Friday, September 21, 2012

More room to type

More room to type... nothing new...  I just lost track of the posts on the old one and they exceeded 200 so I'm doing this for your convenience.

The previous post went over 210 comments, so don't forget to hit the 'load more' button near the bottom of that page to read the extra 10+ comments.  

203 comments:

  1. I'd just like to reiterate my last two comments.

    I'm not getting how KCA proponents/supporters can reasonably split a cause into 'material cause' and 'efficient cause'.

    Let's use the example of marble as the material cause of the statue of David and Michelangelo as the efficient cause.

    But Michelangelo was a material being, who used material objects, chisel, hammer, some kind of sanding/polishing tool, who expended energy, a form of matter(wonder what Aristotle would have thought of that?), which he obtained from the food, which ultimately can be traced to energy from the Sun.

    Seems to me that the efficient cause thing is a way of not describing the process which is itself a series of material causes, but instead casting it as an immaterial cause, separate from 'the material cause'.

    But if we're not trying to imagine that great thinkers through time, even though they didn't understand the relationship of energy to mass, the equivalence of energy to mass, not trying to imagine that their reasoning was flawed on this modern understanding that E = MC^2, seeing a process as half the cause, non-material, then surely we can see that the reasoning of premise one of the KCA is flawed.

    I understand that you can try to overrule this by saying Craig's reasoning says nothing about material, only about things 'beginning to exist', but Craig needs to give us examples which don't equivocate between material things and immaterial things, such as processes, the steps(causes) of which are material.

    Michelangelo and his statue of David, A furniture maker and his chair, don't cut it. They may well have sounded reasonable at the time of Aristotle and Aquinas, but not post-Einstein.

    Leaving 'things beginning to exist' as vague as possible but hinting that there is an immaterial cause partly involved, the details of which we leave to the philosopher who is ignoring the equivalence of energy and matter, makes Craig, at the very least 'sound' disingenuous.

    To say, "But there's a whole raft of metaphysics that Craig can't cover here!", doesn't cut it if his examples don't hold water, and the statue and chair examples definitely do not.

    ....................................

    Oh dear, it just came to me that the KCA is a design argument in disguise! What with the syllogism pointing away to 'existing' and old ideas about immaterial causes separate from material causes, a series of material causes cast as a process, an immaterial cause, this is a distraction from the main idea, that things are designed, hence the examples, a design is an immaterial concept!

    But of course Craig knows this, right? The design of the chair and the statue are the only parts of the causes which we might say are immaterial, but we aren't allowed to imagine it's just another design argument.

    So Eric the philosophy student, who will not come straight out and say such things, which ought to be obvious to a student of philosophy, needs to maintain the disguise, never suggesting that 'efficient cause' = = 'design'.

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  2. http://www.skepticblogs.com/tippling/2012/09/10/the-kalam-cosmological-argument-and-william-lane-craig-1/

    John feels you might add something to his critisim of WLC's KCA!

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  3. If Michaelangelo "created" the statue of David or whatever, how is that significantly different from an ape chewing the branches off a twig in order to create a tool to get to some tasty termites? I see a lot more similarities than differences. Is the 'termite-tool' a creation? If David is, then so must be the termite tool.

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  4. I think the problem here is that Eric believes that "Efficient Cause" is a real thing. The phrase is nonsense. When you know enough about the science, it disappears. All "causes" imply both 'efficient' and 'material' causes... An ionic bond is caused "materially" by the presence of NA+ and CL- ions in proximity with appropriate conditions being present, and 'efficiently' by the magnetic-type attraction between the polarities. That force is the 'efficient' part. But they're really the same thing.

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  5. A species of wasp learns to use a pebble to tamp down mud for it's nest. The pebble is not fashioned as the ape's stick is, but still it is repurposed in similar manner. The artist has an imagination and desires that evolved as such within our species, and so he or she repurposes a big hunk of marble to look like a human male, which form appeals to us human males and females as inspiring emotions due to relating to it and the symmetry of it's form and an appreciation of the difficulty of sculpting it. An ape repurposes a twig and shapes it to meet his desire for a tool to get food. A wasp repurposes a pebble, this time without changing it, but still as a tool to satisfy it's desire. We are more complex than apes or wasps so our repurposing can be much more detailed and abstract, but it's the same fucking thing. Repurposing existing matter to satisfy a desire.

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  6. I couldn't find 'material cause' as such in dictionary.com, but I did find 'efficient cause' and it says basically that it's the cause of an effect, not much more... it's "as compared with" 'final cause' which is defined as basically the fucking 'effect' or the end product. Such bullshit.

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  7. Leave it to philosophers to feel they need a term for 'effect' that has the word 'cause' in it.

    No, they're not trying to confuse, no way!

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  8. Seems to me that arguments for God drivel back to a design model. Fine tuning, why HE must have designed this tiny part of the universe for life! KCA, it's design. The 'no greater being' argument, reverse design, the philosophers are designing God! LOL

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  9. Floyd, no, it's not the case that efficient causes = design. If thw wind at the beach blows away your bag of potato chips, it's the efficient cause of the movement of the bag, and it wasn't designed.

    And the notion that we can distinguish efficient causes from material causes goes back to Aristotle, Brian. In the future, don't go to dictionary.com to learn about these things; go to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy or to some other academic source.

    Btw Floyd, I left a couple of comments at Pearce's blog.

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    Replies
    1. "If thw wind at the beach blows away your bag of potato chips, it's the efficient cause of the movement of the bag, and it wasn't designed."

      Not a single proponent of the KCA is implying that the cause of the universe is something like the wind now Eric, not one!

      The wind isn't some magical process, you know this. It's a physical process, a material cause.

      "And the notion that we can distinguish efficient causes from material causes goes back to Aristotle.."

      Y'see you must have skipped over the part where I was saying that Aristotle would have been surprised to learn that energy is equivalent to mass, making his 'efficient cause' distinction, total bullshit!

      "Btw Floyd, I left a couple of comments at Pearce's blog."

      Good for you Eric, I'm sure you explained to him how his Ph.d in Philosophy is not worth the paper it's written on since he doesn't agree with you or Craig!

      "You don't understand realism! Abstract notions are independently existing entities! All the smartest people say so!"

      Pfft!

      What I'm saying is that the KCA reduces to a design argument since that's the only 'part' of a so-called 'efficient cause' that's immaterial.

      Or are you denying that energy is equivalent to energy?

      Are you denying that Michelangelo was a material being?

      Are you trying to hedge between 'material' and 'the process Michelangelo used', as a whole, compared to the material steps he used, chipping away all the parts that weren't the statue?

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  10. "Or are you denying that energy is equivalent to energy?"

    I'm sure you could if you felt it necessary, but of course I meant to ask if you were denying that energy is equivalent to mass!

    I can just 'picture' you claiming how ignorant and uneducated I am since I don't realise that energy ISN'T equivalent to energy though!!!

    LOL

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  11. This is typical bullshit from you Eric. Are we going to spend several 200 comment segments before you will agree that the notion of efficient cause, while reasonable in Aristotle's day, is a blankie that scholastic philosophers ought to be too old to be hanging on to?

    This seems to me to be the equivalent of denying Conservation of Energy and the equivalence of energy and mass.

    Let's all hark back to 322 BCE, that's when 'efficient cause' was the very best explanation of 'shit happens'!

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  12. Plus, Eric, the wind redesigned the layout of the bag of chips! Of course the wind had no 'intention' of such, so what?

    The beach itself seems to be a design feature along some shores, but it's just the action of the tides having no intention at all, but so what?

    The KCA is too alluding to the notion that the universe was designed, of course it is!

    It is because you are not alluding to the notion that the universe came to be on account of some unintentional process with a design-like(or redesign-like) outcome.

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  13. So, are you going to stick with your 'efficient cause', hold your breath and stamp your feet until your face goes blue, or what?

    Otherwise I'm thinking the KCA is circling the drain on it's way down the dirt-chute!

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  14. This is typical bullshit from you Eric. Are we going to spend several 200 comment segments before you will agree that the notion of efficient cause, while reasonable in Aristotle's day, is a blankie that scholastic philosophers ought to be too old to be hanging on to?
    --------------
    I get the impression that you can go on for ten thousand posts and it won't be resolved because he can't allow it to be. For Eric these things are, after all, beliefs and not facts, we must recall. So it's not like we're arguing with a rational person; more like a fundy in that regard... these are Eric's beliefs and not his knowledge we're dealing with here.
    It's getting to the point though, where he's sounding more like a little kid than a philosopher, saying 'did not!' or 'does not!' to everything thrown at him.

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  15. "Not a single proponent of the KCA is implying that the cause of the universe is something like the wind now Eric, not one!"

    Stop being absurd, Floyd. If you can't follow a simple line of reasoning, stop wasting my time.

    "Y'see you must have skipped over the part where I was saying that Aristotle would have been surprised to learn that energy is equivalent to mass, making his 'efficient cause' distinction, total bullshit!"

    Y'see you must have skipped over the part of that post that indicated that that comment was addressed to Brian, not to you.

    And I'd suggest (yet again) that you try *researching* these issues *before* arrogantly spewing your ignorant nonsense. Again, stop wasting my time.

    "Good for you Eric, I'm sure you explained to him how his Ph.d in Philosophy is not worth the paper it's written on since he doesn't agree with you or Craig!"

    From what I understand, he doesn't have a PhD in philosophy; rather, he either is working on or has his master's in philosophy. But that's not important (though it does showcase your consistent lack of attention to detail), since I know of many outstanding philosophers with PhDs who disagree with me and Craig (and I myself disagree with Craig on many issues). Keep in mind, my position isn't that the KCA is an obviously successful argument; rather, it's that it's a decent argument, though far from one of my favorites, that atheists like you routinely make a complete mess of as you attempt to critique it. At least Pearce understands the argument, and understands basic logic.

    "What I'm saying is that the KCA reduces to a design argument since that's the only 'part' of a so-called 'efficient cause' that's immaterial."

    I don't think you understand what a design argument is, Floyd. No big surprise there. No, the KCA cannot be reduced to a design argument, even if the only candidate for an immaterial efficient cause is some sort of mind. Design arguments use premises with teleological implications, Floyd; that's kinda what makes them design arguments. The KCA is a cosmological argument -- it's premises appeal to causation vis-a-vis the universe.

    I know that you'll insist on belaboring this point, but don't expect me to respond further to it. I'm bored with this never-ending process of attempting to educate someone who's manifest aversion to learning anything at all is patently incorrigible.

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  16. Eric throws people off... like he used to do me... he throws people off because he sounds logical and reasonable at first. The only clues you get are that no matter what point you make he always comes back with complicated and convoluted replies to it and never the simple truth about anything. So one is tempted to argue with him, convinced that since he sounds logical one can appeal to logic and he must see the truth of it when you do. Not so. He's not looking for a resolution to the argument. He's looking to win by attrition. Wear us down rather than answer to facts. What he seems to be to me, is a person that has adopted the trappings of logic and reason as a ploy to peddle religious beliefs and not facts. They are his tools, not his characteristics. And he's learned them in such a way that he can always retreat back into verbal mazes designed to give him cover. Appeals to his logic are ridiculous; his logic is subservient to his cause, and not the other way around.

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  17. ROFL Here's Pearce in response to Floyd on one of the Craig threads he directed me to:

    "Hey mate!
    Think the rum may have got the better of you. Not sure I get you…"

    Man, does that sound familiar! LOL

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  18. The KCA is a cosmological argument -- it's premises appeal to causation vis-a-vis the universe.
    ...taken seriously by nobody who is not a believer already in your religion.
    You are the one wasting OUR time here. We tolerate YOU...

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  19. Anything in your religion that we 'atheists' make a mess of while trying to critique it, was likely a mess to begin with and the theists are just so insulted at us unbelievers not believing it that they insist we're to blame.
    You guys have been doing this crap and saying this crap for hundreds of years with no serious attention in the world. Scientists are not talking about the KCA. They have moved on from superstition and mythology. You guys, not so much... stuck in a sad rut where you're so convinced that your pretty words mean something that you've become sad, little people.

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  20. Man, does that sound familiar! LOL
    ------------
    A theist getting snotty? Sure does! Hey, have a heart, that's all they've got left.

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  21. "So one is tempted to argue with him, convinced that since he sounds logical one can appeal to logic and he must see the truth of it when you do. Not so. He's not looking for a resolution to the argument."

    Brian, there are plenty of arguments for god's existence that I think are horrible (e.g. ID arguments, presuppositional arguments, some versions of the ontological argument, and so on), so it's not the case that I'm just looking to wow anyone with seasoned sophistry. If that were the case, I'd be using he presuppositional approach. I defend arguments that I honestly think are good arguments, that's all. I may be mistaken, but I'm going to have to be shown that I am by someone who actually understands the argument I'm defending, who understands how arguments work, and who understands (at least) basic logic.

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  22. But you chose to argue using a set of arcane terminology that conveniently causes most of your audience to not be familiar with your terms, and you absolutely refuse to talk without retreating to them. When we look them up or use the definitions of them that we're familiar with, you call foul even though you have no real answer to them. You just tell us how sadly mistaken we all are and that we need to do some homework assignment that you pull out of your ass.
    You run a game on us, pure and simple. That's the truth. No matter what you try to spin at us to prove otherwise, it's obvious from how very long we've all known you and your arguments.

