to be telling us that you guys are making an effort to see people as they really are, as opposed to through a religious lens."

    We have even further to go with these issues. Movement on these issues is very small, but I see enough to feel that some progress, however small, is being made, more specifically with the LGBT community. But, there's a long, long way to go.

    BTW, I want to make clear that I'm not here as an apologist for the LDS faith. I have many issues and indeed doubts, and I am sometimes very critical of church doctrines and policies. But, these are my people. I grew up in the church in an area dominated by Mormons. And I could never move back there. It's just too stifling with group-think and expected conformity. So, I'm much more comfortable living in the northeast. But, they're still my people. I regularly attend church and deal with my own "issues" as best I can.

    It just helps me to use the church as a template for trying to put out some ideas that I'm hoping may be of some interest to all y'all.

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  15. "When you know a thing, maintain your that you know it; when you do not, acknowledge your ignorance. This is a characteristic of knowledge."

    -K'ung Fu Tse

    Religion uses Pride to capture followers, and Pride blinds the self to itself. Pride blinds us to whether we know a thing, or whether we only believe that we do.
    -Me

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  16. How does the fact that I do not believe in God affect my life? All the effects are positive. I feel like I am free to be who I am inside. And who I am inside, is a person much more concerned with how I (and we) treat others than who is trying to force me to conform to some horrific false moral code based in egotism, coercion, and fear. Emotionally I feel relief that I missed falling into that circular trap. When you do not have the false morality system in front of you blinding you, you can see that true morality is not about obedience and fear, it is about love. Being moral, feels good, so why wouldn't we want to do that?
    -------------------

    Brian. Thanks for that. I think I mentioned years ago in the early days of your blog that my business partner is an atheist. One of the things that he told me had a pretty big impact. He said that because he didn't believe in an after life that it was his responsibility to be decent to people now because this is the only life they have, and most people could use all the decency they can get in this life. He thought that it would be a "sin" (my word) to make someone's life more miserable when it's the only one they've got.

    I think sometimes that believers fall into the trap of maybe not doing as much to alleviate suffering in this life because after all, people will be in a better place soon enough--unless of course, they're consigned to hell!

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  17. Religion uses Pride to capture followers, and Pride blinds the self to itself. Pride blinds us to whether we know a thing, or whether we only believe that we do.
    -----------

    Well, you know. Everybody wants to be special. And when you're told that you're special, that God loves you and is personally invested in your life, that has a powerful effect, generally for good. However, that can also lead to a false sense of superiority and to the belief that you've got it all figured out.

    Just because you have a "testimony" (an LDS phrase) of God (Jesus, gospel, etc.), doesn't mean that all your opinions are divinely sanctified.
    -Me

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  18. Brian: I'm aware that Eric's made these arguments before but I wanna go through the whole thing with him so that I get the... full experience? Like a 100% completion thing in a video game; I don't wanna miss anything, leave anything out. I can make some good points too. =3

    "Brian, do you know why Christians and Jews refer to god as a he? It's because god creates apart from himself, and not from within himself. God creates the world, but the world isn't a part of god. If god were referred to as a female, it would imply that god creates as females do, i.e. from within, which would imply pantheism, not theism."

    This sounds absolutely retarded. Are you saying that there's only one way any certain sex can create? A woman can paint, an external creation. A man can meditate and come to realizations about himself; the idea is an internal creation. Women can create from without and men can create from within, and a deity would CERTAINLY have the capacity to do either. A being that's supposed to be perfect would necessarily HAVE to embody the best parts of BOTH sides, don't you think? So this argument is kind of stupid and one sided, I think.

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    Replies
    1. Cogs:
      Not only is Eric's contention about why Jews refer to God as "He" a contorted attempt at "apology", but it plain wrong, as well. ALL objects whose gender is not known to be female are referred to as He in Hebrew, since the language really has only two genders, male or female. There is really no "it".

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  19. How does your atheism/agnosticism/humanism affect how you live your daily life and how you treat others?

    I treat others fairly, because I know what's nice and when not to be an asshole. I don't need a cutesy little don't do this and don't do that to know what's gonna hurt people's feelings. I try not to hurt people's feelings (obviously mistakes will be made but we're only human) because I don't want to hurt people. Not because I'm afraid of what will happen if I do, but because I don't want to see them suffer. I just don't need religion to do that for me.

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  20. Lloyd:

    "How does your atheism/agnosticism/humanism affect how you live your daily life and how you treat others?"

    I was born in the USA of Jewish parents and spent most of the first eighteen years of my life studying Torah (the Old Testament) and Talmud (commentaries on Torah) in Hebrew and Aramaic. I even spent two years in a "college" to get a certificate to teach Hebrew and Bible studies. When I left for University, it occurred to me that I had never really thought about whether or not I actually believed in any of it, let aleone the peculiarities and observances my religion demanded of me.
    After 4-5 years of studying all of the other Abrahamic and some of the oriental philosophies/religions, I was forced to the conclusion that none of it made any sense, nor could I find enough "proof" of the existance of ANY God(s) to warrant either belief or any further observance. Since then, I have been able to:
    1)be honest with myself and others regarding my lack of belief.
    2) behave towards others and life in general according to my own "lights" regarding ethics, empathy, and caring, as I would hope they would do for me in my turn. (I realize this is simply "the Golden Rule" restated).
    As a result, I have come to peace with the reality that this life is all there is or will be and that when it is over I will return to whatever state of being I may have had before I was conceived. For me, there is great comfort in knowing that I am free to make this life as fruitful, productive, and considerate of others as I am able, without other concern for "consequences". Needless to say, I am also freed from time spent, emotional stress, and/or expense associated with any and all organized religions. I believe that when we die, we do continue to exist (in some sense) as long as others remember us. Hopefully, those memories will be more positive than negative among those who may choose to remember me.

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  21. I bet the REAL reason that God is thought of as a he rather than a she, is that when God was created by nomadic tribesmen, they transferred their high contempt for women to their faith. No way they would worship a woman. Basically, they were looking for a War God, a God about which they could say 'My God's better/stronger/meaner/more powerful than your petty little gods...' They weren't looking for a nurturing feminine deity, no, they wanted a kick-ass god that rained plagues and such... a deathgod, not a lifegod. And boy howdy, did they ever get one!

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  22. Back to what effect not believing has etc... I must also agree there with the idea that no afterlife means that we pay attention to how we treat people here and now and do not have the attitude that they'll get theirs in the afterlife so why worry about them.... Very true. That has an effect. Seeing christians' lack of love for others all the time makes one realize how they only care for themselves most of the time. They're in this for themselves, .not for making others lives better or happier. They are much like Cain in the Bible, saying 'I am not my brother's keeper.' Sometimes I think about how a christian might read that line... maybe say to him or her-self, 'good comeback to God, Cain! And true, too!' or something like that, not even getting that saying such a thing to God was considered a bad thing. We're supposed to be our brother's keepers, is the point.

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  23. God was created to be a He and not a She, and not only that, so great was their contempt for women that in the religion, there is no FEMALE aspect of god. We have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Poltergeist, but where the fuck is God the Mother I ask you? And the Virgin Mary does not count. She is quite specifically NOT a deity in the religion. Mothers didn't matter to these people... Not as deities at any rate.

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  24. Worse than "didn't matter", that aspect of the divine was activily supressed. You can clearly see this in the evolution of greek mythology and there are hints of it in the highly sanitized "bible".

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  25. As to morality:

    I see in the world around me, that most christians believe that you need to fear God in order to be moral. They can't see how primitive a thought that is. They think the FEAR is there to FORCE us to be moral! They absolutely believe this, and it's corollary as well, that if one does not believe in God, then one does not fear God, and thus, one cannot possibly be truly moral!!! AAAAAGGGGGHHH!!!! A more sick and twisted thought does not exist! It's their own LACK of true morality, that allows them to even be able to think such a thing! The very concept of a person just wanting to be moral because they love others and wish to ease the pain of others and make others feel good, and help others with their problems, is not even VISIBLE to them. It's a total blind spot in their brains. "Why would someone just want to be good to others with no fear of God to force them to?" They cannot see that that is a sick question revealing a dangerous psychosis.

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  26. Hey, it's a misogynistic, bigoted, self-satisfied faith. But Eric loves it.

    Or does he really love the pretty words of the apologists?

    No way to be sure. Even he likely doesn't know.

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  27. Here's a test of whether the Bible is a Good Book or not:

    Find a primitive culture, and then introduce the Bible somehow, a translation in their language, and do it with special effects so they believe that the Book really comes to them from an actual God.


    Now thought experiment: If said culture decides to live by that book, will they be warlike and egotistical or pacifistic and humble?

    Anybody that says the latter is blind.

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  28. Yahweh's "My way or the Highway(to Hell)" attitude, translates to many levels of any culture believing in Him. Fathers of children adopt it, and beat the shit out of their kids. Nations adopt it and HULK SMASH any other nation that DARES to even SLIGHT them... Our modern christians love the very idea of bombing our way to being "NUMBER ONE" again. They cry out for it! They elect politicians that even hint that they won't take any shit from anybody. They literally WORSHIP the attitude of 'I WILL FUCK UP ANYBODY THAT EVEN BREATHES ON ME!' Our culture reflects it all around us, down to our movie heroes. It seems like a great macho attitude, to someone that is blind to how evil it is. After all, God does it.

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  29. Did you guys know that several of our most ideologically Christian politician friends on the right who advocate in the US against gays and women, go over to Africa and advocate there for things like the death penalty for even being gay?

    Now, that's fucking evil.

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  30. Brian, your comment about the experiment brings the Nigerian Witch Hunters to mind.

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  31. The writers of the Bible saw women as a 'necessary evil.' Right back to Eve, women were susceptible to evil more than men were.

    They saw them as 'necessary' only because they never managed to get one of their male lovers pregnant... so yuck, guess we have to have sex with women, too... but we don't have to *like* it!

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  32. Brian, your comment about the experiment brings the Nigerian Witch Hunters to mind.
    ------------
    Yes, they already conducted my 'experiment' there, didn't they?

    Nice results. Surely God is infinite love!

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  33. Botts is a good guy, seems very enlightened, and I used to love to talk with him... but if you recall, there was that one stumbling block about the Bible. I could never convince him that it was not a Good Book, that there was much evil in it, that it could be very harmful to people.... his own religious programming bias used to show whenever I brought it up... from good old friendly Botts all of a sudden would come sullen, angry Botts that didn't want to have the conversation. And that was one of the enlightened ones!

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  34. It seems as if many believers seem to think that an absence of belief must create a series of behaviors just as if non-belief was a religion. It doesn't. I don't know many non-believers who act that way. Mostly it frees up an enormous amount of time and resources that can now be devoted to other areas of interest.

    As far as dealing with others I'm left with the knowledge that since there is no cosmic arbitrator, getting along with them is completely up to us.

