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"From: west@next02cville.wam.umd.edu (Stilgar) Subject: Re: Gospel Dating In article <kmr4.1433.734039535@po.CWRU.edu> kmr4@po.CWRU.edu (Keith M. Ryan) writes: > In article <1993Apr5.163050.13308@wam.umd.edu> west@next02cville.wam.umd.edu (Stilgar) writes: > >In article <kmr4.1422.733983061@po.CWRU.edu> kmr4@po.CWRU.edu (Keith M. > >Ryan) writes: > >> In article <1993Apr5.025924.11361@wam.umd.edu> > >west@next02cville.wam.umd.edu (Stilgar) writes: > >> > >> >THE ILLIAD IS THE UNDISPUTED WORD OF GOD(tm) *prove me wrong* > >> > >> I dispute it. > >> > >> Ergo: by counter-example: you are proven wrong. > > > > I dispute your counter-example > > > > Ergo: by counter-counter-example: you are wrong and > > I am right so nanny-nanny-boo-boo TBBBBBBBTTTTTTHHHHH > > No. The premis stated that it was undisputed. > Fine... THE ILLIAD IS THE WORD OF GOD(tm) (disputed or not, it is) Dispute that. It won't matter. Prove me wrong. Brian West -- THIS IS NOT A SIG FILE * -"To the Earth, we have been THIS IS NOT A SIG FILE * here but for the blink of an OK, SO IT'S A SIG FILE * eye, if we were gone tomorrow, posted by west@wam.umd.edu * we would not be missed."- who doesn't care who knows it. * (Jurassic Park) ** DICLAIMER: I said this, I meant this, nobody made me do it.** "
"From: darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) Subject: Re: Ancient islamic rituals In <ednclark.734054731@kraken> ednclark@kraken.itc.gu.edu.au (Jeffrey Clark) writes: >cfaehl@vesta.unm.edu (Chris Faehl) writes: >>Why is it more reasonable than the trend towards obesity and the trend towards >>depression? You can't just pick your two favorite trends, notice a correlation >>in them, and make a sweeping statement of generality. I mean, you CAN, and >>people HAVE, but that does not mean that it is a valid or reasonable thesis. >>At best it's a gross oversimplification of the push-pull factors people >>experience. [...] >Basically the social interactions of all the changing factors in our society >are far too complicated for us to control. We just have to hold on to the >panic handles and hope that we are heading for a soft landing. But one >things for sure, depression and the destruction of the nuclear family is not >due solely to sex out of marriage. Note that I _never_ said that depression and the destruction of the nuclear family is due _solely_ to extra-marital sex. I specifically said that it was "a prime cause" of this, not "the prime cause" or "the only cause" of this -- I recognize that there are probably other factors too, but I think that extra-marital sex and subsequent destabilization of the family is probably a significant factor to the rise in psychological problems, including depression, in the West in the 20th century. Fred Rice darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au "
"From: keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) Subject: Re: Moraltiy? (was Re: <Political Atheists?) livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) writes: >>>>What if I act morally for no particular reason? Then am I moral? What >>>>if morality is instinctive, as in most animals? >>>Saying that morality is instinctive in animals is an attempt to >>>assume your conclusion. >>Which conclusion? >You conclusion - correct me if I err - that the behaviour which is >instinctive in animals is a "natural" moral system. See, we are disagreeing on the definition of moral here. Earlier, you said that it must be a conscious act. By your definition, no instinctive behavior pattern could be an act of morality. You are trying to apply human terms to non-humans. I think that even if someone is not conscious of an alternative, this does not prevent his behavior from being moral. >>You don't think that morality is a behavior pattern? What is human >>morality? A moral action is one that is consistent with a given >>pattern. That is, we enforce a certain behavior as moral. >You keep getting this backwards. *You* are trying to show that >the behaviour pattern is a morality. Whether morality is a behavior >pattern is irrelevant, since there can be behavior pattern, for >example the motions of the planets, that most (all?) people would >not call a morality. I try to show it, but by your definition, it can't be shown. And, morality can be thought of a large class of princples. It could be defined in terms of many things--the laws of physics if you wish. However, it seems silly to talk of a "moral" planet because it obeys the laws of phyics. It is less silly to talk about animals, as they have at least some free will. keith "
"From: livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) Subject: Re: Objective morality (was Re: <Political Atheists?) In article <1qlf7gINN8sn@gap.caltech.edu>, keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) writes: |> livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) writes: |> |> >In another part of this thread, you've been telling us that the |> >"goal" of a natural morality is what animals do to survive. |> |> That's right. Humans have gone somewhat beyond this though. Perhaps |> our goal is one of self-actualization. Humans have "gone somewhat beyond" what, exactly? In one thread you're telling us that natural morality is what animals do to survive, and in this thread you are claiming that an omniscient being can "definitely" say what is right and what is wrong. So what does this omniscient being use for a criterion? The long- term survival of the human species, or what? How does omniscient map into "definitely" being able to assign "right" and "wrong" to actions? |> |> >But suppose that your omniscient being told you that the long |> >term survival of humanity requires us to exterminate some |> >other species, either terrestrial or alien. |> |> Now you are letting an omniscient being give information to me. This |> was not part of the original premise. Well, your "original premises" have a habit of changing over time, so perhaps you'd like to review it for us, and tell us what the difference is between an omniscient being be able to assign "right" and "wrong" to actions, and telling us the result, is. |> |> >Does that make it moral to do so? |> |> Which type of morality are you talking about? In a natural sense, it |> is not at all immoral to harm another species (as long as it doesn't |> adversely affect your own, I guess). I'm talking about the morality introduced by you, which was going to be implemented by this omniscient being that can "definitely" assign "right" and "wrong" to actions. You tell us what type of morality that is. jon. "
"From: ingles@engin.umich.edu (Ray Ingles) Subject: Evo. & Homosexuality (Was Re: Princeton etc.) Sorry, Bill, I had to clear this up. There may be good evolutionary arguments against homosexuality, but these don't qualify. In article <C4vwn0.JF5@darkside.osrhe.uoknor.edu> bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) writes: >C.Wainwright (eczcaw@mips.nott.ac.uk) wrote: [deletions] >: |> It would seem odd if homosexuality had any evolutionary function [deletions] >: So *every* time a man has sex with a woman they intend to produce children? >: Hmm...no wonder the world is overpopulated. Obviously you keep to the >: Monty Python song: "Every sperm is sacred". And if, as *you* say, it has >: a purpose as a means to limit population growth then it is, by your own >: arguement, natural. > >Consider the context, I'm talking about an evolutionary function. One >of the most basic requirements of evolution is that members of a >species procreate, those who don't have no purpose in that context. Oh? I guess all those social insects (e.g. ants, bees, etc.) which have one breeding queen and a whole passel of sterile workers are on the way out, huh? >: These days is just ain't true! People can decide whether or not to have >: children and when. Soon they will be able to choose it's sex &c (but that's >: another arguement...) so it's more of a "lifestyle" decision. Again by >: your arguement, since homosexuals can not (or choose not) to reproduce they >: must be akin to people who decide to have sex but not children. Both are >: as "unnatural" as each other. > >Yet another non-sequitur. Sex is an evolutionary function that exists >for procreation, that it is also recreation is incidental. That >homosexuals don't procreate means that sex is -only- recreation and >nothing more; they serve no -evolutionary- purpose. I refer you to the bonobos, a species of primate as closeley related to humans as chimpanzees (that is, very closely). They have sex all the time, homosexual as well as heterosexual. When the group finds food, they have sex. Before the go to sleep at night, they have sex. After they escape from or fight off prdators, they have sex. Sex serves a very important social function above and beyond reproduction in this species. A species closely related to humans. There is some indication that sex performs a social function in humans, as well, but even if not, this shows that such a function is not *impossible*. Sincerely, Ray Ingles ingles@engin.umich.edu "The meek can *have* the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars!" - Robert A. Heinlein "
"From: "Robert Knowles" <p00261@psilink.com> Subject: Re: KORESH IS GOD! >DATE: Fri, 16 Apr 1993 14:15:20 +0100 >FROM: mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> > >The latest news seems to be that Koresh will give himself up once he's >finished writing a sequel to the Bible. > >mathew Writing the Seven Seals or something along those lines. He's already written the first of the Seven which was around 30 pages or so and has handed it over to an assistant for PROOFREADING!. I would expect any decent messiah to have a built-in spellchecker. Maybe Koresh 2.0 will come with one. "
"From: bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) Subject: Re: After 2000 years, can we say that Christian Morality is In article <C5Jxru.2t8@news.cso.uiuc.edu> cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu (Mike Cobb) writes: >What do you base your belief on atheism on? Your knowledge and reasoning? >COuldn't that be wrong? > Actually, my atheism is based on ignorance. Ignorance of the existence of any god. Don't fall into the "atheists don't believe because of their pride" mistake. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Bob Beauchaine bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM They said that Queens could stay, they blew the Bronx away, and sank Manhattan out at sea. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ "
"From: sandvik@newton.apple.com (Kent Sandvik) Subject: Re: Genocide is Caused by Atheism In article <1qjfnv$ogt@horus.ap.mchp.sni.de>, frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) wrote: > (1) Does the term "hero-worship" mean anything to you? Yes, worshipping Jesus as the super-saver is indeed hero-worshipping of the grand scale. Worshipping Lenin that will make life pleasant for the working people is, eh, somehow similar, or what. > (2) I understand that gods are defined to be supernatural, not merely > superhuman. The notion of Lenin was on the borderline of supernatural insights into how to change the world, he wasn't a communist God, but he was the man who gave presents to kids during Christmas. > #Actually, I agree. Things are always relative, and you can't have > #a direct mapping between a movement and a cause. However, the notion > #that communist Russia was somewhat the typical atheist country is > #only something that Robertson, Tilton et rest would believe in. > > Those atheists were not True Unbelievers, huh? :-) Don't know what they were, but they were fanatics indeed. Cheers, Kent --- sandvik@newton.apple.com. ALink: KSAND -- Private activities on the net. " "From: ingles@engin.umich.edu (Ray Ingles) Subject: Re: Yeah, Right In article <66014@mimsy.umd.edu> mangoe@cs.umd.edu (Charley Wingate) writes: >Benedikt Rosenau writes: > >>And what about that revelation thing, Charley? > >If you're talking about this intellectual engagement of revelation, well, >it's obviously a risk one takes. Ah, now here is the core question. Let me suggest a scenario. We will grant that a God exists, and uses revelation to communicate with humans. (Said revelation taking the form (paraphrased from your own words) 'This infinitely powerful deity grabs some poor schmuck, makes him take dictation, and then hides away for a few hundred years'.) Now, there exists a human who has not personally experienced a revelation. This person observes that not only do these revelations seem to contain elements that contradict rather strongly aspects of the observed world (which is all this person has ever seen), but there are many mutually contradictory claims of revelation. Now, based on this, can this person be blamed for concluding, absent a personal revelation of their own, that there is almost certainly nothing to this 'revelation' thing? >I'm not an objectivist, so I'm not particularly impressed with problems of >conceptualization. The problem in this case is at least as bad as that of >trying to explain quantum mechanics and relativity in the terms of ordinary >experience. One can get some rough understanding, but the language is, from >the perspective of ordinary phenomena, inconsistent, and from the >perspective of what's being described, rather inexact (to be charitable). > >An analogous situation (supposedly) obtains in metaphysics; the problem is >that the "better" descriptive language is not available. Absent this better language, and absent observations in support of the claims of revelation, can one be blamed for doubting the whole thing? Here is what I am driving at: I have thought a long time about this. I have come to the honest conclusion that if there is a deity, it is nothing like the ones proposed by any religion that I am familiar with. Now, if there does happen to be, say, a Christian God, will I be held accountable for such an honest mistake? Sincerely, Ray Ingles ingles@engin.umich.edu "The meek can *have* the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars!" - Robert A. Heinlein " "From: mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> Subject: Re: Gulf War (was Re: Death Penalty was Re: Political Atheists?) mccullou@snake2.cs.wisc.edu (Mark McCullough) writes: > I looked back at this, and asked some questions of various people and > got the following information which I had claimed and you pooh-poohed. > The US has not sold Iraq any arms. What about the land mines which have already been mentioned? > other countries (like Kuwait). Information is hard to prove. You are > claiming that the US sold information? Prove it. [...] Information > is hard to prove, almost certainly if the US did sell information, then that > fact is classified, and you can't prove it. Oh, very neat. Dismiss everything I say unless I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt something which you yourself admit I can never prove to your satisfaction. Thanks, I'll stick to squaring circles. mathew " "From: mam@mouse.cmhnet.org (Mike McAngus) Subject: Re: Death Penalty (was Re: Political Atheists?) On Tue, 20 Apr 1993 04:32:59 GMT bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) wrote: >This is fascinating. Atheists argue for abortion, defend homosexuality >as a means of population control, insist that the only values are >biological and condemn war and capital punishment. According to >Benedikt, if something is contardictory, it cannot exist, which in >this case means atheists I suppose. What atheists are you talking about? IMNSHO, Abortion is the womans choice. Homosexual sex is the choice of the people involved. War is sometimes necessary. This leaves capital punishment. I oppose capital punishemnt because mistakes can happen (yes this thread went around with no resolution recently). As far as poplulation control, I think contraception and education are the best courses of action. >I would like to understand how an atheist can object to war (an >excellent means of controlling population growth), or to capital >punishment, I'm sorry but the logic escapes me. That's because you are again making the assumption that all Atheists have some specific mindset. >And why just capital punishment, what is being questioned here, the >propriety of killing or of punishment? What is the basis of the >ecomplaint? Mistakes can happen Bill, and I could be the victim of such a mistake. -- Mike McAngus | The Truth is still the Truth mam@mouse.cmhnet.org | Even if you choose to ignore it. | (Some of the old .sig viruses are still the best) " "From: timmbake@mcl.ucsb.edu (Bake Timmons) Subject: Re: Amusing atheists and agnostics Maddi Hausmann chirps: >timmbake@mcl.ucsb.edu (Bake Timmons) writes: > >>First of all, you seem to be a reasonable guy. Why not try to be more >honest >>and include my sentence afterwards that >Honest, it just ended like that, I swear! That's nice. >Hmmmm...I recognize the warning signs...alternating polite and >rude...coming into newsgroup with huge chip on shoulder...calls >people names and then makes nice...whirrr...click...whirrr You forgot the third equality...whirrr...click...whirrr...see below... >Whirr click whirr...Frank O'Dwyer might also be contained >in that shell...pop stack to determine...whirr...click..whirr >"Killfile" Keith Allen Schneider = Frank "Closet Theist" O'Dwyer = ... = Maddi "The Mad Sound-O-Geek" Hausmann ...whirrr...click...whirrr -- Bake Timmons, III -- "...there's nothing higher, stronger, more wholesome and more useful in life than some good memory..." -- Alyosha in Brothers Karamazov (Dostoevsky) " "Subject: So what is Maddi? From: madhaus@netcom.com (Maddi Hausmann) As I was created in the image of Gaea, therefore I must be the pinnacle of creation, She which Creates, She which Births, She which Continues. Or, to cut all the religious crap, I'm a woman, thanks. And it's sexism that started me on the road to atheism. -- Maddi Hausmann madhaus@netcom.com Centigram Communications Corp San Jose California 408/428-3553 Kids, please don't try this at home. Remember, I post professionally. " "Subject: Re: Age of Reason Was: Who has read Rushdie's From: SSAUYET@eagle.wesleyan.edu (Scott D. Sauyet) sandvik@newton.apple.com (Kent Sandvik) writes: > This is the story of Kent, the archetype Finn, that lives in the > Bay Area, and tried to purchase Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason". This > man was driving around, to Staceys, to Books Inc, to "Well, Cleanlighted > Place", to Daltons, to various other places. > > When he asked for this book, the well educated American book store > assistants in most placed asked him to check out the thriller section, > or then they said that his book has not been published yet, but they > should receive the book soon. In some places the assistants bluntly > said that they don't know of such an author, or that he is not > a well known living author, so they don't keep copies of his books. > > Such is the life and times of America, 200+ years after the revolution. On a similar note, a good friend of mine worked as a clerk in a chain bookstore. Several of his peers were amazing, one woman in particular: A customer asked her if they had _The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin_. "Who's it by?" was her first question. Then, "Is he still alive?" Then, "Is it fiction or non-fiction?" Finally my friend intervened, and showed the guy where it was. It makes one wonder what the standards of employment are. -- Scott Sauyet ssauyet@eagle.wesleyan.edu " "From: kempmp@phoenix.oulu.fi (Petri Pihko) Subject: Re: Concerning God's Morality (long) This kind of argument cries for a comment... jbrown@batman.bmd.trw.com wrote: : In article <1993Apr3.095220.24632@leland.Stanford.EDU>, galahad@leland.Stanford.EDU (Scott Compton) writes: Jim, you originally wrote: : >>...God did not create : >>disease nor is He responsible for the maladies of newborns. : > : >>What God did create was life according to a protein code which is : >>mutable and can evolve. Without delving into a deep discussion of : >>creationism vs evolutionism, God created the original genetic code : >>perfect and without flaw. : > ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~ Do you have any evidence for this? If the code was once perfect, and has degraded ever since, we _should_ have some evidence in favour of this statement, shouldn't we? Perhaps the biggest "imperfection" of the code is that it is full of non-coding regions, introns, which are so called because they intervene with the coding regions (exons). An impressive amount of evidence suggests that introns are of very ancient origin; it is likely that early exons represented early protein domains. Is the number of introns decreasing or increasing? It appears that intron loss can occur, and species with common ancestry usually have quite similar exon-intron structure in their genes. On the other hand, the possibility that introns have been inserted later, presents several logical difficulties. Introns are removed by a splicing mechanism - this would have to be present, but unused, if introns are inserted. Moreover, intron insertion would have required _precise_ targeting - random insertion would not be tolerated, since sequences for intron removal (self-splicing of mRNA) are conserved. Besides, transposition of a sequence usually leaves a trace - long terminal repeats and target - site duplications, and these are not found in or near intron sequences. I seriously recommend reading textbooks on molecular biology and genetics before posting "theological arguments" like this. Try Watson's Molecular Biology of the Gene or Darnell, Lodish & Baltimore's Molecular Biology of the Cell for starters. : Remember, the question was posed in a theological context (Why does : God cause disease in newborns?), and my answer is likewise from a : theological perspective -- my own. It is no less valid than a purely : scientific perspective, just different. Scientific perspective is supported by the evidence, whereas theological perspectives often fail to fulfil this criterion. : I think you misread my meaning. I said God made the genetic code perfect, : but that doesn't mean it's perfect now. It has certainly evolved since. For the worse? Would you please cite a few references that support your assertion? Your assertion is less valid than the scientific perspective, unless you support it by some evidence. In fact, it has been claimed that parasites and diseases are perhaps more important than we've thought - for instance, sex might have evolved as defence against parasites. (This view is supported by computer simulations of evolution, eg Tierra.) : Perhaps. I thought it was higher energy rays like X-rays, gamma : rays, and cosmic rays that caused most of the damage. In fact, it is thermal energy that does most of the damage, although it is usually mild and easily fixed by enzymatic action. : Actually, neither of us "knows" what the atmosphere was like at the : time when God created life. According to my recollection, most : biologists do not claim that life began 4 billion years ago -- after : all, that would only be a half billion years or so after the earth : was created. It would still be too primitive to support life. I : seem to remember a figure more like 2.5 to 3 billion years ago for : the origination of life on earth. Anyone with a better estimate? I'd replace "created" with "formed", since there is no need to invoke any creator if the Earth can be formed without one. Most recent estimates of the age of the Earth range between 4.6 - 4.8 billion years, and earliest signs of life (not true fossils, but organic, stromatolite-like layers) date back to 3.5 billion years. This would leave more than billion years for the first cells to