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  23. We point out the flaws in your reasoning, but you refuse to see them and instead revert to the terminology, claiming that we can't understand you. No. We understand you just fine; you're not incomprehensible, you're just wrong.

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  24. I would add that if you're so smart, you'd long ago have been capable of putting your arguments in the same idiom that we employ. You're not really smart enough for that, so we instead get a bunch of silliness; smoke and mirrors.

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  25. Or rather, maybe it's not that you're not smart enough to simplify your philosophy for us; more likely you fully realize that if you put it in clear terms we can and will clearly defeat it!

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  26. I may be mistaken, but I'm going to have to be shown that I am by someone who actually understands the argument I'm defending, who understands how arguments work, and who understands (at least) basic logic.
    -------------------
    I find that those who truly believe that they are right, like you do, rather than think they are right, will ignore all evidence to the contrary when it is shown to them regardless of its import. I personally have seen you do this on many occasions. So I am quite certain that if another philosopher came along and presented you with the proof that you say you require, you would not accept it and would insist that you were still right. In fact we see you do this all the time here.
    And the funny thing is, the people that do that, aren't aware of it, aren't aware of their huge bias, so telling you about it as I am here, is not going to make you see it either. You're locked into that old vicious circle of your faith. The 'fact-free zone.'

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  27. " At least Pearce understands the argument, and understands basic logic."

    Yea, well you must have missed the part where Pearce says that the argument is circular then?

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  28. ""Hey mate!
    Think the rum may have got the better of you. Not sure I get you…""

    This in response to me telling him I had some rum. (shrug)

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  29. "I know that you'll insist on belaboring this point, but don't expect me to respond further to it."

    Victory is mine! Eric admits that Pearce's argument is good, that the KCA is circular.

    Eric avoids, no, deliberately avoids my commentary, babyishly telling me that 'he wasn't talking to me when he was talking about Aristotle's ancient division of cause!

    Peeling back the physical reasons for something happening, the only thing that's left in Craig's examples, which isn't physical/material is DESIGN!

    I blew Eric's 'pack o' chips blown across the beach' dodge out of the water!

    Wait though, the KCA 'is' a Cosmological argument, why it must be, since it says so, right?

    But I said that it's a hidden 'design argument', designed to look like an argument about general cause, split into two types of causes, one discarded, and one misrepresented.

    Hang onto that blankie Eric! Whatever makes you feel smart, I suppose!

    Hah!

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  30. I defend arguments that I honestly think are good arguments

    Eric, your problem is you think arguments are enough. There are lots of good arguments, and some of them are even for holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracy, Obama's fake birth certificate, creationism, flat earth, and on and on and on...

    Arguments are not enough, and now I think I get why Pliny doesn't engage you.

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  31. "Victory is mine! Eric admits that Pearce's argument is good, that the KCA is circular."

    Floyd, your argument is hardly Pearce's argument. Wow, you don't even understand his argument!

    "Eric, your problem is you think arguments are enough. There are lots of good arguments, and some of them are even for holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracy, Obama's fake birth certificate, creationism, flat earth, and on and on and on..."

    Ryan, we must mean something very different when we use the term 'argument.' I'm using it in the standard way, viz. to refer to reasons logically entailing or implying a conclusion. And I evaluate arguments in the standard way, viz. in terms of logical principles and in terms of analyzing the truth of the premises. Now if you mean something else by the term, perhaps you can clarify that for me. As it is, I fail to see how any conclusion Pliny defends that's not self evident can be defended in any other way. I suspect that you're confused about 'evidence.' All evidence is is meaningless out of context, and what you do when you put it in context as evidence, i.e. to support a conclusion, is construct an argument. But again, if you have something else in mind -- and you must -- then please, let me know.

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  32. I suspect that you're confused about 'evidence.'

    No.

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  33. "Floyd, your argument is hardly Pearce's argument."

    Where did I say that it was Eric?

    " Wow, you don't even understand his argument!"

    Gratuitous snark. Follow my logic here, Eric:-

    I say that the KCA is circular.

    You say that it isn't.

    John Pearce says that the KCA is circular.

    You say you think Pearce has made a good argument.

    Therefore you are saying that I am wrong that the KCA is circular but Pearce is right for saying that the KCA is circular!

    Your the logician magician here, right?

    Now, now, you can tell me that energy is definitely not equivalent to energy, right? That surely must follow that same kind of logic!

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  34. "I say that the KCA is circular."

    Right.

    "You say that it isn't."

    Right.

    "John Pearce says that the KCA is circular."

    Right.

    "You say you think Pearce has made a good argument."

    No, I said that he understands the KCA and that he understands logic. I don't think that his argument is any good.

    "Therefore you are saying that I am wrong that the KCA is circular but Pearce is right for saying that the KCA is circular!"

    Again, this is ridiculous. (The rum?) Here's the difference: your argument for the circularity of the KCA is premised on all sorts of misunderstandings, both about the KCA itself, and about how arguments work. Pearce's argument for the circularity of the KCA is premised on a particular take on causality that, if taken seriously, would render all science impossible. So his argument fails not because he doesn't understand the argument, or because he doesn't understand logic, but because his conception of causality is untenable. The two cases are very different, Floyd.

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  35. "Again, this is ridiculous. (The rum?)"

    This from a guy who believes an argument circa 300 B.C.

    Oh wait, you weren't talking to me about Aristotle, were you? Funny that, maybe it's the rum, but I could have sworn that I wasn't talking to you. Bit of a double standard there, what?

    I'm being too nice, that's rank hypocrisy, isn't it?

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  36. Ryan, I would still like to hear just how you think that my take on what an argument is differs from the way in which Pliny would support a conclusion.

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  37. I suspect that you're going to tell me that the KCA isn't from before the Common Era, but I'm obviously talking about the efficient cause/material cause split which is obviously bogus!

    I'd suggest you go back to the 12th. Century or whenever it is you imagine you'd feel most comfortable, sadly that's out of the question, so you'll just have to pretend!

    Don't expect the rest of us to too though.

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  38. " I would still like to hear just how you think that my take on what an argument is differs from the way in which Pliny would support a conclusion."

    Likely you don't think that Pliny is an arrogant, cavilling asshole! But maybe that's the rum talking, what do you think, you arrogant, cavilling asshole?

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  39. I mean, "Hem-hem, when the wind blows a bag of chips around.. "

    WTF? Maybe you NEED a fucking shot of rum, you daft cunt.

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  40. "WTF? Maybe you NEED a fucking shot of rum, you daft cunt."

    You might be right about that!

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  41. For me a shot of rum would likely sober me up right now.

    I'm in the process of getting hammered tonight. My mom passed away last night and I have a lot of things to drink to forget.

    Cheerful, huh? Bet that put a damper on things. Sorry to be such a drag, I'm actually dealing with it more or less in an okay manner, so have no fear...

    It takes a fuckton to get me hammered, too. I'm like, immune to alcohol. I can do ten shots of hundred proof vodka and, well, type my thoughts on a blog for instance.... I'm told that I was once legendary... didn't know. Same with the mary jane, I take forever to even feel it sometimes. The Salvia, well, that's a different animal; one doesn't develop a resistance to a thing like that. One can however learn to resist the power of it if one practices.

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  42. I'm sorry to hear about your Ma, Brian!

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  43. Yeah, thanks. It's weird... we've not been very close in the last few years.... a lot of old baggage.... but it's still a hard thing to deal with I guess. It's a weird thing, like I don't feel like I'll miss her that much but I miss my childhood that she reminded me of I guess... the good times... My dad died in '84 so that's it. I have an uncle, mom's brother, kind of a dick though. So the past is in the past.

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  44. Yea, still, must be a lot of mixed feelings.

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  45. Yep. Sure are.

    Anyhow, Eric, I'd think if you had anything to convince us of, after all these years you'd have managed to do it. Either your god doesn't want to be seen by unbelievers, or he isn't there at all. I'd feel pissed at him if I were you. He didn't provide you with much of anything to show others that he's real except things so numinous that you can't convince one single skeptic of them. I feel for you, man! Sure you can claim that we're just so darned dense that we can't see the sublime light of your deity, but that's pretty thin since I'm pretty sure all of us have looked for him at one time of their lives or another. And all of us have heard all the standard arguments... why is it I wonder, that they can't seem to convince rational people who have seen and understood mankind's propensity to believe in the unreal due to their sheer desire that it be real?

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  46. So then, there's the truth and there's Eric's boilerplate scholastic philosophy which amounts to nitpicking minutea.

    "Aristotle's 'efficient cause' is bullshit today!"

    "But..but.. it's Aristotle! People have practically worshipped Aristotle for centuries upon centuries! He has branches of philosophy named from his works and stuff! "

    "Aristotle's 'efficient cause' is bullshit today!"

    "But.. but.. you're stupid, unlearned and ignorant. You should just 'learn from the master', like I did."

    Eric can never admit that Aristotle's 'efficient cause' is bullshit since his defense of Craig and his KCA hang on this, and admission would be tantamount to admitting he and Craig are full of shit, right?

    Hence, whenever someone comments along that line, first, best reaction is no reaction. Comment on something else being discussed instead.

    Second reaction. Explain carefully how the commenter is uneducated, illogical, absurd, silly etc. etc.

    Third reaction. Put your foot down. What is this, some kind of enquiry? Aristotle is scholastic philosophy written in STONE, brook no dissent!! There'll be no further discussion along these heretical lines!

    If Eric responds, it'll be about a technicality, Craig isn't technically a scholastic philosopher, he isn't technically Thomist and so on. These comments, this page of comments are a lesson in that!

    ""Not a single proponent of the KCA is implying that the cause of the universe is something like the wind now Eric, not one!""

    "Stop being absurd, Floyd. If you can't follow a simple line of reasoning, stop wasting my time."

    The response above is absurd, Eric. Are there any proponents of the KCA implying that the universe is caused by something 'LIKE the wind'(an efficient cause, according to you Eric, which has no intent).

    The KCA would be meaningless, is meaningless because there are, as you yourself admit, Eric, so-called 'efficient causes' with no intent!

    This, before we even discuss whether 'efficient cause' isn't just casting 'process' as an 'immaterial cause'.

    To have to go straight to the 'Stop being absurd!' angle, amounts to admitting that the KCA is a house of cards, built on jello, with some bottom cards which aren't really there!

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  47. http://www.hulu.com/watch/404175

    An excellent SNL take on the all-important Undecided Voters.


    Funny stuff.

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  48. Brian, I'm sorry for your loss.

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  49. Hey B, saw your posting and I am sorry for your loss. Sadly, it's a time we're all becoming the elders in our families.

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  50. Yes. Thanks Pliny. I agree. We thought the old girl would last even longer, but hey, she was 89. It was a good run.

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  51. Watching The Sopranos on TLN, every night at around 9 Pacific time. The story hit 'life and death' theme. Tony's nephew gets shot and 'dies' for 'a full minute'!

    When he has recovered enough, he tells them that he was in Hell(or Purgatory) and has an enigmatic warning from one of the deceased, something about 3 O'Clock.

    Pauli is deeply disturbed an is persuaded to go see a 'really good' psychic. He's a typical cynical wiseguy so he gives a false name so there can be no shenanegins.

    But the psychic is the 'real thing' and sees the ghosts of Paulie's victims who follow Paulie through this life and of course they rat Paulie out, giving out details which amaze and terrify Paulie.

    Paulie, having had the Bejeezus scared out of him goes to see his priest just to give him shit for not protecting him, making sure he'd been suitably forgiven for his crimes and so on. He quits the church swearing that they're never getting another penny out of him since that protection from 'evil' is what he was buying after all.

    Ah fiction! You can find fiction like this in the oddest places, like the Stanford Philosophy Encyclopedia, where a fictional psychic is recruited to explain the mystery of the meaning of 'existence'.

    It pisses me off when, in the supposed realistic 'world' of the Sopranos, they inject this kind of stuff. Here I am suspending my disbelief away, and they throw in the idea that we're being followed around by ghosts who can communicate with a few people who have 'the gift'.

    This says to me, "The Sopranos is FICTION!" Here I am suspending my disbelief away, empathizing with the characters, and part of the story itself is screaming, "This is FICTION!"

    Now if I were to watch a 'dungeons and dragons' type story where it's a given that magicians and monsters exist, that'd be fine, but a story about a mob boss who is seeing a psychologist wouldn't have this kind of thing.

    They may as well have some dinosaurs strolling around while Tony and his gang are doing all their nefarious business, that'd be just as believable to me.

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  52. "So, what are you thinking? You know the vig, it's $5000 every second Saturday! I only counted $2500 in this envelope, are you brain dead, or are you wanting to be brain dead?"

    "My GAWD, did you see that? A Tyrannosaurus just went by the window!"

    "Hey schmuck, don't change the subject! By the way, that's a Allosaurus, we hired him recently to make sure nobody slips out the back when we come to collect!"

    "But this is incredibly stupid, there's no fucking dinosaurs wondering around New Jersey at the turn of the Millenium!"