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  35. One of my favorite responses that I've gotten from a christian over the years when I've revealed to them that I am an atheist was "Well then, what DO you believe in?"

    Amazing, isn't it? To them, an absence of God must indicate an absence of good. (kudos to pboy here)

    To many of them, it indicates an allegiance to Satan!

    (Now, if I don't believe in God, why would I believe in Satan?)

    They should love atheists, because we don't automatically hate them for their religion or sect. If they didn't hate us so much, we'd be friends. However, it's just too much fun to hate us.

    I really think that hatred of a common foe is almost necessary for the religion to even work. They need a common enemy to bond together over. And if they can't find one, they'll make one up!

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  36. Christians, do you always and unconditionally love another believer in your God more than a disbeliever?

    Yes? Seems like an easy answer I guess.... except for one thing.

    Satan is a believer in your God.

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  37. Of course I forgot the other reason that the religious hate the secular.
    We keep on preventing them from taking over the world.
    We insist for some reason that their freedom does not include the freedom to restrict the freedom of others.

    Silly us.

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  38. Another variation of 'what DO you believe in, then?' is the ever-popular 'So you believe in SOMETHING, right?'
    I used to get that one from my mom a lot. She was so worried about the fact that I wouldn't go to heaven.... she needed me to tell her that I did believe in 'something.' So I did.
    I just never got around to telling her what.

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  39. I think that if heaven were real and an evangelical christian died and all of a sudden found themselves in front of Saint Peter and Saint Peter told them that they were wrong about how they saw God and Jesus, even there at the Pearly Gates the christian would deny it to themselves..... 'some liberal gave me a drug or something, this can't be real!' Heck, they'd tell Saint Peter that he was a communist!

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  40. "Gods are obviously an attempt to understand the world through the eyes of a social animal."
    "Begging the question."
    "How so?"

    Because it presupposes that there is an objection to belief in god, and hence a need to explain (as you are doing here) how people came to believe, why they believe, etc. The objection must, logically, precede the explanation, it can't be identical to the explanation.

    "God isn't an explanation. Goddidit is identical to 'That's just the way it is.'"

    Nonsense. "That's just the way it is" and "contingent beings can only exist if there's a necessary being" are hardly the same.

    "Once again, if you describe all being as contigent, using examples of beings which are contingent, you're using the notion that infinity is not possible. If your solution is a being with infinite properties, then it's no solution at all, since the conclusion is the antithesis of your thesis."

    No, we've discussed this before. There's a quantitative notion of infinity (QN) and a qualitative notion (QL). Since god has no parts, necessarily, it's absurd to suppose that theists mean that god is QN infinite. When theists say that god is infinite, they mean that his powers are without limit (hence the application of the notion of infinity here, which in essence involves the unlimited). Since there are two very different notions of infinity involved here, there's no contradiction.

    But further, there could be an infinite number of contingent beings (vis-a-vis Aquinas's argument)! You're again confusing Aquinas, who has no problem with actual infinites, with Craig, who argues that actual infinites cannot exist. (Aquinas's problem is with a certain sort of actual infinite, not, as Craig is, with all actual infinites.)

    "For the believers:
    How does your belief in God affect how you live your daily life and how you treat others?"

    By placing god at the center of everything, not myself, or money, or fame, etc., it keeps me focused on what really matters. It prevents me from setting up false idols. Chesterton may not have said the following, but it sure accords with the things he did say: "When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing. He believes in anything." And it's true: like a rose window, we all place something at the center of our lives -- something we 'worship' in the true sense of the term -- and when it's not 'god,' it tends to be something base and vulgar and materialistic.

    "This sounds absolutely retarded. Are you saying that there's only one way any certain sex can create? A woman can paint, an external creation. A man can meditate and come to realizations about himself; the idea is an internal creation. Women can create from without and men can create from within, and a deity would CERTAINLY have the capacity to do either. A being that's supposed to be perfect would necessarily HAVE to embody the best parts of BOTH sides, don't you think? So this argument is kind of stupid and one sided, I think."

    Cogs, but god doesn't create from any preexisting material -- he simply creates through his own power, and he creates something that is other than himself. That's why the painting, meditating, etc. analogies don't fly.

    "ALL objects whose gender is not known to be female are referred to as He in Hebrew, since the language really has only two genders, male or female. There is really no "it"."

    I never presupposed the neuter gender in Hebrew, Harvey, so this is irrelevant.

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  41. God was created to be a He and not a She, and not only that, so great was their contempt for women that in the religion, there is no FEMALE aspect of god. We have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Poltergeist, but where the fuck is God the Mother I ask you?
    ------------

    Mormons believe in a "God the Mother," one of the many reasons why orthodox Christians don't really like us.

    Apart from the God part, I think you guys would really like some of Mormon theology! :)

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  42. As to morality:

    I see in the world around me, that most christians believe that you need to fear God in order to be moral.
    -----------

    I disagree slightly. I think they believe that you need to "believe" in God in order to be moral. That's why so many people think that atheists and agnostics are immoral, or at the least amoral.

    It's a real image problem...

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  43. Because it presupposes that there is an objection to belief in god...

    The fact that god can't be seen, tasted, touched or measured justifies that presupposition.

    ...and hence a need to explain (as you are doing here) how people came to believe...

    No, you don't get off the hook that easy. If Christianity is true, then any number of conceptions of god held by millions and millions if not billions of people absolutely do not exist.

    So you must either emasculate your own dearly held religious commitments or admit that at least how SOME people came to believe does in fact require an explanation.

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  44. ...god doesn't create from any preexisting material -- he simply creates through his own power, and he creates something that is other than himself.

    Wait, things that use male pronouns don't have sperm??? Shut your pie hole.

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  45. Eric...

    So many words, so little content.

    Hey whatever dude. It's your religion. The words I mean, not the god. I think you love the words better than the deity. It makes your religion interesting to you, as it was designed to do. Like I said long ago, the Church found that it needed something that appealed to the more intellectual types, you know, those that could tie shoes by themselves and all that, so it created the Apologists, who could invoke a pink unicorn from mere semantics as easily as they do God.

    Apologetics: The second tier of the trap that is Christianity. It can catch even the very intelligent of they are egotistical enough.

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  46. "There's a quantitative notion of infinity (QN) and a qualitative notion (QL)."

    How is power a quality?

    " Since god has no parts, necessarily, it's absurd to suppose that theists mean that god is QN infinite."

    How is power a quality?

    " When theists say that god is infinite, they mean that his powers are without limit (hence the application of the notion of infinity here, which in essence involves the unlimited)."

    How is power a quality?

    " Since there are two very different notions of infinity involved here, there's no contradiction."

    "How is power a quality?

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  47. "No, you don't get off the hook that easy. If Christianity is true, then any number of conceptions of god held by millions and millions if not billions of people absolutely do not exist.
    So you must either emasculate your own dearly held religious commitments or admit that at least how SOME people came to believe does in fact require an explanation."

    Leave it to Ryan to miss the obvious.

    What question was Floyd responding to here, Ryan? It was the 'objection to belief in god' question, right? Well, he didn't offer an objection to belief in god, he offered an explanation for belief in god, which presupposes an objection (he wouldn't need to explain it unless he already believed it to be false, or probably false, etc.). Hence the 'question begging' charge on my part.

    "The fact that god can't be seen, tasted, touched or measured justifies that presupposition."

    Again, you miss the point. If the question is, 'what is your strongest objection to belief in god?' and your objection were, 'god cannot be seen, tasted, etc.' then you would have answered the question (poorly, but whatever) and could tack on to your objection an explanation for belief. But if you respond to the question with an explanation, you're begging the question by presupposing an objection.

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  48. "How is power a quality?"

    Wow, you honestly don't understand the ridiculously basic 'quantitative/qualitative' distinction?

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  49. I guess you missed Ian's objection... You know, not everyone must reinvent the wheel when, I understood the very rich objection he was referencing. But I guess you didn't.

    Again, you miss the point. If the question is, 'what is your strongest objection to belief in god?' and your objection were, 'god cannot be seen, tasted, etc.'

    You mistake pointing out your idocy for responding to your demand. I for one am not answering this question (today) since I've (we all have) answered it for you ad nauseum (in the past)

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  50. "In physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. The unit of power is the joule per second (J/s), known as the watt."

    How many watts of power do you imagine was transfered from God, to the universe, when God supposedly created it (caused it to come into being)?

    Where'd this power come from in nothingness? (where God 'lives' we hear)

    How much more power, in watts, do metaphysicists imagine God has? Is it infinite?

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  51. Oh yea, and never mind the quality, feel the width!

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  52. "I guess you missed Ian's objection... You know, not everyone must reinvent the wheel when, I understood the very rich objection he was referencing. But I guess you didn't."

    So let me get this straight -- the explanation, "god's are an attempt to understand the world through the eyes of a social animal" assumes that belief in god is objected to because god can't be perceived or measured?

    Really?

    Where exactly did you study philosophy, Ryan?

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  53. Wheels Eric. There's no need to recreate them. Go do some reading without agenda...

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  54. Of course I'm objecting to the idea that there is a supernatural realm with an all-powerful GOD because it is obvious that gods are a projection of social beings on the environment.

    This is true of Hinduism, Islam, the Hebrew/Israelites, the Roman gods, and yours too Eric.

    I don't know if they actually threw virgins into volcanoes to please the gods, but they were appealing to their environment, thinking the gods caused it.

    Did the Aztecs rip out peoples' hearts to appease their gods/control their environment?

    Did they consider sickness and ailments to be evil powers which they could banish by appealing to God, in the near East around beginning of the Common Era, or didn't they? (yea, that's still 'the environment)

    Etc. etc.

    Why would I believe YOUR god is any different from anyone elses? Come on, read the good book Eric, just read it.

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  55. This is true of Hinduism, Islam, the Hebrew/Israelites, the Roman gods, and yours too Eric.

    Eric's is a Roman god.

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  56. A Hebrew God, no? Or you mean Jesus? A Jew, no? But then I thought about it, and Constantine really created or at least codified the religion, so there we have it.

    He's a Roman God Amalgam. He pretends he's Jupiter and he acts like Hades.

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  57. I think Eric seeks to put theism on equal footing with a-theism by assuming that disbelief in gods requires objections to belief in gods.

    I'm a big believer in the whole "atheism as the default position" thing. Even though it's not my "default" position, due to environment, upbringing, possibly genetics, etc..., but if you look at the world around us and think rationally about what we actually know (what little we actually know), then I think it's beyond clear that it really should be ones starting position.

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  58. I don't get the whole "objection" to belief in God(s)issue. The only valid and/or logical reason to "object", would be the obvious negative effects such belief leads to for those who either don't believe or at least don't agree as to the qualiries and/or proper devotion to someone else's God du jour. Why otherwise does any believer "object" to our un-belief, which certainly does no harm or damage to his, as long as he keeps it out of public venues and/or needs to force or coerce it on the rest of us? But... as I and many others have pointed out, belief alone does not satisfy most religionists, since, no other source being available, they must get affirmation durng this life from as many others as possible.
    I cannot rationally or ethically object to any other person's beliefs, as long as they do not impinge upon me against my will.