evolve. I'm sorry I can't give any references, this is based on the course on evolutionary biochemistry I attended here. : >>dominion, it was no great feat for Satan to genetically engineer : >>diseases, both bacterial/viral and genetic. Although the forces of : >>natural selection tend to improve the survivability of species, the : >>degeneration of the genetic code tends to more than offset this. Again, do you _want_ this be true, or do you have any evidence for this supposed "degeneration"? I can understand Scott's reaction: : > Excuse me, but this is so far-fetched that I know you must be : > jesting. Do you know what pathogens are? Do you know what : > Point Mutations are? Do you know that EVERYTHING CAN COME : > ABOUT SPONTANEOUSLY?!!!!! : : In response to your last statement, no, and neither do you. : You may very well believe that and accept it as fact, but you : cannot *know* that. I hope you don't forget this: We have _evidence_ that suggests everything can come about spontaneously. Do you have evidence against this conclusion? In science, one does not have to _believe_ in anything. It is a healthy sign to doubt and disbelieve. But the right path to walk is to take a look at the evidence if you do so, and not to present one's own conclusions prior to this. Theology does not use this method. Therefore, I seriously doubt it could ever come to right conclusions. : >>Human DNA, being more "complex", tends to accumulate errors adversely : >>affecting our well-being and ability to fight off disease, while the : >>simpler DNA of bacteria and viruses tend to become more efficient in : >>causing infection and disease. It is a bad combination. Hence : >>we have newborns that suffer from genetic, viral, and bacterial : >>diseases/disorders. You are supposing a purpose, not a valid move. Bacteria and viruses do not exist to cause disease. They are just another manifests of a general principle of evolution - only replication saves replicators from degradiation. We are just an efficient method for our DNA to survive and replicate. The less efficient methods didn't make it to the present. And for the last time. Please present some evidence for your claim that human DNA is degrading through evolutionary processes. Some people have claimed that the opposite is true - we have suppressed our selection, and thus are bound to degrade. I haven't seen much evidence for either claim. : But then I ask, So? Where is this relevant to my discussion in : answering John's question of why? Why are there genetic diseases, : and why are there so many bacterial and viral diseases which require : babies to develop antibodies. Is it God's fault? (the original : question) -- I say no, it is not. Of course, nothing "evil" is god's fault. But your explanation does not work, it fails miserably. : You may be right. But the fact is that you don't know that : Satan is not responsible, and neither do I. : : Suppose that a powerful, evil being like Satan exists. Would it : be inconceivable that he might be responsible for many of the ills : that affect mankind? I don't think so. He could have done a much better Job. (Pun intended.) The problem is, it seems no Satan is necessary to explain any diseases, they are just as inevitable as any product of evolution. : Did I say that? Where? Seems to me like another bad inference. : Actually what you've done is to oversimplify what I said to the : point that your summary of my words takes on a new context. I : never said that people are "meant" (presumably by God) "to be : punished by getting diseases". Why I did say is that free moral : choices have attendent consequences. If mankind chooses to reject : God, as people have done since the beginning, then they should not : expect God to protect them from adverse events in an entropic : universe. I am not expecting this. If god exists, I expect him to leave us alone. I would also like to hear why do you believe your choices are indeed free. This is an interesting philosophical question, and the answer is not as clear-cut as it seems to be. What consequences would you expect from rejecting Allah? : Oh, I admit it's not perfect (yet). But I'm working on it. :) A good library or a bookstore is a good starting point. : What does this have to do with the price of tea in China, or the : question to which I provided an answer? Biology and Genetics are : fine subjects and important scientific endeavors. But they explain : *how* God created and set up life processes. They don't explain : the why behind creation, life, or its subsequent evolution. Why is there a "why behind"? And your proposition was something that is not supported by the evidence. This is why we recommend these books. Is there any need to invoke any why behind, a prime mover? Evidence for this? If the whole universe can come into existence without any intervention, as recent cosmological theories (Hawking et al) suggest, why do people still insist on this? : Thanks Scotty, for your fine and sagely advice. But I am : not highly motivated to learn all the nitty-gritty details : of biology and genetics, although I'm sure I'd find it a : fascinating subject. For I realize that the details do : not change the Big Picture, that God created life in the : beginning with the ability to change and adapt to its : environment. I'm sorry, but they do. There is no evidence for your big picture, and no need to create anything that is capable of adaptation. It can come into existence without a Supreme Being. Try reading P.W. Atkins' Creation Revisited (Freeman, 1992). Petri -- ___. .'*''.* Petri Pihko kem-pmp@ Mathematics is the Truth. !___.'* '.'*' ' . Pihatie 15 C finou.oulu.fi Physics is the Rule of ' *' .* '* SF-90650 OULU kempmp@ the Game. *' * .* FINLAND phoenix.oulu.fi -> Chemistry is The Game. " "From: bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) Subject: Re: Dear Mr. Theist Pixie (dl2021@andy.bgsu.edu) wrote: : For all the problems technology has caused, your types have made : things even worse. Must we be reminded of the Inquisition, Operation : Rescue, the Ku Klux Klan, Posse Comitatus, the 700 Club, David Duke, Salem : Witch Trials, the Crusades, gay bashings, etc. : PLUS virtually each and every single war, regardless of the level of : technology, has had theistic organizations cheering on the carnage : (chaplains, etc.), and claiming that god was in favor of the whole ordeal. : Don't forget to pray for our troops! : This is really tedious. Every bad thing that's ever happened is because the malefactors were under the influence of religion - does anyone -really- believe that. I've seen it so often it must be a pretty general opinion in a.a, but I want to believe that atheists are really not THAT dishonest. Please, stick to the facts and, having accomplished that, interpret them correctly. Bill " "From: keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) Subject: Re: <<Pompous ass arromdee@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu (Ken Arromdee) writes: >>Look, I'm not the one that made those Nazi comparisons. Other people >>compared what the religious people are doing now to Nazi Germany. They >>have said that it started out with little things (but no one really knew >>about any of these "little" things, strangely enough) and grew to bigger >>things. They said that the motto is but one of the little things >You just contradicted yourself. The motto is one of those little things that >nobody has bothered mentiopning to you, huh? The "little' things" above were in reference to Germany, clearly. People said that there were similar things in Germany, but no one could name any. They said that these were things that everyone should know, and that they weren't going to waste their time repeating them. Sounds to me like no one knew, either. I looked in some books, but to no avail. >>that is >>going to pave the way for other "intrusions." Of course, if the motto >>hasn't caused problems in its 40 year history, then I doubt it is going to... >It *has* caused problems. You just ignore every instance when someone >describes one to you. It has *caused* problems? Again, no one has shown that things were better before the motto, or that they'd likely be better after. I don't think the motto initiates any sort of harassment. Harassment will occur whether or not the motto is present. keith " "From: karner@austin.ibm.com (F. Karner) Subject: Re: some thoughts. In article <1993Apr20.195907.10765@mks.com>, mike@mks.com (Mike Brookbank) writes: > In article <1993Apr15.151122.4746@mac.cc.macalstr.edu> acooper@mac.cc.macalstr.edu writes: > >In article <bissda.4.734849678@saturn.wwc.edu>, bissda@saturn.wwc.edu (DAN LAWRENCE BISSELL) writes: > >> die for a lie? Wouldn't people be able to tell if he was a liar? > > > I light of yesterday's events in Waco, Texas I guess the answer to your > questions are very obvious. If you think Waco is just one example think > back to 1972 in Jonestown where more than 900 people died for a lie. > Deletions... Correction. I think it was 1978. Also, contrary to earlier belief, it is now widely accepted that not all committed suicide, but were actually killed. In the end, they did die for a lie, but some not out of conviction alone. Thought I try to make this point clear. -- DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this posting are mine solely and do not represent my employer in any way. F. A. Karner AIX Technical Support | karner@austin.vnet.ibm.com " "From: mangoe@cs.umd.edu (Charley Wingate) Subject: Re: Motto Mania mathew writes: >I prefer Mark-Jason Dominus's suggestion that the motto should be changed to >"Mind your own fucking business". In this era of AIDS, isn't someone's fucking *everyone's* interest? (semi :-)) I propose "We have no motto." Recently in the glorious state of Maryland (the only state whose state song refers to Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant), people have gotten all wound up over the state motto (which we inherited from the Calverts): "Fatti Maschii, Parole Femine" which, if you read Italian, says, "Manly deeds, womanly words" or something to that effect. In the state which not so long ago had four women out of seven representatives, this represents a problem. The official solution was to change the translation, so now it means: "Strong deeds, gentle words" My personal suggestion was changing it to "walk softly and carry a big stick." -- C. Wingate + "The peace of God, it is no peace, + but strife closed in the sod. mangoe@cs.umd.edu + Yet, brothers, pray for but one thing: tove!mangoe + the marv'lous peace of God." " "From: perry@dsinc.com (Jim Perry) Subject: Re: Hoban (was Re: The Inimitable Rushdie) In article <116540@bu.edu> jaeger@buphy.bu.edu (Gregg Jaeger) writes: [Interchange on Hoban deleted] >This post of mine also illustrates that I am not simply a reactionary >who hates any book which doesn't go out of its way to avoid upsetting >religionists. Only those you haven't actually read? Sorry, but the irony remains. >I reiterate for the nth time also that I don't agree with K's fatwa, >nor do I support censorship. My point in the original thread has been >to show why Rushdie is not particularly due sympathy by those who hold >their religion in high esteem and don't enjoy seeing things which slander >it (like the story of the Satanic Verses (as opposed to the Rushdie's >_TSV_)) played with for amusement. So although you don't agree with the fatwa, and apparently don't think Rushdie should be killed for his book, yet you think he is not due sympathy for being being under this threat. Furthermore you base this reaction solely on the fact that he wrote about a particular well-known story which -- if true -- might reflect poorly on the absolute truth of your religion. Yet, this opinion is formed without recourse to actually looking to see how the story is used in context, accepting at face value the widespread propaganda on just what this book contains and what the author's motivations are. And then you come forward and recommend another book which touches on (presumably "plays with") religious/historical material because you find its overall presentation neutral! -- Jim Perry perry@dsinc.com Decision Support, Inc., Matthews NC These are my opinions. For a nominal fee, they can be yours. " "From: Alan.Olsen@p17.f40.n105.z1.fidonet.org (Alan Olsen) Subject: some thoughts on Christian books... DN> I think I took on this 'liar, lunatic, or the real thing' DN> the last time. Or was it the time before? Anyway, let DN> somebody else have a turn. I can't debate it with a DN> straight face. Or perhaps for something completely DN> different we could just ridicule him or gather up all the DN> posts from the last two times we did this and email them to DN> him. As an aside, can you believe that somebody actually DN> got a book published about this? Must have been a vanity DN> press. I would recomend to anyone out there to visit your local Christian bookstore and become aware of the stuff they sell. Quite interesting. Most of the stuff is far from intelectual. (About the level of Chick pamphelets...) If it is a common fundie bookstore, it should have at least one section about how you should hate Wiccans, Pagans, Catholics, Mormons, rock musicians, and anyone else who is not as fanatical as them. (Hate for the "Love of God(tm)"!) It is even more interesting watching the people who frequent such places. Very scary people. They hear voices from "God" telling them whatever they want to hear. (If they were not Christians, most of them would be locked away. Maybe this is why Federal money was reduced to Mental institutions by the reagan administration... Had to get their religious leaders out...) "Where would Christianity be if Jesus got eight to fifteen years, with time off for good behavior?" New York State Senator James H. Donovan on Capitol Punishment Alan - "Beware! To touch these wires is instant death! Anyone found doing - this will be prosecuted! " "From: cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu (Mike Cobb) Subject: Re: After 2000 years, can we say that Christian Morality is In <sfnNTrC00WBO43LRUK@andrew.cmu.edu> "David R. Sacco" <dsav+@andrew.cmu.edu> writes: >After tons of mail, could we move this discussion to alt.religion? Yes. MAC >============================================================= >--There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. (Bob Dylan) >--"If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn't be a human >being, you'd be a game show host." (taken from the movie "Heathers.") >--Lecture (LEK chur) - process by which the notes of the professor >become the notes of the student without passing through the minds of >either. -- **************************************************************** Michael A. Cobb "...and I won't raise taxes on the middle University of Illinois class to pay for my programs." Champaign-Urbana -Bill Clinton 3rd Debate cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu With new taxes and spending cuts we'll still have 310 billion dollar deficits. " "Subject: Re: A visit from the Jehovah's Witnesses (good grief!) From: kmr4@po.CWRU.edu (Keith M. Ryan) In article <66018@mimsy.umd.edu> mangoe@cs.umd.edu (Charley Wingate) writes: >The amount of energy being spent on ONE LOUSY SYLLOGISM says volumes for the >true position of reason in this group. I agree, we spend too much energy on the nonexistance of God. -- "Satan and the Angels do not have freewill. They do what god tells them to do. " S.N. Mozumder (snm6394@ultb.isc.rit.edu) " "From: livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) Subject: Re: Genocide is Caused by Atheism In article <1993Apr19.112008.26198@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au>, darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) writes: |> |> By the way, Jon, I found a reference to my claim that the percentage of |> the population that suffers from depression has been increasing this |> century (as you requested). I will start a new heading ("thread") to |> post it under. Cool, then we can discuss the increase in radio and TV use, the increase in the use of fossil fuels, the increase in air travel, and consumption of processed bread, and you can instruct us on which of them causes increased depression. jon. " "From: mas@Cadence.COM (Masud Khan) Subject: Re: The Inimitable Rushdie In article <16BAFA9D9.I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de> I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de (Benedikt Rosenau) writes: > > >Yes, but, fortunately, religions have been replaced by systems >that value Human Rights higher. Secular laws seem to value criminal life more than the victims life, Islam places the rights of society and every member in it above the rights of the individual, this is what I call true human rights. > >By the way, do you actually support the claim of precedence of Islamic >Law? In case you do, what about the laws of other religions? As a Muslim living in a non-Muslim land I am bound by the laws of the land I live in, but I do not disregard Islamic Law it still remains a part of my life. If the laws of a land conflict with my religion to such an extent that I am prevented from being allowed to practise my religion then I must leave the land. So in a way Islamic law does take precendence over secular law but we are instructed to follow the laws of the land that we live in too. In an Islamic state (one ruled by a Khaliphate) religions other than Islam are allowed to rule by their own religious laws provided they don't affect the genral population and don't come into direct conflict with state laws, Dhimmis (non-Muslim population) are exempt from most Islamic laws on religion, such as fighting in a Jihad, giving Zakat (alms giving) etc but are given the benefit of these two acts such as Military protection and if they are poor they will receive Zakat. > >If not, what has it got to do with Rushdie? And has anyone reliable >information if he hadn't left Islam according to Islamic law? >Or is the burden of proof on him? > Benedikt After the Fatwa didn't Rushdie re-affirm his faith in Islam, didn't he go thru' a very public "conversion" to Islam? If so he is binding himself to Islamic Laws. He has to publicly renounce in his belief in Islam so the burden is on him. Mas -- C I T I Z E N +-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-+ _____ _____ | C A D E N C E D E S I G N S Y S T E M S Inc. | \_/ | Masud Ahmed Khan mas@cadence.com All My Opinions| _____/ \_____ +-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-+ " "From: keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) Subject: Re: Keith IS a relativist! 9051467f@levels.unisa.edu.au (The Desert Brat) writes: >Keith, if you start wafffling on about how it is different for a human >to maul someone thrown into it's cage (so to speak), you'd better start >posting tome decent evidence or retract your 'I think there is an absolute >morality' blurb a few weeks ago. Did I claim that there was an absolute morality, or just an objective one? keith " "From: acooper@mac.cc.macalstr.edu (Turin Turambar, ME Department of Utter Misery) Subject: Re: Faith and Dogma In article <93Apr20.035421edt.47719@neat.cs.toronto.edu>, tgk@cs.toronto.edu (Todd Kelley) writes: > In light of what happened in Waco, I need to get something of my > chest. Sadly understandable... > > Faith and dogma are dangerous. Yes. > > Religion inherently encourages the implementation of faith and dogma, and > for that reason, I scorn religion. > To be fair, you should really qualify this as semitic-western religions, but you basically go ahead and do this later on anyway. > I have expressed this notion in the past. Some Christians debated > with me whether Christianity leaves any room for reasoning. I claimed > rationality is quelled out of Christianity by faith and dogma. Again, this should really be evaluated at a personal level. For example, there was only one Jesus (presumably), and he probably didn't say all that many things, and yet (seemingly) billions and billions of Christian sects have arisen. Perhaps there is one that is totally dedicated to rationalism and believes in Christ as in pantheism. It would seem to go against the Bible, but it is amazing what people come up with under the guise of "personal interpretation". > A philosopher cannot be a Christian because a philosopher can change his mind, > whereas a Christian cannot, due to the nature of faith and dogma present > in any religion. This is a good point. We have here the quintessential Christian: he sets up a system of values/beliefs for himself, which work very well, and every event/experience is understandable and deablable within the framework of this system. However, we also have an individual who has the inability (at least not without some difficulty) to change, which is important, because the problem with such a system is the same as with any system: one cannot be open minded to the point of "testing hypotheses" against the basic premise of the system without destroying whatever faith is invested therein, unless of course, all the tests fail. In other words, the *fairer* way would be to test and evaluate moralities without the bias/responsibility of losing/retaining a system. > > I claimed that a Christian philosopher'' is not a Christian, > but is a person whose beliefs at the moment correspond with those > of Christianity. Consider that a person visiting or guarding a prison > is not a prisoner, unless you define a prisoner simply to be someone > in a prison. > Can we define a prisoner to be someone who at the moment is in a prison? > Can we define a Christian to be someone who at the moment has Christian > beliefs? No, because if a person is free to go, he is not a prisoner. > Similarly, if a person is not constrained by faith and dogma, he is not > a Christian. Interesting, but again, when it seems to basically boil down to individual nuances (although not always, I will admit, and probably it is the mass-oriented divisions which are the most appalling), it becomes irrelevant, unfortunately. > > I admit it's a word game. > I'm going by the dictionary definition of religion: > religion n. 1. concern over what exists beyond the visible world, > differentiated from philosophy in that it operates through faith > or intuition rather than reason, ...'' > --Webster's > > Now let's go beyond the word game. I don't claim that religion > causes genocide. I think that if all humans were atheist, there > would still be genocide. There will always be humans who don't think. > There will always be humans who don't ask themselves what is > the REAL difference between themselves and people with different > colored skin, or a different language, or different beliefs. > Granted > Religion is like the gun that doesn't kill anybody. Religion encourages > faith and dogma and although it doesn't directly condemn people, > it encourages the use of just because'' thinking. It is > just because'' thinking that kills people. > In which case the people become the bullets, and the religion, as the gun, merely offers them a way to more adequately do some harm with themselves, if I may be so bold as to extend your similie? > Sure, religion has many good qualities. It encourages benevolence > and philanthropy. OK, so take out only the bad things: like faith, > dogma, and tradition. Put in the good things, like careful reasoning, > and science. The result is secular humanism. Wouldn't it > be nice if everyone were a secular humanist? To please the > supernaturalists, you might even leave God in there, but the secular > emphasis would cause the supernaturalists to start thinking, and > they too would realize that a belief in a god really doesn't put > anyone further ahead in understanding the universe (OK, I'm just > poking fun at the supernaturalists :-). Also understandable... ;) > > Of course, not all humans are capable of thought, and we'd still > have genocide and maybe even some mass suicide...but not as much. > I'm willing to bet on that. > > Todd > -- > Todd Kelley tgk@cs.toronto.edu > Department of Computer Science > University of Toronto -- best regards, ******************************************************************************** * Adam John Cooper "Verily, often have I laughed at the weaklings * * (612) 696-7521 who thought themselves good simply because * * acooper@macalstr.edu they had no claws." * ******************************************************************************** " "From: keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) Subject: Re: Keith Schneider - Stealth Poster? mam@mouse.cmhnet.org (Mike McAngus) writes: >Let me see if I understand what you are saying. In order to talk >knowledgeably about religion, Atheists must first have been so immersed >in a religion that only the rare individual could have left. No, you don't understand. I said that I don't think people can discuss the subjective merits of religion objectively. This should be obvious. People here have said that everyone would be better off without religion, but this almost certainly isn't true. >>But really, are you threatened by the motto, or by the people that use it? >The motto is a tool. Let's try to take away the tool. But, guns and axes are tools, both of which have been used for murder. Should both be taken away? That is to say, I don't think motto misuse warrants its removal. At least not in this case. keith " "From: nrp@st-andrews.ac.uk (Norman R. Paterson) Subject: Re: Genocide is Caused by Atheism In article <1993Apr5.020504.19326@ultb.isc.rit.edu> snm6394@ultb.isc.rit.edu (S.N. Mozumder ) writes: [...] >One of the reasons that you are atheist is that you limit God by giving >God a form. God does not have a "face". Wait a minute. I thought you said that Allah (I presume Allah == God) was unknowable, and yet here you are claiming to know a very concrete fact about him. You say that God does not have a "face". Doesn't the bible say that God has hindparts? How do you suggest I decide which (if any) of you is right? Or are you both right? God has hindparts but no face? Or does your use of quotation marks: God does not have a "face". allow you to interpret this to mean whatever you like? > >Peace, > >Bobby Mozumder -Norman " "From: bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) Subject: Re: thoughts on christians In article <ofnWyG600WB699voA=@andrew.cmu.edu> pl1u+@andrew.cmu.edu (Patrick C Leger) writes: >EVER HEAR OF >BAPTISM AT BIRTH? If that isn't preying on the young, I don't know what >is... > No, that's praying on the young. Preying on the young comes later, when the bright eyed little altar boy finds out what the priest really wears under that chasible. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Bob Beauchaine bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM They said that Queens could stay, they blew the Bronx away, and sank Manhattan out at sea. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ " "From: sjs28257@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu (Steve Stelter) Subject: Re: Mottos to replace "In doG we trust" pepke@dirac.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) writes: >"In Mammon We Trust" >"Hey, this is just a piece of paper!" >"Spend Me Quickly" "This is your god" (from John Carpenter's "They Live," natch) --Steve "The Lurking Horror" Stelter sjs28257@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu " "From: bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) Subject: Re: After 2000 years, can we say that Christian Morality is In article <C5L1Ey.Jts@news.cso.uiuc.edu> cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu (Mike Cobb) writes: >In <11825@vice.ICO.TEK.COM> bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) writes: > > >> Actually, my atheism is based on ignorance. Ignorance of the >> existence of any god. Don't fall into the "atheists don't believe >> because of their pride" mistake. > >How do you know it's based on ignorance, couldn't that be wrong? Why would it >be wrong >to fall into the trap that you mentioned? > If I'm wrong, god is free at any time to correct my mistake. That he continues not to do so, while supposedly proclaiming his undying love for my eternal soul, speaks volumes. As for the trap, you are not in a position to tell me that I don't believe in god because I do not wish to. Unless you can know my motivations better than I do myself, you should believe me when I say that I earnestly searched for god for years and never found him. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Bob Beauchaine bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM They said that Queens could stay, they blew the Bronx away, and sank Manhattan out at sea. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ " "From: frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) Subject: Re: After 2000 years, can we say that Christian Morality is In article <16BB7B468.I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de> I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de (Benedikt Rosenau) writes: #In article <1r0fpv$p11@horus.ap.mchp.sni.de> #frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) writes: # #(Deletion) #># Point: Morals are, in essence, personal opinions. Usually #>#(ideally) well-founded, motivated such, but nonetheless personal. The #>#fact that a real large lot of people agree on some moral question, #>#sometimes even for the same reason, does not make morals objective; it #>#makes humans somewhat alike in their opinions on that moral question, #>#which can be good for the evolution of a social species. #> #>And if a "real large lot" (nice phrase) of people agree that there is a #>football on a desk, I'm supposed to see a logical difference between the two? #>Perhaps you can explain the difference to me, since you seem to see it #>so clearly. #> #(rest deleted) # #That's a fallacy, and it is not the first time it is pointed out. It's not a fallacy - note the IF. IF a supermajority of disinterested people agree on a fundamantal value (we're not doing ethics YET Benedikt), then what is the difference between that and those people agreeing on a trivial observation? #For one, you have never given a set of morals people agree upon. Unlike #a football. Further, you conveniently ignore here that there are #many who would not agree on tghe morality of something. The analogy #does not hold. I have, however, given an example of a VALUE people agree on, and explained why. People will agree that their freedom is valuable. I have also stated that such a value is a necessary condition for doing objective ethics - the IF assertion above. And that is what I'm talking about, there isn't a point in talking about ethics if this can't be agreed. #One can expect sufficiently many people to agree on its being a football, #while YOU have to give the evidence that only vanishing number disagrees #with a set of morals YOU have to give. I'm not doing morals (ethics) if we can't get past values. As I say, the only cogent objection to my 'freedom' example is that maybe people aren't talking about the same thing when they answer that it is valuable. Maybe not, and I want to think about this some, especially the implications of its being true. #Further, the above is evidence, not proof. Proof would evolve out of testing #your theory of absolute morals against competing theories. Garbage. That's not proof either. #The above is one of the arguments you reiterate while you never answer #the objections. Evidence that you are a preacher. Name that fallacy. -- Frank O'Dwyer 'I'm not hatching That' odwyer@sse.ie from "Hens", by Evelyn Conlon "
"From: jcopelan@nyx.cs.du.edu (The One and Only) Subject: Re: Amusing atheists and agnostics In article <1qsum1INNg5k@shelley.u.washington.edu> jimh@carson.u.washington.edu (James Hogan) writes: > >I think you've missed the point. Take "alt.atheism" for instance. >It's an exponent-based anagram. When fully extended, it translates >to: > Dig Tunnels Deep! > Store Grain Everywhere! > Prepare for the Coming Struggle! > >You'll no doubt recognize this as a quote from Chairman Mao. > >Thus, I think you'll have to admit that atheists have a lot >more up their sleeve than you might have suspected. > >Agnostics will be sent to the gulag under the Mao-atheist new order. Now where did I put my little red book? Or was that green? Jim -- If God is dead and the actor plays his part | -- Sting, His words of fear will find their way to a place in your heart | History Without the voice of reason every faith is its own curse | Will Teach Us Without freedom from the past things can only get worse | Nothing "
"From: mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> Subject: Re: After 2000 years, can we say that Christian Morality is arromdee@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu (Ken Arromdee) writes: > Simple. Take out some physics books, and start looking for statements which > say that there is no objective physics. I doubt you will find any. You > might find statements that there is no objective length, or no objective > location, but no objective _physics_? Perhaps you have a different understanding of what "physics" is. If we can't measure anything objectively, then the answers we get from physics aren't objective either. That's what I mean when I say there's no objective physics. Sure, we can all agree that (say) F = GMm/r^2, but that's maths. It's only physics when you relate it to the real world, and if we can't do that objectively, we're stuck. (Of course, this displays my blatant bias towards applied science; but even theoretical physics gets applied to models of real world situations, based on real world observations.) > (Consider, for instance, that speed-of-light-in- > vacuum is invariant. This sounds an awful lot like an objective > speed-of-light-in-vacuum.) It's an axiom that it's invariant. But if the two of us measure it, we'll get different answers. Yes, we call that experimental error, but it's not really "error" in the conventional sense; in fact, if you don't get any, that's an error :-) You could argue that the value of c is "objective, to within +/- <some value>". But I'd call that a rather odd usage of the word "objective", and it opens the way for statements like "Murder is objectively wrong for all people, to within 1% of the total population." mathew "
"From: mangoe@cs.umd.edu (Charley Wingate) Subject: Re: Origins of the bible. Adda Wainwright writes: >He stated that thousands of bibles were discovered at a certain point in >time which were syllable-perfect. This therefore meant that there must have >been one copy at a certain time; the time quoted by my acquaintance was >approximately 50 years after the death of Jesus. This is, as far as I know, complete nonsense. The codification of the bible as we have it now came very much later. -- C. Wingate + "The peace of God, it is no peace, + but strife closed in the sod. mangoe@cs.umd.edu + Yet, brothers, pray for but one thing: tove!mangoe + the marv'lous peace of God." "
"From: mccullou@snake10.cs.wisc.edu (Mark McCullough) Subject: Re: Gulf War and Peace-niks In article <930421.121209.0e2.rusnews.w165w@mantis.co.uk> mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> writes: >jbrown@batman.bmd.trw.com writes: >> The problem with most peace-niks it they consider those of us who are >> not like them to be "bad" and "unconscionable". I would not have any >> argument or problem with a peace-nik if they held to their ideals and >> stayed out of all conflicts or issues, especially those dealing with >> the national defense. But no, they are not willing to allow us to >> legitimately hold a different point-of-view. They militate and >> many times resort to violence all in the name of peace. > ><Yawn> Another right-wing WASP imagining he's an oppressed minority. >Perhaps Camille Paglia is right after all. Personal attacks? >"I would not have any argument or problem with a peace-nik if they [...] >stayed out of all conflicts or issues"? I bet you wouldn't. You'd love it. Deliberate misinterpretation of a persons statement? (By cutting out the part of the statement, he tries to blunt the thrust of the sentence. He never addresses the issue of extreemist peace people not holding true to their ideals.) >But what makes you think that sitting back, saying nothing about defense >issues, and letting people like you make all the decisions is anything to do >with "their ideals"? Ignoring the challenge? (He ignores the challenge that extreemists for peace tend to be quite insistent that everyone accept their ideals for the world, and have even turned quite violent. (Witness, Chicago, summer 1968)). > >mathew Paranoia? (He assumes that anyone who argues against his viewpoint must "masturbate over Guns'N'Ammo.") Fire up the Oven, it isn't hot enough! -- *************************************************************************** * mccullou@whipple.cs.wisc.edu * Never program and drink beer at the same * * M^2 * time. It doesn't work. * *************************************************************************** "
"From: jimh@carson.u.washington.edu (James Hogan) Subject: Re: The Inimitable Rushdie In article <115571@bu.edu> jaeger@buphy.bu.edu (Gregg Jaeger) writes: >In article <2BCC892B.21864@ics.uci.edu> bvickers@ics.uci.edu (Brett J. Vickers) writes: > >>In article <115290@bu.edu> jaeger@buphy.bu.edu (Gregg Jaeger) writes: > >>>Well, seeing as you are not muslim the sort of fatwa issued by Khomeini >>>would not be relevant to you. I can understand your fear of persecution >>>and I share it even more than you (being muslim), however Rushdie's >>>behavior was not completely excusable. As much as I considered some of the (so-called) Islam-related dialogue here a total waste of time, I somehow can't restrain myself in this instance, so, Gregg, try this: 20:52 P.S.T. I come to my senses and accept the all-knowing wisdom and power of the Quran and Allah. Not only that, but Allah himself drops by to congratulate me on my wise choice. Allah rolls a few bones and we get down. Then Allah gets out the Crisco, bends over, and invites me to take a spin around the block. Wow. 20:56 P.S.T. I realize that maybe Allah is looking for more of a commitment than I'm ready for, so I say "Man, I've got some programming to do. Gotta go. I'll call you." 20:59 P.S.T Thinking it over, I renounce Islam. BTW, Gregg, Allah said he still thinks of you. Jim "
"From: bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) Subject: Re: islamic authority over women Benedikt Rosenau (I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de) wrote: : When the object of their belief is said to be perfect and make the believers : act in a certain way and we observe that they don't, we have a contradiction. : Something defined contradictorily cannot exist. That what the believe in does : not exist. Secondly, there are better explanations for why they believe than : the existence of the object of their belief. : : : Have you read the FAQ already? : Benedikt Benedikt, I can't recall anyone claiming that God -makes- anyone act a particlar way, I think that you're attempting to manufacture a contradiction. God is said to require certain behavior, but the only compulsion is the believer's sense of duty. A standard of conduct does exist, but we are free to ignore it or misunderstand it or distort it in whatever ways we find convenient, but our response to God's edicts can in no way be used to question God's existence. The behavior of believers is a completely separate question from that of God's existence; there is nothing contradictory here. To say that something defined contadictorily cannot exist, is really asking too much; you would have existence depend on grammar. All you can really say is that something is poorly defined, but that in itself is insufficient to decide anything (other than confusion of course). Your point that there are better reasons for the phenomenon of belief than the object of belief may lead to a rat's nest of unnecessary complexity. I think I know what you're implying, but I'd like to see your version of this better alternative just the same. Bill "
"From: kmr4@po.CWRU.edu (Keith M. Ryan) Subject: Re: Where are they now? In article <1ql0d3$5vo@dr-pepper.East.Sun.COM> geoff@East.Sun.COM (Geoff Arnold @ Sun BOS - R.H. coast near the top) writes: >Your posting provoked me into checking my save file for memorable >posts. The first I captured was by Ken Arromdee on 19 Feb 1990, on the >subject "Re: atheist too?". That was article #473 here; your question >was article #53766, which is an average of about 48 articles a day for >the last three years. As others have noted, the current posting rate is >such that my kill file is depressing large...... Among the posting I >saved in the early days were articles from the following notables: Hey, it might to interesting to read some of these posts... Especially from ones who still regularly posts on alt.atheism! >>From: loren@sunlight.llnl.gov (Loren Petrich) >>From: jchrist@nazareth.israel.rel (Jesus Christ of Nazareth) >>From: mrc@Tomobiki-Cho.CAC.Washington.EDU (Mark Crispin) >>From: perry@apollo.HP.COM (Jim Perry) >>From: lippard@uavax0.ccit.arizona.edu (James J. Lippard) >>From: minsky@media.mit.edu (Marvin Minsky) > >An interesting bunch.... I wonder where #2 is? Hee hee hee. *I* ain't going to say.... --- " Whatever promises that have been made can than be broken. " John Laws, a man without the honor to keep his given word. " "From: bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) Subject: Re: Genocide is Caused by Theism : Evidence? In article <1qid04$fct@horus.ap.mchp.sni.de> frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) writes: > >I don't see anything special about theism in general that makes it a >particular hazard (more so than say, stupidity, anarchy, or patriotism). >Of course, it depends on the religion, but I see nothing about believing >in gods that in and of itself entails or even promotes xenophobia, genocide, >etc. If the emphasis is on the "in general", then of course you're correct, since you haven't really said anything. If we restrict our observations to practiced religions, there are lots of examples of god mandated genocide. Just ask the Canaanites. The point is that if you believe in a god, and if you believe he has ordered you to eliminate an entire race, you will likely make the attempt. After all, if it was OK in the past, it could surely be OK in the present. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Bob Beauchaine bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM They said that Queens could stay, they blew the Bronx away, and sank Manhattan out at sea. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ "
"Subject: Fluids vs Liquids From: mikec@sail.LABS.TEK.COM (Micheal Cranford) west@next02.wam.umd.edu (Brian West) writes: [ deleted ] >A similar analogy can be made with glass. For those of you who don't >know, glass is a liquid (go ask your science teacher) and DOES flow. [ deleted ] If your science teacher tells you glass is a liquid, try to get a different science teacher B^). Glass is a supercooled fluid, it is not a liquid (except at very high temperatures). The definition of liquid includes "readily takes the form of its container". Let's try to be more accurate here. We don't want people to think we're creationists now do we? UUCP: uunet!tektronix!sail!mikec or M.Cranford uunet!tektronix!sail.labs.tek.com!mikec Principal Troll ARPA: mikec%sail.LABS.TEK.COM@RELAY.CS.NET Resident Skeptic CSNet: mikec@sail.LABS.TEK.COM TekLabs, Tektronix "
"From: frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) Subject: Re: Societal basis for morality In article <1993Apr20.004119.6119@cnsvax.uwec.edu> nyeda@cnsvax.uwec.edu (David Nye) writes: You asked me to look over here, but I was on my way back anyway :-) #[reply to cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu (Mike Cobb)] # #>If morals come from what is societally accepted, why follow that? What #>right do we have to expect others to follow our notion of societally #>mandated morality? Pardon the extremism, but couldn't I murder your #>"brother" and say that I was exercising my rights as I saw them, was #>doing what felt good, didn't want anyone forcing their morality on me, #>or I don't follow your "morality" ? # #I believe that morality is subjective. Each person is entitled to his #own moral attitudes. Mine are not a priori more correct than someone #elses. This does not mean however that I must judge another on the #basis of his rather than my moral standards. While he is entitled to #believe what his own moral sense tells him, the rest of society is #entitled to pass laws spelling out punishments for behavior that is #offensive to the majority. Why? Your last statement. Why? By which authority? #Most criminals do not see their behavior as moral. The may realize that #it is immoral and not care. They are thus not following their own moral #system but being immoral. For someone to lay claim to an alternative #moral system, he must be sincere in his belief in it and it must be #internally consistent. Why? Your last statement. Why are these things necessary? And believe me, a belief in terrorism can be both sincere and frighteningly consistent. #Some sociopaths lack an innate moral sense and #thus may be incapable of behaving morally. While someone like Hitler #may have believed that his actions were moral, we may judge him immoral #by our standards. Holding that morality is subjective does not mean #that we must excuse the murderer. Trouble is, this would sound just fine coming from someone like Hitler, too. (I do *not* mean any comparison or offence, David.) Try substituting the social minority of your choice for 'sociopath', 'Hitler', and 'murderer'. No logical difference. Someone like you, vs. someone like Hitler. Zero sum. -- Frank O'Dwyer 'I'm not hatching That' odwyer@sse.ie from "Hens", by Evelyn Conlon "
"From: mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> Subject: Re: Gulf War and Peace-niks mccullou@snake12.cs.wisc.edu (Mark McCullough) writes: > We seem to be agreeing that the soldiers were just doing their job > as best they could, following orders. Proof positive that some people are beyond satire. mathew "
"From: jbrown@batman.bmd.trw.com Subject: Re: Origins of the bible. In article <1993Apr19.141112.15018@cs.nott.ac.uk>, eczcaw@mips.nott.ac.uk (A.Wainwright) writes: > Hi, > > I have been having an argument about the origins of the bible lately with > a theist acquaintance. He stated that thousands of bibles were discovered > at a certain point in time which were syllable-perfect. This therefore > meant that there must have been one copy at a certain time; the time quoted > by my acquaintace was approximately 50 years after the death of Jesus. Hi Adda, Most Bible scholars agree that there was one copy of each book at a certain time -- the time when the author wrote it. Unfortunately, like all works from this time period and earlier, all that exists today are copies. > > Cutting all of the crap out of the way (ie god wrote it) could anyone answer > the following: > > 1. How old is the oldest surviving copy of the new testament? There are parts of books, scraps really, that date from around the mid second century (A.D. 130+). There are some complete books, letters, etc. from the middle third century. The first complete collection of the New Testament dates from the early 4th century (A.D. 325). Throughout this period are writings of various early church fathers/leaders who quoted various scriptures in their writings. > 2. Is there any truth in my acquaintance's statements? If you mean that someone discovered thousands of "Bibles" which were all perfect copies dating from the last part of the 1st century...No! If you mean that there are thousands of early manuscripts (within the dates given above, but not letter perfect) and that the most probable text can be reconstructed from these documents and that the earliest original autographs (now lost) probably were written starting sometime shortly after A.D. 50, then yes. > 3. From who/where did the bible originate? From the original authors. We call them Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, James, and one other not identified. > 4. How long is a piece of string? ;-) As long as you make it. > > Adda > > -- Regards, Jim B. "