    "Sorry, are you still in character? If they can write in people who talk to ghosts as if they're talking to an invisible person standing in front of them, and the ghosts can give that person intimate details previously unknown to the 'psychic', why not have dinosaurs in this TVland reality too!?"

    "Why isn't anyone yelling 'cut'?"

    "No, no, I like this development, The Sopranos is now 'about' a TVLand Gangster show where dinosaurs wander around and the actors think it's stupid! Next week, if the gangsters try to plug an innocent guy, their guns will shoot candyfloss!, It'll be great!"

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  53. Did you catch that 'deliberate error'?

    Yes, the dinosaur was too 'wondering'! Don't get me wrong, he liked the idea of being a gangster, but he saw himself more of a 'capo' than a back door guard.

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  54. bBy the way, Floyd, I've been having an interesting discussion on the KCA with Pearce here. Thanks for the HT!

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  55. Well, he asked me to invite you to talk to him. BTW, you do know that pboyfloyd is my bird's name, that Floyd isn't my real name, right?

    I know, it makes no difference at all, Brian calls me pboy all the time.

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  56. Yes, your name is Ian, right? I'm still going to call you Floyd or Pboyfloyd, though, if that's OK with you!

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  57. I like the name 'Pboy' or 'floyd' but that's only because that was the name that I got to know you under. I could easily change to 'Ian' if you prefer.. Ian.

    Reminds me of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Hit me with your rhythm stick. Sex and drugs and rock and roll.... Great tunes.

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  58. ""If thw wind at the beach blows away your bag of potato chips, it's the efficient cause of the movement of the bag, and it wasn't designed.""

    Okay, so you're saying that the cause of the bag moving is, the efficient cause, the wind.

    What causes the wind? Well, the wind is moving air, so air is the material cause, sunshine is the efficient cause.

    But what causes sunshine? Well sunshine is photons of energy, the material cause, this is caused by fusion of hyrogen to helium inside the star, the efficient cause!

    Wait, what? This 'efficient cause' thing is just the energy that is causing material to move or change in some fashion, right?

    So you ARE saying that Craig is just using bad examples, positing that Michelangelo and a furniture maker are respectively the 'efficient cause' of the statue and the chair?

    I mean, enquiring minds want to know!

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  59. I think Eric/Craig is saying that even though Michelangelo is made of matter and uses energy, "he" is still the efficient cause, just as even though the "wind" is made up of nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide moving due to the uneven heating and cooling of the earths surface, the energy input from the sun and the nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide are the material cause but the "wind" is the efficient cause.

    It's stupid, yes.

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  60. They couldn't be saying anything else, right?

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  61. These christians are so screwed up in the heads. They spin around in circles of their own making, thinking that they can create god out of rhetoric.

    Tonight was mom's wake. A lovely experience to be sure. One of my mom's good freind's husband is a former engineer and a true genius in many ways. Well tonight I heard him saying 'I feel bad for all the people that do not have god in their lives' and since I knew him rather well I started talking to him about it. He recommended C.S. Lewis' book, the one where he basically argues that we can know that god is real because we are moral beings. I started talking to him, let him know a little about me, not too much, inappropriate and all that... he said 'you're using your logic to decide; faith is faith because we can't prove it' somehow thinking he'd made a telling point. And a few other things like 'we aren't smart enough to knw these things' and whatever. Funny thing, I remained totally peaceful and yes, complimentary to this man that I'd grown up respecting, and he slowly moved toward being impatient with me, like he absolutely knew that I was utterly misguided and needed to correct me. I let it go.

    God, I like that man a lot, but he's a genius idiot, and religion does that to people. And it makes them very egotistical and angry. Religion truly sucks donkey dong.

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  62. But Brian, 'you're using your logic to decide; faith is faith because we can't prove it'.

    That there is some logical reasoning, if you're a Christian! See, you were using YOUR logic, and as Eric keeps pointing out, it's so obvious that we're no good at that! Better to be a dumb Catholic housewife spouting the latest Christian talking points than to actually imagine that you can think for yourself, right?

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  63. Yeah, funny conversation with that guy. I noticed that he kept interrupting me... as soon as I even slightly strayed from conventional thought.... at one point I told him, not precisely true but I thought it would put him at ease, that I was 'spiritual but not religious' and he interrupted me instantly and informed me that that is precisely my mistake! It's the religion that is important... then he kept trying to sell me on C.S. Lewis, that fucking douchebag.. Lewis, not this guy... well, this guy too actually.... He never did LISTEN to me. He was mister intelligent... "I am a scientist" Um, last I heard you were an electrical engineer that did some cool shit with microchips way back when it was a newish thing..... I agree that that counts as a scientist, but if you're not in the branches of science that deal with the very nature of reality you can still be a religious nutbag and function fine in your field....

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  64. But you know that they're not trying to have a conversation, they're trying to convert you, to get you to accept their memes.

    You're not 'really' here to live your life out in this culture, to maybe pass on your genes, to be as comfortable and happy as you can be, no, you're here to worship the LAWRD, and thank the LAWRD that he did what he was told to do by his other personality, redeeming the old idea of God, that God is simply an authoritarian bully who would curse you if you refused to grovel, to contribute towards converting others to do the same!

    Who are Christians worshipping, what are they worshipping? Seems to me that it's a three way split, you still 'get to' worship, grovel, to Yahweh, that authoritarian bully, be part of that authoritarian bullying, but your second face is a kinder, gentler, loving God named Jesus, where you justify yourself contributing cash to charity, the church, Charity be thy name. And the third personality who helps you decide what's 'moral and right', your gut feeling, for what else is the Holy Spirit except what your gut instinct tells you is right?

    But this makes you, not God, a three personality in one, you can justify yourself being, type one, an authoritative bully, type two, a loving charitable person and even someone who knows what is the 'right thing' by your gut reaction to type oners propaganda, rhetoric.

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  65. Your mom's friend sees life through this lens and was being a type one, telling you what he thinks you need to do, read C.S.Lewis and believe Lewis' 'reasoning' such as it is.

    He was talking to you, as you would be, a type two kind charitable person, and a type three, a person who listens to his rhetoric, his authority, and does 'the right thing'.

    Y'see he sees himself as a type oner and type twoer together, that he's actually doing YOU a favour spreading his ugly memes to you.

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  66. Yes.

    The Mass was... interesting. I haven't been in a church in about seven years. I've changed a lot in my perceptions. All I see now is the naked, ugly constant pleas for money, everywhere you look. Read the literature in the pew.... all about this drive and that charity for retired priests and how many thousands of dollars they made last week in donations and whatever, and why giving is so very crucial and important.
    And in front of the room, two guys in dresses, the younger one (with whom I spoke last night at the wake) obviously gay (and one good looking dude with not one hair out of place and an unusual cant to his voice) were conducting a magickal ceremony and kissing inanimate objects a lot and singing their unworthiness and their begging to be good enough to cash in on the afterlife.... pathetic, sorry, sad begging by children in grown-up bodies to please please please please never die..

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  67. The words... pretty funny. They seem to like the word 'womb' a whole lot! I bet that's why they want to probe it...

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  68. All I see now is the naked, ugly constant pleas for money, everywhere you look. Read the literature in the pew....

    I had the same experience February of 2011. It's like closing down a bar and being there when the lights come up. Perception is everything.

    I hope you are able to focus on the good memories of your Mom.

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  69. I hope you are able to focus on the good memories of your Mom.
    ----------
    You know, I can. I do. It's the best thing that I can do. Why cling to the bad stuff now? She's gone. So I *choose* to not do that.


    I had the same experience February of 2011. It's like closing down a bar and being there when the lights come up. Perception is everything.
    ----------
    It's amazing, really. I have changed. And it's not like I was pro-religion then, either. But my eyes were not open for some reason. And now they are. It makes me realize how very difficult it is, to open your eyes. Why the christians are so vehement. Hell, they're seeing things that aren't there and not seeing the things that are! So of course they're *certain* that I am wrong, *certain* that the church is nothing but goodness and light and wonderfulness and holy and that they can know this, not by reason, but by feeling. It feels so right, it simply can't be wrong to them.

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  70. And looking at my uncle, my family or what's left of them, and my uncle's wife's family which is huge, and all their friends and so forth, one thing became apparent. This is their life. This is their whole center of their life. It's practically everything in their lives that has any meaning at all, and they love it so much that they'd be perfectly willing to die for it, since they don't think there's any way their lives would have any value without it.

    Gentlemen, our job is a difficult one if we wish to get them to see things in a different way, to see the real world rather than their construct. They are so far from reality that they can't even send it a post card. And they love it more than they could ever love the real version. At least that's how they see it. It's literally everything to them. They're hooked worse than the worse heroin addict on earth.

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  71. When they see a belief of another person that does not conform to their 'correct' beliefs, it's more than a rejection of another opinion. It's a rejection of that person. And they feel disgust. Oh Yes They Do. Oh, at first they try the proselytizing, but when that doesn't work, they go in another direction... hatred.

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  72. I know that that guy at the wake, Leo, has liked me my whole life. I've known him since I was seven. And while I was talking to him last night I realized that he was losing patience with me and so I backed down, backed down way before I got anywhere near my actual 'beliefs.' And I got the impression, I think an accurate one, that if I actually opened up totally to this man, this former scientist who innovated so much that he started a multimillion dollar microchip company and made the national who's who, that he would have stopped liking me and started despising me. I know it's the truth.

    I hate religion.

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  73. He was not concerned with my morality. Which was what we talked bout mostly. I was naively trying to get the man to see that my morality is empathy based and that that was a good thing, and that I thought he was an empathetic man... seeking common ground, that sort of thing... he shut that shit down right away.... apparently I'm a very confused young man to him.... it's the church morality or it isn't morality at all..... shades of C.S. Lewis.

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  74. Hey there, Brian,

    I haven't been able to check in like I had previously promised. My apologies.

    Wow, I' m sorry to hear that you lost your Mom. I think that's always the hardest loss for a person- their Mom.

    Even if you didn't always get along- aMom never stops loving her child- adopted or not- it's just a Mom thing.

    Although we may never really understand our Moms, even if we din't get along with our Moms, it always hurts when they're no longer there.... Well, she's in another place now and you can always talk to her and she will hear you and see you-
    I wish you peace during these times.

    And, don't be afraid to declare your atheism; others will have to accept it just like you accept them in their journey. I mean, if family, if friends can't be somewhat decent and accepting of one another, then both sides are hypocrites.

    You be the man and show them how civil adults should act--and your family will RESPECT you for it.

    It takes time.

    I'm glad to know you have your wife and son to get you through these times!

    They're all that really count!





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  75. Oh yeah--- and Walter, too!

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  76. Brian:

    First, my condolences, as well.
    Your experience at the wake with the "scientist" clearly illustrates the differences between religionists and atheists. You try to base your morality on human empathy and "the Golden Rule"; he/she is reacting from fear. All believers (perhaps Christians in particular) desparately need some type of affirmation that they "have it right" in their desire to avoid the finality of death by thier faith(s). Since they cannot achieve such affirmation (at least in this life) by any other means than convincing/coercing as many others as possible to agree with them (hence "organized" religion), your presence as a non-believer at your own mother's wake is intolerable! You represent the niggling doubt that he/she is not going on to some afterlife/reward and (horrors!!) you refuse to see that you should be devastated by the evidence that your own mother, a practising Catholic her entire life, has now gone on to her reward without forcing you to "see the light". Of course, the individual in this situation who is really devastated is him, since your equanimity under these circumstances makes him doubt and be even more uncomfortable.

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  77. MI, thanks I think.... you must have taken your good girl meds today. I kept looking for the crazy... you managed to hide it well. I still can't stand you of course... That's a given.

    Harvey, thanks, and interesting thoughts as always.

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  78. Well, she's in another place now and you can always talk to her and she will hear you and see you-
    -----------------
    It must be incredibly strange to you that I do not believe in your afterlife. So I guess you can't help yourself.

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  79. Surprise, surprise, I competely disagree with MI and her idea that you should have expounded on your unbelief at a fucking wake!

    Christ on a stick, Christians don't even do that to each other, and they have way more in common than someone with no belief of that hypothesis at all.

    Can you just imagine a Protestant going to a wake and expounding on the idea that the Catholic church is actually 'The Great Whore of Babylon'? LOL

    "Why sure I understand that the idea here is to lament our mortality in light of this loved one who has breathed their last, but hey, let's change the tune here, let's turn this into a donnybrook!"

    LOL, MI, you're a simpleton.

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  80. Harvey, yes, I think I see that Christians seek affirmation by attempting to convert others. If they can get others to see things their way, it means to them that their way must be right. Another annoying component of religion we must deal with.
    To them I simply can't be right, because that would mean that they are wrong. I might as well kidnap their children. To them it's that bad an offense.

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  81. And, don't be afraid to declare your atheism; others will have to accept it just like you accept them in their journey. I mean, if family, if friends can't be somewhat decent and accepting of one another, then both sides are hypocrites.
    -MI
    ------------
    Surprise, surprise, I competely disagree with MI and her idea that you should have expounded on your unbelief at a fucking wake!
    -Pboy-------

    I missed that, Pboy.