    And Oh yes! I agree with Ryan that in the absence of adequate evidence to the contrary, atheism is the default position more likely than not.

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  59. Why is claiming that I think there is sufficient reason for people believing in gods, through the ages, to have believed in them to account for things they didn't understand?

    The most primitive people alive today believe in demons. When shown microbes through a microscope, they believe they are seeing the demons. But we all know that those people aren't talking about microscopic life, right?

    We all know that they believe these things, such as if they're immoral, the rains won't come or some other disaster will befall them, they believe these things because they are ignorant and uneducated.

    Eric can't tell us that his church isn't preying on ignorant, superstitious people in places where they can find them. Well, he can tell us that, but he'd be lying! They still do it in South America, in Africa, the guy down the road from me, you know, everywhere!

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  60. I cannot rationally or ethically object to any other person's beliefs, as long as they do not impinge upon me against my will.
    ----------
    Eloquently put. I agree of course, but you said it much better.

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  61. Eric can't tell us that his church isn't preying on ignorant, superstitious people in places where they can find them.
    -----------------
    I'm sure he sees it in a different light. I'll wait for him to explain it however, since I lack the energy right now to try to imagine what it might be. I'm definitely looking forward to it, though.

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  62. And Oh yes! I agree with Ryan that in the absence of adequate evidence to the contrary, atheism is the default position more likely than not.
    ------------
    I was about to agree, but I think that a skeptical sort of agnosticism might be more rational, no? As in,'shit, we can't absolutely *know* that there is no "spiritual" component to reality. The Matrix wouldn't have been so popular if it weren't at least marginally plausible. We only have our sensory input. Period. So we might be misled. I am *almost* an atheist, but I leave the door open, not out of hope (I like to think) but out of the fact that if it were so, I wouldn't know. I certainly disbelieve in a tribal god like Yahweh, heck, that's easy, but there are other ways in which the nasty specter of spirit or something very much like it may arise. And not only by my pet speculations. I dislike quoting Donald Rumsfeld, but one thing that he said that was ridiculed that was in face a cogent statement, was that 'there are the things we know... there are the things we don't know... there are the things that we know that we do not know, but the most dangerous things are the things that we do not know that we do not know.' (I paraphrase, but I think I caught the gist of it...)
    So, there's that.

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  63. I honestly see the statement "I am absolutely positive that there is no God nor any spiritual component to reality" as off-base as the statement "I am absolutely positive that there is a God or at least a spiritual component to reality"

    We can be 'pretty sure.'

    We can't 'know.' Not yet, at least.

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  64. ".. but the most dangerous things are the things that we do not know that we do not know."

    I dunno Brian, there may well be a lot of things that we don't know we don't know, I'm not sure how, in general, that's such a dangerous thing. Maybe when it comes to war, maybe, but life in general?

    Maybe you're talking about those people who added glow in the dark stuff to the numbers for the Marines' watches and didn't know it was radioactive and going to make them ill?

    But radioactive shit is dangerous and we do know it's dangerous now, I can't imagine anything else like that popping up in the near future, can you?

    Of course by the very premise, we're not even imagining that we could guess what kind of thing it might be, but, not speaking about war, what could it be, that there's really an afterlife?

    I think I'd classify that as something I know not to be true that turned out really, really fucked up!

    What else, faked Moon landing, Elvis is still alive, aliens?

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  65. "Wow, you honestly don't understand the ridiculously basic 'quantitative/qualitative' distinction?"

    "Wow", indeed. How about answering the question, where'd spacetime-energy-matter come from, since it's not just a quality, the act of creating an entire universe.

    Now you can try to endow your god with infinite qualities, no doubt, but no-one, not even a god could possibly be infinitely just(having all the facts and mete-ing out praise or punishment accordingly, AND infinitely merciful(all forgiving)!

    So even just having infinite qualities is impossible.

    But let's get back to the raw power! God had the power to create an entire universe, and no doubt, the power to 'reabsorb'(?) it into nothingness, then fart out a couple, if HE so desires, no?

    The quality/quantity thing is bullshit. This cannot be your coherent, logical thinking, surely?

    There must be a God who can turn 'god-stuff' into a universe, since we can quibble about qualities and quantities?

    And the reason that the universe cannot have the quality of being infinite is... drum roll... "Well, it's not God!"

    Is that IT?
    Is THAT it?
    IS that it?

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  66. Here's a bit of a curve ball in this ongoing battle of semantics: Is science reductionist or is it in fact expansivist?

    Does science result in a reduction of the number of perceptions that can be deemed factual, or does it expand the breath of knowledge needed to reproducibly describe a growing body of observed data?

    Is the distinction important?

    I believe it is. Reductionism is criticized because it fails to account for a body of ideas or philosophical constructs and is seen as skipping over them to reduce reality to a set of rules based on reproducible facts and definable natural pathways.

    The expansionist view turns the tables: working from the most basic observations, a richer description is created developing models that more accurately account for a larger body of observations, and which make more detailed predictions of future findings.

    At some point the models are sufficiently detailed that you can essentially operate as if they are complete. At that point any intellectual exercises left over become moot.

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  67. I dunno Brian, there may well be a lot of things that we don't know we don't know, I'm not sure how, in general, that's such a dangerous thing. Maybe when it comes to war, maybe, but life in general?
    ------------
    Rumsfeld was of course referring to the planing and execution of a war, so it was actual danger. When I use it, I would take 'dangerous' to refer to 'here is how we might be wrong and not even suspect it.' "Dangerous" to our accuracy, to our being right about something.
    I find it odd that you got hung up on that one, but okay....

    When we're speaking about the universe's origins, there is much that we do not know, and a lot (I'll wager) that we have no idea was even a factor, that is so foreign to our sphere of experience that we can't even suspect it at this point. What we don't know that we don't know, is likely a whole lot in this case.

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  68. My entire "Rumsfeld" comment about dangers, was in reference to the origin of the universe, and nothing more, although it of course can apply to many other complex situations that we lack data on. So it's not about the afterlife, the 'fake moon landing' or Elvis.

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  69. But radioactive shit is dangerous and we do know it's dangerous now, I can't imagine anything else like that popping up in the near future, can you?
    ----------------
    Well sure I can. Many complex problems have these dark possibilities. Pollution for example. For all we know, it's possible that our long term exposure to say, a particular combination of certain pollutants with say, popular prescription drugs, will bring about new health problems in the future that we can't even guess at now. A huge outbreak of toenail cancer... or whatever.

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  70. In fact, I would say that the question of the origin of the universe, is one unique problem about which there is likely a whole lot that we "don't know that we don't know" and don't even suspect right now.

    That is because the answers likely are not 'in the box' with us here in this universe. We're in this box, and are trying to describe the outside of the box and how the box got made. Heck, there could be forces and science involved here that we can't even fucking guess at, and possibly even if we knew about them we wouldn't be able to comprehend them at this point in our knowledge.

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  71. I'll give you a 'for instance.'

    For instance, what if our universe with it's laws that we are familiar with, could only arise from another universe with completely different laws?

    Think about that for a minute.

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    Replies
    1. This makes me think of a certain webcomic I think you should read.

      http://www.mspaintadventures.com/

      Delete
  72. Mitt Romney thought that he knew that the president would be unpopular due to the bad economy. He likely knew that there was a possibility that the economy would have gotten a lot better by now and thus foiled his chances, but he felt that was unlikely. And that did not happen, so he was right. But what he didn't know that he didn't know, was that the people wouldn't blame Obama for it. And now he's fucked.

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  73. Reductionist or expansivist? I'd need more definition of terms to say. It reduces the number of wrong perceptions, but increases the number of right ones. I'd say that all in all, it is more expansivist than reductionist.

    How'd I do?

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  74. I say 'expansivist' because when you look at history, science replaces past 'answers' that were simple, with new answers that are more complex and intricate... many times it replaces one wrong answer with several or many correct ones.

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  75. How'd I do? - Not a test B ;)

    I view it as expansionist as well. That's the real answer to the 'objections' question in my mind. No objection is required. I read Harvey, Ian and Ryan as answering the same way. If there were hard data to support the existence of such beings then objections would be in order.

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  76. Such beings? You mean god or gods?

    Hey, don't we all know here that the burden of proof rests on the theist's side? and has that ever stopped them from demanding proof from us? They make the extraordinary claims and tell us to prove them wrong. Problem is, they can't see that they're doing that, so we're not accomplishing anything by refusing to engage, even on the legitimate grounds that they are the ones that need to provide proof. They can prove nothing to a scientist, and so they 'prove' their mumbo-jumbo to enough non-scientists that vote, and those people vote against science, logic, and reason itself!

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  77. It occurs to me that most of Eric's philosophical gyrations, including reliance on Thomism as his major support, are an example of the believer's need to "convince" himself by convincing all of us. Since he must begin by getting us to agree that any God (let alone his) is "more likely than not" to actually exist, he has no choice but to continue to obfuscate, muddy the waters, change intellectul horse in mid stream (all excellent debating tactics) and, above all, try to baffle us with his bullshit if he cannot blind us with his brilliance. That said, I am reasonably certain that he will be loaded for bear and ready to go with a cogent, step by step, crushingly logical argument to get us from accepting "a small kernel of faith" regarding the origin of our Universe to his Catholic God. I feel certain of this because his Guru, St Thomas Aquinas, basicly said exactly this. As a result, as long as we remain stiff-necked and insufficiently knowledgable about philosophy/religion/metaphysics, he continues to be totally frustrated. We simply are refusing to let him get the affirmation of his beliefs that he wants so desparately.

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  78. BTW, I don't blame him for this. His presence on this blog often makes for interesting reading and lively debate.

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  79. Maybe he really did go through an 'atheist phase.' There's nothing worse than a convert, as the saying goes.
    At any rate, I think you must be right Harvey.

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  80. I mean, some atheists are happy being atheists, and others are technically atheists, but unhappy, "wishful" ones, hoping that *something* comes along to allow them to believe in God. I'd put Eric in that latter category of course. The simple-minded arguments for God drove him to 'atheism' and when he encountered the far more complex ones to be found in Thomism and so forth, it was his 'AHA' moment.

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  81. I think in the same way Ken Ham unintentionally pushes many, many people away from Christianity, Ayn Rand pushes many towards it.

    That's been my consistent expierence of kids that are drawn to her, for what that is worth.

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  82. Ayn Rand is the embodiment of self-important greed. Christians are naturally drawn to THAT, and thence to her.

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  83. For people that believe that the world needs them more than they need the world, Ayn Rand is a natural.

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  84. It's the attitude. The 'oh yeah world? You think you can dictate to me? Well, I'll dictate to YOU! How do you like THAT?'