"From: cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu (Mike Cobb) Subject: Re: Societally acceptable behavior In <1qvh8tINNsg6@citation.ksu.ksu.edu> yohan@citation.ksu.ksu.edu (Jonathan W Newton) writes: >In article <C5qGM3.DL8@news.cso.uiuc.edu>, cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu (Mike Cobb) writes: >>Merely a question for the basis of morality >> >>Moral/Ethical behavior = _Societally_ _acceptable_ _behavior_. >I disagree with these. What society thinks should be irrelevant. What the >individual decides is all that is important. This doesn't seem right. If I want to kill you, I can because that is what I decide? >> >>1)Who is society >I think this is fairly obvious Not really. If whatever a particular society mandates as ok is ok, there are always some in the "society" who disagree with the mandates, so which societal mandates make the standard for morality? >> >>2)How do "they" define what is acceptable? >Generally by what they "feel" is right, which is the most idiotic policy I can >think of. So what should be the basis? Unfortunately I have to admit to being tied at least loosely to the "feeling", in that I think we intuitively know some things to be wrong. Awfully hard to defend, though. >> >>3)How do we keep from a "whatever is legal is what is "moral" "position? >By thinking for ourselves. I might agree here. Just because certain actions are legal does not make them "moral". >> >>MAC >>-- >>**************************************************************** >> Michael A. Cobb >> "...and I won't raise taxes on the middle University of Illinois >> class to pay for my programs." Champaign-Urbana >> -Bill Clinton 3rd Debate cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu >> >>With new taxes and spending cuts we'll still have 310 billion dollar deficits. -- **************************************************************** Michael A. Cobb "...and I won't raise taxes on the middle University of Illinois class to pay for my programs." Champaign-Urbana -Bill Clinton 3rd Debate cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu Nobody can explain everything to anybody. G.K.Chesterton "
"From: dgraham@bmers30.bnr.ca (Douglas Graham) Subject: Re: "Cruel" (was Re: <Political Atheists?) In article <1r2j7d$6e1@fido.asd.sgi.com> livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) writes: >In article <1993Apr17.041535.7472@bmerh85.bnr.ca>, dgraham@bmers30.bnr.ca (Douglas Graham) writes: >|> According to Jerry Mander's _In the Absence of the Sacred_ (good >|> book, BTW), the Great Binding Law of the Iroquois Confederacy >|> also played a significant role as a model for the U.S. Constitution. >|> Furthermore, apparently Marx and Engels were strongly influenced >|> by a study of Iroquois society, using it as the prime example of >|> a successful, classless, egalitarian, noncoercive society. Mander >|> goes on to say that both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. would do well >|> to study the original document, figure out where each went wrong, >|> and try to get it right next time. > >That's fascinating. I heard that the Chinese, rather than >the Italians, invented pasta. That's fascinating. I take it that you're expressing skepticism at the idea that those ignorant savages could have influenced the Constitution of the people who stole their continent. You could be right, but it sounds plausible to me. Is there any reason that you dismiss it out-of-hand? Here's some more: Recent scholarship has shown that in the mid-1700s Indians were not only invited to participate in the deliberations of our "founding fathers," but that the Great Binding Law of the Iroquois Confederacy arguably became the single most important model for the 1754 Albany Plan of Union, and later the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. That this would be absent from our school texts, and from history, and from media is not surprising given the devotion Americans feel to our founding myth: Great men gathered to express a new vision that has withstood the test of time. If it were revealed that Indians had a role in it, imagine the blow to the American psyche. ... By 1754, when most of these men and others gathered to creat the Albany Plan of Union, the first try at confederation, they invited forty-two members of the Iroquois Grand Council to serve as advisors on confederate structures. Benjamin Franklin freely acknowledged his interest in the Iroquois achievement in a famous speech at Albany Congress: "It would be a strange thing...if six nations of ignorant savages[sic] should be capable of forming such a union and be able to execute it in such a manner that it has subsisted for ages and appears indissoluble, and yet that a like union should be impractical for ten or a dozen English colonies." According to Grinde, Franklin convened meetings of Iroquois chiefs and congressional delegates in order to "hammer out a plan that he acknowedged to be similar to the Iroquois Confederacy." Grinde is Professor Donald Grinde,Jr., of the University of California at Riverside whose book _The Iroquois and the Founding Fathers of the American Nation_ addresses this issue. -- Doug Graham dgraham@bnr.ca My opinions are my own. " "From: kmr4@po.CWRU.edu (Keith M. Ryan) Subject: Re: After 2000 years, can we say that Christian Morality is In article <1qkq9t$66n@horus.ap.mchp.sni.de> frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) writes: >I'll take a wild guess and say Freedom is objectively valuable. I base >this on the assumption that if everyone in the world were deprived utterly >of their freedom (so that their every act was contrary to their volition), >almost all would want to complain. Therefore I take it that to assert or >believe that "Freedom is not very valuable", when almost everyone can see >that it is, is every bit as absurd as to assert "it is not raining" on >a rainy day. I take this to be a candidate for an objective value, and it >it is a necessary condition for objective morality that objective values >such as this exist. You have only shown that a vast majority ( if not all ) would agree to this. However, there is nothing against a subjective majority. In any event, I must challenge your assertion. I know many societies- heck, many US citizens- willing to trade freedom for "security". --- " Whatever promises that have been made can than be broken. " John Laws, a man without the honor to keep his given word. "
"From: I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de (Benedikt Rosenau) Subject: Re: Islam And Scientific Predictions (was Re: Genocide is Caused by Atheism) In article <1993Apr17.122329.21438@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au> darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) writes: >>>"AND IT IS HE (GOD ALMIGHTY) WHO CREATED THE NIGHT AND THE >>>DAY, AND THE SUN AND THE EARTH: ALL (THE CELETIAL BODIES) >>>SWIM ALONG, EACH IN ITS ROUNDED COURSE." (Holy Quran 21:33) > >>Hmm. This agrees with the Ptolemic system of the earth at the centre, >>with the planets orbitting round it. So Copernicus and Gallileo were >>wrong after all! > >You haven't read very carefully -- if you look again, you will see that >it doesn't say anything about what is circling what. > Anyway, they are not moving in circles. Nor is there any evidence that everything goes around in a rounded course in a general sense. Wishy- washy statements are not scientific. Benedikt "
"From: I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de (Benedikt Rosenau) Subject: Re: An Anecdote about Islam In article <115687@bu.edu> jaeger@buphy.bu.edu (Gregg Jaeger) writes: (deletion) >Sure. Yes, I did. You see I don't think that rape and murder should >be dealt with lightly. You, being so interested in leniency for >leniency's sake, apparently think that people should simply be >told the "did a _bad_ thing." > Straw man. And you brought up leniency. >>And what about the simple chance of misjudgements? > >Misjudgments should be avoided as much as possible. >I suspect that it's pretty unlikely that, given my requirement >of repeated offenses, that misjudgments are very likely. > Assuming that misjudgements are not correlated. (Deletion) >>I just love to compare such lines to the common plea of your fellow believers >>not to call each others names. In this case, to substantiate it: The Quran >>allows that one beATs one's wife into submission. > > >Really? Care to give chapter and verse? We could discuss it. > Has been discussed here. Chapter and verse were cited, I assume that you weren't looking then. Let's be more exact, do you think it is not in the Quran?. And what would your consequences be when it it was shown to be in it? >>Primitive Machism refers to >>that. (I have misspelt that before, my fault). > >Again, not all of the Orient follows the Qur'an. So you'll have to do >better than that. > I have not claimed that. It is sufficient for the argument when there are a lot of male dominated societies that qualify as Machistic. Are you going to say that the situation of women is better in sufficeint areas of the Orient? (Deletion) >This is an argument for why _you_ don't like religions that suppress >sex. A such it's an irrelevant argument. > >If you'd like to generalize it to an objective statement then >fine. My response is then: you have given no reason for your statement >that sex is not the business of religion (one of your "arguments"). > >The urge for sex in adolescents is not so strong that any overly strong >measures are required to suppress it. If the urge to have sex is so >strong in an adult then that adult can make a commensurate effort to >find a marriage partner. > You apparently have trouble reading things you don't like. The point was having sex the way one wishes being a strong desire. Marriage is a red herring. Tell me about homosexuals, for one. You simply ignore everything that doesn't fit into the world as you would like to have it. And as for the situation of adolescents, one has probably keep your combination of leniency and maiming in mind, whe you say that it does not take *overly* strong measures to suppress the urge for sex in adolescents. Benedikt "
"From: kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu (Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran) Subject: Re: <Political Atheists? In article <1r5e1vINNkn@gap.caltech.edu> keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) writes: >kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu (Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran) writes: > >>>>Wait. Are we talking about ethics or morals here? >>>Is the distinction important? >>Yes. > >Well, make it. Ethics deal with individuals. Morals deal with groups. >>>Well, our moral system seems to mimic the natural one, in a number of ways. >>Please describe these "number of ways" in detail. Then explain the any >>contradictions that may arise. > >Just look at how human behavior mimics animal behavior. I couldn't even >begin to list all of the similarities. Many of the dissimilarities are due >to our high intelligence. Please describe these "number of ways" in detail. Then explain any contradictions that may arise. >>>I don't know. What is wrong? Is it possible for humans to survive for >>>a long time in the wild? Yes, it's possible, but it is difficult. Humans >>>are a social animal, and that is a cause of our success. >>Define "difficult". > >I don't understand what you don't understand. The sentence, "Yes, it's possible, but it is difficult." Humans survived "in the wild" for hundreds of thousands of years. >>>No. As noted earlier, lack of mating (such as abstinence or homosexuality) >>>isn't really destructive to the system. It is a worst neutral. >>So if every member of the species was homosexual, this wouldn't be destructive >>to the survival of the species? > >Most animals that exhibit homosexuality are actually bisexual. Answer the question, Keith. Is homosexuality detrimental to the survival of the species? -- =kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu | B(0-4) c- d- e++ f- g++ k(+) m r(-) s++(+) t | TSAKC= =My thoughts, my posts, my ideas, my responsibility, my beer, my pizza. OK???= "
"From: halat@pooh.bears (Jim Halat) Subject: Re: Faith and Dogma In article <1r1mr8$eov@aurora.engr.LaTech.edu>, ray@engr.LaTech.edu (Bill Ray) writes: >Todd Kelley (tgk@cs.toronto.edu) wrote: >: Faith and dogma are dangerous. > >Faith and dogma are inevitable. Christians merely understand and admit >to the fact. Give me your proof that no God exists, or that He does. >Whichever position you take, you are forced to do it on faith. It does >no good to say you take no position, for to show no interest in the >existence of God is to assume He does not exist. > [...stuff deleted...] As many posters have said in as many posts lately, this is just not true. For to show no interest in the existence of god takes no faith at all. You make the presumption that the _knowledge_ of the _possibility_ of something is enough to require faith to render that possibilty of no interest. It is a very different thing to say that you don't believe something than it is to say that you don't have sufficent reason to believe something is even interesting to think about. It's not either or. Sometimes is just something else more interesting that occupies your mind. I agree that faith and dogma are inevitable, but not necessarily applied to god and religion. It takes both faith and dogma to expect the sun to come up every morning, but there is overwhelming reason every single day, day in and day out, for _everyone_ to put his faith and dogma there. Not so with the christian religion. -- jim halat halat@bear.com bear-stearns --whatever doesn't kill you will only serve to annoy you-- nyc i speak only for myself " "From: danb@shell.portal.com (Dan E Babcock) Subject: Re: Societal basis for morality In article <C5zu3K.FzD@news.cso.uiuc.edu> cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu (Mike Cobb) writes: >1)On what basis can we say that the actions of another society, (as per Hitler >comment) are wrong? Ultimately it rests with personal opinion...in my opinion. :-) >2)Why does majority make right? The question doesn't make sense to me. Maybe it would be better to ask, "What makes a democracy better than [for example] a totalitarian regim?" Dan " "From: keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) Subject: Re: <Political Atheists? mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> writes: >>Perhaps we shouldn't imprision people if we could watch them closely >>instead. The cost would probably be similar, especially if we just >>implanted some sort of electronic device. >Why wait until they commit the crime? Why not implant such devices in >potential criminals like Communists and atheists? Sorry, I don't follow your reasoning. You are proposing to punish people *before* they commit a crime? What justification do you have for this? keith " "From: dps@nasa.kodak.com (Dan Schaertel,,,) Subject: Re: Christian Morality is In article 21627@ousrvr.oulu.fi, kempmp@phoenix.oulu.fi (Petri Pihko) writes: |>Dan Schaertel,,, (dps@nasa.kodak.com) wrote: |> |> |>I love god just as much as she loves me. If she wants to seduce me, |>she'll know what to do. |> But if He/She did you would probably consider it rape. |>: Simple logic arguments are folly. If you read the Bible you will see |>: that Jesus made fools of those who tried to trick him with "logic". |>: Our ability to reason is just a spec of creation. Yet some think it is |>: the ultimate. If you rely simply on your reason then you will never |>: know more than you do now. |> |>Your argument is of the type "you'll know once you try". |>Yet there are many atheists who have sincerely tried, and believed |>for many years, but were eventually honest enough to admit that |>they had lived in a virtual reality. |> Obviously there are many Christians who have tried and do believe. So .. ? |>: To learn you must accept that which you don't know. |> |>What does this mean? To learn you must accept that you don't know |>something, right-o. But to learn you must _accept_ something I don't |>know, why? This is not the way I prefer to learn. It is unwise to |>merely swallow everything you read. Suppose I write a book telling |>how the Great Invisible Pink Unicorn (tm) has helped me in my |>daily problems, would you accept this, since you can't know whether |>it is true or not? |> No one asks you to swallow everything, in fact Jesus warns against it. But let me ask you a question. Do you beleive what you learn in history class, or for that matter anything in school. I mean it's just what other people have told you and you don't want to swallow what others say. right ... ? The life , death, and resurection of Christ is documented historical fact. As much as anything else you learn. How do you choose what to believe and what not to? I could argue that George Washington is a myth. He never lived because I don't have any proof except what I am told. However all the major events of the life of Jesus Christ were fortold hundreds of years before him. Neat trick uh? There is no way to get into a sceptical heart. You can not say you have given a sincere effort with the attitude you seem to have. You must TRUST, not just go to church and participate in it's activities. Were you ever willing to die for what you believed? " "From: darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) Subject: Re: Ancient islamic rituals In <16BA6C947.I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de> I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de (Benedikt Rosenau) writes: >In article <1993Apr3.081052.11292@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au> >darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) writes: > >>There has been some discussion on the pros and cons about sex outside of >>marriage. >> >>I personally think that part of the value of having lasting partnerships >>between men and women is that this helps to provide a stable and secure >>environment for children to grow up in. >(Deletion) > >As an addition to Chris Faehl's post, what about homosexuals? Well, from an Islamic viewpoint, homosexuality is not the norm for society. I cannot really say much about the Islamic viewpoint on homosexuality as it is not something I have done much research on. Fred Rice darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au " "From: jgreen@trumpet.calpoly.edu (James Thomas Green) Subject: Re: islamic authority over women kmr4@po.CWRU.edu (Keith M. Ryan) Pontificated: > >Q: How many Moslem men does it take to rape a woman? >A: Five, one to commit the act, and four to witness the penetration. > > >"A guilty verdict can be rendered only if there is a confession or if there >are at least two male witnesses to the crime. Adultery and rape are proved >only if four witnesses have seen the actual penetration, an occurrence that >presumably does not happen often." Is this from the Quran (or however it's spelled)? /~~~(-: James T. Green :-)~~~~(-: jgreen@oboe.calpoly.edu :-)~~~\ | "At all times and in all nations, | | the priest has been hostile to liberty." | | <Thomas Jefferson> | " "From: ednclark@kraken.itc.gu.edu.au (Jeffrey Clark) Subject: Re: <Political Atheists? keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) writes: >mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> writes: >>>Perhaps we shouldn't imprision people if we could watch them closely >>>instead. The cost would probably be similar, especially if we just >>>implanted some sort of electronic device. >>Why wait until they commit the crime? Why not implant such devices in >>potential criminals like Communists and atheists? >Sorry, I don't follow your reasoning. You are proposing to punish people >*before* they commit a crime? What justification do you have for this? No, Mathew is proposing a public defence mechanism, not treating the electronic device as an impropriety on the wearer. What he is saying is that the next step beyond what you propose is the permanent bugging of potential criminals. This may not, on the surface, sound like a bad thing, but who defines what a potential criminal is? If the government of the day decides that being a member of an opposition party makes you a potential criminal then openly defying the government becomes a lethal practice, this is not conducive to a free society. Mathew is saying that implanting electronic surveillance devices upon people is an impropriety upon that person, regardless of what type of crime or what chance of recidivism there is. Basically you see the criminal justice system as a punishment for the offender and possibly, therefore, a deterrant to future offenders. Mathew sees it, most probably, as a means of rehabilitation for the offender. So he was being cynical at you, okay? Jeff. " "From: darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) Subject: Re: Slavery (was Re: Why is sex only allowed in marriage:...) In <1993Apr4.200253.21409@ennews.eas.asu.edu> guncer@enuxha.eas.asu.edu (Selim Guncer ) writes: >You might not like what Bernard Lewis writes about, label him >as a Zionist or such to discredit him etc. You misrepresent me, Selim. The hard evidence for my statements about his lack of objectivity are presented quite clearly in the book "Orientalism" by Edward Said. Edward Said, by the way, is a Christian, not a Muslim. >I think he is >pretty much objective in his treatment in "Race and Slavery in >the Middle East", since he clearly distinguishes between >slavery under Islam, and the practice of slavery in other countries, >like the US prior to the civil war. He also does not conceal >that there are verses in the Quran which promote the liberation >of slaves. What he doesn't, and I don't think nobody can, >deduce from these verses is that slavery will eventually be >abolished in Islamic countries. Now you might, rather conveniently, >blame the practice of slavery on Muslims, but the facts are out >there. I also fail to see the relevance of the claim of Lewis being >a "Zionist" to what I wrote. Regarding Bernard Lewis: Him being a Zionist gives him a political motive for his giving misrepresentations and half-truths about Islam. Read "Orientalism" by Edward Said -- see the evidence for yourself. In fact, I may post some of it here (if it isn't too long). >They were encyclopaedic information >which anybody can access - that slavery was abolished at certain >dates some 1200 years after Muhammed, that this was the cause >of tensions in the Ottoman empire between the Arab slave traders >and the government etc.. We also have in the ASU library volumes >of British documents on slavery where reports and documents >concerning slavery all around the world can be found, which I >checked some of the incidents Lewis mentions. So I don't think >ones political stance has anything to do with documentary evidence. I haven't read Lewis's article, so I can't comment directly upon it, and have only spoken about his writings _in general_ so