    Yeah MI, no way. It's my mom's wake and those people were hurting too. My mom's sister, 95 years old and in a wheelchair sobbing, was there. My uncle who couldn't talk to me because of him breaking down and crying, was there. To have declared my atheism there would have been utterly classless.
    My own morality prevented me from doing that. Wonder why MI's didn't prevent her from suggesting it?

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  82. I mean, if family, if friends can't be somewhat decent and accepting of one another
    ------------
    This is the joke part. I've been blogging about this stuff for the better part of a decade now and it's become clear that truly religious people do not make exceptions for family and friends. Quite the contrary; they tend to be even more emphatic. Great way to lose friends and alienate family. Their faith is stronger then their love. Which is so sad it's profane to me, but there you have it.

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  83. The best that I might expect should I have done that, would have been that the gossip throughout my family would now include the story of how Brian lost his mind and is completely fucking insane now. Which accomplishes nothing, even if I didn't care about that.

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  84. Of course I know that my family's faith is stronger then their love. And of course that knowledge tempers my own love for them in return. I love them considerably less since I realized that. Tough titties though, they're the ones that can't see that love is the more important of the two things.

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  85. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/27/samuel-l-jackson-to-voters-wake-the-fck-up_n_1919317.html

    Samuel L. Jackson has done it again, but this time, for Obama! HILARIOUS video! I couldn't stop laughing... my wife practically spotted!

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  86. In actuality it was the fact that my own love for my mother had lessened considerably in the last five or six years, due entirely to her actions, which allowed me to not feel as much grief on her passing. She was so deluded about the world... she really couldn't understand any of it. Her death made me sad, but she'd already alienated me as a person over the years. She loved her idea of me, her little version of me that she had in her head, but not the real me. When you realize something like that, as I did, it destroys the bond that was there just due to habit and old memories of the good times.

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  87. My mom was a creature of belief. She never actually thought. All her actions were predicated upon her beliefs, both her religious ones and her beliefs about the rest of reality. Her beliefs went further than 'we go to heaven when we die' Over the years, time and again, when confronted by death, she denied it to herself. When her mom died, my dad and I had to put up with her being in a total shell for over a year.... I finally got through to her when I informed her that she wasn't even there for us anymore, that she was leaving us like her mother did and she wasn't even dying... so she kinda snapped out of it... Hell, she had known that her mom was dying for over five years when her mom finally did die. A slow and predictable deterioration, one small stroke after another.... she (my grandmother) couldn't talk or move for like a year before she died.... but the real truth of the matter was, that my mom could not believe that her mom could ever actually die. To the very end, my mother believed that her prayers to God for her mother's life would be answered by a last-minute miracle. Literally, her thinking went, why would God do that to someone that was so loving and so loved by her? "Why, He wouldn't!" came back the answer, and so when her mom actually did die, it rocked her faith, and when her dad died it rocked it some more, and when her brother died, and him actually voicing his own doubts and terror of death, still some more... but she had nothing to replace it with so she still clung to it in desperation, right up to the end...

    The result of all of this was that when she had to face her own death, she was just fucking terrified and not prepared in the least. I have her religion to thank for that little gem.

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  88. I swear, I bet her thinking near the end went like "God moves in mysterious ways; I cannot understand why he systematically took my family from me, but I must still love Him for it somehow..."
    So, she was very mentally fucked up.

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  89. Sometimes loving God is a lot like loving the rapist that just raped you. And since you fucking just HAVE TO love him anyhow, it creates all sorts of psychoses.

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  90. News in Canada.

    They had a vote to decide if a fertilized egg was a person recently. I can't wrap my head around this, except to imagine that human life is one long string of person, sperm + ovum, person.., all the way back to Adam and Eve, every sperm and egg being sacred and in dire need of being 'converted' into a new human being!

    Now the bill was voted down, which is the way it should be, but surprisingly, to many people, the Minister for Womens' Rights, voted FOR the bill!

    And you might be thinking, well this guy who got that portfolio, he's obviously not taking womens' rights seriously!!

    But no, The Minister for Womens' Rights is a WOMAN, obviously advocating that women have the rights to shut the fuck up, have the baby as God intended that should be, rape or no, take a big bite of that shit-sandwich and like it!

    Honestly, I don't think that this was such a big surprise to our fearless leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who hired her for that job though, he just sees the portfolio of Womens' Rights as a huge joke, just putting her in charge as a giant impenetrable brick wall to any women who have the temerity to complain to her.

    "Hey if we turn this portfolio on it's head they'll notice, how about on it's head and backwards too!!?!! I'm confused that women think they have 'rights'."

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  91. Some reptard in this country recently said 'Civil rights are for black people! I don't understand how they can apply to women and gays.'

    Honestly I don't understand how they're even politicians... in a thinking and aware world they couldn't be dog catchers.

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  92. He likely tried that out on a few people and got either an enthusiastic response, or stunned silence!

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  93. I remembered... the reptard was Ann Coulter.

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  94. LOL

    She is just one huge joke! I remember her talking to a Canadian newsguy and she was trying to tell him that Canada was in the Viet Nam fight.

    He said, "No, no that's not true."

    She said, "I'll have to get back to you on that!"

    LOL, what a doofuss.

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  95. HA HA! I'll have to get back to you? What gall!

    I'd like to dart her and release her back into the wild, say in the middle of the Serengeti near a water hole...

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  96. Not much meat on her, but it'll be like the lions get a rawhide chew toy...

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  97. Needed to be said (and it applies to a lot of atheists; and keep in mind that the Mav is no Christian).

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    Replies
    1. Read it. It's as wrong as you are. More typical bullshit. Sorry to be blunt, but why do you even waste our time with the same old typical crapola?

      Delete
  98. One of the religionists great hubris's (and everyones, really?) is that they deserve to be understood.

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  99. She said, "I'll have to get back to you on that!"

    Speaking of hubris, how hard is it to say, "crap, you're right, I don't know that".

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  100. "Hitchens has no understanding of religion or of prayer."

    Who was it who said, "Never speak ill of the dead."? Wonder if that was a person who had withdrawn into the inner soul, as into a temple, and been still?

    Did you withdraw into your inner soul, as into a temple, and been still, you know, when you considered making this short-cut to this ugly, disrespectful screed?

    I'm guessing you agree with it, since the super-text to it is, "Needed to be said."

    How typical, to harangue a man who cannot defend himself! Why don't you go out to the back and burn some ants with a magnifying glass?

    That has to one of the cheapest arguments against Hitchens I've heard, and you LIKE this?

    I feel sorry for you and the author of that crap, when are you planning to go and piss on his grave?

    That's the dumbest argument for prayer that I've ever heard from a supposed Christian, who cares what other theists said to defend prayer, were they supposed to say, "You know, prayer doesn't do a damn thing, God has no time for a shit like you! Look in the mirror fuck-head, you're nothing to God! Read the Book of Job!"

    No, of course they're not going to say that, they're going to rhetorically suck pray-ers cocks, aren't they?

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  101. It's execrable, Eric. Really, it is. It's a dumb argument that you *would* like. You cheapen yourself for offering it to us. Of course, you don't seem to mind that any...

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  102. You guys always have people in the wings with essays and such, and then you always say something like 'and that guy isn't even a christian!'

    Er, no, maybe, but he's definitely sucking on the believer's teats.... It's easier to be famous and get paid for it, when that path to fame is shorter, and on the christian side, for a supposed atheist, that path is so short that a paramecium can walk it in a minute. When you know that all you have to do is be an atheist or a non-christian of some stripe and praise the christian faith that you'll get instant notoriety, it's often hard to resist the temptation of all that. Take S.E. Cupp for an example of a craven soul-less woman that may or may not be an atheist, but who is definitely a total whore for your religion.

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  103. I am always amazed and amused at how low christians will go. Taking pot shots at Hitchens is pretty low indeed.

    That's okay Eric... of all the people here, we expect the least from you. You're given a 'bye' on morality here.

    After all, you know not what you do.

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  104. Tell me philosopher-theologian, Is not the reason for there being having to be a beginning to all things that infinity isn't possible, or that infinity makes no sense?

    "I suppose."

    Tell me how you would describe God's power, his justice, his mercy, his knowledge?

    "Unlimited all."

    Tell me philospher-theist, isn't 'unlimited' a synonym for 'infinite'?

    "um.. well, y'see, about that, infinity is not coherent for us but we define God has having no such rules which we apply to, you know, um, natural stuff."

    Nono, I just want to clarify that infinity is unreasonable for the entire universe, but you declare God, to be a being of infinity here, infinity there, here an infinity there an infinity, everywhere infinity, infinity, Oh, Old MacDonald had a farm ei-ei-o, sorry, got carried away, isn't that right?

    Take it away Eric, nitpick, quibble, cavil and tell us we're too dumb to understand that it depends a lot on whether you're arguing for GOD, or for the necessity for God.

    Tell us, oh less than infinitly wise one.

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  105. "I am always amazed and amused at how low christians will go. Taking pot shots at Hitchens is pretty low indeed."

    Oh please -- it's not as if this sort of thing wasn't said about Hitch while he as alive. And, in case you weren't aware, the Mav is responding to Hitch's posthumously published collection of essays. Finally, Hitch never shied away from ?speaking ill of the dead (and the Mav wasn't even speaking ill of Hitch -- he was pointing out the obvious). But, of course, you hypocrites will have no problem with *that*, will you?

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  106. Emma and I were outside with the canine and I was observing that the edges of the property, the 'bottom of the garden' so to speak, was, at times crowned with a blaze of daisies!(heh, Wordsworth can't even touch me when I get going)

    Anyhoo(take that Wordsie!), I take the dog out in the morning around the field and by the school, before the kids are showing up, and later, when the school is getting busy, I take him out back.

    So, this morning, out back there, a single daisy, where the grass and dandelions have been chopped off, a single daisy, seemingly declaring that it heard me, heard it's name being called, and reached for the sky to honour the gods, although the season was wrong!

    So, I killed it.

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  107. so Eric, let me get this straight:-

    a)"Needed to be said.."

    b)"Oh please -- it's not as if this sort of thing wasn't said about Hitch while he as alive."

    c)Christians can TOO have diametrically opposing ideas in their heads at the exact same time, and, apparently, their job is to convince non-Christians that this is fine!

    Well done Eric! Is this an example of the logic we atheists will never understand since we don't study scholastic philosophy, is it metaphysics?

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  108. The king grew vain, and fought his battles o'er again

    Thrice he vanquished all his foes

    And thrice he slew the slain

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  109. But, of course, you hypocrites will have no problem with *that*, will you?
    ---------------------
    It's okay Eric, I told you that we expect it from you. And guess what? After we say that, we expect you to call us the hypocrites, because that's all a real hypocrite can do, accuse others of their failing. Standard M.O.

    Almost cute, kind-of. Like an incontinent puppy.

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  110. Oh please -- it's not as if this sort of thing wasn't said about Hitch while he as alive.
    -----------------
    Oh.

    So it went:

    Us: "Eric, speaking ill of the dead is classless."

    You: "It was okay when he was alive!"

    Do you even review what you're about to say before you say it? You went from classless right to stupid in a microsecond there. Of course they kinda go together I guess...

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  111. Eric argues like his falcon cannot hear his falconer...

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  112. The way I’m reading this, it seems there’s a major fallacy here (I don’t know or care what the technical name of the fallacy is)…
     
    But it’s like someone said… “You know, cars actually do produce a lot of pollution” and then someone responds “NO!  You don’t know anything at all do you?  The Chevy Volt is an electric car.  Idiot.”
     
    Hitch is talking about prayer in general and “petition” specifically.  “The Mav” is ignoring that and is addressing Hitches as if meditation/contemplation is the only real form of prayer.  Note that Petition is a valid form of prayer in Eric’s very, very sophisticated religion… 
     
    Christopher Hitchens actually understood religion quite well, and it’s more than evidence from his writing, especially his essays (I’ve not read Mortality though, but it seems like if you are going to attack someone, you have an obligation to attack their strongest case, not one of their “little 'chemo-brain' outburst”).  But Christopher Hitchens’ genius was in cutting through the bullshit that people like Eric depend upon. 
     
    If “the Mav” is not a Christian, he really should be, and based on some of his posts, he might as well be for the purpose of this discussion.

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  113. I honestly think that Eric does have a reasonable(to him and his), um, reason(?), excuse(?) for infinity being 'no fair' when it comes to the universe, not including some anachronistic 'astronomy seems to be agreeing'(for once) with Tommy-boy here, but not an unreasonable way to construct doctrine concerning GOD.

    Cavilling over the extraordinarily teensy difference, if there is even that, between 'eternal' and 'infinite' doesn't 'cut it' for me.

    Wonder how that goes? 'Why eternity is an ontological category while infinity is a cosmological category and never the twain will meet unless, you know, it suits us.' or somesuch nonsense?

    'Why eternity is a mumblti-pumbilty category while infinity is a jumblty-pumbilty category!'

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  114. Just the idea that you need to propose a literally timeless realm(if that's what we dare call it) for God, seems to me to be such an obvious contradiction in terms.