    They want the freedom to take away other people's freedom, and think it's unconstitutional to deny it to them.

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  85. BTW, I don't blame him for this. His presence on this blog often makes for interesting reading and lively debate.
    -------------
    On this I completely agree. I'd miss him. He's interesting, I give him that.

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  86. Romney's economic plan, such as it is, is a mathematical impossibility!

    Republican response, "But Obama is an outsider, a failure, a socialist/fascist, who is to blame for not effecting a miracle which wiped out all Bush's abyssmal legacy and created 100% employment!"

    Brian say, "Not knowing what we don't know is dangerous!"

    Okay,(ahem), "But Obama is an outsider, a failure, a socialist/fascist, who is to blame for not effecting a miracle which wiped out all Bush's abyssmal legacy and created 100% employment!"

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  87. I actually don't see how my Rumsfeld saying relates to that, Pboy.

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  88. I was going for the estimated 51% agreement on that one, just like the Reps. do.

    You want a 'straight' answer, okay. All I was saying is that I don't think 'not knowing what we don't know' is important, I mean we have to have some kind of inkling that there is something we don't know before we can begin to address it, right?

    We can find something out which opens the door for us to say, 'Well, lookee there, we didn't even anticipate that we didn't even know that!', but it's going to come up when it comes up, right?

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  89. Talking about 'not knowing', did you know that they have prisoners making uniforms for the military for 23 cents an hour?

    Did you know that they are now being allowed to sell their products, or share their labour with other corps.?

    This is an incentive to imprison as many people as possible for the least violent crimes possible!

    Watch out for new harsh penalties for possession of drugs simply to increase the cheap labour pool.

    Ah, the land of the free, you're just about back to Jim Crow, peonism, slave labour, vagrancy laws, robber barons, poll taxes etc. etc.

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  90. So, if millions of Catholics are trading in illicit ivory carved into uniquely Catholic religious symbols, is "Catholicism" to blame?

    I would say yes, and whatever the official official stance is of the Catholic Church is irrelevant (note I said "Catholicism" not "The Church").

    Eric?

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  91. "And the reason that the universe cannot have the quality of being infinite is... drum roll... "Well, it's not God!""

    Floyd, you refuse to listen: For a Thomist, the universe could be infinite in expanse and infinite temporally; indeed, there could be an infinite number of such infinite universes and it wouldn't affect the arguments Thomists defend one iota (though it would affect the KCA). Now since this is the case -- and it undeniably is -- it follows that the sense in which god is said to be 'infinite' differs quite a bit from the sense in which such a universe/multiverse would be infinite, right?

    "I think Eric seeks to put theism on equal footing with a-theism by assuming that disbelief in gods requires objections to belief in gods."

    Not at all. Disbelief only requires an objection *if* your disbelief is rationally motivated. If your disbelief is non-rational (say, as the disbelief of an infant or a feral child is), then of course you don't need any objections.

    "I'm a big believer in the whole "atheism as the default position" thing."

    While I don't think that there is a default position (since we're all 'in the world' as we approach these questions), I'd say with Brian that agnosticism would be the default position if we were positing, say, an 'ideal inquirer' (say, someone behind the religious version of a Rawlsian veil of ignorance).




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  92. "So, if millions of Catholics are trading in illicit ivory carved into uniquely Catholic religious symbols, is "Catholicism" to blame?"

    Of course not, no more than 'democracy' would be to blame if millions of democrats (note the lower case 'd') were trading in illicit ivory carved into uniquely democratic symbols, or than 'baseball' is to be blamed for the appalling phenomenon commonly called the 'Yankees fan.'

    Now, would individual Catholics (democrats, baseball fans) be to blame? Sure.

    "I think in the same way Ken Ham unintentionally pushes many, many people away from Christianity, Ayn Rand pushes many towards it.
    That's been my consistent expierence of kids that are drawn to her, for what that is worth."

    Really? Wow. As a former Objectivist, I know many former Objectivists, and none of them are Christians today. This is anecdotal, of course, so take it for what it's worth. Surely, though, there is absolutely no logical route from Objectivism to Christianity -- they differ tremendously in *every* aspect (metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, etc.), so I'm curious as to what could possibly account for your 'experience,' and I wonder how many former Objectivists turned Christians you actually know!

    "It occurs to me that most of Eric's philosophical gyrations, including reliance on Thomism as his major support, are an example of the believer's need to "convince" himself by convincing all of us."

    If anything, Harvey, it works in a rather different way: I'd say that I'm more convinced that I'm right when I consistently see the transparent rationalizations and poor arguments atheists present in my discussions with them to defend the claim that they're not persuaded! (That's not intentional, or course -- it's what first occurred to me when I read your post).

    "Hey, don't we all know here that the burden of proof rests on the theist's side?"

    This isn't necessarily the whole story. Whoever makes a claim has an onus of truth, so sure, the theist has an onus to meet, but so does the atheist who makes a claim. And, I should add, all atheists who claim to be atheists for at least one reason make a claim (viz. his reason justifies his atheism), and hence have an onus to meet themselves.

    "Here's a bit of a curve ball in this ongoing battle of semantics: Is science reductionist or is it in fact expansivist?
    Does science result in a reduction of the number of perceptions that can be deemed factual, or does it expand the breath of knowledge needed to reproducibly describe a growing body of observed data?"

    As you've elucidated the terms, the alternative is a false one, since science could be 'expansivist' in the sense that you're using the term *by* improving upon its reductionistic accounts of the world.

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  93. We can find something out which opens the door for us to say, 'Well, lookee there, we didn't even anticipate that we didn't even know that!', but it's going to come up when it comes up, right?
    ---------------
    I don't know. What I was thinking was that since we know so little about the very start of things and it's possible causes, this is one area, more so than perhaps all others, where we should be careful not to jump to conclusions, like as in, God. I mean, science will likely get there one day, so why attempt to decide now based on incomplete data?

    I think the idea of 'worrying about the things that we don't know that we don't know' most applies to someone that is proud enough to feel certain that they know enough to make the call, as it were. I think to have a truly open, but still critical mind, is best.

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  94. "I think to have a truly open, but still critical mind, is best."

    I agree, Brian, but remember Chesterton's wise words on the purpose of opening one's mind: "Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid."

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  95. "For a Thomist, the universe could be infinite in expanse and infinite temporally; indeed, there could be an infinite number of such infinite universes and it wouldn't affect the arguments Thomists defend one iota (though it would affect the KCA)."

    LOL

    Ain't you a Thomist and a defender of the KCA?

    Seems you might think that the KCA has a flaw, but you're willing to fight tooth and nail in it's favour, as you've done here, on John Pearce's blog, and likely any other blog where the KCA is mentioned.

    For you to say like 'so what?' after ignoring the whole premise that you say your God has infinite, shall we say, 'attributes', including the power of universe creating, finally saying it's a 'quality' not a 'quantity', to say it doesn't matter since it doesn't matter to Thomists, is bullshit, Eric.

    You're the Thomist here, you're the one with the 'contingent being' spiel. What, are you not implying that the universe is finite here?

    The KCA and your 'contingent being' thing too, they rely on the notion that the universe isn't infinite, therefore God created the universe. Hardly a qualitative argument there, that's plain for anyone to see.

    Every argument which is trying to tell us that there is an infinite God explaining our finite situation, using the 'fact' that since the universe IS finite, there must be a cause(an infinite cause), has that same problem, the conclusion being the antithesis of the premises.

    Couldn't be any simpler, and putting on your Thomist hat and dancing away doesn't make a toot of difference, now does it?

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  96. Eric:
    "If anything, Harvey, it works in a rather different way: I'd say that I'm more convinced that I'm right when I consistently see the transparent rationalizations and poor arguments atheists present in my discussions with them to defend the claim that they're not persuaded! (That's not intentional, or course -- it's what first occurred to me when I read your post)."

    'No true Scotsman would respond to my crystal clear and well supported (by other apologists) demonstration of what has allowed me to believe in Jahweh. You guys refusing to accept the obvious is only strengthening my belief. If you did come around, it wouldn't matter in the least and certainly it would not provide me with any reassurance that my beliefs may actually turn out to be right (in my hoped for next life).' Eric (paraphrased)

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  97. I agree, Brian, but remember Chesterton's wise words on the purpose of opening one's mind: "Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid."
    ------------------
    I think that you must have missed the "but still critical" part there. It's what stopped me from closing my mind in the diaphanous imago that is Christianity. :-) A subject that, once the mind has closed upon it, holds the jaws of said mind tight as birdlime forever. As eloquently demonstrated time and again by our favorite Philosopher-Soldier Eric.

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  98. I was talking to my wife and mentioned that we've had some semi-new people commenting, and I mentioned Lloyd the Lurker... I said that he'd been lurking about for a long time but lately is getting involved in the conversation... so she said to tell you Lloyd, that you can't be Lloyd the Lurker anymore; you're now Lloyd the Contributor. Congratulations.

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  99. agree, Brian, but remember Chesterton's wise words...

    Never trust anyone who says things like "wise words", "wrong headed", "right thinking", etc...

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  100. Not too keen on anyone who says, "Keep in mind..", or, "..at the end of the day.", either.

    So, keep that in mind at the end of the day! LOL

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  101. Honest with me? Or pboy? Or whom? If me, then of course you can.

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  102. but remember Chesterton's wise words on the purpose of opening one's mind: "Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid."
    -------------------
    I find this to be another example of someone saying pretty words that sound pithy and important and intelligent, but are really not that weighty at all. They just sound like they are.

    For instance, an open mind is one that by definition does not 'close' upon any subject, but only considers them and weighs them accordingly. To 'close' an open mind on 'something solid' is still to close it, rendering the whole idea silly in the first place. My whole point was to never close the mind upon anything, that that is the only truly 'open' mind in the first place. To me it sounds like Chesterton is just trying to sound witty with little content to it. However, even if I take the quote on it's face and ignore that, I immediately see a word leaping out at me. It's the word "solid."

    How on earth can a theist try to admonish an atheist (even by proxy, with an appeal to authority) to be sure to 'close my mind' on 'something solid?' That takes brass balls, my friend. You should talk, in other words. You're the guy living on Cloud City with Lando, and you're telling ME to seek solidity? I'd tell you to 'get real' but I see that is precisely what you are unable to 'get.'

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  103. When we answer Eric rationally he sees 'transparent rationalizations.'

    Methinks his reality is a different one than ours.

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  104. I think the idea of 'worrying about the things that we don't know that we don't know' most , as it were. I think to have a truly open, but still critical mind, is best.
    -Me
    --------------
    I agree, Brian, but remember Chesterton's wise words on the purpose of opening one's mind: "Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid."
    -----------------------
    To re-iterate:
    applies to someone that is proud enough to feel certain that they know enough to make the call
    -Me
    -----------------------
    What is it that you are asking of me, but to be so proud as to "make the call?"

    Sorry no... that's your department.