far, that his political motives make him a biased writer on Islam. His anti-Islamic polemics, as I understand it, are often quite subtle and are often based on telling half-truths. Again, read "Orientalism" by Edward Said. I am _not_ asking you to take what I say on trust, in fact I am urging you not to do so but to get this book (it is a well-known book) and check the evidence out for _yourself_. >The issue I raised was that slaves WERE USED FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES, >when it was claimed that Islam prohibits extra-marital sex. >I wrote that the Prophet himself had concubines, I wrote an >incident in which the prophet advised on someone who did not >want his concubine to get pregnant etc., which is contrary >to the notion that "sex is for procreation only". In other >words, such claims are baseless in the Quran and the Hadith. If slavery is _in reality_ (as opposed to in the practice of some Muslims) opposed by Islam, then using slaves for sexual purposes is necessarily opposed too. >I seem to be unsuccesful in getting through to you. Islam is >not "advocating" slavery. Slavery was an existing institution in the >7th century. It advised on slaves being freed for good >deeds etc., which is nothing new. Many cultures saw this as a >good thing. What is the problem here? But I can argue rightfully >that slaves were discouraged about thinking about their statuses >politically - the Quran rewards the good slave, so obey your >master and perhaps one day you'll be free. But, it is very >understandable that I do not communicate with Muslims, since >they assume the Quran is from a "God", and I think it is a rule-based >system imposed on the society for preservation of the status quo. >Slaves are a part of this system, the subordination of women >so that their function in society boils down to child-making >is a part of this system, etc. I understand your point of view, Selim -- I think, rather, it is _us_ who are not getting through to _you_. Some of the points you repeat above I have already answered before. Regarding women, I have made posting after posting on this subject, showing that Islam is not anti-woman, etc. However, have you been completely ignoring my postings or just missing them? I just reposted a very good one, under the title "Islam and Women", reposted from soc.religion.islam. If this has already disappeared from your site, then please email me telling me so and I will email you a copy of this excellent article. IMHO, your understanding of the issue of women in Islam is sadly deficient. Regarding slaves, _my_ posting on slavery -- the second one I made, which is a repost of an article I wrote early last year -- is based completely on the Qur'an and contains numerous Qur'anic verses and hadiths to support its point of view. Our approaches are different -- you are arguing from a historical standpoint and I am arguing directly from the teachings of the Qur'an and hadiths. Now, just because people say they are Muslims and perform a particular action, does that automatically mean that their action is part of Islam, even if it is opposed by the Qur'an and Sunnah? No! Of course not. Let me give you a concrete example, which might help clarify this for you. The Qur'an prohibits drinking. Now, if a person says "I am a Muslim" and then proceeds to drink a bottle of beer, does this now mean that Islam teaches that people should drink beer? Of course not, and only an idiot would think so. Do you see my point? >It is very natural to think that >the author/authors of the Quran had no idea that the socio-economic >structure they were advocating would experience at least two paradigm >shifts in 1400 years in the western cultures - first with the end of >the feudal era and the rise of commerce, second with the industrial >revolution. Well, rules have changed and the status quo has driven >Muslim countries into misery trying to survive in a "heathen" world. >Muslim countries have failed economically, they were unable to >accumulate any wealth - directly due to the uncomprimising economic >rules in the Quran. In fact, the rise of Islam can easily be modeled >after the pyramid effect - you do not produce any wealth at home, >but increase your wealth by conquering places. You are judging Islam here on capitalist terms. Capitalism is an ideology based largely on the assumption that people want to maximise their wealth -- this assumption is in opposition to Islamic teachings. To say Islam is bad because it is not capitalist is pretty unthinking -- Islam does not pretend to be capitalist and does not try to be capitalist. (This does not mean that Islam does not support a free-market -- for it does in general -- but there are other parts of capitalism which are opposed to Islam as I understand it.) >When this stopped, >you (and I) were left bare in the open for emperialists to devour. >No capital, no industry, very poor social services - the education >level in Muslim countries are the lowest in the world, the health >statistics are miserable etc.. One can postulate numerous reasons for this. Your theory is that it is because Islam is not secularist and capitalist, etc. etc. Selim, I will give you a clear historical example to show you the fallacy of your views if you think (as you obviously do) that Islam => lack of education and power. For a large part of history, the Islamic world was very powerful. For a significant section of history, the Islamic world was the foremost in the sciences. So to say that Islam is, for example, anti-education is completely absurd. You try to blame this situation on Islam -- history shows that your conclusion is false and that, instead, there must be other reasons for this situation. >You blame Muslims for not following the Quran, but I blame Muslims >for following the Quran. Well, Selim, your viewpoint on women in Islam makes me question the extent of your knowledge of Islam. I really think you are not knowledgeable enough to be able to judge whether the Muslims are following the Qur'an or not. >Your idea is baseless from historical >facts, it is a poor utopia, The Islamic world was at the forefront of the world in science at one stage -- yet somehow, in your theory, it is by "following the Qur'an" that Muslims are backwards in education. Selim, it is _your_ thesis that is anti-historical, for you conveniently overlook this historical fact which contradicts your theory. >while my ideas are derived from social >and economic history. You have certainly not shown this; you have merely stated it. So far, it seems to me that your view on Islam being anti-education is quite contrary to history. That you are so convinced of your views makes me wonder just how objectively you are trying to look at all of this. >My solution to all Muslims is simple: >CUT THE CRAP, I think, Selim, you should consider taking your own advice. >GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT Here too. >AND WORK HARD TO REVERSE >THE EFFECTS OF 1300 YEARS OF IGNORANCE. Selim, you have such conviction of your viewpoint, yet you demonstrate ignorance, not only of Islam but also of Islamic history (particularly with respect to Muslims being leaders of science till about 1400 or so I think). Yet you say that your viewpoint is based on history! Selim, if I remember right, you say in one of your earlier posts that you are an apostate from Islam. I think you should slow down and start thinking clearly about the issues, and start _reading_ some of our postings about Islam rather than ignoring them as you so obviously have. Fred Rice darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au " "From: danb@shell.portal.com (Dan E Babcock) Subject: Re: some thoughts. In article <C5rEKJ.49y@darkside.osrhe.uoknor.edu> bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) writes: >James Felder (spbach@lerc.nasa.gov) wrote: > >: Logic alert - argument from incredulity. Just because it is hard for you >: to believe this doesn't mean that it isn't true. Liars can be very pursuasive >: just look at Koresh that you yourself cite. > >This is whole basis of a great many here rejecting the Christian >account of things. In the words of St. Madalyn Murrey-O'Hair, "Face it >folks, it's just silly ...". Why is it okay to disbelieve because of >your incredulity if you admit that it's a fallacy? It isn't. And I wasn't aware that this O'Hair chick was a reader of a.a., so that doesn't support your assertion that the argument is "the whole basis of a great many HERE rejecting...". Dan " "From: jmunch@hertz.elee.calpoly.edu (John Munch) Subject: Re: Yet more Rushdie [Re: ISLAMIC LAW] In article <1993Apr15.212943.15118@bnr.ca> (Rashid) writes: >P.S. I'm not sure about this but I think the charge of "shatim" also >applies to Rushdie and may be encompassed under the umbrella >of the "fasad" ruling. Please define the words "shatim" and "fasad" before you use them again. /---- John David Munch ------------------ jmunch@hertz.elee.calpoly.edu ----\ |...." the heart can change, be full of hate, or love. If people are allowed| |to base their lives through their hearts, anything can happen. A dangerous | |situation, in my opinion." -Bobby Mozumder describing problems with atheism| " "From: christen@astro.ocis.temple.edu (Carl Christensen) Subject: Re: Cults Vs. Religions? Bill Ray (ray@engr.LaTech.edu) wrote: : James Thomas Green (jgreen@trumpet.calpoly.edu) wrote: : : So in conclusion it can be shown that there is essentially no : : logical argument which clearly differentiates a "cult" from a : : "religion". I challenge anyone to produce a distinction which : : is clear and can't be easily knocked down. : How about this one: a religion is a cult which has stood the test : of time. Just like history is written by the winners' and not the losers.' From what I've seen of religions, a religion is just a cult that was so vile and corrupt it was able to exert it's doctrine using political and military measures. Perhaps if Koresh withstood the onslaught for another couple of months he would have started attracting more converts due to his strength,' hence becoming a full religion and not just a cult. -- Carl Christensen /~~\_/~\ ,,, Dept. of Computer Science christen@astro.ocis.temple.edu | #=#==========# | Temple University "Curiouser and curiouser!" - LC \__/~\_/  Philadelphia, PA USA " "From: decay@cbnewsj.cb.att.com (dean.kaflowitz) Subject: Re: YOU WILL ALL GO TO HELL!!! In article <healta.176.735768613@saturn.wwc.edu>, healta@saturn.wwc.edu (Tammy R Healy) writes: > In article <1993Apr25.020546.22426@mnemosyne.cs.du.edu> kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu (Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran) writes: > >From: kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu (Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran) > >Subject: Re: YOU WILL ALL GO TO HELL!!! > >Date: Sun, 25 Apr 93 02:05:46 GMT > >In article <8473@pharaoh.cyborg.bt.co.uk> martin@pharaoh.cyborg.bt.co.uk (Martin Gorman) writes: > >>JSN104@psuvm.psu.edu writes: > >> > >>>YOU BLASHEPHEMERS!!! YOU WILL ALL GO TO HELL FOR NOT BELIEVING IN GOD!!!! BE > >>>PREPARED FOR YOUR ETERNAL DAMNATION!!! > >>> > >>Oh fuck off. > > > >Actually, I just think he's confused. *I'm* going to hell because I'm Gay, > >not becuase I don't believe in God. > > > >(I wonder if that means I can't come to Tammy & Deans picnic?) > > Of course you can come. I said "ALL a.a posters are invited" and I didn't > put a "No homosexual" clause. Bring some munchies and join the party!!! > I can't imagine Dean objecting, either. Knowing Keith, I expect he'll bring the leather accessories. Better oil it well. Leather cracks when it dries. Dean Kaflowitz " "From: perry@dsinc.com (Jim Perry) Subject: Re: Room for Metaphor? In article <bakerlj.27.735422537@augustana.edu> bakerlj@augustana.edu (LLOYD BAKER) writes: >What I want is a response >giving me the pros and cons of Metaphorical religious language. Could an >atheist accept this view without giving up the foundamentals of what he >believes in? Could an atheist accept a usage in which religious literature or tradition is viewed in a metaphorical way? Of course: this is essentially what we do with Homer, or with other concepts such as fate, luck, free will ;-)... However, there remains the question of whether the religious literature of -- say -- Christianity is a particularly *good* set of metaphors for the world today. It's also entirely unclear, and to me quite unlikely, that one could take a contemporary religion like that and divorce the metaphoric potential from the literalism and absolutism it carries now in many cases. -- Jim Perry perry@dsinc.com Decision Support, Inc., Matthews NC These are my opinions. For a nominal fee, they can be yours. " "From: deguzman@after.math.uiuc.edu (A A DeGuzman) Subject: Re: YOU WILL ALL GO TO HELL!!! decay@cbnewsj.cb.att.com (dean.kaflowitz) writes: >In article <C5LH4p.27K@portal.hq.videocart.com>, dfuller@portal.hq.videocart.com (Dave Fuller) writes: >> JSN104@psuvm.psu.edu () writes: >> : YOU BLASHEPHEMERS!!! YOU WILL ALL GO TO HELL FOR NOT BELIEVING IN GOD!!!! BE >> : PREPARED FOR YOUR ETERNAL DAMNATION!!! >> >> What do you mean "be prepared" ?? Surrounded by thumpers like yourself >> has proven to be hellish enough . . . and I'm not even dead yet !! >Well here's how I prepared. I got one of those big beach >umbrellas, some of those gel-pack ice things, a big Coleman cooler >which I've loaded up with Miller Draft (so I like Miller Draft, >so sue me), a new pair of New Balance sneakers, a Sony >Watchman, and a couple of cartons of BonTon Cheddar Cheese >Popcorn. [stuff deleted] Actually, you get a ton of weapons and ammunition, 70-80 followers, and hole up in some kind of compound, and wait for . . . . :-) -- Alan A. DeGuzman Calvin: "I'm so smart it's almost scary. I guess Calculus&Mathematica I'm a child progeny." DISCLAIMER: "The University can't afford my opinions." Hobbes: "Most children are . . . " " "From: kempmp@phoenix.oulu.fi (Petri Pihko) Subject: Re: Christian Morality is Dan Schaertel,,, (dps@nasa.kodak.com) wrote: > Let us go back , oh say 1000 years or so, whatever. Pretend someone says to you > someday there will be men on the moon. (Now remember, you still think the > world is flat). This is quite an extraordinary claim. I think C.S. Lewis has argued that medieval people did not all think the world is flat. However, this argument goes both ways. Pretend someone telling Plato that it is highly probable that people do not really have souls; their minds and their consciousness are just something their brains make up, and their brains (their body) is actually ahead of their mind even in voluntarly actions. I don't think Plato would have been happy with this, and neither would Paul, although Paul's ideas were quite different. However, if you would _read_ what we discuss in this group, and not just preach, you would see that there currently is much evidence in favour of these statements. The same applies to the theory of natural selection, or other sacred cows of Christianity on our origins and human nature. I don't believe in spirits, devils or immortal souls any more than in gods. > The fact is we can argue the existence of God until the end of time, there really is no > way to either prove or disprove it, but there will be a time when we all know the truth. > I hope and believe I'm right and I hope and pray that you find your way too. Ah, you said it. You believe what you want to. This is what I had assumed all along. > OK maybe I shouldn't have said "no way". I guess I really believe there is > a way. But all I can do is plant seeds. Either they grow or they don't. You might be as well planting Satan's seeds, ever thought of this? Besides, you haven't yet explained why we must believe so blindly, without any guiding light at all (at least I haven't noticed it). I don't think this is at all fair play on god's part. Your argument sounds like a version of Pascal's Wager. Please read the FAQ, this fallacy is discussed there. > But > they won't if they're not planted. The Holy Spirit is the nurishment that > helps them grow and that comes from God. And I failed to get help from the HS because I had a wrong attitude? Sorry, Dan, but I do not think this spirit exists. People who claim to have access to it just look badly deluded, not gifted. Petri -- ___. .'*''.* Petri Pihko kem-pmp@ Mathematics is the Truth. !___.'* '.'*' ' . Pihatie 15 C finou.oulu.fi Physics is the Rule of ' *' .* '* SF-90650 OULU kempmp@ the Game. *' * .* FINLAND phoenix.oulu.fi -> Chemistry is The Game. " "From: I3150101@dbstu1.rz.tu-bs.de (Benedikt Rosenau) Subject: Re: islamic authority over women In article <C5rACM.41q@darkside.osrhe.uoknor.edu> bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) writes: >I can't recall anyone claiming that God -makes- anyone act a particlar >way, I think that you're attempting to manufacture a contradiction. A world creator god does, the moment it creates the world. And to sayi that you can't recall *anyone* is even below your usual standard of a"arguing". My argument is based on quite usual theistic assumptions, namely god is perfect, god is all-knowing god sets the rules. The rules don't work for whatever reason. Because of its omniscience, the god has known it. In advance. (Deletion) >To say that something defined contadictorily cannot exist, is really >asking too much; you would have existence depend on grammar. All you >can really say is that something is poorly defined, but that in itself >is insufficient to decide anything (other than confusion of course). > It is not a question of grammar, it is a question of modelling. Has been discussed in the wonderful time when you were not posting to this group. When A is contradictorily defined A does not point to an instance in reality. Unless there is more information in the definition of A that allows me to find it somehow. However, when the contradictory attribute is said to be essential, ie has not got that attribute => not the A I am looking for, I can conclude that A does not exist. >Your point that there are better reasons for the phenomenon of belief >than the object of belief may lead to a rat's nest of unnecessary >complexity. I think I know what you're implying, but I'd like to see >your version of this better alternative just the same. > That's quite like: I predict coins falling Predicted Happened 1. Heads Tails 2. Tails Tails 3. Heads Tails 4. Heads Tails I take 2. and dismiss the rest because of the unnecessary complexity the other evidence causes. For an easy to understand explanation of why humans believe in gods read "Manwatching" by Desmond Morris. Benedikt " "From: mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> Subject: Re: Death Penalty / Gulf War (long) jbrown@batman.bmd.trw.com writes: > I don't regret the fact that sometimes military decisions have to be made > which affect the lives of innocent people. But I do regret the > circumstances which make those decisions necessary, and I regret the > suffering caused by those decisions. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to kill you. Don't worry, though; as a Loving Christian, I guarantee that I will regret the fact that I have to kill you, although I won't regret the actual killing." >>> If we hadn't intervened, allowing Hussein to keep Kuwait, then it would >>> have been appeasement. >> >> Right. But did you ever hear anyone advocate such a course of action? Or >> are you just setting up a strawman? > > I'm not setting up a strawman at all. If you want to argue against the > war, then the only logical alternative was to allow Hussein to keep > Kuwait. False dichotomy. > Diplomatic alternatives, including sanctions, were ineffective. That's because they weren't even attempted. >> But what about those who didn't support Hitler's dreams of conquest? It's >> not as if they democratically voted for all his policies. The NSDAP got >> 43 % in the elections of 1933, and that was the last chance the German >> people got to vote on the matter. > > They suffered along with the rest. Why does this bother you so much? You want to know why it bothers me that thousands of innocent people were maimed or killed by bombing at the end of WW2, when it was far from clear that such bombing was necessary? > The world is full of evil, and circumstances are not perfect. Many > innocents suffer due to the wrongful actions of others. It it regretable, > but that's The-Way-It-Is. And why-is-it-that-way? Who set things up to be that way? >> this was happening before the Gulf War. Why didn't we send in the bombers >> to East Timor? Why aren't we sending in the bombers NOW? > > Probably because we're not the saviors of the world. We can't police each > and every country that decides to self-destruct or invade another. No, just the ones that have oil. Or the ones that look like they might make a success of Communism. > Nor are we in a strategic position to get relief to Tibet, East Timor, or > some other places. I don't see that getting UN forces to East Timor is any harder than getting them to Iraq. >> Tibetan people are rounded up, tortured, and executed. Amnesty >> International recently reported that torture is still widespread in China. >> >> Why aren't we stopping them? In fact, why are we actively sucking up to >> them by trading freely with them? > > Tell me how we could stop them and I'll support it. I, for one, do not > agree with the present US policy of "sucking up to them" as you put it. > I agree that it is deplorable. Fine. Write to your Congressman and to President Clinton. China's status as "Most Favoured Nation" comes up for renewal in June. Point out that the US shouldn't be offering favourable trading terms to such a despicable regime. I doubt anything will happen. Clinton's keener on trade sanctions against Europe. [ Unbelievable comments about the Rodney King case deleted ] > The media is not totally monolithic. Even though there is a prevailing > liberal bias, programs such as the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour try to give > a balanced and fair reporting of the news. There are even conservative > sources out there if you know where to look. (Hurrah for Rush!) Any idea how many kill files you just ended up in? >> I, an atheist, am arguing against killing innocent people. >> >> You, a supposed Christian, are arguing that it's OK to kill innocent people >> so long as you get some guilty ones as well. > > Hardly. I didn't say that it's a Good Thing [tm] to kill innocent people > if the end is just. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world and > there are no perfect solutions. If one is going to resist tyranny, then > innocent people on both sides are going to suffer and die. I didn't say > it is OK -- it is unfortunate, but sometimes necessary. The ends justify the means, eh? >> You, having criticised moral relativism in the past, are now arguing that I >> am in no position to judge the morality of allied actions at the end of the >> War. > > You certainly are not in such a position if you are a moral relativist. The same tired old misunderstanding. Moral relativism means that there is no *objective* standard of morality. It doesn't mean you can't judge other people's morals. Christ on a bike, how many times have we tried to hammer that into your head? >> Where's your Christian love? Where's your absolute morality? Oh, how >> quick you are to discard them when it suits you. As Ivan Stang would say, >> "Jesus would puke!" > > One day I will stand before Jesus and give account of every word and action; > even this discourse in this forum. I understand the full ramifications of > that, and I am prepared to do so. I don't believe that you can make the > same claim. Obviously not, as I am an atheist. I don't think you'd get on with Jesus, though; he was a long-haired lunatic peace-nik, was he not? > And BTW, the reason I brought up the blanket-bombing in Germany was > because you were bemoaning the Iraqi civilian casualties as being > "so deplorable". Yet blanket bombing was instituted because bombing > wasn't accurate enough to hit industrial/military targets in a > decisive way by any other method at that time. But in the Gulf War, > precision bombing was the norm. So the point was, why make a big > stink about the relatively few civilian casualties that resulted > *in spite of* precision bombing, when so many more civilians > (proportionately and quantitatively) died under the blanket bombing > in WW2? Right. Unfortunately for you, it turned out that my opinions on the matter were entirely consistent in that I condemned the bombing of Dresden too. I think you're being a bit glib with your explanation of the blanket bombing policy, too. You make it sound as though we were aiming for military targets and could only get them by destroying civilian buildings next door. As I understand it, that is not the case; we aimed deliberately at civilian targets in order to cause massive damage and inspire terror amongst the German people. > civilians suffer. But less civilians suffered in this war than > any other iany other in history! Oh, come on. With wars like the Falklands fresh in people's minds, that sort of propaganda isn't going to fool anyone. > The stories > of "hundreds of thousands" of Iraqi civilian dead is just plain bunk. > Yes, bunk. The US lost 230,000 servicemen in WW2 over four years > and the majority of them were directly involved in fighting! Yes? And what about the millions of casualties the Russians suffered? It's hardly surprising the US didn't lose many men in WW2, given that you turned up late. mathew " "From: mangoe@cs.umd.edu (Charley Wingate) Subject: Re: Yeah, Right Benedikt Rosenau writes: >And what about that revelation thing, Charley? If you're talking about this intellectual engagement of revelation, well, it's obviously a risk one takes. >Many people say that the concept of metaphysical and religious knowledge >is contradictive. I'm not an objectivist, so I'm not particularly impressed with problems of conceptualization. The problem in this case is at least as bad as that of trying to explain quantum mechanics and relativity in the terms of ordinary experience. One can get some rough understanding, but the language is, from the perspective of ordinary phenomena, inconsistent, and from the perspective of what's being described, rather inexact (to be charitable). An analogous situation (supposedly) obtains in metaphysics; the problem is that the "better" descriptive language is not available. >And in case it holds reliable information, can you show how you establish >that? This word "reliable" is essentially meaningless in the context-- unless you can show how reliability can be determined. -- C. Wingate + "The peace of God, it is no peace, + but strife closed in the sod. mangoe@cs.umd.edu + Yet, brothers, pray for but one thing: tove!mangoe + the marv'lous peace of God." " "From: kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu (Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran) Subject: Re: <Political Atheists? In article <1ql06qINN2kf@gap.caltech.edu> keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) writes: >kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu (Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran) writes: >>Schneider >>>Natural morality may specifically be thought of as a code of ethics that >>>a certain species has developed in order to survive. >>Wait. Are we talking about ethics or morals here? > >Is the distinction important? Yes. >>>We see this countless >>>times in the animal kingdom, and such a "natural" system is the basis for >>>our own system as well. >>Huh? > >Well, our moral system seems to mimic the natural one, in a number of ways. Please describe these "number of ways" in detail. Then explain the any contradictions that may arise. >>>In order for humans to thrive, we seem to need >>>to live in groups, >>Here's your problem. "we *SEEM* to need". What's wrong with the highlighted >>word? > >I don't know. What is wrong? Is it possible for humans to survive for >a long time in the wild? Yes, it's possible, but it is difficult. Humans >are a social animal, and that is a cause of our success. Define "difficult". >>>and in order for a group to function effectively, it >>>needs some sort of ethical code. >>This statement is not correct. > >Isn't it? Why don't you think so? Explain the laws in America stating that you have to drive on the right- hand side of the road. >>>And, by pointing out that a species' conduct serves to propogate itself, >>>I am not trying to give you your tautology, but I am trying to show that >>>such are examples of moral systems with a goal. Propogation of the species >>>is a goal of a natural system of morality. >>So anybody who lives in a monagamous relationship is not moral? After all, >>in order to ensure propogation of the species, every man should impregnate >>as many women as possible. > >No. As noted earlier, lack of mating (such as abstinence or homosexuality) >isn't really destructive to the system. It is a worst neutral. So if every member of the species was homosexual, this wouldn't be destructive to the survival of the species? >>For that matter, in herds of horses, only the dominate stallion mates. When >>he dies/is killed/whatever, the new dominate stallion is the only one who >>mates. These seems to be a case of your "natural system of morality" trying >>to shoot itself in the figurative foot. > >Again, the mating practices are something to be reexamined... The whole "theory" needs to be reexamined... -- =kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu | B(0-4) c- d- e++ f- g++ k(+) m r(-) s++(+) t | TSAKC= =My thoughts, my posts, my ideas, my responsibility, my beer, my pizza. OK???= " "From: "Robert Knowles" <p00261@psilink.com> Subject: Re: Islam And Scientific Predictions (was >DATE: Fri, 16 Apr 1993 15:23:54 GMT >FROM: Umar Khan <khan@itd.itd.nrl.navy.mil> > > His conclusion was that, >while he was impressed that what little the Holy Qur'an had to >say about science was accurate, he was far more impressed that the >Holy Qur'an did not contain the same rampant errors evidenced in >the Traditions. How would a man of 7th Century Arabia have known >what *not to include* in the Holy Qur'an (assuming he had authored >it)? > Well, it looks like the folks in soc.religion.islam have loosened up a bit and are discussing this topic as well as the banking/interest topic. A few books on the subject have also been mentioned in addition to the one you mentioned. These may be hard to find, but I think I may take a stab at it out of curiosity. I know the one film I saw on this subject was pretty weak and the only two quotes I have seen which were used to show science in the Koran (which I posted here) were also pretty vague. I suspect that these books will extrapolate an awful lot on the quotes they have. At least one poster on the Islam channel seems to have some misgivings about the practice of using the Koran to decide what is good science. I wonder if Islam has ever come up with the equivalent of the Christians "Creation Science" on any topic. It would be interesting to find a history of scientific interpretations of the Koran, to see if anyone used the Koran to support earlier science which has since been discarded. It is all too easy to look at science as it exists today and then "interpret" passages to match those findings. People do similar things with the sayings of Nostradamus all the time. Anyway, it is a rather unique claim of Islam and may be worth checking. " "From: healta@saturn.wwc.edu (Tammy R Healy) Subject: Re: Requests In article <11857@vice.ICO.TEK.COM> bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) writes: >From: bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) >Subject: Re: Requests >Date: 19 Apr 93 18:25:08 GMT >In article <C5qLLG.4BC@mailer.cc.fsu.edu> mayne@cs.fsu.edu writes: >> (excess stuff deleted...) > However, it seems that a local church elder has been getting > revelations from god about a devastating quake scheduled to level > the area on May 3rd. He has independent corroboration from > several friends, who apparently have had similar revelations. The > 5.7 quake was, in fact, in response to a request from the lot of > them seeking a sign from god on the veracity of their visions. > > None of this would be terribly interesting, except for the amount > of stir it has created in the area. Many, many people are taking > these claims very seriously. There are some making plans to be > out of the are on the target date. My local religious radio > station devoted 4 hours of discussion on the topic. > > I even called up during one of the live broadcasts to tell the > host that he would have a full account of my conversion on May > 4th, provided my family and I survived the devastation and ruin > that will invariably follow the quake. > >/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ > >Bob Beauchaine bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM > >They said that Queens could stay, they blew the Bronx away, >and sank Manhattan out at sea. > >^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I know of a similar incident about 3 years ago. A climatologist( Ithink that was his profession) named Iben Browning predicted that an earthquake would hit the New Madrid fault on Dec.3. Some schools in Missouri that were on the fault line actually cancelled school for the day. Many people evacuated New Madrid and other towns in teh are. I wouldn't be suprised if there were more journalists in the area than residents. Of course, teh earthquake never occured. HOw do I know about his? I used to live in Southern Illinois and the lican middle school was built directly on the fault line. No we still had school... We laughed at the poor idiots who believed the prediction. :):):):) Bob, if you're wanting an excuse to convert to Christianity, you gonna have to look elsewhere. Tammy "No Trim" Healy " "From: "Robert Knowles" <p00261@psilink.com> Subject: Re: Death Penalty (was Re: Political Athei >DATE: Tue, 20 Apr 1993 10:48:19 +0100 >FROM: mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> > > >There's a great film called "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the >Media". It's a Canadian film; I saw it at the Berlin Film Festival this >year. If you get a chance, go and see it. > >I can't really recommend any books from having read them... I'm thinking of >ordering a book which a reviewer claimed gives a good introduction to his >political activism. I could dig up the title. > >mathew Could it be _The Chomsky Reader_ edited by James Peck, published by Pantheon? " "From: suopanki@stekt6.oulu.fi (Heikki T. Suopanki) Subject: Re: A visit from the Jehovah's Witnesses >>>>> On 5 Apr 93 11:24:30 MST, jbrown@batman.bmd.trw.com said: :> God is eternal. [A = B] :> Jesus is God. [C = A] :> Therefore, Jesus is eternal. [C = B] :> This works both logically and mathematically. God is of the set of :> things which are eternal. Jesus is a subset of God. Therefore :> Jesus belongs to the set of things which are eternal. Everything isn't always so logical.... Mercedes is a car. That girl is Mercedes. Therefore, that girl is a car? -Heikki " "From: keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) Subject: Re: <Political Atheists? kcochran@nyx.cs.du.edu (Keith "Justified And Ancient" Cochran) writes: >>I think that you are confusing the words "objective" and "inherent." >>And objective system is simply one in which an outside observer who, >>given the postulates of the system, could perfectly judge any situation >>or action as consistent with the system (right) or not (wrong). You seem >>to be objecting because the goals of the system are not inherent. That is, >>you seem to want to define an objective system as one in which the >>postulates themselves could be determined by some outside observer. >>I don't think that this is a good definition of an objective system. >Then you need to learn English. Really>? >Gravity is an objective system. Anybody can learn what it is, and perform >experiments. They will get the same results as every other person who >has performed those experiments. No, gravity is an inherent system. You don't need any excess information other than observations to determine anything. It is possible to objectively determine someone's guilt or innocence within an non-inherent system. I agree that morality is not necessarily inherent (unless you state that everything we do has an evolutionary basis), but this does not mean that it cannot be objective in theory. >This "natural morality" is not an objective system, as evidenced by >your comments about lions, and mine. Perhaps it can be objective, but not inherent. Anyway, as I noted before, the practices related to mating rituals, etc. among the animals are likely the only ones to be considered "immoral" under the previous "definitions" of the natural law. Therefore, some revisions are in order, since the class of activities surrounding mating seem to pose some general problems. >>And in fact, the only way that the postulates could be determined by an >>outsider would be if there were some sort of higher truth, like some >>sort of god or something. But, I do not think that a god is necessary >>for an objective system, while it seems that you do. >What are you trying to say here? It seens that you are objecting to the notion of an objective system because perhaps you think that it would imply inherence, which would necessitate some sort of grand design? >>No, I have classified behavior of most animals as in line with a >>moral system. It is certainly possible for animals to commit acts >>which are outside of their rules of ethics, but they don't seem to >>do so very often. Perhaps they are not intelligent enough to be >>immoral. >And perhaps it's because you have yet to define a "moral" system. I think I have. It is a code of ethics which basically defines undesired behaviors, etc. An immoral behavior could be unwanted, unproductive, or destructive, etc., depending on the goal of the system (that is, immoral to what end?). keith " "From: mathew <mathew@mantis.co.uk> Subject: Discordian & SubGenius books, addresses etc. As requested, here are some addresses of sources of bizarre religious satire and commentary... Plus some bijou book reviewettes. --- Loompanics Unlimited PO Box 1197 Port Townsend, WA 98368. USA. Publishers of one of the most infamous mail-order book catalogue in the world. Anarchism, Discordianism, Libertarianism, cryogenics, money-making (legal and illegal), privacy and security, self-defense, and all kinds of other stuff that keeps Christians awake at nights. --- The Church of the SubGenius PO Box 140306 Dallas, TX 75214. USA. The original end times church for post-human mutants; a high temple for scoffers, mockers and blasphemers. Be one of the few to board the X-ist saucers in 1998 and escape Space God JHVH-1's stark fist of removal. J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, God of Sales, is waiting to take your money and ordain you. Magazines, sick audio cassettes, and assorted offensive cynisacreligious material. Periodic lists of addresses of Pink religious cults and contact points for the world wierdo network. Expect a slow response to mail. Only conspiracies are well-organized. You will eventually get what you pay for if you give them some slack. --- Counter Productions PO Box 556 London SE5 0RL UK A UK source of obscure books. A wide-ranging selection; Surrealism, Anarchism, SubGenius, Discordianism, Robert Anton Wilson, Lovecraftian horror, Cyberpunk, Forteana, political and social commentary, Wilhelm Reich, Orgone tech, obscure rock music, SF, and so on. Send an SAE (and maybe a bribe, they need your money) and ask for a catalogue. Tell them mathew sent you. I've ordered from these folks three or four times now, and they're about as fast and efficient as you can expect from this sort of operation. --- Forbidden Planet Various sites in the UK; in particular, along London's New Oxford Street, just down the road from Tottenham Court Road tube station. Mass market oddness. SubGenius, Robert Anton Wilson, Loompanics, and of course huge quantities of SF. Not a terribly good selection, but they're in the high street. --- REVIEWETTE: "Loompanics' Greatest Hits" ISBN 1-55950-031-X (Loompanics) A selection of articles picked from the books in Loompanics' catalogue. Subjects include: * Christian Dispensationalism -- how right-wing Christians encouraged the Cold War * Satanic Child Abuse myths * Religion and censorship Plus lots of anarchist and libertarian stuff, situationism, computers and privacy, and so on. Guaranteed to contain at least one article that'll offend you -- like, for example, the interview with Bradley R. Smith, the Holocaust Revisionist. A good sampling of stuff in a coffee table book. (Of course, whether you want to leave this sort of stuff lying around on your coffee table is another matter.) QUOTE: "The fundamentalists leap up and down in apoplectic rage and joy. Their worst fantasies are vindicated, and therefore (or so they like to think), their entire theology and socio-political agenda is too. Meanwhile, teen-age misanthropes and social misfits murder their enemies, classmates, families, friends, even complete strangers, all because they read one of Anton LaVey's cooks or listened to one too many AC/DC records. The born-agains are ready to burn again, and not just books this time." --- REVIEWETTE: "The Book of the SubGenius", J.R. Dobbs & the SubGenius Foundation ISBN 0-671-63810-6 (Simon & Schuster) Described by 'Rolling Stone' as "A sick masterpiece for those who can still laugh at the fact that nothing is funny anymore." The official Bible of the SubGenius Church, containing the sacred teachings of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs. Instant answers to everything; causes catalytic brain cell loss in seconds; the secret of total slack; how to relax in the safety of your delusions and pull the wool over your own eyes; nuclear doom and other things to laugh at. QUOTE: "He has been known to answer questions concerning universal truths with screams. With suggestive silence. By peeing down his pants leg. His most famous sermon was of cosmic simplicity: "Bob" standing on the stage with his hands in his pockets, smoking, looking around and saying nothing. Heated arguments still rage among the monks, often erupting into fatal duels, as towhether the Master consulted his wristwatch during this divine period of Grace." -- REVIEWETTE: "High Weirdness by Mail", Rev. Ivan Stang ISBN 0-671-64260-X (Simon & Schuster) An encyclopedia of wierd organizations you can contact by mail. Space Jesuses, Christian vs Christian, UFO contactees, New Age saps, Creationists, Flat Earthers, White Supremacist churches, plus (yawn) CSICOP, Sceptical Enquirer and stuff like that. Not just a list of addresses, though, as each kook group is ruthlessly mocked and ridiculed with sarcastic glee. If you like alt.atheism's flame wars, this is the book for you. Made me laugh until my stomach ached. Revised edition due some time in the next year or two. SAMPLE ENTRY: Entertaining Demons Unawares Southwest Radio Church PO Box 1144 Oklahoma City, OK 73101 "Your Watchman on the Wall." Another flagellating, genuflecting fundamentalist outfit. Their booklet "Entertaining Demons Unawares" exposes the Star Wars / E.T. / Dungeons & Dragons / Saturday morning cartoon / Satanic connection in horrifying detail. Left out Smurfs, though! I especially liked the bit about Wonder Woman's Antichrist origins. Keep in mind that once you send for anything from these people, you'll be on their mailing list for life. --- REVIEWETTE: "The Abolition of Work", Bob Black ISBN 0-915179-41-5 (Loompanics) A selection of Bob Black's painfully witty and intelligent anarchist tracts collected into book form. If I were this good I'd be insufferable.(*) Probably the only thought-provoking political book that's fun to read. QUOTE: "Babble about 'The wages of sin' serves to cover up 'the sin of wages'. We want rights, not rites -- sex, not sects. Only Eros and Eris belong in our pantheon. Surely the Nazarene necrophile has had his revenge by now. Remember, pain is just God's way of hurting you." --- REVIEWETTE: "Principia Discordia", Malaclypse the Younger ISBN 1-55950-040-9 (Loompanics) The infamous Discordian Bible, reprinted in its entirety and then some. Yes, you could FTP the online copy, but this one has all the pictures. Explains absolutely everything, including the Law of Fives, how to start a Discordian Cabal, and instructions for preaching Discordianism to Christians. QUOTE: "A Discordian is Required during his early Illumination to Go Off Alone & Partake Joyously of a Hot Dog on a Friday; this Devotive Caremony to Remonstrate against the popular Paganisms of the Day: of Catholic Christendom (no meat on Friday), of Judaism (no meat of Pork), of Hindic Peoples (no meat of Beef), of Buddhists (no meat of animal), and of Discordians (no Hot Dog Buns)." --- REVIEWETTE: "Natural Law, or Don't Put a Rubber on Your Willy", Robert Anton Wilson ISBN 0-915179-61-X (Loompanics) The author of the Illuminatus trilogy rails against natural law, natural morality, objective reality, and other pervasive myths. Witty and thought-provoking work from someone who actually seems to know an argument from a hole in the ground. QUOTE: "Since theological propositions are scientifically meaningless, those of us of pragmatic disposition simply won't buy such dubious merchandise. [...] Maybe -- remotely -- there might be something in such promotions, as there might be something in the talking dogs and the stocks in Arabian tapioca mines that W.C. Fields once sold in his comedies, but we suspect that we recognize a con game in operation. At least, we want to hear the dog talk or see the tapioca ore before we buy into such deals." --- All of the books mentioned above should be available from Counter Productions in the UK, or directly from the SubGenius Foundation or Loompanics Unlimited. mathew [ (*) What do you mean I am anyway? ] -- "Dreamed I laid a toaster... Daddy caught me in the act. Can you take it?" -- DEVO " "Subject: Periodic Post of Charley Challenges, #3, with additions From: dpw@sei.cmu.edu (David Wood) New in this version: challenge #5, plus an addendum summarizing Charley's responses to-date.. ----------------------------------------- *** This is a posting made periodically in an attempt to encourage *** Charley Wingate to address direct challenges to his evidently *** specious claims. I'll continue to re-post periodically until *** he answers them, publicly indicates that he won't answer them, *** stops posting to alt.atheism, the alt.atheism community tells *** me to stop, or I get totally bored. I apologize for the *** somewhat juvenile nature of this approach, but I'm at a loss *** to figure out another way to crack his intransigence and *** seeming intellectual dishonesty. *** *** This is re-post #3. Charley, I can't help but notice that you have still failed to provide answers to substantive questions that have been raised in response to your previous posts. I submit that you don't answer them because you cannot answer them without running afoul of your own logic, and I once again challenge you to prove me wrong. To make the task as easy for you as possible, I'll present concise re-statements of some of the questions that you have failed to answer, in the hope that you may address them one at a time for all to see. Should you fail to answer again within a reasonable time period, I will re-post this article, with suitable additions and deletions, at such time that I notice a post by you on another topic. I will repeat this procedure until you either address the outstanding challenges or you cease to post to this newsgroup. I would like to apologize in advance if you have answered any of these questions previously and your answer missed my notice. If you can be kind enough to re-post or e-mail such articles, I will be only too pleased to publicly rescind the challenge in question, and remove it from this list. Now, to the questions... 