    Saying that 'nothing comes from nothing' seems to be saying that God can't come from nothing either, right?

    Saying that doctrine is our best effort to describe the indescribable is just pitiful.

    And having us imagine metaphysicians through the centuries massaging reason and logic to the point where we have anything more than another abstract concept, is, simply, saying that God lives in the independently existing abstract reality that is our imagination, aka Imaginationland.

    To say, "Well, we've conjured up this idea that something fills the gap to eternity after we conclude that 'the universe' doesn't do that, so what would be some definitions, attributes, properties we might give to this gap?", is, as admitted, pure speculation!

    "Why it is reasonable to suppose that it must be defined as all powerful, having infinite power, since it caused the universe!", and so on.

    But if before the universe was, you know, here, if there were such a time(and here I'm using terminology that we have to live with, even though God doesn't, we hear), if it's an eternal nothing, how is it that somehow nothing contains this entity powerful enough to create a universe?

    Is that somehow explained by metaphysics or is it that the notion of God can only be backed into, by imagining back, back, back to the beginning of, well, everything, excepting God of course, arguably, an infinitely powerful force, and we can only get 'there' if we imagine infinity as an impossibility?.

    Infinity, as an independently existing abstract entity doesn't exist outside of where abstract entities 'dwell', so we've trotted over the barrier between spacetime/matter-energy and nothingness here, right?

    But what good does this do? Follow the Yellowbrick Road, my friend, follow the money trail!

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  115. It is common I think, to mistake one's own imagination, for God.

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  116. I must be getting this wrong as Eric is always insisting since, to wrap it all up, we must first assume that infinity is impossible to come to the conclusion that infinity isn't impossible after all.

    Breaking down the flow of time into instances, each instance being the cause of the next, apparently we don't get to any instance where there was 'nothing', since even God can be imagined as a being of infinite timeless instances.

    Of course it helps either to not think of it, be totally insane, or be doing it for a living. These things aren't running through philosphers' heads, since any fair assessment of theism is that it's a pyramid scheme.

    What caused the universe? Some unimaginably huge force? Well, that right there is the spot where we can pretend to imagine we know, you don't really have to knot up your thinking with it, and it'll only cost you as much money as we can beg off you, as much money as we can embarrass you into giving, as much money as you imagine 'buying a stairway to Heaven' costs!

    Of course Eric and MI don't see that at all, no.

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  117. They are cursed to only see their religion as the highest good regardless of the reality of it.

    It's a lot like being in love. With Manson.

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  118. Here's a conundrum:

    If there is something now, there was always something. If there once was nothing, then something now is not possible. And yet, how could there always have been something? With no original something to cause it? Eric's answer is God, intentionally ignoring, indeed forbidding, any question of the origins of said God. Patently absurd, and not a little pathetic.
    My answer is that, there never was anything, and there is nothing now! Seriously, and I know how poorly this is received in this crowd, but if everything is consciousness and that's all there ever has been, and even time is an illusion, then the very word 'eternal' becomes meaningless. We aren't "designed" to think like this. We are accustomed to the illusion that we impose on ourselves out of the terror of reality not being real. Oh, it's a hard lie to wake up from, because it's a lie we've been telling ourselves ever since we were single-celled animalcules.

    And I know how lame this sounds. And yet, while it's certainly not the only answer or possibility, it satisfies best. The ground of all being, is pure consciousness. Thought is actually what reality *is.* All of reality.

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  119. (See, every now ant then I am compelled to act like a pseudo-theist just to stir the pot here)

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  120. I occasionally do magic. By this I mean of course that I meditate deeply and use props to define my intent and I attempt to basically self-hypnotize that my intent will come to pass. I do not do this frequently, maybe once every couple of months. I try not to think about how most people see such activity as even sillier than prayer, and those people that pray see it as purest evil to be stamped out somehow.
    Sometimes I use a candle of an appropriate color with an inscription of intent inscribed on the wax.
    The last one that I did was about a month ago or a little more. I was getting nervous about Mitt Romney. Now understand, I limit myself in my meditations to positive imagery, so I couldn't curse the man nor would I wish to if I thought I could. That's not me. So I thought about that, and decided that the meditation, the candle-magic, would be focused on Mitt Romney with only one word superimposed upon him, if you will.
    That word was 'VERITAS.'
    My 'spell' was specifically intended to cause Truth to come out, and when I did it in my mind was the generic image of say, some meeting or event where maybe someone would tape Romney saying the absolute truth about himself, and it getting out to the public, or perhaps some former co-worker coming out with evidence of Mitt lying.

    Too bad it didn't work.







    No wait....

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  121. Now of course there are all the times that I did such a thing and it didn't work. And if that ever happens, I'll tell you about it for sure. So far, it just hasn't.
    I am bemused. By that I mean, I don't get amazed at the results of such things when they happen anymore. I just smile to myself. And mentally I cut another notch into the normal realistic argument that 'reality is not a dream.'

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  122. Brian: And looking at my uncle, my family or what's left of them, and my uncle's wife's family which is huge, and all their friends and so forth, one thing became apparent. This is their life. This is their whole center of their life. It's practically everything in their lives that has any meaning at all, and they love it so much that they'd be perfectly willing to die for it, since they don't think there's any way their lives would have any value without it.
    _________________________

    You've touched on something really fundamental here and something that I've seen in my extended family: the church (LDS) is the center of their lives. While I attend and participate, it just isn't the center of my life, like it is with theirs. This causes some issues and as I'm the liberal in the family, I'm tolerated. And I can tell that some try to "convert" me (more political conversion), but there is also the suspicion that I'm a little different and that I don't quite fit in with the rest of them. And of course I feel that way when I'm around them. It's really quite strange some time.

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  123. Fuck it! I'm in a shitty space right now, wish I could go to sleep for a month.

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  124. BTW, Brian, my condolences on your mom's death. My mom passed away earlier this year--she was in her 90's and also had a good run. But we had a bit of awkwardness the last few years. As she got older, she really was ready to go, and felt that she needed to make sure I knew how she felt. Most of her conversations with me over the last few years always focused on or ended up being about religion, which is fine, but I missed just having normal conversations. I think she was still pretty much there mentally, but maybe a lot of it was old age, but I think when your entire life is wrapped up in a particular belief system, you just can't think outside that box, and you want everyone to be with you in your box. Anybody outside that box, even peripherally, is suspect.

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  125. I read an interesting essay several months ago. It by a guy who had been an LDS missionary in Mexico or South America years earlier and had been a real gung-ho missionary and had baptized (converted) a lot of people.

    He eventually lost his faith. I can't remember what path he went on, but he made a trip back to where he had been a missionary. He met up with a lot of the people he had earlier converted. Before he left to return home he felt the need to once more proselytize, but this time to proselytize his new world view. He tried to tell the people that he now had really found the way. It seemed that this guy is just someone who likes to convert people to whatever he's currently accepted as his world view. Of course the people were confused. Some of them had had their own lapses of their faith and now this guy was trying to convert them once again.

    I think my point is that maybe we should all stop trying to convert people. I know the temptation is there to correct people, but I think the underlying motive is that we all only feel comfortable with people who think like we do. So, we try our hardest to get them to think like we do. That's one of my biggest criticisms of my church. We're more busy trying to convert people and not trying hard enough to just get to know people or to find out about them without trying to turn the conversation to an opportunity to "witness."

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  126. And of course, this is the same on all sides. Maybe if we didn't worry about trying to persuade people so much, we might actually start finding other areas of common interest. And this from a rhetorician! But my training in technical writing biases me more toward informing than toward persuading. So, I think it's fine that we spend time informing people. But to try and get someone to change their mind or their world view or whatever just so we feel validated about our own position just seems disingenuous and self-serving to me. Just my two cents.

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  127. Fuck it! I'm in a shitty space right now, wish I could go to sleep for a month.
    --------------
    I don't know what to say. Are you all right? And I'd ask what's going on but I'd not wish to intrude... let me just say that I hope that your situation improves. And of course if you ever want to talk about it....

    Sorry to hear that you're in a shitty space.

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  128. I think my point is that maybe we should all stop trying to convert people.
    ------------
    Hi Lloyd. Nice to get another perspective.

    Are we, or am I, trying to convert someone? Maybe I used to try that, but now I argue because it's all that I can do, and this ideology is such that it is actually dangerous to me.... the country is divided, and hatred is everywhere, and those very individuals feel entitled to control me and my family and are seemingly coming alarmingly close to accomplishing that, by coming into power politically. I am perfectly aware that I cannot convert people; but I still feel compelled to at least argue against the ideology that threatens to consume all that I hold dear about this nation.
    Advice? I'll listen...

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  129. Maybe if we didn't worry about trying to persuade people so much, we might actually start finding other areas of common interest.
    ------------
    You sound very christ-like here, but in reality when facing a group of people that actively hate what I am, what defines me, common ground is not going to cut it, as much as I approve of your sentiment there.

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  130. Lloyd:
    If our Christian brethren did not feel the need to CONVERT rather than just INFORM, most of our (particularly MY) objections to organized religion would evaporate. Please note my post above regarding Brian's experience at his mother's wake. If you need to believe that somehow you can avoid the finality of death with its rerurn to whatever state of being you had before you were conceived by sacrificing/praying/finding belief in/etc/etc some deity, you will clearly wish to avoid any doubts that you "have it right" by avoiding/ignoring/hating anyone who doesn't agree with you. Barring any of these ploys, you have no alternative but to convince/coerce/CONVERT!!! as many non-believers as possible. The LDS church (it seems to me) puts so much emphasis upon conversion, largely because even other Christians tend to regard it as a cult and "not really Christian (no true Scotsman)". My perusal of the LDS history seems to support this outlook. Judaism (my birth religion) differs from most of the other current Abrahamic schools of thought in that we have never actively sought converts (the "Chosen People" myth) and, in fact, make it exceedingly difficult for people to choose to convert. Historically, one can argue, it was this unwillingness to convert others that has led to much of the anti-semitic hatred that has followed through the millennia. It seems to me that if "believers" were really convinced of their professed beliefs, they would not so desperately seek confirmation by active proselytization

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  131. Lloyd, you make a good point, if everyone acted like that, it would be great.

    But how do we all get along when 'they' are out there, actively seeking to alter the future by harking back to a past that was never there.

    When were these supposed good times when a woman was scorned good and proper for having a baby at the wrong time in her life, evidence that she is a fornicator, evidence that she is, baby-on-the-way or no, a second-class citizen. Good times for men maybe.

    When were these 'values' so approved by default that we all lived idyllic lives in little houses with white picket fences, trusting mostly in 'the LORD' to heal our ailments, forever young, free, and happy?

    But that's what these stupid cunts are trying to pawn us off with, isn't it? It was a time when the blacks were happy singing in the fields of cotton, happy in their ignorance, "Oh lordy, pick a bale o' cotton..", the good old days!

    It was shite, to wax all 'Trainspotter', total shite, the poor were ignorant enough to not even understand that they were, out of sheer habit, just 'knowing their place', and the law, that wasn't about justice, it still isn't, it's about keeping people in line, making sure people keep their heads down.

    Back to the top, these people seem to be trying to make individuals accountable to THEM, to reenact 'The Fall', where 'woman' is responsible for 'The Fall from Grace', not by displeasing God, as such, but by displeasing 'The Godly'.

    These Godly, making a giant pretence of themselves being good, thinking themselves good, charitable and merciful, are determined to play out their ideology, which boils down to, "If you're not with us, you are against us."

    Goodness, according to them is being a follower, not a thinker.

    Charity, according to them is giving to the church, not giving to the poor.

    Mercy, according to them is for themselves, for surely God will not let them perish, but grant them everlasting life.

    From this perspective comes an absence of good.

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  132. But to try and get someone to change their mind or their world view or whatever just so we feel validated about our own position
    --------------------
    Yeah no. I'm past that shit. When a specific group of people do not believe in reality and live only for a fictitious afterlife, they no longer care about this life. That is insanity. I'm not looking for validation; I don't need it and getting it from them is not among my goals. I'd be PERFECTLY HAPPY, even ECSTATIC, to leave them completely ALONE. If they were willing to do that to me.
    Are they? Are they willing to leave me alone? Are they willing to give up their insane quest for global domination and just be the neighbors that I can practice loving? No, don't be silly, they hate everything I stand for and if given the power would see me in prison or worse, and you know it.
    Heck, if I believed in Satan I'd be like definite that he was the cause of this. They're very satanic in their godliness.

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  133. And Lloyd, they hate SCIENCE, actually actively HATE it, demonize intellect itself.

    They're not only anti-american, they're anti-HUMAN. Our intellect, our intelligence, is what makes us what we are, and they despise that shit. They seek to devolve. And to take me (and everybody else) with them.

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  134. Live and let live is an excellent attitude. However, if the other guy already hates you and wishes you dead, and so seeks to take away your freedoms one at a time, seeks to denigrate you not only with their words but with their actions, and is capable of rising to power and changing everything, capable of taking us back to the dim past, then it's a really incredibly fucking stupid one.
    Look at how they treated Obama's many olive branches and concessions. How did they see that? Did they think he was Christ-like for his humility and for seeking common ground and peace with them?
    No, like a mindless savage predator, they saw that as weakness, pitiful, and scorned him for it, and made him their devil to hate, loathe, and despise.