    And besides, apparently I, unlike Chesterton, do not only open my mouth to eat.

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  105. I'd say with Brian that agnosticism…
     
    I forgot we don’t use the terms atheism and agnosticism in the same way.  When I use them, one refers to belief and one refers to knowledge and they are not mutually exclusive, so keep that in mind. 
     
    Atheism should be the default position regarding belief in gods.  Agnosticism is the default position (to one degree or another) regarding knowledge about just about everything except your own existence.
     
    But since you can’t actually have knowledge about gods, no one ever really gets beyond agnosticism (queue Hebrews 11).   
     
    Eric said Surely, though, there is absolutely no logical route from Objectivism to Christianity -- they differ tremendously in *every* aspect (metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, etc.),
     
    Yeah, no duh, you appear to have missed the point. There is no logical route from Creationism to Athesism either…  But Ken sure does a great job producing “secularists”…  Excepting the Johnny come lately tea party Randian types, all of those whom I know that were enamoured with her in their younger days are now christians.  We could have an anecdote off, if you like, but you’re an idiot. 
     
    And of course baseball shares the blame for whatever this “yankee fan” thing is.  I’m assuming they’re hooliganish or something.

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  106. Yea, saying that Catholicism has absolutely nothing to do with that illegal trade is to say that guns have absolutely nothing to do with shootings and that cars have nothing to do with vehicular accidents.

    Sure, from a certain perspective, we can say, can't blame Catholicism, guns or cars, since they're not the kinds of things that can possibly have responsibility!

    But it's plain to see that without guns, there'd be no shootings, without cars there'd be no car accidents and without Catholicism there'd be a big party and we'd all be happy and smiling and we'd never get old and we'd all be beautiful and every day would be the first day of Spring!

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  107. I'm sure no one else had any difficulty with my comments about expansionism vs reductionism being as the comments focused on the false challenge of defending against philosophical overreach not any implication that science can be both expansive and reductive.

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  108. Sorry - should say "can't be both". My bad

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  109. I think of that like an endless puzzle. A GUT would seem reductionist, a theory of everything, but to me, it would be like completing all the edges of the puzzle, but inside that the puzzle will never be totally complete.

    Seems to me that over the years we've had and will continue to have authorities who having had perhaps many breakthroughs debunking previous 'knowledge gurus'(like Aristotle and his ideas, from 'reason' how and why objects are attracted to the Earth), but then human beings, tending to be like human beings, actually start to reason using their big brain without bothering to collect the data, always a tricky 'method'.

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  110. I forgot we don’t use the terms atheism and agnosticism in the same way. When I use them, one refers to belief and one refers to knowledge and they are not mutually exclusive, so keep that in mind.
    -------------------
    They are not mutually exclusive, however while one can believe in a god and still not know that there is a god, without that definite knowledge the belief is based in illogical grounds. Feelings.

    Of course when I say 'knowledge,' I'm *not* talking about 'knowledge' derived from extensive philosophical discussion and referral to famous arguments for God. I mean physical evidence for God, which isn't going to happen.

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  111. Arguments for God, it seems to me, are trying to take all sides of the argument.

    'We don't need no steenking science, no data collection, no formulization of results, we can reason that there must be a God!', plus, 'Oh, you want to collect data etc. etc., then fine tuning, good old fine tuning is the reason there must be a God!', and so on.

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  112. And, I should add, all atheists who claim to be atheists for at least one reason make a claim (viz. his reason justifies his atheism), and hence have an onus to meet themselves.
    --------------------
    Our only 'onus' to show proof of is that you have no proof. There is no evidence for your side of the argument. The universe doesn't seem to need your God. So you are making the extra-ordinary claim. Nice try... no wait, actually it wasn't a very good try...

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  113. Christians argue God like Republicans argue tax cuts for the rich. With a bunch of transparent lies. Believers just believe in shit and insist it's true regardless of facts or reason or logic or science.

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  114. How about it being logical, reasonable enough but, if we can say that it doesn't 'add up', to use an arithmetic analogy, they can use modular arithmetic to come to their desired conclusion.

    What does 11 + 4 + 9 + 3 add up to?
    Well, if your answer is something over 12, you're WRONG!
    Wait, I get 27.
    Wrong, wrong, wrong!
    What's 11 a.m. plus four hours, plus 9 hours, plus 3 hours? Is it 27 o'clock? I think not. Checkmate non-modular arithmetic guys!

    Seems to me that metaphysics fills the modular arithmetic spot, since we use that kind of reasoning sometimes without caring about it, without even naming it, but it's arcane reasoning for God at it's finest!

    How many Christians need to know the ins and outs of metaphysics to know that Jesus died on the Cross to save them? I don't imagine that there's really even one.

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  115. Seems that the Republicans have caught on to the fact that the people are 'getting it' that they(Reps.) are concerned, not with the 99%, since that 99% isn't donating much to their re-election, so the idea is to talk that 99% down to a figure which seems reasonable to the people who think that they're hard work is what causes their well-being.

    I suppose we're to imagine that them slaves must have it easy since they have no monetary incentive to get ahead, and if you're stuck working your ass off for nothing, it's really your own fault!

    Anyway, they have to reduce that number, 99% becomes 47%, which is then reduced to 30%.

    How many people can they convince to 'live' in Republicanland, where arithmetic is just optional?

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  116. S.E. Cupp just made the point on "The Cycle" that Obama is incredibly divisive..... how he pits the poor against the rich... Toure just laughed and Crystal rolled her eyes. Must be so much fun to work with a malicious retard.

    It really sickens me that they can get away with 'I know you are, but what am I?'

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  117. I mean, the rich are totally raping the poor and destroying the middle class, Obama wants it to stop, and that's divisive. Amazing. They really feel totally entitled to have the freedom to take away the freedom of others. They believe they shit Ben and Jerry's.

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  118. Well, Sarah Elizabeth is obviously of the opinion that 'compromise' means, 'get the fuck out of office!' like all the other Rep. Reps.

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  119. I was just thinking about the undecided voters.

    The polls went up for Obama several times lately, and then later on they tighten up again. The Obama side keeps on getting real bounces off of really horrible Romney gaffes... and then the polls tighten again... what this means is that literally, there are voters out there that change their minds over and over and over again. One week liking Obama, the next deciding they want Romney... WTF is wrong with these people? It's not like Romney is doing anything to win them back, either... it's a lot like their memories are only a week long or less.

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  120. Maybe they're like, "I'ma vote for Obama, that other guy's a loon!"

    Headline:- The Polls don't mean nothing if they ask more dems!

    "I'ma vote for Romney, that'll sort the biased polling!"

    LOL

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  121. I'm thinking that the undecided voters are all pretty much on the "Honey Boo Boo" level. Which is scary. I don't want Honey Boo Boo to be the deciding vote here.

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  122. Yeah, the polls mean nothing if they ask more dems... brilliant. So they ask thousands of people and more and more of them say 'I'm a dem' and so that must be biased.
    I guess the republicans want the pollsters to take their poll and then check the party affiliation of the participants to match up the republicans with the democrats one for one and discard the remainder so that it will consist of an equal number of both parties... with the result of surprise surprise, Romney is up to 50%!

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  123. You have to extrapolate the polls out to the electorate, so the basic "Obama/Romney Poll" is worthless. Realclearpolitics.com does a good job of tracking this stuff. Also Intrade is a good place to look. It's essentially "Vegas" and has Obama winning at 70%. Although thats down this week from almost 80%.

    In short, barring unforeseen events, it looks very likely that Obama wins handily.

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  124. I actually knew that, knew that the electoral advantage is huge for Obama... I'm just stunned that the swing voters are that stupid.

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  125. I mean, I didn't realize that 'swing voters' are really a lot more like 'pendulum voters.' They do a lot of swinging. And not the interesting kind.

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  126. It baffles my mind as well.

    By the way, I didn't notice till just now, but the "can I be honest with you?" was just another thing that if someone says it, I am skeptical of them. I could have been clearer...

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  127. "LOL
    Ain't you a Thomist and a defender of the KCA?"

    First, even if I were, that wouldn't matter, for the Thomistic arguments *take no position* on the question of whether the universe is infinite -- they work either way. Since they take no position on the matter, they're perfectly consistent with the KCA, which does take the position that the universe is temporally finite.

    Second, I've said repeatedly of the KCA that I'm not quite so sure where I stand on it, but that it looks stronger the more I think about it, and that most internet atheists who think they've dealt it a serious blow haven't even laid a finger on it.

    "Seems you might think that the KCA has a flaw, but you're willing to fight tooth and nail in it's favour, as you've done here, on John Pearce's blog, and likely any other blog where the KCA is mentioned. "

    There's a difference between fighting in favor of something, and defending something against patently silly attacks.

    "Every argument which is trying to tell us that there is an infinite God explaining our finite situation, using the 'fact' that since the universe IS finite, there must be a cause(an infinite cause), has that same problem, the conclusion being the antithesis of the premises."

    As I've repeatedly tried to explain to you Floyd, the Thomist is not committed to the notion that the universe is finite, so you're just plain wrong -- even if there are an infinite number of infinite universes, the Thomistic arguments work just the same. And this is no problem, again as I've said repeatedly, because god is not said to be infinite in the same sense a universe would be said to be infinite. Infinity refers in general to the absence of limits, so the question is, limits on what? With the universe, it would be space, time, matter and/or energy, so we're dealing with a quantitative conception of infinity here. But god is not composed of parts (and that's not a mere assertion in Christianity, it's argued for), so the conception of infinity applied to him *cannot* be quantitative; but the only other conception of infinity is qualitative, and when we look at what we mean when we say that god is 'infinite' (usually in terms of what are called his 'superlative attributes' -- unlimited power, knowledge, etc.), it's clearly used in the qualitative sense (e.g. power 'without limit,' knowledge 'without limit' etc.).

    "You guys refusing to accept the obvious is only strengthening my belief."

    You couldn't be more wrong, Harvey. I don't think that the arguments I defend are 'obviously' sound -- that's not the point. Rather, it's striking how poor the typical responses to these arguments are from your average, well educated atheists (of course, atheists with serious training in logic and philosophy provide much stronger and much more interesting objections to these arguments).

    "Never trust anyone who says things like "wise words", "wrong headed", "right thinking", etc.."

    And never trust anyone who says "never trust anyone who says."

    "Not too keen on anyone who says, "Keep in mind..", or, "..at the end of the day.", either."

    How about "make no mistake about it" and "let me be clear"? Oops, didn't mean to get political there...

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  128. "For instance, an open mind is one that by definition does not 'close' upon any subject, but only considers them and weighs them accordingly. To 'close' an open mind on 'something solid' is still to close it, rendering the whole idea silly in the first place. My whole point was to never close the mind upon anything, that that is the only truly 'open' mind in the first place."

    But there's an obvious contradiction here, for you've already closed your mind on the issue of keeping your mind open! All forms of radical skepticism are self refuting, Brian.