1. After claiming that all atheists fit into neat psychological patterns that you proposed, then semi-retracting that claim by stating that you weren't referring to *all* atheists, I asked you to name some atheists who you feel don't fit your patterns, to show that you indeed were not referring to all atheists that you are aware of. You failed to do so. Please do so now. Question: Can you name any a.a posters who do not fit into your stereotype? Here is the context for the question: >>> This is not true for everyone on this board, and you are out of line >>> in assuming that it is. >> >>YOU, however, deleted the text further along where I said that I didn't mean >>to imply that everybody's experience was along the same lines. > >Whether or not you *mean* to make such implications, you do so >repeatedly. > >Allow me to approach the issue from another viewpoint: can you name >those atheists that you've come across who *do not* fit into the >patterns that you theorize? 2. You have taken umbrage to statements to the effect that "senses and reason are all we have to go by", and when pressed, you have implied that we have an alternative called revelation. I have repeatedly asked you to explain what revelation is and how one can both experience and interpret revelation without doing so via our senses and reason. You failed to do so. Please do so now. Question: Can you explain what is revelation and how one can experience and interpret it without using senses and inherent reasoning? Here is the context for the question: >>Revelation is not reason, and if we DO have revelation, then >>reasoning is NOT all we have. >First, show me that revelation exists. Second, if revelation is not >perceived through the senses, how exactly is it perceived? According >to my Webster's, revelation is "an act of revealing or communicating >divine truth." Now, tell me how such a thing can be revealed/ >communicated other than via the senses? Tell me how you can interpret >this revelation other than with reason, that is, using your brain to >interpret what you are sensing. When I say there is no way for a >human being to interface with the universe other than via the senses as >interpreted by reason (your brain), it is because this is the simple >truth. If you have another mechanism of interface, by all means, >share it with us. then later... >>>You CANNOT escape the fact that our entire interface with the universe is >>>our senses and our reason, period. >> >>Again, this is indefensible. > >No, it is simple truth. I challenge you to show me otherwise. then later... >>Few mystics will agree to this assertion, and the common defense of >>redefining "senses" to absorb (for instance) mystical experiences is >>begs the question of whether some senses are better than others. > >I allow you the broadest definition of senses, to make things easier >for you. Now, show me that "mystical experiences" exist. Remember, >you aren't allowed to go by testimony of others (e.g., mystics), since >you have dismissed my testimony as unreliable - you know, tainted by >my own bias. Further, once these mystical thingies are absorbed, show >me evidence that a human can recognize and respond to them short of >interpretation via that person's reasoning capabilities. > >I challenge you to show me these things. If you cannot do so, you >might as well give up the fight. then later... >Let me reiterate, you have NOT explained your interpretation of your >experiences, so it is not possible for me to have attacked them. In >point of fact, I specifically challenged you to explain this >revelation stuff that you were talking about, and I note for the >record that you appear to have declined my challenge. > >*What* is it? *How* is it sensed? *How* is it interpreted? And >*how* does this sensing and interpretation occur without the conduit >of our senses and reasoning abilities? You have answered none of >these questions that go straight to the heart of your claims. If you >can't answer them, your claims are entirely specious. 3. You have stated that all claims to dispassionate analysis made by a.a posters are unverifiable and fantastical. I asked you to identify one such claim that I have made. You have failed to do so. Please do so now. Question: Have I made any claims at all that are unverifiable and fantastical? If so, please repeat them. Here is the context for the question: >>I must thank David Wood a most sensitive and intelligent (if wrong :-)) >>posting. then later... >>Likewise, the reference to "unverifiable, fantastical >>claims" represents fairly accurately my reaction to all of the claims to >>dispassionate analysis that are repeated in this group. > >Give me your address and I'll be pleased to send you a dictionary. >Failing that, can you name ONE claim that I have made that is in any >sense unverifiable or fantastical? I demand that you retract this >statement if you cannot offer up evidence. If you follow your usual >pattern of ignoring the challenge, then you are simply an asshole. 4. First you dismissed claims by atheists that they became atheists as a result of reason, then later you stated that if one accepted the "axioms" of reason that one couldn't help but become atheist. I asked you to explain the contradiction. Your only response was a statement that the question was incoherent, an opinion not shared by others that I have asked, be they atheist or theist. You have failed to answer the question. Please do so now. Question: Do you retract your claim that a.a posters have not become atheists as a result of reason, despite their testimony to that effect? If you don't retract that claim, do you retract the subsequent claim that acceptance of the axioms of reason inevitably result in atheism? Here is the context for the question: [First quote] >>...we have here a bunch of people who claim that their position is >>based on reason... it is up to atheists to prove it to me... > >then, > [Second quote] >>...but I do not see how one can accept these axioms and not end up with >>an atheistic point of view. 5. First, you claimed that you would (probably) not answer these Challenges because they contained too much in the way of "included text" from previous posts. Later, you implied that you wouldn't respond because I was putting words in your mouth. Please clarify this seeming contradiction. Question: Do you prefer to respond to Challenges that include context from your own posts, or that I paraphrase your positions in order to avoid "included text"? Here is the context for the question: First you said: >>My ordinary rules are that I don't read articles over over 150 lines >>or articles in which there is nothing but included text on the first >>screen. THese are not rules of morality, but practicality. then later... >>If someone is not going to argue with MY version of MY position, then >>they cannot be argued with. As usual, your responses are awaited with anticipation. --Dave Wood p.s., For the record, below is a compilation of Charley's responses to these challenges to date. 3/18/93 >>This makes no sense to me at all; it gives the appearance either of utter >>incoherence, or of answering some question of Mr. Wood's imagination. 3/31/93 (#1) >>Mr. Wood, I do not subscribe to the opinion that a gauntlet thrown down on >>the net requires any response whatsoever. At some point I might read and >>respond to your article, and then again, I might not. My ordinary rules are >>that I don't read articles over over 150 lines or articles in which there is >>nothing but included text on the first screen. THese are not rules of >>morality, but practicality. 3/31/93 (#2) >>I left out something else I don't respond to. >>... >>Utmost on my list of things to avoid are arguments about the arguments >>(meta-arguments, as some call them). 4/3/93 >>When I have to start saying "that's not what I said", and the response is >>"did so!", there's no reason to continue. If someone is not going to argue >>with MY version of MY position, then they cannot be argued with. " "From: arc1@ukc.ac.uk (Tony Curtis) Subject: Re: Christian Morality is acooper@mac.cc.macalstr.edu (Turin Turambar, ME Department of Utter Misery) said re. Dan Schaertel's article [if I followed the quoting right]: >> As much as anything else you learn. How do you choose what >> to believe and what not to? I could argue that George >> Washington is a myth. He never lived because I don't have >> any proof except what I am told. However all the major >> events of the life of Jesus Christ were fortold hundreds of >> years before him. Neat trick uh? > How is this? There is nothing more disgusting than Christian attempts to > manipulate/interpret the Old Testament as being filled with signs for the > coming of Christ. Every little reference to a stick or bit of wood is > autmoatically interpreted as the Cross. What a miscarriage of philology. I think it may also be worthwhile pointing out that if we take the appellation Rabbi' seriously then Jesus had a full grasp of contemporary scripture' Mat21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures... Mat22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing Mat22:29 the scriptures, nor the power of God. Following from this, he would have been in a wonderful position to fulfil prophesies, and the NT says as much: Mat26:54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, Mat26:54 that thus it must be? Mat26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the Mat26:56 prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples Mat26:56 forsook him, and fled. If the books comprising the referred-to scripture' had not been accessible then it probably would be a different matter. --tony " "From: sandvik@newton.apple.com (Kent Sandvik) Subject: Re: Societal basis for morality In article <C5prv8.5nI@news.cso.uiuc.edu>, cobb@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu (Mike Cobb) wrote: > we have to expect others to follow our notion of societally mandated morality? > Pardon the extremism, but couldn't I murder your "brother" and say that I was > exercising my rights as I saw them, was doing what felt good, didn't want > anyone forcing their morality on me, or I don't follow your "morality" ? Good statement! Should we apply empirical measurements to define exact social morals? Should morals be based on social rules? On ancient religious doctrines? It seems there will *NEVER* be a common and single denominator for defining morals, and as such defining absolute and objective morals is doomed to fail as long as humans have this incredible talent of creative thinking. Cheers, Kent --- sandvik@newton.apple.com. ALink: KSAND -- Private activities on the net. " "From: livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) Subject: Re: <<Pompous ass In article <1qlef4INN8dn@gap.caltech.edu>, keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) writes: |> livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) writes: |> |> [...] |> >>The "little' things" above were in reference to Germany, clearly. People |> >>said that there were similar things in Germany, but no one could name any. |> >That's not true. I gave you two examples. One was the rather |> >pevasive anti-semitism in German Christianity well before Hitler |> >arrived. The other was the system of social ranks that were used |> >in Imperail Germany and Austria to distinguish Jews from the rest |> >of the population. |> |> These don't seem like "little things" to me. At least, they are orders |> worse than the motto. Do you think that the motto is a "little thing" |> that will lead to worse things? You don't think these are little things because with twenty-twenty hindsight, you know what they led to. jon. " "From: bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) Subject: Re: free moral agency dean.kaflowitz (decay@cbnewsj.cb.att.com) wrote: : > : > I think you're letting atheist mythology : Great start. I realize immediately that you are not interested : in discussion and are going to thump your babble at me. I would : much prefer an answer from Ms Healy, who seems to have a : reasonable and reasoned approach to things. Say, aren't you the : creationist guy who made a lot of silly statements about : evolution some time ago? : Duh, gee, then we must be talking Christian mythology now. I : was hoping to discuss something with a reasonable, logical : person, but all you seem to have for your side is a repetition : of the same boring mythology I've seen a thousand times before. : I am deleting the rest of your remarks, unless I spot something : that approaches an answer, because they are merely a repetition : of some uninteresting doctrine or other and contain no thought : at all. : I have to congratulate you, though, Bill. You wouldn't : know a logical argument if it bit you on the balls. Such : a persistent lack of function in the face of repeated : attempts to assist you in learning (which I have seen : in this forum and others in the past) speaks of a talent : that goes well beyond my own, meager abilities. I just don't : seem to have that capacity for ignoring outside influences. : Dean Kaflowitz Dean, Re-read your comments, do you think that merely characterizing an argument is the same as refuting it? Do you think that ad hominum attacks are sufficient to make any point other than you disapproval of me? Do you have any contribution to make at all? Bill " "From: bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) Subject: Re: Amusing atheists and agnostics In article <madhausC5rFqo.9qL@netcom.com> madhaus@netcom.com (Maddi Hausmann) writes: > >"Clam" Bake Timmons = Bill "Shit Stirrer Connor" > Sorry, gotta disagree with you on this one Maddi (not the resemblence to Bill. The nickname). I prefer "Half" Bake'd Timmons /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Bob Beauchaine bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM They said that Queens could stay, they blew the Bronx away, and sank Manhattan out at sea. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ " "From: bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) Subject: Re: free moral agency Andrew Newell (TAN102@psuvm.psu.edu) wrote: : > : >I think you're letting atheist mythology confuse you on the issue of : (WEBSTER: myth: "a traditional or legendary story... : ...a belief...whose truth is accepted uncritically.") : How does that qualify? : Indeed, it's almost oxymoronic...a rather amusing instance. : I've found that most atheists hold almost no atheist-views as : "accepted uncritically," especially the few that are legend. : Many are trying to explain basic truths, as myths do, but : they don't meet the other criterions. Andrew, The myth to which I refer is the convoluted counterfeit athiests have created to make religion appear absurd. Rather than approach religion (including Christainity) in a rational manner and debating its claims -as the are stated-, atheists concoct outrageous parodies and then hold the religious accountable for beliefs they don't have. What is more accurately oxymoric is the a term like, reasonable atheist. Bill : >Divine justice. According to the most fundamental doctrines of : >Christianity, When the first man sinned, he was at that time the : You accuse him of referencing mythology, then you procede to : launch your own xtian mythology. (This time meeting all the : requirements of myth.) Here's a good example of of what I said above. Read the post again, I said, "Acoording to ...", which means I am referring to Christian doctrine (as I understand it), if I am speaking for myself you'll know it. My purpose in posting was to present a basic overview of Christain doctrines since it seemed germane. Bill : >with those who pretend not to know what is being said and what it : >means. When atheists claim that they do -not- know if God exists and : >don't know what He wants, they contradict the Bible which clearly says : >that -everyone- knows. The authority of the Bible is its claim to be : ...should I repeat what I wrote above for the sake of getting : it across? You may trust the Bible, but your trusting it doesn't : make it any more credible to me. : If the Bible says that everyone knows, that's clearly reason : to doubt the Bible, because not everyone "knows" your alleged : god's alleged existance. Again I am paraphrasing Christian doctrine which is very clear on this point, your dispute is not with me ... Bill : >refuted while the species-wide condemnation is justified. Those that : >claim that there is no evidence for the existence of God or that His will is : >unknown, must deliberately ignore the Bible; the ignorance itself is : >no excuse. : 1) No, they don't have to ignore the Bible. The Bible is far : from universally accepted. The Bible is NOT a proof of god; : it is only a proof that some people have thought that there : was a god. (Or does it prove even that? They might have been : writing it as series of fiction short-stories. As in the : case of Dionetics.) Assuming the writers believed it, the : only thing it could possibly prove is that they believed it. : And that's ignoring the problem of whether or not all the : interpretations and Biblical-philosophers were correct. : 2) There are people who have truly never heard of the Bible. : 3) Again, read the FAQ. 1) Here again you miss the point. The Bible itself is not the point, it's what it contains. It makes no difference who accpets the Bible or even who's unaware of its existence, Christians hold that it applies universally because mankind shares the same nature and the same fate and the same innate knowledge of God. 2) See above 3) If you read my post with same care as read the FAQ, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Bill : >freedom. You are free to ignore God in the same way you are free to : >ignore gravity and the consequences are inevitable and well known : >in both cases. That an atheist can't accept the evidence means only : Bzzt...wrong answer! : Gravity is directly THERE. It doesn't stop exerting a direct and : rationally undeniable influence if you ignore it. God, on the : other hand, doesn't generally show up in the supermarket, except : on the tabloids. God doesn't exert a rationally undeniable influence. : Gravity is obvious; gods aren't. As I said, the evidence is there, you just don't accept it, here at least we agree. Bill : >Secondly, human reason is very comforatble with the concept of God, so : >much so that it is, in itself, intrinsic to our nature. Human reason : >always comes back to the question of God, in every generation and in : No, human reason hasn't always come back to the existance of : "God"; it has usually come back to the existance of "god". : In other words, it doesn't generally come back to the xtian : god, it comes back to whether there is any god. And, in much : of oriental philosophic history, it generally doesn't pop up as : the idea of a god so much as the question of what natural forces : are and which ones are out there. From a world-wide view, : human nature just makes us wonder how the universe came to : be and/or what force(s) are currently in control. A natural : tendancy to believe in "God" only exists in religious wishful : thinking. Yes, human reason does always come back to the existence of God, we're having this discussion are we not? Bill : >I said all this to make the point that Christianity is eminently : >reasonable, that Divine justice is just and human nature is much : >different than what atheists think it is. Whether you agree or not : YOU certainly are not correct on human nature. You are, at : the least, basing your views on a completely eurocentric : approach. Try looking at the outside world as well when : you attempt to sum up all of humanity. Well this is interesting, Truth is to be determined by it politically correct content. Granted it's extremely unhip to be a WASP male, and anything European is contemptable, but I thought this kind of dialogue, the purpose of a.a, was to get at the truth of things. But then I remember the oxymoron, reasonalble atheist, and I understand. Bill " "From: bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) Subject: Re: Americans and Evolution Robert Singleton (bobs@thnext.mit.edu) wrote: : > Sure it isn't mutually exclusive, but it lends weight to (i.e. increases : > notional running estimates of the posterior probability of) the : > atheist's pitch in the partition, and thus necessarily reduces the same : > quantity in the theist's pitch. This is because the divine component' : > falls prey to Ockham's Razor, the phenomenon being satisfactorily : ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ : > explained without it, and there being no independent evidence of any : ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ : > such component. More detail in the next post. : > Occam's Razor is not a law of nature, it is way of analyzing an argument, even so, it interesting how often it's cited here and to what end. It seems odd that religion is simultaneously condemned as being primitive, simple-minded and unscientific, anti-intellectual and childish, and yet again condemned as being too complex (Occam's razor), the scientific explanation of things being much more straightforeward and, apparently, simpler. Which is it to be - which is the "non-essential", and how do you know? Considering that even scientists don't fully comprehend science due to its complexity and diversity. Maybe William of Occam has performed a lobotomy, kept the frontal lobe and thrown everything else away ... This is all very confusing, I'm sure one of you will straighten me out tough. Bill " "From: marshall@csugrad.cs.vt.edu (Kevin Marshall) Subject: Re: Death Penalty (was Re: Political Atheists?) bil@okcforum.osrhe.edu (Bill Conner) writes: >This is fascinating. Atheists argue for abortion, defend homosexuality >as a means of population control, insist that the only values are >biological and condemn war and capital punishment. According to >Benedikt, if something is contardictory, it cannot exist, which in >this case means atheists I suppose. >I would like to understand how an atheist can object to war (an >excellent means of controlling population growth), or to capital >punishment, I'm sorry but the logic escapes me. First, you seem to assume all atheists think alike. An atheist does not believe in the existence of a god. Our opinions on issues such as capital punishment and abortion, however, vary greatly. If you were attacking the views of a particular atheist (Benedikt, I presume), then please present your argument as such and do not lump us all together. As for the issues, let's start with abortion. Personally, I do not support abortion as a means of population control or contraception-after-the-fact. However, I support the right of any woman to have an abortion, regardless of what my personal views may be, because it would be arrogant of me to tell any individual what he/she may or may not do to his/her body, and the domain of legislators should not extend into the uterus. That's my opinion, and I am sure many atheists and theists would disagree with me. I do not defend homosexuality as a means of population control, but I certainly defend it as an end to itself. I think most homosexuals