    Many years ago Ripley (believe it or not) used to show a lion laying down with a lamb in public. How nice! How symbolic of peace! Who knew they could get along, even like each other?
    What the public didn't know was that it wasn't always the SAME lamb... that lion used to have lamb lunch all the time.

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  135. Neville Chamberlain sought common ground with Hitler. Hitler said 'sure, I'll take a lot of your common ground, thanks!'

    The point is, an intelligent person should have the ability to know when the normal course of seeking peace, is suicidal.

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  136. All, thanks for your replies. I really appreciate it and hope that I can contribute more to this blog. I feel "safe" here sharing things that I've only dared say to maybe two or three close friends out in the "real" world. And I'll have much more to say as well as I'm on some kind of interesting journey evaluating where I'm going in life and what kind of changes I may want to make.

    Anyway, I admit that I did a double take after reading your responses and realized that I'd better have something more to say or I'd look the fool. So I did what I usually do when I'm stuck on something: play Free Cell. Of course, I lost a game and had to start over--I'm trying to break my personal best of 104 games in a row without a loss! LOL. But it helps me focus my thoughts a bit.

    Brian, I don't know if you're trying to "convert" people or not. I admit that one of your earlier posts did spark those thoughts. I originally didn't copy it, but here's what you said earlier. It was the second paragraph when you were talking about your family:
    -------------
    "Gentlemen, our job is a difficult one if we wish to get them to see things in a different way, to see the real world rather than their construct. They are so far from reality that they can't even send it a post card. And they love it more than they could ever love the real version. At least that's how they see it. It's literally everything to them. They're hooked worse than the worse heroin addict on earth."
    -------------

    I think there are two ways to look at this: one is that you are trying to convert people to your point of view. I think most people think this is what atheists and agnostics are trying to do. The reason they think this is because that's what they do themselves, and so they expect it of others. This is what I'm reacting against, regardless of who does it. It simply comes from the desire to control people and to make the world after one's own image, because that's what makes people comfortable.

    The other way to look at this is somewhat more subtle, and I would assume that this is where you'd probably be coming from. There is misinformation and outright lies that people need to be informed about and indeed persuaded to accept: for example, global climate change, and you can name any of a number of other issues such as evolution, biblical literalism, etc. etc.

    I chose climate change because the consequences are more apparent and more immediate. If we don't do something about it, great harm will eventually result. So, we need to pull out the stops by both informing people with facts and persuading them that they need to change their thinking and their behavior. Something like evolution is more difficult because it ties more deeply to religious beliefs and because the consequences of not accepting evolution (natural selection) are not as obvious. However, this is something that also needs to be addressed because one of the consequences of not accepting evolution leads to an anti-science construct that ties into a denial of climate change and so forth.

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  137. I know the temptation is there to correct people, but I think the underlying motive is that we all only feel comfortable with people who think like we do.
    -----------------
    I only want them to be sane. I couldn't care less how they think or believe, as long as they acknowledge reality and the fact that people like me share it with them, and that that's okay.
    The statement "STOP BELIEVING THAT YOU'RE ENTITLED TO FUCK WITH THE WORLD" is not a statement of pride nor hatred. It is a statement born out of the very real fear that they will succeed.

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  138. All, thanks for your replies. I really appreciate it and hope that I can contribute more to this blog. I feel "safe" here sharing things that I've only dared say to maybe two or three close friends out in the "real" world.
    ----------------
    This pleases me. I want you to be sure that we are not criticizing you here but are only responding to have a dialogue and share knowledge. I also feel safe here; that's why I made 'here.' To feel safe somewhere and have a free and hopefully enlightened dialogue with friendly people. And if one of them occassionally isn't friendly, hey, it's only the internet so who cares, they don't know my last name or my face or my address, right?
    Glad to have you around the place, is the point.

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  139. "Gentlemen, our job is a difficult one if we wish to get them to see things in a different way, to see the real world rather than their construct.
    --------------
    Dammit, when I typed that I was thinking 'I don't want to sound like a proselytizer because that's not my point; hope this doesn't come across that way...' Figures I get nailed. lol....

    I thought by stressing 'see the real world' I'd avoid that. The real world is not my dearly-held opinion. It's actually 'out there' for all to see, touch, smell, hear, and taste. I don't want them all to become agnostics or atheists; I want them to become Earthmen. To stop living for the next life and shitting on this one for everyone else.

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  140. So I would "argue" that we should look at these types of things somewhat differently. The tools and techniques we use to argue about the effects of climate change should be a little different from the tools and techniques to argue for evolution and natural selection. One of the big rhetorical mistakes that Stephen Hawking and other scientists make is by claiming that science has left no room for God. By coming right out and proclaiming that in bold face type forces the other side to dig their heels in deeper and push back.

    And this is where I would argue that it might be better not to try and convert people away from their religious beliefs. It's one thing to talk about climate change or natural selection, but it's a totally different thing to attack the existence of God. People will push back and feel that they have to defend their belief. They will lash out and in order to discredit atheists and agnostics will call them names, question their morality, and well, you know what I'm talking about.

    So from my rhetorical perspective I would say, pick your fights. There's nothing wrong with fighting against ignorance and lies and using all the rhetorical devices you can to inform and persuade people. I would stop there. Some people will take that further and come to question first biblical literalism, religious authority, and so forth and so forth.

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  141. I named myself "Saint Brian the Godless' for a reason. First, that the actual saints were huge sinners, so the title is meaningless. But second, because I had it in my mind (naively) that while there was obviously no way to change their beliefs to my beliefs, I might be able to get them to see Jesus' path, which I actually approve of in general, in that it 'harms none.' They call themselves 'christians' and yet are blind to Christ's core message. I thought, or rather used to think, that I could show them that right there in the bible Jesus is telling us to love one another; that message above all others. They can't see it. They seem to think they own Jesus Christ and so can make him whatever they think they need from him. They parse the bible and find ways around Jesus' directives, like a lawyer looking for the loopholes. I really thought that by showing them that love and empathy was what Jesus was talking about I could make inroads on their hatred of others, others like me. But no. Even that, even showing them their own God's words, which are pretty darned specific on these points, makes no difference. Thus I began to realize the difference between those who think, and those who only believe.

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  142. To be kind of ironic, let me take a page out of the LDS book. We are a funny people. We so much want to be accepted that we go overboard with public relations and put up all kinds of public service ads trying to show how normal we are.

    But then we do something stupid like support the proposition (I forget the number) in California opposing same sex marriage. As an aside, I had a conversation with a very good friend of mine in SLC, whose son just came out earlier this year. He's been involved with a monthly meeting of LBGT Mormons, some who have left the church. This meeting is actually under the auspices of the church. It's very low-key. They're not trying to trap anybody or even trying to get them to come back into full fellowship. What it portends, my friend thinks, is that the church is slowly (very slowly) trying to come to grips with this issue. They are abandoning conversion therapy (or whatever it's called) and acknowledging that people can't change back into heterosexuals. My friend is very encouraged that changes are being made. There may be some core things that will never change, but any change is quite remarkable I think. So, people can change, especially when they aren't forced to.

    Another example is the lifting of the priesthood ban on blacks back in the 70's. There had been some movement in the 50s to try to change the practice, but there were too many high-level leaders who wouldn't budge. And during the 60's, when the church was criticized, they simply dug in their heels. By the time the 70s rolled around, most people (inside and outside the church) had given up that it would ever be changed. When the pressure was more or less off and other things came more prominently into view--one of which was the growth of the church in Brazil with large numbers of mixed race people joining--the practice was ended.

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  143. Some people will take that further and come to question first biblical literalism, religious authority, and so forth and so forth.
    ------------
    Those things are the core of their belief system; what you seem to be ignoring is that those very beliefs are precisely what stand in the way of their understanding of this world. They are the REASON that people like me cannot actually make any inroads. Personally I'd PREFER to not screw with their beliefs, and just get through to them as people. What I initially failed to realize is that, unlike thoughts which can be and should be up-dated when new information comes in, beliefs like those are not even something that the believer can ever change or up-date. If their beliefs stand in the way of them letting other people alone, then we other people are doomed, because they can't change them. So then, it becomes necessary to at least try, since there is no other option. The military response is, after all, off the table. :-)

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  144. Have to take a break... I'll be back later on to reply to the rest, Lloyd...
    Happy to have you around to discuss these matters. I'm not the type to dismiss you here; don't make the mistake of thinking that I'm trying to. Personally I feel that if you can show me a better path somehow, hell, I'd practically want to kiss you. I see the danger of Pride. Pride that blinds people. Pride that closes their ears. I know that anybody can fall victim to that; hell, all of us have at one time or another... so I am attempting vigilance against that sort of thing in my life.

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  145. So, what I'm trying to say in my roundabout way is that lots of people can and will change, but there has to be a way to help them change, particularly those beliefs and behaviors that are dangerous, whether related to climate change or how they treat other people (because of their lack of conformity to what they want).

    So here's the page out of the LDS book. We talk about "missionary work" all the time and how to talk to people about the church. The LDS are an actively proselytizing church. I did my own two-year stint over 30 years ago. Most of the time now, it's not to go out and convert people, to convert the world, although that is still kind of part of the world-view, but it's not a real conscious, day-to-day kind of thing--most of the time now it's simply about how to be a better neighbor and how to bring up the church in a non-threatening, almost casual way. If the person isn't interested, let it drop.

    The point now is more than trying to convert people because we're "right," but more along the lines of this way of life really works for me. I'm a happy person and the church helps me in my life and helps me raise my family. So, the tactics have changed somewhat. I'm pretty uncomfortable with any kind of proselytizing, no matter how subtle. I'm certainly not afraid of letting people know my background, but I don't do so to try and get a conversation going about the church or even to try and set some kind of example, as I just explained.

    But, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I think when somebody finds a way of life that works for them, that brings them peace and comfort, that's just great, and I really don't have a problem with them letting that be known. It's like saying, "hey, this works for me, and if you're interested, maybe it'll work for you. If not, then I hope you find something that does work for you."

    To me, it's less about being right than about being happy.

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  146. One last thought for a while:

    How has religion changed in the past?

    SHAME. Shame is how religion has changed in the past.

    First, reality changes. (human rights for instance, as re the blacks) Then the majority of people sign on to it. The zeitgeist changes. Then eventually, people start to laugh at the doctrine in question that is still held by the church... then eventually, the religion changes their rules so that they don't get laughed at anymore. Just barely. Usually though there are many still in that faith that want to change back to the old path; they become the minority and lose their power to influence it, though.

    The problem here is, they're making a bid to reverse reality back to their desired state. They got tired of changing to fit into reality; now they wish to change reality to suit them. And they believe it's their Divine Right.

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  147. Two very interesting things have happened the last few years: increased acceptance of gays and increased acceptance of LDS. We all know the struggles the gay community has gone through, but who would have thought 20 years ago that same sex marriage has become a reality for many people. There have been downturns, but by and large, there has been steady progress of acceptance. Granted, there will always be pockets of resistance, but it seems apparent that the progress will continue.

    All y'all may think I'm focusing too much on the LDS, but largely thanks to Romney's candidacy, much more is known about the LDS now than ever before. Granted, a lot of that is still negative, but as I watch and read news, I'm struck by the increased normative use of LDS phrases. For example, it's common now for people to say about Romney or about other prominent Mormons something like "when he served his mission." Even the use of LDS, rather than Mormon is rather interesting as we refer to ourselves more as LDS than as Mormon. It's these small linguistic snippets that tell me that as a group we're somewhat more in the mainstream than before, if not more accepted.

    I assume it will still take a long time for most people to consider LDS as "normal." And of course, there are many people, specifically the radical right-wing evangelicals who will still consider us a cult. Because of their politics and the fact that most LDS are conservative, they've made a little bit of concession, but it's been tentative and many have only done so reluctantly.

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  148. What I'm trying to say is that people can and do change--not all, mind you. And, as I see that Brian and I are posting simultaneously here, sometimes shame is the only way that will get people to change. But, another point I want to make is that why are atheists and agnostics still so mistrusted and even hated by so many people?

    If gays and "gasp" Mormons can become somewhat more respected, why have atheists and agnostics not done so. Brian is absolutely right. There are simply people out there who mistrust and hate atheists and agnostics. I don't know how to reach them or change that. But here's my perhaps naive way of looking at what can atheists and agnostics do to try and change perceptions. And it would be to change the argument. Focus on the science, which I know Brian has done for quite a while, but focus more on the more immediate things, like climate change. Then focus more subtly on the next layer down. Also bring out why these things are important--improved life for millions of people, avoidance of global catastrophe for millions of people, etc. etc.

    And finally (and I hope that this is not considered offensive), but focus on the positive aspects of your life as an atheist. What is it that brings you happiness and peace?

    I know some of this may sound silly, but I guess I'm more interested in practical solutions, even if they only partially work. Prejudiced minds are hard to change, but they can and do change, so if that is anything positive, then perhaps that's not a bad thing.