    Now Chesterton didn't say that you shouldn't open your mind; rather, he was making the mundane point that the point of opening it in the first place is to figure out what to clamp down on. The 'being critical' part you referred to it implied in the open mind starting point in Chesterton's quote.

    "Yeah, no duh, you appear to have missed the point. There is no logical route from Creationism to Athesism either…"

    Rubbish -- there's a perfectly rational route from creationism to atheism, assuming only that some specific form of theism is the only live option for a person (which is the case with most people):

    Form of theism X entails creationism.
    Science has shown that creationism is false.
    Hence, science has shown that form of theism X is false.
    X is the only live option for theism as such.
    Hence, theism as such is false.

    Now you cannot trace a similarly logical route, with similarly plausible premises, from Objectivism to Christianity. And let's get real -- we all know sundry former Christians who rejected Christianity when they learned that evolution is a fact; now why did they do that? Because they thought that Christianity entailed creationism, and hence that if evolution were true, then Christianity must be false.

    "'We don't need no steenking science, no data collection, no formulization of results, we can reason that there must be a God!', plus, 'Oh, you want to collect data etc. etc., then fine tuning, good old fine tuning is the reason there must be a God!', and so on."

    Again, complete rubbish. Besides ontological arguments, all arguments for the existence of god appeal to data and experience (public experience, not private experience).

    "How many Christians need to know the ins and outs of metaphysics to know that Jesus died on the Cross to save them? I don't imagine that there's really even one."

    I agree, Floyd. The complex metaphysics is for the proud, intellectually arrogant folks like me who, perhaps because of our pride, tend to lack religious experiences of the sort that makes metaphysics unnecessary (though, of course, there have been brilliant men like Aquinas who were also humble enough to be open to religious experience).

    Oh, and I just watched the debate -- it's hard to deny that it was a big win for Romney!





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  129. Um...

    Form of philosophy X entails objectivism.
    Phillosphy has shown that objectivism is false.

    Oh never mind...

    it's striking how poor the typical responses to these arguments are from your average, well educated atheists (of course, atheists with serious training in logic and philosophy provide much stronger and much more interesting objections to these arguments).

    In all seriousness, since there are stronger and more interesting objections to your argument, by rubbing that in the face of people who, I get the sense, frankly don't care, only illustrates your own very probable mental illness.

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  130. But there's an obvious contradiction here, for you've already closed your mind on the issue of keeping your mind open!
    ----------------
    That's the only thing that it's okay to 'close' it on of course! The idea that you must be open! You should have thought of this.
    There is no contradiction in that, just like there is not any contradiction in hating hatred. Your words are biting you in your ouroborous tail.

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  131. I just watched the debate too, and I agree, it was a big win for Romney. When Romney lied, right at the beginning, and pretended that he has no plans to cut taxes and 'my goodness, who in their right mind would do *that?*' Obama was so floored that he never recovered. Now I'm worried that Obama isn't as good at telling the truth as Romney is at lying. Why, he reminded me of *you,* Eric, he was so smooth.

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  132. I didn't watch the debate because I knew MSNBC would be hashing over it all day. Any lefty pundit, if asked about Obama would press home what Obama said and any right-wing pundit, if asked about Romney would light into Obama!

    Basically, the message is, What's good about Obama? left:- Obama good! What's good about Romney? right:- Obama bad!

    But it's not like this is some kind of earth-shaking revelation, is it?

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  133. Not to put words in Ryan's mouth because he doesn't need me to explain him, but the point I got out of his comment on Objectivism and Christianity (or at least the current garden variety fundamental version of it) is that both are strong ego driven systems that provide an innate sense of superiority without any implied duty to others. Whether it's unbridled self-fulfillment or the notion that being saved is all that matters, either system could have appeal to the self-centered

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  134. Guess they feel that there's nothing wrong with pure greed, and there doesn't seem to be as far as 'business' is concerned, and as long as there's good government in place to mitigate how greedy they are allowed to be.

    But these guys are like a creeping disease, blocking a law here and changing a law there, until there'll be nothing left but the pure greed.

    Under these circumstances, there's no charity, there's just a lingering, "Why should I pay?", dissatisfaction, which is actually over-reaching, "Why should I pay for labour if I can get people to work for next to nothing?"

    Well, you've already got your sex trade and your labour camps, what's next for the land of the free?

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  135. Seems to me that it'd be fairly straightforward to round up the 11 or 12 million illegal aliens, have the law changed to make it an indictable offense, say 10 years, put them in private prisons working for 23 cents an hour!

    Make vagrancy a jailable offence, put the increasing numbers of them in private prisons working for 23 cents an hour.

    If anyone notes that the land of the free has suddenly become a gulag ridden police state, you just say that these people are felons and if they do not work, they will not eat!

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  136. The complex metaphysics is for the proud, intellectually arrogant folks like me who, perhaps because of our pride, tend to lack religious experiences of the sort that makes metaphysics unnecessary (though, of course, there have been brilliant men like Aquinas who were also humble enough to be open to religious experience).
    -------------
    Nah, you were halfway smart. That's why you didn't buy into the loser-level tripe. You waited for the Braised Brisket of the Wise. Now you're hooked, just like you wanted to be. And from my point of view, it's pretty fucking pathetic. Like sort-of like seeing Einstein wearing 'depends' and then you notice, they're leaking...

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  137. (though, of course, there have been brilliant men like Aquinas who were also humble enough to be open to religious experience).
    ------------
    Religious experiences do not happen to the humble, as much as that is the popular story. They happen to those proud enough to believe in their fantasy world, not those humble enough. You cannot see the pride rampant in your faith, but I certainly can. So much PRIDE that it's beyond ugly.

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  138. if asked about Obama would press home what Obama said and any right-wing pundit, if asked about Romney would light into Obama!
    -Pboy
    -----------------
    The right wing pundits for once do not have to only talk about how bad Obama is. If you'd seen the debate, Obama was honestly terrible, and Romney, while totally lying about his very core, totally pretending that he was a democrat all of a sudden, denying his previous positions as if they were science fiction, was INCREDIBLY GOOD at it. He didn't miss a beat, and had more lies prepared for any Obama eventuality. It was like watching a cow led to the slaughter. My pug would have been more effective against Romney, because what Obama needed to do, and didn't, was to piss on Romney's leg.

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  139. This:-"As I've repeatedly tried to explain to you Floyd, the Thomist is not committed to the notion that the universe is finite..."

    Is saying nothing about this:-""Every argument which is trying to tell us that there is an infinite God explaining our finite situation, using the 'fact' that since the universe IS finite, there must be a cause(an infinite cause), has that same problem, the conclusion being the antithesis of the premises."

    No matter how many times you say this:-:-"As I've repeatedly tried to explain to you Floyd, the Thomist is not committed to the notion that the universe is finite..."

    Can you grok that Eric?

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  140. " Romney, while totally lying about his very core, totally pretending that he was a democrat all of a sudden, denying his previous positions as if they were science fiction, was INCREDIBLY GOOD at it. "

    Wow, if that is true then, Faux News et al must be saying that he's a total failure, unless lying through one's teeth is some kind of prerequisite for a Rep. Presidential candidate?

    I had thought that being absent-minded, magical-minded(reducing revenue increases revenue), war-mongering and clearing stumps at the ranch were the main attributes of one of 'them'.

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  141. Not to put words in Ryan's mouth...

    Pliny, that's not what I meant, but now that you mention it, I really should have.

    But what I was getting at, is that one bankrupt belief, when exposed, will often push the believer in the opposite direction.

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  142. Sorry Ryan. I see your point and I think you are right.

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  143. It's not to late to celebrate Blasphemy Day, so sing with me!

    "I love Jesus, I love Jesus, I fuckin' fuckin' fuckin' fuckin' love Jesus!',
    "I love Jesus, I love Jesus, I fuckin' fuckin' fuckin' fuckin' love Jesus!',
    "I love Jesus, I love Jesus, I fuckin' fuckin' fuckin' fuckin' love Jesus!',
    "I love Jesus, I love Jesus, I fuckin' fuckin' fuckin' fuckin' love Jesus!'!

    Second verse, same as the first!

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  144. I b'live three 'fuckin's' in sufficient.

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  145. Anyways, 'The Bible', Eric.

    Just giving it a read over, any critical reader can see, right from page one, there isn't a coherent 'God' "there".

    "God said, "Let there be light!"

    Who was God talking to? Either there was no one else 'there', or, there's some other way to see 'others', other than seeing them.

    Since talking involves organic beings who live in air, we're not 'talking'(heh) mental telepathy here, I can scream away inside my head, "AAAARRRGGGHHH, LET THERE BE LIGHT, FUCKING, FUCKING, FUCK!!!", and no one can hear me, unless I'm 'really talking'.

    You can poo-poo the idea that gods are anthropomorphications of natural forces all you want, but there we have it, god seeing without light, god talking without air, right on page one.

    They're primitive anthropomorphications, child-like, we can 'picture' an old man who sits on a giant throne, ruling angels, creating spacetime, popping his head in and poofing things and parts in here and there according to how the storytellers would have imagined.

    I'm sorry(rhetorically) but I see you as the thought police for Catholicism.

    When a Catholic ditch digger, or cook, or fisherman, studies the Bible, and has an epiphany, 'It's childish bullshit!", you guys are there to re-baffle their minds with the philosophy, the metaphysics, the KCA type reasoning that, just because the Bible is written like that doesn't mean it doesn't contain 'truth', it's just put in such a way that 'primitive man', or 'children' can easily assimilate!

    So God wanted some pets in his equivalent of a goldfish bowl? (of course I'm now just putting it in terms that a 'child-like' Bible-believing person, such as yourself, might understand.)

    Or does that kind of anthropomorphic representation only work one way, when one is reading the 'Truth'. If anyone else describes this 'Truth' using that story-medium, that's 'breaking the rules', just being a sarcastic bastard.

    "We're all in God's equivalent of a goldfish bowl!", is childish stupidity, but, "God said, "Let there be light!", is just a way of conveying the idea of God's power!?

    Seems like a deliberate double standard, a way of hiding the inexplicability of the idea of God, in plain view!

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  146. "...the point I got out of his comment on Objectivism and Christianity (or at least the current garden variety fundamental version of it) is that both are strong ego driven systems that provide an innate sense of superiority without any implied duty to others. Whether it's unbridled self-fulfillment or the notion that being saved is all that matters, either system could have appeal to the self-centered"

    I have no idea where in the world you get the "without any implied duty to others" element from a a religion that demands either as a precondition of salvation (as in synergistic theologies, such as those defended by Catholics) or as a sign of salvation (as in monergistic theologies, such as those defended by Calvinists) an explicit duty to live for others! And the notion that Christian altruism is simply about salvation is patently absurd, though it's unfortunately a common misunderstanding, alas even among many Christians.

    Objectivism is certainly self centered -- deliberately so. But Rand railed against Christianity (following Nietzsche) precisely because it's *not* self centered! Now, of course, there are plenty of self centered Christians, but the whole point of Christianity is to remove the natural focus on the self and to place it on god and on others (remember what Jesus said the two greatest commandments are?).

    "But what I was getting at, is that one bankrupt belief, when exposed, will often push the believer in the opposite direction."

    Really? I don't think that that's nearly as common as merely modifying one's beliefs to correct for the exposed errors while keeping the fundamentals in place. That's what happened to me: I didn't go from Objectivism to Christianity, but from Objectivism to a much more philosophically robust atheism *well before* making the move to agnosticism and ultimately to where I am today. I mean, to think about it in other terms, is a fallen away Republican more likely to become a Democrat or a libertarian? I know countless former Republicans who are now libertarians, and only a handful of former Republicans who are now Democrats. Again, this is anecdotal, but you can see the logic behind it. It's usually a sense of betrayal (as with, say Loftus's move from Christianity to atheism) that forces the pendulum shift you're talking about, and I'd suspect that that's a rara avis compared with a much more epistemically economical reworking of fundamental beliefs.


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  147. So, how do we 'open our minds' to this, and, as Cheeky Chesterton advises, 'close it' around The Bible?

    You guys, past and present seem to want us to suspend our disbelief, spend our childhood and youth just blindly believing, while you tell us, "Nono, it's okay to have an open mind, but not now, not when we're programming you to not notice how the stories are total bullshit!"

    Later, "No, no, not now that you're a tween, no, now is not the time to open that mind, wait 'til all the teachings are understood!"

    Even later, "Now that you're in university and you're learning philosophy, we're going to teach you 'how' to have that 'open mind', and how to explain to everyone else that they're not ready for it."

    Later still, "Now that you've had your open mind and closed it on the TRUTH of The Bible.... What, you don't remember ever really having that option? But you became an atheist and that stuff for a few years, remember?... Yea, of course we told you that you obviously weren't READY for that open mind thing, since you chose, um, WRONG! That's how open-mindedness works in this game, if you choose to not believ, you're not ready, you're only ready when you've closed your mind around the TRUTH!... Yea, I can see how that might seem too late but.. Hey, read C.S.Lewis!!"

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  148. I have no idea where in the world you get the "without any implied duty to others" element

    -----
    From the actions and sermons of Christians. From an exterior perspective your faith looks considerably different.

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  149. I don't know how you can't see that Eric, the Christian Right are for 'small government' and by that they mean, 'less costly government'. They voted G.W. in and either refuse to see how this actually caused the giant deficit in the first place, caused the crisis, the deregulation of the banking industry, no matter who went along with it, so don't pivot to 'it's all Dems. fault, Clinton too!', they voted for the candidate who was willing to short govt. revenue, then refuse to up govt. revenue when starting two wars, exacerbating that deficit, then quietly bailed out banks with no change in ideology, no concession that the lack of regulation caused the problem, again exacerbating the deficit.

    They allow 'job creators' to move manufacturing out of the country towards slave labour, exacerbating the economic crisis and now they're juggling these separate issues, economy, war, deficit, religious issues and banking regulation(or lack thereof) in a smoke-screen, as if it were all one big crisis, and they come to the conclusion that giving the 'job creators' even more money to move more jobs to slave labour areas aka 'good investments', reducing govt. services like secular public education to dumb down the populace EVEN MORE, to reinvent society from a 'haves and have nots' to a 'haves and their help' society.

    These are the people you call 'Christian', a term, which you seem to be admitting is useless as a descriptor of anything at all.

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  150. Yes, they say one thing but do another. They talk about being good to others, but they never tell you how to. They do not EVER try to get their believers to accept the beliefs of others for instance, in order to actually UNDERSTAND them and so EMPATHIZE with them. They say 'love thy neighbor' but leave it at that, so the believers get to decide who qualifies as a neighbor. They do not teach humility; they do not even seem to understand the concept in order TO teach it. They (unawares) teach PRIDE instead. Which has the opposite result, in the real world.

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  151. Normal Definition of "TOLERATE":

    To let others live their lives as you are allowed to live yours.


    Christian definition of "TOLERATE":

    To let others *live.*

    Hey, we don't kill them, so we must be tolerating them!

    (But of course, we'd *like* to kill them, but hey, the law says we can't, so we'll keep on TOLERATING them until that pesky law can be changed....)

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  152. To be honest, most of the really uncaring people in the world that I have met, are predictably Christians. A lot of them wear the cross, so you can tell. When I see a public official, say in state services, wearing the cross, I already have a bad feeling. It's a lot more often than not that they are un-helpful and uncaring and apathetic to your needs, and insist on just doing everything by the book no matter what the circumstances. It's a very rare thing that this goes in the other direction and they're nice people. Very rare. Sure there are churches that teach real empathy, but they're both very rare, and also not accepted as 'good religion' by the mainstream Christians.

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  153. Why is it that most of the studies I'm aware of show that Christians and conservatives give more of their personal income *and* time to charities (including *secular* charities) than atheists and liberals? Now here's my take: Liberals and atheists love to be generous with other people's money, but they're stingy as hell with their own money, and with their own time (speaking generally, of course, in accord with the stats -- I'm sure that there are specific liberals/atheists who give more than specific conservatives/Christians). And, interestingly, the percentage of giving in conservative homes is larger than that in liberal homes *even when* the conservative home earns *less*! Come on, you guys are all about the evidence, right? Oh, except when it contradicts your preconceived notions!

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  154. They give money to assuage their consciences because they live uncaring lives and so they think that giving charity (officially encouraged to save one's soul) will get them into Heaven. It's a selfish giving. In other words, the christians you see actually working with the poor and the sick, are not the christians I am talking about... the average christians that give only money and not their time, that give money so they don't have to LOOK at the poor, don't have to KNOW their plight, are the ones that I refer to. The vast majority, in other words. They give not out of humility, but out of PRIDE. And personal interest, as in, going to Heaven. Not out of love.

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  155. Also, a lot of christian giving to "charity" is giving to their church or to an affiliated Christian organization.

    You don't see these kinds of christians, giving to destitute Muslims in other words.

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  156. So Christians and conservatives give because of pride...why don't liberals and atheists tend to give much? Oh, it must be because they fear becoming proud like those nasty Christians! That's why they prefer to feel good by supporting policies that don't affect them directly, but rather tax those who make more than they do to make the money to help the poor! OK, I get it now...

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  157. They give to charity so they do not *have to* care.

    For instance, do they understand the poor and feel for them, or is the giving to make themselves feel better?

    From what I've seen, it's usually very much the latter. The lady wearing the cross that is judging me as unworthy to help, does not feel anything for me. If she did, she would act in a different manner. Actions and not words, or money, is what I speak of here. And by actions, I first and foremost include them learning to empathize with others who are not like them. To love all others, not only those they feel comfortable with. That's the rub, right there.

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  158. Did I say that all atheists or secular people are empathetic to all others? No. Many are not. Many are not because of the fact that even though they are secular, they were brought up in this christian culture and even in rebelling against the faith, did not shed the attitudes it instills. Self-interest and a lack of empathy.

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  159. "Did I say that all atheists or secular people are empathetic to all others? No. Many are not. Many are not because of the fact that even though they are secular, they were brought up in this christian culture and even in rebelling against the faith, did not shed the attitudes it instills. Self-interest and a lack of empathy."

    Now here's an interesting contradiction -- you and I, Brian, can live in the same small state, and yet simultaneously in completely different universes!

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  160. I never said that you live in the same universe as me. Quite the contrary, I have been trying to get YOU to see that.

    I live in the REAL one, by the way. What's up with YOURS?

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  161. Where are all the christians extending their hands in friendship to American Muslims?

    There are a few, you know. There are a few that see the facts about Jesus, that he totally stressed genuine empathy, learning to place yourself in the shoes of others.

    But only a very few.

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  162. Most christians are voting Republican. Certainly not all, but one hell of a lot of them. And that right there is a telling point, because republicans barely even pretend to care about others... they even make statements to the contrary, like Romney with his 47 percent. No genuinely empathetic and humble person could consider voting for those uncaring and even draconian policies. So if Christians were what you like to think they are, Romney and his evil ilk would be at less than twenty percent right now.

    No, you can say what you please. I have direct observations here. A lifetime of them.

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  163. Hay, maybe a few are empathetic, but they are too brainwashed to not vote as they're told. Same difference to me.

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  164. A man that gives ten or twenty percent of his perhaps considerable income to charities, and then votes to eliminate medicare and social security, is not an empathetic or caring man at all. He's a selfish prick that gives to make himself feel good.

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  165. Brian, have you ever even considered the possibility that Republicans can care about people *without* agreeing with *you* about how best to help them? Are you aware of the fact that conservatives tend to earn less, on average, than liberals, and hence, if your way -- trickle down government (a stroke of genius on the part of Romney's camp, by the way) -- were the only way to help the poor, they'd be against the only way to help themselves?

    Now Brian, I can look at Democrats and liberals the same way I see atheists and agnostics -- sincere, intelligent folks who, in my judgment, are simply wrong. You, on the other hand, view Republicans and conservatives in the same way you view Christians -- they're not just wrong, but they're evil.

    No think about this, Brian -- what is it about *you* that leads you consistently to judge those who disagree with you about the big issues of politics and religion as morally contemptible? I'll tell you the answer, Brian, even though you're not going to like it -- it's your *pride*. Only a person proud to the extreme could fail to consider the possibility that someone could sincerely disagree with him about the big issues without being morally reprehensible. This is a pattern with you, Brian; I suggest you think long and hard about this.

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  166. Brian, have you ever even considered the possibility that Republicans can care about people *without* agreeing with *you* about how best to help them?
    ------------------------
    Their budget shows the truth. Their rabid desire to destroy the social safety nets. Not to even mention their ridiculous overt hatred of anybody not like them, as expressed in their legislature, both attempted and enacted.

    You sir, are a Decepticon. Jesus would spurn you, and if you *are* right about God, he will have the chance to do so someday, and it will totally shock you that you won't be able to argue your way out of it. I find myself almost wishing.... but that's not a nice thing to do...

    And frankly I could care less what other rationalizations you care to throw at me. I mean heck, I already know you and how you operate. In all your thoughts and words..... you know the rest.

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  167. what is it about *you* that leads you consistently to judge those who disagree with you about the big issues of politics and religion as morally contemptible?
    ------------------
    My being able to see reality. My being able to see that that their direction is not the moral one because it is not the humble, loving one. It is not the way of empathy. It is the way of pretending to empathy to make one's self sound better, but really having no fucking clue what real empathy is, and how it's linked to morality. As you have admitted, the Christian system is not based on empathy and humility.

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  168. It may be based on trying to force people to have empathy and humility.... this you mistake as being based on it no doubt... but the coercion tends to produce diametrically opposite results.