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  149. "Those things are the core of their belief system; what you seem to be ignoring is that those very beliefs are precisely what stand in the way of their understanding of this world. They are the REASON that people like me cannot actually make any inroads. Personally I'd PREFER to not screw with their beliefs, and just get through to them as people. What I initially failed to realize is that, unlike thoughts which can be and should be up-dated when new information comes in, beliefs like those are not even something that the believer can ever change or up-date. If their beliefs stand in the way of them letting other people alone, then we other people are doomed, because they can't change them. So then, it becomes necessary to at least try, since there is no other option. The military response is, after all, off the table. :-)"
    ---------------------

    Brian, you're absolutely right about their core beliefs standing "in the way of their understanding of this world." What I'm trying to suggest, and I'm not doing a very good job about it is to de-link those core beliefs from what you called reality. Is there a way rhetorically to do that? I'd like to think there is a way to do that, and I use the progress of the LGBT community as a sort of template. Someone who thinks that gays are going to hell will likely not change their mind on that, but it's possible that they might decide to live and let live when it comes to same sex marriage, and at least not oppose that legislative change. That's a long shot perhaps, but a year after DADT was overturned, what did the latest report say about how military morale and readiness was affected by the change? Apparently not much.

    Reality does have a way of finally, ultimately raising its head and saying, "see, nothing happened!" I predict that the same thing will happen five years after same sex marriage is legalized in the states it has been so far. I think people will look around and realize it was much ado about nothing. I may be wrong, but I think we have to take the long view. I think these changes are like what happens in science when old views are discarded--they're usually discarded when the old guard dies and new scientists who were introduced to new ways of thinking early in their career finally take over.

    Anyway, while I think that these changes can happen long-term, there are times when I absolutely despair about the current state of science and politics and about how unbelievably blind some people are. Even though most scientists have been saying that individual storms or short-term droughts can't necessarily be linked to climate change (although recently they're saying the probabilities for that are rising), average people are seeing how hot and dry this year has been and are kind of coming around to the fact that maybe climate change is real.

    You know, the longer you say something, eventually more people will believe it. That works for the truth as well as for lies. We need to employ that technique for scientific truth. And, I'm going to be bold and say that if the focus is more on the science and less on disproving the existence of God, then maybe there will be more success in bringing people around to reality.

    Enough said for a while. I look forward to continued discussion. Thanks...

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  150. Although it may be true that individual people's opinions can be changed over time, albeit slowly, the real barrier to acceptance of "others" by most religionists is the mind control exercised over them by whatever organized church they adhere to. Changing "church" teachings, no matter how hurtful to "others" or lacking in empathy they may be, will always be slowest and most resistant to said change. Obviously, this is because any such change or acceptance of world views not espoused by or subservient to those of a particular church is a direct threat to its authority and control over its adherents i.e. loss of power by the church leaders. One has only to remember the responses of Islam to "blasphemy" on the part of non-Muslims, and/or historical events like the Inquisition to see the extremes to which religious leaders will go to retain power. Moreover, the one characteristic that distinquishes atheists/agnostics/humanists from believers is not the question of the reality of God, but our ability to make observations in the real world without needing to refer to "authority" for confirmation/affirmation of those conclusions.

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  151. I like this new guy. Lloyd, you make great points about all these things. Also, Brian. (hi!) I've quoted you on FB because I thought that something you'd said was great earlier; thought you should know.

    ...Damn I wish I had productive comments to make here. It's so fun talking to you guys. But I feel like I've nothing to say between not understanding half of what goes on and seeing a thought I've had already been stated. = (

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  152. Cogs, thanks! I'm not entirely new. I posted occasionally back in the Dinesh D'Sousa blog days and a little bit when Brian first started this blog, but it has been a while, but Brian remembers me.

    Harvey said: "Although it may be true that individual people's opinions can be changed over time, albeit slowly, the real barrier to acceptance of "others" by most religionists is the mind control exercised over them by whatever organized church they adhere to. Changing "church" teachings, no matter how hurtful to "others" or lacking in empathy they may be, will always be slowest and most resistant to said change."

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  153. Harvey, I hope you're wrong, but you're probably right. I guess the reason I use the LDS as a template so much is that it's a very centralized church, more so I think than the Catholic church. And there are some subtle changes coming. In fact, I would argue almost the opposite of what you said, that the doctrines of a church are easier to change from a centralized POV than individual peoples.

    In my experience in the LDS church, the highest level leaders are in some ways much more tolerant and open to change than the average "orthodox" members. It's those orthodox members who try to outdo each other and outdo the leaders from a doctrinal POV, who are the dangerous ones, and the next tier members try to emulate the ultra orthodox thinking that they are on the right path. So you have a feedback loop.

    Here's an example: there's a program on TV that just came out a while ago called: "The Mormon Candidate." Of course it's about Romney and in addition to try and bring out information about Romney the producers explore parts of the LDS culture. They do a sort of OK job. There are some strange references and things that they didn't quite get right. And of course they have to find disaffected members to get their perspective. Well, yeah, there are always going to be disaffected members. Most anthropologists say that you should probably avoid disaffected members of a religion if you want to get an accurate picture of it--at least that's my perspective.

    One of the things that one of the people being interviewed said that they were basically shunned by their family because he left the church. Well, yeah, that happens, but it's not a principle of the church to do that. And we never use the word shun--it's just not part of our vocabulary. But I don't doubt that people have been kicked out of their families for leaving the church, but it's not universal by a long shot.

    Anyway, in the program the interviewer was speaking with one or the 12 apostles, which is the second highest leadership group in the church. The interviewer mentioned the individual whose family had "shunned" him. The apostle said that if anyone in his family ever left the church, even with his high position, he would never do that to someone in his family. I really believe that. And I've heard plenty of sermons that that behavior is not appropriate.

    But there are people who would do that. But they're acting against the principles of the church. It's these kind of people who are dangerous. And these are the kind of people in other faiths who are the ones who have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret Christianity in that kind of hard ass way. So, I think those are the people who will never change, whereas church doctrines will change.

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  154. In my experience in the LDS church, the highest level leaders are in some ways much more tolerant and open to change than the average "orthodox" members.

    Yes, think Eric vs. MI.

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  155. I'm struck by the increased normative use of LDS phrases. For example,
    ------------
    How about one that I heard, "Lying for the Lord?" Is that for real?

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  156. Hi Cogs! Nice to 'see' you again. You're always welcome here.... and thanks! I hope whatever I said wasn't too stupid...

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  157. LOL. That's a good one. That's a reference back to the days of polygamy. I'm not sure if or how much it was used during the actual open days of polygamy. The church leaders were on the lam for a few years, and I'm sure that people lied about the whereabouts of the leaders as they were in hiding. This would have been in the 1880's--I'm not sure of the actual dates.

    But 1890 was when the church officially came out and banned the practice. However, it was really another 20 years before the practice was finally pretty much abolished. There might have been a few people holding out after 1910, but that's when the splinter groups started breaking off. By then, the main body of the church had ceased the practice.

    The phrase "lying for the Lord" was used (as far as I know) during the Reed Smoot hearings. He had been elected to the Senate from Utah, and it was during this gray period of time between 1890 and 1910 when the church had supposedly banned the practice, but hadn't really fully banned it. Anyway, the hearings were held to determine if the Senate would actually seat him, I think because many people thought that polygamy was still in practice, which to a large extent it was. I don't know if he was a polygamist or not.

    It was then that he "lied for the Lord" by claiming that the practice had indeed been banned. It's commonly understood that the church caved on polygamy to achieve statehood for Utah, but there was more to it than that. The government had threatened to basically cease church property if they didn't abandon it.

    Anyway, this is my understanding of it. I may not be totally accurate. I don't think anybody uses the phrase today other than maybe as a joke or to acknowledge that it had been done. I would hope that the practice of "lying for the Lord," let alone the phrase, had died out with polygamy, but hey, you never know...

    I was disappointed in the program I mentioned earlier when the church spokesman during an interview denied the existence of a committee in the church called "Strengthening the Members" committee, and then backtracked when questioned further on it: "oh, that committee." Jeez, it was pretty bad. I don't think it was edited that way. He really looked stupid. So, what do I know, there may be people who still think it's acceptable to "lie for the Lord" or lie for the church as the case may be.

    Here's another one: "when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done." The president of the church is called a prophet, just like an OT prophet. When that came out in the 1940's or 1950's, it was very quickly debunked by the then prophet, thankfully, but the phrase continued on (and probably continues on) in some circles.

    Like I said, it's the wannabe's in the church that scare me the most--the wannabe church leader types. We call it bucking for general authority. The central leaders in SLC are called general authorities. It's the guys who are trying to build a career path to be a general authority who are the ones I'm talking about. We all know the type--the uber organization people, the self-appointed keepers of orthodoxy. And we have plenty of those types. And of course there are those types in all religions, and they're the ones we have to worry about, the ones who'll probably never be convinced or persuaded otherwise.

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  158. 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.

    My ex-brother-in-law is married to, and therefore likely part of the LDS community here, although he never talks to me about it to me. My over-all impression is that there must be a really good sense of community as all LDSers I've ever came across seem to have a contentment with life, you get the sense that they have a 'peace', a sense of community that many lack.

    Like the difference between a boss who is looking for something you've done wrong and one who is eager to help you through when things need done quick and to teach you how to do it better.

    If I had to fake believing, being part of the LDS, well I'd rather be in there with their 'can do' attitude, than with the evangelicals 'you must do' or 'we can force others to do' attitude.

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  159. It's nice what kind of surprisingly nice people you can find in religions that otherwise seem to be so hostile. Misunderstood religions seem to be full of those kinds of people. I mean, what Christian would willingly try to understand the religion someone they knew to be a practicing Wiccan or Satanist? I have met some very nice Satanists myself.

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  160. "I have met some very nice Satanists myself."

    Couldn't help thinking of the not so nice ones, who, we hear, scream insults like, "You're mother sews socks in HELL!", at you just before they puke a river of pea soup in your face!

    Ah, the possessed, what fun!
    ..................................................

    Horrible thought though!

    What if the LDSers I've met are working on the principle that one should always treat their friends and neighbours with kindness and respect, because, that way, they maintain the element of surprise!

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  161. Completely off topic, my little dog has the stucks. He just managed to squeeze out a couple of shortish blobs, which are soft, which seem to me to suggest there is something he's not able to pass which is blocking the pipes, but the soft stuff is able to get by with a big effort.

    I know the 'see ur vet' thing, but meantime I've given him some milk. I had fed him a small handfull of dry doggie bits before we went out since this problem started yesterday.

    Man, this little guy seems to have nothing but bad luck eating poison or something that'll block him up. I was hoping that it was the cardboard he was chewing on and that eventually(within like the course of one, two days at the outside) would 'pass'.

    I feel bad for the little guy 'squeezing' and 'squeezing' and not much happening for him, don't know if he could somehow bust his gut trying so hard.

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  162. 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?

    Note, by 'strongest objection' I mean something like "the objection that, if adequately responded to, would positively change your opinion of the position, even if it failed to persuade you of the truth of the position."

    Any takers? I'm genuinely curious about this. I can provide my answers to similar questions posed from your point of view:

    (1) My strongest objection to positive atheism, viz. the claim that there is no god, is that the claim is too strong for any argument I've seen produced to support it. If you think you have such an argument, I'd like to hear it.

    (2) My strongest objection to negative atheism, viz. agnosticism, is that I think that the only claim used to defend this sort of position, i.e. that there is no evidence, or insufficient evidence, for concluding that the existence of god is minimally more probable than not, is demonstrably false. In my judgment, some contemporary formulations of Aquinas's first way and of the argument from contingency do show that a bare bones theistic god probably does exist. (I'm more than willing to support this claim in this way: take (1), where I claimed that there is no argument for positive atheism that's strong enough to support the conclusion; well, I'd gladly compare the strongest argument in favor of positive atheism with the strongest argument for theism in terms of logical form, the truth of the premises, and so on to prove that arguments for theism are much stronger than arguments for positive atheism.)

    So, does anyone have a response to my two questions that he'd like to share?


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  163. Misunderstood religions seem to be full of those kinds of people.
    ---------------
    Misunderstood, maybe, but more like demonized.
    Wiccans are way nicer than christians. And Moslems. And many jews, too. A religion that is nature-centered, and has as it's central creed 'HARM NONE.' It's a more worthy faith than most, actually. Lots of flakes though, but that's to be expected...
    I don't know any satanists, but from what I've read, the whole concept is basically a reaction against and a rejection of christianity, as in, Anton Szandor LaVey saw how *evil* the church is, and how *corrupt* it was (and is) and decided, well, if that's good, I'll take evil, because what people think of as good has been corrupted to real evil and what the christians call 'evil' is often good. Hey, at least Satan is less hypocritical than God is. Way less.

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  164. (1) What is your strongest objection to belief in some sort of god?
    -Belief in a fantasy god allows the religious to be too easily controlled. It's brainwashing. It damages their minds, makes them not acknowledge reality, and even not care about it. The clergy can put their words into god's mouth, and have the people do their bidding, thinking it god's. It's a human control mechanism.