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  169. You cannot teach empathy with coercive techniques. You must need use your own empathy to teach it to your child. You teach the child to put themselves in the position of others. To imagine what the other person is FEELING, to imagine how your actions made them FEEL. You teach them to feel the pain of others as their own.
    This is how one shows love for others, by taking the trouble to learn about the others and putting yourself in their position. You walk a mile in their shoes.

    This is why Christians hate Sesame Street. To them, real empathy, is 'communism!

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  170. "that most of the studies I'm aware of show".. that priests are a bunch of kiddy diddlers!

    I'm sorry, do I imagine hearing you talking 'specifics'? Who 'grants' these conservatives as 'more generous'(is it?), the Heritage Foundation?, Peter Popoff?, Ted Haggart?

    The right came out and called polls skewed since they're asking the general public, HAH! How skewed is a poll where the pollsters are standing, say, outside a church?

    How much govt. money, that 'other peoples' money' goes towards 'the church'?

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  171. It's almost a guarantee that if a State is 'red', it's recieving more Federal money, that 'other peoples' money' than it's being Federally taxed!

    Seems to me that the majority of Republicans want to imagine that THEY are the generous ones, just like you want to imagine that, while actually being a bunch of cheapskates, you know the ones, they'll give a waitress a 'tip' of a phony bill with 'Jesus saves!' on it!

    Honestly, I get the feeling that they're just miffed that ALL Federal allocations don't go to them since they're so FUCKING generous at their local church, for that pastor or new roof, or the pastor's fucking holiday!

    If Christians are so fucking generous, why is all that money tied up in land, cathedrals, gold and so on, that's not 'generousity', that's fucking greed!

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  172. Yes, Brian, you're the caring and the generous one, you who vote to take the money of others and spend it on the poor in the most inefficient ways imaginable, but who (if you're representative of those liberals and atheists in the studies) give little of your own time and money to help them. (Of course, you conveniently neglect the fact that nearly all conservatives support many social safety nets -- I sure do -- on the grounds that since we all benefit from the growth of a dynamic economy, we all have a duty to help those who are harmed by its dynamism, and the government does have a part to play in providing that aid.)

    And I, who can admit that your atheistic and political views are sincere and well meaning, am the prideful one, while you, who labels everyone who disagrees with you as necessarily evil, are the humble one.

    Man, you have everything so ass backwards it's a friggin' joke.

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  173. Floyd, you're a Canadian, so learn your place and let the Americans talk American politics. ;)

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  174. LMAO, 'learn my place'.

    Kiss my Royal Scottish Arsehole, you twat, is that the best you have in defence of your church's riches, all that 'charity' we can look at? I'm so sure that helps the poor, so fucking sure!

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  175. Floyd, you don't understand the first thing about the Church's riches, or about the Church itself -- or about American politics. So keep your uninformed Canadian musings on real politics to yourself, and let the exceptional Americans talk about exceptional American politics. (Don't blame us if Canadian politics is somewhere between golf and bowling with respect to how interesting it is. We all know that you Canadians suffer from some serious penis envy when you compare yourselves to a real nation like the United States of America.)

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  176. Doesn't matter if I'm in Scotland, Canada or anywhere really, now does it? There's a shitload of money that's been collected as charity and put to building fucking cathedrals. There's Catholic kiddy-diddlers EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE!

    So what if I don't get to vote, it's not as if you guys are serious about being a democracy anyways, it's not as if you guys really believe in free enterprise, it's just that you want things rigged in your favour! Shit, it's not as though it's your land, you just stole it, 'in the name of the LORD!', hah!

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  177. "So what if I don't get to vote, it's not as if you guys are serious about being a democracy anyways"

    Shows how much you know! Perhaps we're not serious about being a democracy, Floyd, because, um, we're *not* a democracy. Read Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention. Read the Federalist Papers (and the Anti-Federalist Papers). Read the letters of Adams and Jefferson. Read Franklin. They all had one thing in common, Floyd -- they all distrusted democracy! See, Floyd, these men (well, most of them) all had classical educations, and *every* classical author (excepting maybe one work) is highly critical of democracy. That's why we in the U.S. have a republic, Floyd, not a democracy. Do you even know the difference between the two?

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  178. Hey, Eric, you may well be right, I'm not about to read all that shit.

    But if you ARE right, then all that bullshit, spouted by all your politicians, well, you just called them all out on their crap!

    Good for you Eric, fucking liars, the whole rotten lying bunch of them!

    Well done!

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  179. How exactly does this make anything I said about your so-called 'generousity', chipping in for a new fucking church and so on, any 'better', any more, you know, 'charitable'?

    How much does the govt. spend on your church? You're our 'man of facts' here, what, you no likee facts which make you look like an asshole?

    I don't blame you, I wouldn't either.

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  180. "We all know that you Canadians suffer from some serious penis envy when you compare yourselves to a real nation like the United States of America.)"

    Sure, just like 'we all know' how generous Christians are, for their church, for the poor, not so much.

    LOL

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  181. Perhaps you imagine I'm not really a Scot, that I'm of Scottish descent and I'm throwing 'my country' Canada, under the bus to hide behind my anscestry?

    You can get that out of your head right now, I think that 99 out of a 100 Scotsmen are total dicks too. So that'd make 99 out of 100, just about anyone at all, hey, maybe even more than that.

    You can't impress me with the boys and their toys, fucking ESPECIALLY if you're telling me that you're not even and never have been a democracy! You'all are just a bunch of money-worshippers!

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  182. The America Eric believes in, is not a democracy.

    Enough said, about many subjects.

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  183. And I, who can admit that your atheistic and political views are sincere and well meaning, am the prideful one, while you, who labels everyone who disagrees with you as necessarily evil, are the humble one.
    ---------------
    Nice words. However, I have had many serious disagreements with Pboy and I never called him prideful. You disagree about the very nature of truth and reality, and you're just wrong, and since you insist, you demand, that you are right, you then become evil, due to your pride which prevents you from seeing reality. Your good is my evil, your love my hatred. You live in a reversed reality, and since it does not correspond to testable, consensual reality, you lose. Your version requires blind belief, at least that one particle. Mine does not.

    So no, it's only yoooooooouuuuu...... Your philosophy is morally bankrupt, and your skirt is showing.

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  184. George Will: "Barack Obama, knight of the peevish countenance, illustrated William F. Buckley’s axiom that **liberals who celebrate tolerance of other views always seem amazed that there are other views**."

    Wow, does that fit well here!

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  185. "and since you insist, you demand, that you are right, you then become evil"

    Do I insist and demand that I'm right, or do I argue for my position? And haven't you chided me for conceding that I could be wrong? You're all over the place, Brian.

    "You live in a reversed reality, and since it does not correspond to testable, consensual reality, you lose. Your version requires blind belief, at least that one particle. Mine does not."

    Bollocks! Is your 'version' one you've reasoned your way to? If it isn't, then it's blind in itself, but even if it is, then you *have* to admit that you can't prove all of your premises or assumptions: you have to accept at least one of them on grounds that are epistemically equivalent to what you call my 'one particle' of belief. And I wonder, could you tell me what my 'one particle of blind belief' is?

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  186. "The America Eric believes in, is not a democracy.
    Enough said, about many subjects."

    Indeed, though this remark of yours unintentionally confirms what I've been saying about the uninformed nature of many comments on this blog!

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  187. I can only imagine that when Eric hears stuff like G.W.Bush telling us that he wants to spread democracy to the Middle East, Eric knows that it's a big lie.

    Bush et al are just saying this to fool the audience, the World-wide audience by the way, so, "STFU Canadians!", means nothing, to fool the audience who keep being fooled by previous high ranking American officials who seem to keep insisting that the USA is a democracy!

    Apparently the USA didn't have a leg to stand on, had no moral grounds whatsoever for the Cold War, other than, if we win, you're 'free' now, if we lose, you're not.

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  188. A little catching up...

    I think the "objection to belief in God" thingy is a red herring; I, an atheist, don't object to belief in god, I just don't believe.

    About the "things we don't know that we don't know" being potentially dangerous, I can think of a few examples. When the first atomic bombs had not yet been test-fired, some scientists hypothesized that the extreme temperatures generated in the fireball could set the atmosphere on fire. Recently, there was concern that high-energy physics experiments designed to expose (among other things) the Higgs boson could potentially create a miniature black hole.

    I think the 'QN/QL' argument is a completely bogus attempt to muddy the waters by introducing manufactured distinctions. I've also said before that I don't consider Aquinas (with his reliance on Aristotle) to be authoritative regarding metaphysics, and gave my reasons elsewhere (I think it was "The Pastor Warren Dilemma" thread), so this whole 'necessary/contingent being' dichotomy is likewise called into question (Eric, I know you'll object to this--you have to if you wish to hold on to your false theology).

    Oh yeah... it's great to see Cogs contributing again. :o)

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  189. "I think the "objection to belief in God" thingy is a red herring; I, an atheist, don't object to belief in god, I just don't believe."

    Do you have a *reason* for your lack of belief, even if it's only "there's no reason to believe"? If so, then you have an objection to belief in god. If you don't believe for no reason, then your lack of belief is non-rational. There's no red herring there, Ed.

    (And, as I've said before, the "atheism is just a lack of belief in god" thing is a bunch of BS, for it entails that the proposition, "atheism is true" is meaningless. Is that proposition meaningless, Ed?)

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  190. "I think the 'QN/QL' argument is a completely bogus attempt to muddy the waters by introducing manufactured distinctions."

    So he says without presenting any reasons for this conclusion...typical superficial remarks.

    "Eric, I know you'll object to this--you have to if you wish to hold on to your false theology"

    But Ed, you're only objecting because you want to hold on to your false rejection of my theology? (Wow, it's much easier doing things your way! Now I see why you guys prefer to say simple minded things like this rather than engaging in the hard work of dealing with the arguments!)

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  191. **liberals who celebrate tolerance of other views always seem amazed that there are other views**.
    ----------------------------
    We're always amazed when you (conservatives) mistake your dark delusions, for your views. We celebrate non-evil views no matter what they are... just not yours, when you surprise us with your lack of humanity.

    We should be used to it by now, but you can't get used to that much malice and heartlessness. You just can't.

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  192. If you were our children, we'd celebrate such views (as you have) with you as 'good job being creative there, kiddo!' and then gently but firmly teach you the difference between right and wrong and how to feel the pain of other people, gently correcting you toward eventual understanding of how not to hurt others, and eventually you'd understand morality and have views that aren't ignorant of others pain.

    Unfortunately, you're not little kids, you're adults that can even vote... somehow your parents didn't ever, ever do that... they apparently encouraged such views, instead... with disastrous results in the real world.

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  193. You see, he said we 'celebrate TOLERANCE for others views' so naturally we do not celebrate it when others views are utterly intolerant. We try to show them their intolerance so they can see it, but they refuse to and revel in it instead. This is plainly consistent, but your side in its ignorance and intolerance, can't make any sense of it!

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