    (2) What is your strongest objection to belief in the Christian god in particular?
    -The sheer level of hypocrisy. Plus, all of the above from my previous answer. The amount of PRIDE, I find physically repellant. The entitlement... they want to rule the world again. They look down on others. The immoral morality system. There's so much... it's a hateful, nasty creed, with really dishonest P.R. salesmen who tout it as the Very Highest Good.

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  165. (1) My strongest objection to positive atheism, viz. the claim that there is no god, is that the claim is too strong for any argument I've seen produced to support it.
    ------------------
    So is the claim that there definitely is one, and even more so when one has the audacity to *define* said god's characteristics. Sheer hubris.





    My strongest objection to negative atheism, viz. agnosticism, is that I think that the only claim used to defend this sort of position, i.e. that there is no evidence, or insufficient evidence, for concluding that the existence of god is minimally more probable than not, is demonstrably false. In my judgment, some contemporary formulations of Aquinas's first way and of the argument from contingency do show that a bare bones theistic god probably does exist.
    -----------------
    The fact that you are ridiculous, has no bearing on it. Demonstrably false to a BIASED CHRISTIAN. Not to a normal person with an un-enslaved mind, as we've adequately demonstrated here.
    You do not have any evidence and your Aquinas was in the tank for god. What you offer to us, is a joke.

    Agnosticism IS HUMILITY, something you lack and perhaps cannot even see. We. Do. Not. Know. It's the only truly rational answer at this stage of our development. Be humble. Stop pretending to know things you do not by hiding in the weeds of semantics and spin.

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  166. I call myself an atheist. Now by that do I mean "I know that there is no God" or do I mean "I do not believe that there is a God?" Both types exist.... I am in the latter camp. Belief you see, is not knowledge.

    You know Eric, I happen to agree with your first objection there... I can't say that I KNOW that there is no God. I can say that I believe that there is no god, as you think of a god. I am actually an agnostic, with mystic/shamanic tendencies. I choose to call myself an atheist because I definitely do not believe in a THEOS as the religions describe it. An anthropomorphized sky daddy with all our worst traits claiming that when he does them they're good? Get real. An obvious fabrication to placate and pacify the people, and make them more obedient to authority even when said authority is not fair to them. Plus a cushy afterlife to hang over their heads like the carrot it is. And hell, the STICK.

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  167. Is it possible that reality had no starting point? That everything is an eternal cycle, with new universes starting and ending all the 'time?' That our Big Bang actually came from another universe and started this one? Is that discussed among scientists as a rational possibility?
    Of course it is. And yet, you with your Aquinas insist on acting like it isn't. You don't even mention it. You act like the only possibility is one timeline with events leading back to one beginning, and not ever considering any alternative to that, and STILL, your Aquinas proves nothing! You can't even nail down your own argument, and you completely ignore the other possibilities... This, my friend, it pure PRIDE.

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  168. Without a tiny grain of FAITH, even you yourself have admitted that Aquinas cannot prove itself to people.

    That really says it all.

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  169. "(1) What is your strongest objection to belief in some sort of god?
    -Belief in a fantasy god allows the religious to be too easily controlled. It's brainwashing. It damages their minds, makes them not acknowledge reality, and even not care about it. The clergy can put their words into god's mouth, and have the people do their bidding, thinking it god's. It's a human control mechanism."

    Brian, this could be true (in many cases it certainly is true) *and* god could exist, so this is really no objection at all to belief in god, but to the consequences of belief in god. It's like saying that you don't accept the truth of Einstein's equations because you don't like the consequence that they've helped produce weapons of mass destruction.

    "(2) What is your strongest objection to belief in the Christian god in particular?
    -The sheer level of hypocrisy. Plus, all of the above from my previous answer. The amount of PRIDE, I find physically repellant. The entitlement... they want to rule the world again. They look down on others. The immoral morality system. There's so much... it's a hateful, nasty creed, with really dishonest P.R. salesmen who tout it as the Very Highest Good."

    Again, this is no objection to the truth of the claim, only to what you take to be the consequences of believing the claim.

    Do you have any real objections?

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  170. "Is it possible that reality had no starting point? That everything is an eternal cycle, with new universes starting and ending all the 'time?' That our Big Bang actually came from another universe and started this one? Is that discussed among scientists as a rational possibility?
    Of course it is. And yet, you with your Aquinas insist on acting like it isn't. You don't even mention it."

    Brian, you have no idea what you're talking about. Aquinas rather famously conceded (if you bothered to research the issue) that we *cannot* show that the universe itself had a beginning, and so his arguments neither assume nor set out to prove any such thing. He never argues (as Craig does in the Kalam cosmological argument) that the universe must have had a temporally first cause.

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  171. If you're interested in anything, Brian, I've got a copy of LaVey's book right next to me. Ask away I guess.

    (1) What is your strongest objection to belief in some sort of god?
    I guess I don't have an objection to believing in *a* god, because we can't prove it one way or another, but I'm not going to change the way I am or live because of it unless I'm personally touched by it, which I have never been.

    (2) What is your strongest objection to belief in the Christian god in particular?
    Belief in the Christian god would mean believing in the Bible and I just can't swallow that much bullshit.

    Anyway, can you change beliefs on a whim? It's as easy for you to suddenly STOP (truly stop) believing as it would be for a non-believer to (truly) start.

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  172. Brian, this could be true (in many cases it certainly is true) *and* god could exist, so this is really no objection at all to belief in god, but to the consequences of belief in god. It's like saying that you don't accept the truth of Einstein's equations because you don't like the consequence that they've helped produce weapons of mass destruction.
    -------------
    Only if it didn't. If Einstein's equations produced nothing, and yet people believed that they did, then it would be more similar. I do not accept the 'equation' of god, because it doesn't produce any results. Except belief, which produces nothing better than if the people did not believe. No better results in the believers as people, and many instances of worse ones. So yes, I look to the people, to the believers, because there is no evidence for your god nor any other one. Reason tells us that if your God were real, and stood for what He claims to stand for, then His believers would be better people that most. Um, not even close.

    But this is your game, Sir! This is your stock and trade, so I know that you can do this all night long and come back tomorrow to continue it. It never, ever ends, because you will not accept being in error as a possibility.

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  173. "(1) What is your strongest objection to belief in some sort of god?
    I guess I don't have an objection to believing in *a* god, because we can't prove it one way or another, but I'm not going to change the way I am or live because of it unless I'm personally touched by it, which I have never been."

    The 'personally touched' part is fair enough, though I'd be interested in hearing what you may have done positively in that regard (i.e. what efforts you've made to open yourself to such a thing).

    I also understand the 'can't prove it one way or another' part, but I'd have to add that you also can't prove the truth of your moral and political beliefs, yet you not only live your life by them, you affect the lives of others by way of them. And 'prove' is a bit strong, in my judgment, though you may have been using the term less strictly there.


    "(2) What is your strongest objection to belief in the Christian god in particular?
    Belief in the Christian god would mean believing in the Bible and I just can't swallow that much bullshit."

    I actually agree here, inasmuch as this was one of my strongest objections to Christianity when I was an atheist and then an agnostic. It wasn't until I learned how informed Christians had read the Bible from the very beginnings of Christianity that I was able to begin to take it seriously, and then ultimately to accept it as sacred scripture.

    "Anyway, can you change beliefs on a whim? It's as easy for you to suddenly STOP (truly stop) believing as it would be for a non-believer to (truly) start."

    Oh, certainly not, but that's the point of these questions, i.e. to see what objections must first be cleared away.

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  174. "Reason tells us that if your God were real, and stood for what He claims to stand for, then His believers would be better people that most. Um, not even close."

    Let's suppose that this is true. Wouldn't we have to qualify it by saying that 'his believers' refers not merely to those who claim to believe (or, more accurately, to 'have faith' in the true sense of the term), but to those who in fact believe and commit themselves to their belief (i.e. have faith)? After all, just read what Jesus says in Matthew 7: 21-23:

    "21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

    So you must agree with my qualification here, right?

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  175. You're so in denial about the very idea that there might not be a god that you are willing to essentially throw your religion under the bus in a 'trade-off.' You said that 'all that (my comments) could be true but still God can be real' but you didn't see how that looked, did you? If all that I said is true, that leaves your god perhaps being real, however for some reason he can't get through to his worshipers, didn't even 'write' the Bible, and so humans have created a control-mechanism out of his worship, creating ugliness out of his beauty and a philosophy that flies in the face of the very concept of a loving god. What you're essentially doing here, is invalidating the Bible as a source-book as a trade-off for god being real, and fuck, that's all you have as 'evidence' for god in the first place.

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  176. And I'll let pboy and others take it from here. I have a life, and this is tedious.
    Have a nice day!

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  177. "You're so in denial about the very idea that there might not be a god that you are willing to essentially throw your religion under the bus in a 'trade-off.' You said that 'all that (my comments) could be true but still God can be real' but you didn't see how that looked, did you?"

    Brian, whenever someone says, "even if everything you said were true," he's making a logical point, viz. your conclusion doesn't follow from your premises *even if we grant them*.

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  178. "...what efforts you've made to open yourself to such a thing..."

    I went to church often when I was a kid. I thought I'd give believing a try (or the little kid equivalent of that thought process). I did for a while, but I was more scared of everything than in tune with it. I just felt absolutely no spirituality, no surge of emotions, no revelation that what I was doing was right. So eventually I stopped and felt better.

    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.

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  179. I went to church often when I was a kid. I thought I'd give believing a try (or the little kid equivalent of that thought process). I did for a while, but I was more scared of everything than in tune with it. I just felt absolutely no spirituality, no surge of emotions, no revelation that what I was doing was right. So eventually I stopped and felt better.
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    Hey, whaddaya know? So did I! I didn't bother to answer him on this point, because it's never good enough for him, since it didn't result in my becoming a slack-jawed Catholic. Therefore, I must have done it wrong. Usual standard stuff.

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  180. Brian, whenever someone says, "even if everything you said were true," he's making a logical point, viz. your conclusion doesn't follow from your premises *even if we grant them*.
    -----------------------------------
    Okay Eric, then I choose to completely agree with you.
    There may be a god. I cannot prove otherwise. What I just did prove, was that if there is a god, then he's nothing like christians believe him to be, except for a certain cloistered group of apologists that make their own rules about it and pretend that most catholics or even most christians believe in them when they haven't even heard of them.
    I wold then say that if there is a god, it's likely that said god is more related to the idea of a colossal mind in which we exist as thoughts... sound familiar? At any rate, whatever said god is, what he is definitely not, is the judeo-christian idea of a theos.

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  181. 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.
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    Cogs, take a look; he's not even trying to do that. He's acknowledging that the Bible may be and possibly is a totally man-made work of utter bullshit, or at least that you have to read it with your Christ-goggles on.
    Pure unadulterated crap of course. It is what it is. What Eric's describing is the "Apologist Squint." Ya see, if you look at it just right, out of the believer corner of your eye, it suddenly makes sense!

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  182. Incidentally I may have heard God's voice while on Salvia. A woman's voice. (Yahwehlina perhaps?)

    I mentioned to her that we humans live in a world filled with pain. She answered 'what a shame.' with a tone of sad inevitability, as if it could not be helped.

    Does that make me a theist now?

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  183. We can continue this on the NEW POST. We're running out of room here again... NEW POST.



    NEW POST IS UP... see you all there.

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  184. 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.

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  185. Oh sweet mother, it couldn't be stupider...

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  186. "(1) What is your strongest objection to belief in some sort of god?"

    Gods are obviously an attempt to understand the world through the eyes of a social animal. It's the group, the team, the pack, the heard that's important, what better than to enlist the help of the elements themselves as part of that group?

    When we read the Bible and other works of the religions, we must suspend our disbelief, just exactly the same as we do for every story, since we have to try to get the story in the context it's being written. There's no point in criticizing a story line by line if it's an allegory, sure it's a bunch of fictional characters doing fictional stuff, but there's that overriding point being made, right?

    We could say that primitive religions, or how primitives view religion has the overriding point that we have a place in nature but nature isn't in our control.

    Why don't I believe that there are gods? I have no need of that hypothesis. I also notice that Doctors of Thinkology, whether they be backers of religion or are just pretending that they know 'something' reach way too far, pretend far too much, that they have case for a God, which they themselves are willing to admit is fluffed up out of old stories, from that time when people imagined the weather and the sky were enough reason to believe.

    Someone going quiet and pretending that their 'soul' goes into some 'inner temple' and that they come out a 'better' man, is being entirely subjective, using the old time words to back themselves up.

    Why would anyone believe in the supernatural because this was the 'best explanation du jour' a long time ago? The gods were 'in the stars', the gods were the planets, the gods caused weather etc. etc.?

    Come on Eric, we can still believe all that if we like, right? 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.

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  187. "Oh sweet mother, it couldn't be stupider..."

    Ryan just hates kit when he learns that there's a perfectly reasonable response to one of his big objections!

    You must think that electronics is pretty stupid too -- you know, 'male' and 'female' and the like -- I mean, we can't use common terms to refer to essential differences like that, can we?

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  188. Ryan just hates kit when he learns that there's a perfectly reasonable response to one of his big objections!

    That's not one of my big objections. But it is exceedingly stupid.

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

    Begging the question.

    "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!

    "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.

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