would be angered to hear of anyone characterizing their personal relationship as nothing more than a conscious effort to keep population levels down. As for atheists believing all values are biological, I have no idea what you're talking about. Finally, there are the issues of war and capital punishment. An atheist can object to either one just as easily as a theist might. You seem to be hung up on some supposed conspiratorial link between atheism and population control. Could this be the "atheist cause" you were referring to a few posts back? -- --- __ _______ --- ||| Kevin Marshall \ \/ /_ _/ Computer Science Department ||| ||| Virginia Tech \ / / / marshall@csugrad.cs.vt.edu ||| --- Blacksburg, Virginia \/ /_/ (703) 232-6529 --- " "From: pww@spacsun.rice.edu (Peter Walker) Subject: Re: Rawlins debunks creationism In article <1993Apr15.223844.16453@rambo.atlanta.dg.com>, wpr@atlanta.dg.com (Bill Rawlins) wrote: > > We are talking about origins, not merely science. Science cannot > explain origins. For a person to exclude anything but science from > the issue of origins is to say that there is no higher truth > than science. This is a false premise. Says who? Other than a hear-say god. > By the way, I enjoy science. You sure don't understand it. > It is truly a wonder observing God's creation. Macroevolution is > a mixture of 15 percent science and 85 percent religion [guaranteed > within three percent error :) ] Bill, I hereby award you the Golden Shovel Award for the biggist pile of bullshit I've seen in a whils. I'm afraid there's not a bit of religion in macroevolution, and you've made a rather grand statement that Science can not explain origins; to a large extent, it already has! > // Bill Rawlins <wpr@atlanta.dg.com> // Peter W. Walker "Yu, shall I tell you what knowledge is? When Dept. of Space Physics you know a thing, say that you know it. When and Astronomy you do not know a thing, admit you do not know Rice University it. This is knowledge." Houston, TX - K'ung-fu Tzu " "From: timmbake@mcl.ucsb.edu (Bake Timmons) Subject: Re: Amusing atheists and agnostics James Hogan writes: timmbake@mcl.ucsb.edu (Bake Timmons) writes: >>Jim Hogan quips: >>... (summary of Jim's stuff) >>Jim, I'm afraid _you've_ missed the point. >>>Thus, I think you'll have to admit that atheists have a lot >>more up their sleeve than you might have suspected. >>Nah. I will encourage people to learn about atheism to see how little atheists >>have up their sleeves. Whatever I might have suspected is actually quite >>meager. If you want I'll send them your address to learn less about your >>faith. >Faith? Yeah, do you expect people to read the FAQ, etc. and actually accept hard atheism? No, you need a little leap of faith, Jimmy. Your logic runs out of steam! >>>Fine, but why do these people shoot themselves in the foot and mock >>>the idea of a God? .... >>>I hope you understand now. >>Yes, Jim. I do understand now. Thank you for providing some healthy sarcasm >>that would have dispelled any sympathies I would have had for your faith. >Bake, >Real glad you detected the sarcasm angle, but am really bummin' that >I won't be getting any of your sympathy. Still, if your inclined >to have sympathy for somebody's *faith*, you might try one of the >religion newsgroups. >Just be careful over there, though. (make believe I'm >whispering in your ear here) They're all delusional! Jim, Sorry I can't pity you, Jim. And I'm sorry that you have these feelings of denial about the faith you need to get by. Oh well, just pretend that it will all end happily ever after anyway. Maybe if you start a new newsgroup, alt.atheist.hard, you won't be bummin' so much? >Good job, Jim. >. >Bye, Bake. >>[more slim-Jim (tm) deleted] >Bye, Bake! >Bye, Bye! Bye-Bye, Big Jim. Don't forget your Flintstone's Chewables! :) -- Bake Timmons, III -- "...there's nothing higher, stronger, more wholesome and more useful in life than some good memory..." -- Alyosha in Brothers Karamazov (Dostoevsky) " "From: Patrick C Leger <pl1u+@andrew.cmu.edu> Subject: It's all Mary's fault! You know, it just occurred to me today that this whole Christian thing can be blamed solely on Mary. So, she's married to Joseph. She gets knocked up. What do you think ol' Joe will do if he finds she's been getting around? So Mary comes up with this ridiculous story about God making her pregnant. Actually, it can't be all THAT ridiculous, considering the number of people that believe it. Anyway, she never tells anyone the truth, and even tells poor little Jesus that he's hot shit, the Son of God. Everyone else tells him this too, since they've bought Mary's story. So, what does Mary actually turn out to be? An adultress and a liar, and the cause of mankind's greatest folly... Just my recently-minted two cents. Chris ---------------------- Chris Leger Sophomore, Carnegie Mellon Computer Engineering Remember...if you don't like what somebody is saying, you can always ignore them! " "From: ray@netcom.com (Ray Fischer) Subject: Re: After 2000 years, can we say that Christian Morality is frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) writes ... > ray@netcom.com (Ray Fischer) writes: >#frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) writes ... >#>Plus questions for you: why do subjectivists/relativists/nihilists get so >#>het up about the idea that relativism is *better* than objectivism? ># >#To the degree that relativism is a more accurate decription of the >#truth than is objectivism, it provides more power and ability to >#control events. > >I think you lose the right to talk about THE truth once you say values are >relative. Accuracy is a value judgement, too. It so happens I agree with >the substance of what you say below, but it's clear to me that at least >*some* values are objective. Truth is better than falsehood, peace is >better than war, education is better than ignorance. We know these things, >if we know anything. While I'll agree that these are generally held to be "good things", I question whether they come very close to being objective values. Especially considering that at one time or another each has been viewed as being undesirable. I doubt you could even come up with anything that could be said to be universally "good" or "bad". And when I referred to "the truth" I was using the term hypothetically, realizing full well that there may not even be such a thing. >#Assuming, for the moment, that morals _are_ relative, then two >#relativists can recognize that neither has a lock on the absolute >#truth and they can proceed to negotiate a workable compromise that >#produces the desired results. > >No they cannot, because they acknowledge up front that THE desired >results do not exist. That, after all, is the meaning of compromise. > >Plus some problems: If the relativists have no values in common, compromise >is impossible - what happens then? Who, if anyone, is right? What happens >if one relativist has a value "Never compromise?". A value "plant bombs in >crowded shopping areas"? After all, if morals are relative, these values >cannot *meaningfully* be said to be incorrect. True enough. But they cannot be said to be anything more than personal morals. One thing notably lacking in most extremists is any sense of _personal_ accountability - the justification for any socially unacceptable behaviour is invariably some "higher authority" (aka, absolute moral truth). >#Assuming that there is an absolute morality, two disagreeing >#objectivists can either be both wrong or just one of them right; there >#is no room for compromise. Once you beleive in absolute morals, >#you must accept that you are amoral or that everyone who disagrees >#with you is amoral. > >Untrue. One can accept that one does not know the whole truth. Part >of the objective truth about morality may well be that flexibility is >better than rigidity, compromise is better than believing you have a lock >on morals, etc. In the same way, I can believe in an objective reality >without claiming to know the mechanism for quantum collapse, or who shot >JFK. An objective truth that says one cannot know the objective truth? Interesting notion. :-) Certainly one can have as one's morals a belief that compromise is good. But to compromise on the absolute truth is not something most people do very successfully. I suppose one could hold compromise as being an absolute moral, but then what happens when someone else insists on no compromise? How do you compromise on compromising? >#Given a choice between a peaceful compromise or endless contention, >#I'd say that compromise seems to be "better". > >And I would agree. But it's bloody to pointless to speak of it if it's >merely a matter of taste. Is your liking for peace any better founded >than someone else's liking for ice-cream? I'm looking for a way to say >"yes" to that question, and relativism isn't it. Almost invariably when considering the relative value of one thing over another, be it morals or consequences, people only consider those aspects which justify a desired action or belief. In justifying a commitement to peace I might argue that it lets people live long & healthy and peaceful lives. While that much may well be true, it is incomplete in ignoring the benefits of war - killing off the most agressive member of society, trimming down the population, stimulating production. The equation is always more complex than presented. To characterize relative morals as merely following one's own conscience / desires is to unduly simplify it. -- Ray Fischer "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth ray@netcom.com than lies." -- Friedrich Nietzsche " "From: ch981@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Tony Alicea) Subject: Southern Baptist Convention & Freemasonry With the Southern Baptist Convention convening this June to consider the charges that Freemasonry is incompatible with christianity, I thought the following quotes by Mr. James Holly, the Anti-Masonic Flag Carrier, would amuse you all... The following passages are exact quotes from "The Southern Baptist Convention and Freemasonry" by James L. Holly, M.D., President of Mission and Ministry To Men, Inc., 550 N 10th St., Beaumont, TX 77706. The inside cover of the book states: "Mission & Ministry to Men, Inc. hereby grants permission for the reproduction of part or all of this booklet with two provisions: one, the material is not changed and two, the source is identified." I have followed these provisions. "Freemasonry is one of the allies of the Devil" Page iv. "The issue here is not moderate or conservative, the issue is God and the Devil" Page vi." "It is worthwhile to remember that the formulators of public school education in America were Freemasons" Page 29. "Jesus Christ never commanded toleration as a motive for His disciples, and toleration is the antithesis of the Christian message." Page 30. "The central dynamic of the Freemason drive for world unity through fraternity, liberty and equality is toleration. This is seen in the writings of the 'great' writers of Freemasonry". Page 31. "He [Jesus Christ] established the most sectarian of all possible faiths." Page 37. "For narrowness and sectarianism, there is no equal to the Lord Jesus Christ". Page 40. "What seems so right in the interest of toleration and its cousins-liberty, equality and fraternity-is actually one of the subtlest lies of the 'father of lies.'" Page 40. "The Southern Baptist Convention has many churches which were founded in the Lodge and which have corner stones dedicated by the Lodge. Each of these churches should hold public ceremonies of repentance and of praying the blood and the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ over the church and renouncing the oaths taken at the dedication of the church and/or building." Page 53-54. Tony " "From: decay@cbnewsj.cb.att.com (dean.kaflowitz) Subject: Re: some thoughts. In article <EDM.93Apr15104322@gocart.twisto.compaq.com>, edm@twisto.compaq.com (Ed McCreary) writes: > >>>>> On Thu, 15 Apr 1993 04:54:38 GMT, bissda@saturn.wwc.edu (DAN LAWRENCE BISSELL) said: > > DLB> First I want to start right out and say that I'm a Christian. It > DLB> makes sense to be one. Have any of you read Tony Campollo's book- liar, > DLB>lunatic, or the real thing? (I might be a little off on the title, but he > DLB>writes the book. Anyway he was part of an effort to destroy Christianity, > DLB> in the process he became a Christian himself. > > Here we go again... Just the friendly folks at Christian Central, come to save you. " "From: aaron@minster.york.ac.uk Subject: Re: Death Penalty / Gulf War (long) Mark McCullough (mccullou@snake2.cs.wisc.edu) wrote: : This figure, is far below all the other figures I have seen. If it : is indeed accurate, then how do you explain the discrepancy between : that figure, and other figures from international organizations? : Most figures I have seen place the hit ratio close to 70%, which is : still far higher than your 35%. Or does your figure say a bomb : missed if the plane took off with it, and the bomb never hit the target, : regardless of whether or not the bomb was dropped? Such methods : are used all the time to lie with statistics. Answering the last sentence, claimed that they had a success rate of 80% without initially explaining, until pressed, that this meant that 80% of the aircraft came back having dropped their bombs somewhere, regardless' of whether they had hit the intended target, or indeed anything al all. Aaron Turner " "Subject: Re: A visit from the Jehovah's Witnesses From: lippard@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu (James J. Lippard) In article <kmr4.1444.734058912@po.CWRU.edu>, kmr4@po.CWRU.edu (Keith M. Ryan) writes... >In article <SUOPANKI.93Apr6024902@stekt6.oulu.fi> suopanki@stekt6.oulu.fi (Heikki T. Suopanki) writes: >>:> God is eternal. [A = B] >>:> Jesus is God. [C = A] >>:> Therefore, Jesus is eternal. [C = B] >> >>:> This works both logically and mathematically. God is of the set of >>:> things which are eternal. Jesus is a subset of God. Therefore >>:> Jesus belongs to the set of things which are eternal. The first premise and the conclusion are not properly translated as identity statements, since the "is" in those statements is the "is" of predication rather than of identity. Instead, they should be translated using a predicate letter. Using "g" to designate God and "j" to designate Jesus, and the predicate letter "E" for the property of being eternal, the first premise is Eg and the conclusion is Ej. The second premise appears to contain an "is" of identity, in which case it can be properly symbolized as j = g. But your remark that "Jesus is a subset of God" suggests that strict identity is not desired here. If, however, the first premise means that all members making up the set God have the property of being eternal, the same conclusion follows. Jim Lippard Lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU Dept. of Philosophy Lippard@ARIZVMS.BITNET University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721 " "From: keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) Subject: Re: ? (was Re: "Cruel" (was Re: <Political Atheists?)) sdoe@nmsu.edu (Stephen Doe) writes: >>Of course, if at some later time we think that the death penalty >>*is* cruel or unusual, it will be outlawed. But at the present, >>most people don't seem to think this way. >*This* from the same fellow who speaks of an "objective" or "natural" >morality. I suppose that if the majority decides slavery is OK, then >it is no longer immoral? I did not claim that our system was objective. keith " "From: keith@cco.caltech.edu (Keith Allan Schneider) Subject: Re: <Political Atheists? bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) writes: >To show that the examples I and others >have provided are *not* counter examples of your supposed inherent >moral hypothesis, you have to successfully argue that >domestication removes or alters this morality. I think that domestication will change behavior to a large degree. Domesticated animals exhibit behaviors not found in the wild. I don't think that they can be viewed as good representatives of the wild animal kingdom, since they have been bred for thousands of years to produce certain behaviors, etc. keith " "Subject: Re: Ancient islamic rituals From: bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Robert Beauchaine) In article <1993Apr3.081052.11292@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au> darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) writes: >I propose >that these two trends -- greater level of general depression in society >(and other psychological problems) and greater sexual promiscuity -- are >linked, with the latter being a prime cause of the former. I cannot >provide any evidence beyond this at this stage, but the whole thesis >seems very reasonable to me and I request that people ponder upon it. > Damn right you can't provide any evidence for it. Rarely are any widespread social phenomenon reducible to such a simple premise. If they were, psychology would be a hard science with roughly the same mathematical soundness as physics. Your premise may well be right. It is much more likely, however, that it reflects your socialization and religious background, as well as your need to validate your religious beliefs. Were I to pretend to have all the answers (and I don't), I would say that the xenophobia, guilt, and intolerance brought about by adherence to fundamentalist religions play just as large a role in depressing the members of our society. Your mileage obviously varies. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Bob Beauchaine bobbe@vice.ICO.TEK.COM They said that Queens could stay, they blew the Bronx away, and sank Manhattan out at sea. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ " "From: davec@silicon.csci.csusb.edu (Dave Choweller) Subject: Re: Genocide is Caused by Atheism In article <1qif1g$fp3@horus.ap.mchp.sni.de> frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) writes: >In article <1qialf$p2m@fido.asd.sgi.com> livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) writes: >|In article <1qi921$egl@horus.ap.mchp.sni.de>, frank@D012S658.uucp (Frank O'Dwyer) writes: [stuff deleted...] >||> To the newsgroup at large, how about this for a deal: recognise that what >||> happened in former Communist Russia has as much bearing on the validity >||> of atheism as has the doings of sundry theists on the validity of their >||> theism. That's zip, nada, none. The fallacy is known as ad hominem, and >||> it's an old one. It should be in the Holy FAQ, in the Book of Constructing >||> a Logical Argument :-) >| >|Apart from not making a lot of sense, this is wrong. There >|is no "atheist creed" that taught any communist what to do "in >|the name of atheism". There clearly are theistic creeds and >|instructions on how to act for theists. They all madly >|conflict with one another, but that's another issue. > >Lack of instructions on how to act might also be evil. That's like saying that, since mathematics includes no instructions on how to act, it is evil. Atheism is not a moral system, so why should it speak of instructions on how to act? *Atheism is simply lack of belief in God*. Plenty of theists >think so. So one could argue the case for "atheism causes whatever >I didn't like about the former USSR" with as much validity as "theism >causes genocide" - that is to say, no validity at all. I think the argument that a particular theist system causes genocide can be made more convincingly than an argument that atheism causes genocide. This is because theist systems contain instructions on how to act, and one or more of these can be shown to cause genocide. However, since the atheist set of instructions is the null set, how can you show that atheism causes genocide? -- David Choweller (davec@silicon.csci.csusb.edu) There are scores of thousands of human insects who are ready at a moment's notice to reveal the Will of God on every possible subject. --George Bernard Shaw. -- There are scores of thousands of human insects who are ready at a moment's notice to reveal the Will of God on every possible subject. --George Bernard Shaw. "
"Subject: Re: Death Penalty / Gulf War (long) From: sham@cs.arizona.edu (Shamim Zvonko Mohamed) In article <1993Apr22.015922.7418@daffy.cs.wisc.edu> mccullou@snake2.cs.wisc.edu (Mark McCullough) writes: >In article <37501@optima.cs.arizona.edu> sham@cs.arizona.edu (Shamim Zvonko Mohamed) writes: >>BULLSHIT!!! In the Gulf Massacre, 7% of all ordnance used was "smart." The >>rest - that's 93% - was just regular, dumb ol' iron bombs and stuff. >I have heard figures closer to 80%, ... >>And of the 7% that was the "smart" stuff, 35% hit. Again - try to follow me >>here - that means 65% of this "smart" arsenal missed. >Most figures I have seen place the hit ratio close to 70%, which is >still far higher than your 35%. >> I have a source that says that to date, the civilian death count >>(er, excuse me, I mean "collateral damage") is about 200,000. >I have _never_ seen any source that was claiming such a figure. Please >post the source so its reliability can be judged. Obviously, we have different sources. Bill Moyers (who happens to be a theist, to tie this to alt.atheism!) in his PBS documentary "After The War" is my main source. (I think I still have it on videotape.) Others include The Nation and The Progressive. The rest of the article is mere rationalisation. You may claim that sanitation plants are strategic "legitimate" targets, but what happens to the civilians in a city with no sewer system? What happens to the civilians when you destroy water purification plants? And when hospitals can't handle the resultant epidemics, because there is no more electricity? And what exactly are your sources? We have all, I'm sure, seen Postol's interviews in the media where he demostrates how the Pentagon lied about the Patriot's effectiveness; what is your source for the 70% effectiveness you claim? In any case, I don't know if this is relevant to alt.atheism. How about if we move it somewhere else? -s -- Shamim Mohamed / {uunet,noao,cmcl2..}!arizona!shamim / shamim@cs.arizona.edu "Take this cross and garlic; here's a Mezuzah if he's Jewish; a page of the Koran if he's a Muslim; and if he's a Zen Buddhist, you're on your own." Member of the League for Programming Freedom - write to lpf@uunet.uu.net "
"From: livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) Subject: Re: Genocide is Caused by Atheism In article <1993Apr19.112008.26198@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au>, darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) writes: |> In <1qi3fc\$jkj@fido.asd.sgi.com> livesey@solntze.wpd.sgi.com (Jon Livesey) writes: |> |> >In article <1993Apr14.110209.7703@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au>, darice@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au (Fred Rice) writes: |> >> |> >> Some here on alt.atheism think that by condemning the actions |> >> of some of those who call themselves Muslims, they are condemning |> >> Islam. |> |> >Do you read minds, Mr Rice? You know what posters think now, |> >not just what they write? |> |> >For myself, I only have what people are posting here to go on, |> >and that's what I am commenting on. |> |> I think you may have misunderstood me. |> |> I mean that one does not really criticize _Islam_ necessarily by |> bringing Khomeini etc. into the argument, for whether he is or is not |> following Islam has to be determined by examining his actions against |> Islamic teachings. Islamic teachings are contained in the Qur'an and |> hadiths (reported sayings and doings of the Prophet). That's funny, I thought you were making a statement about what people think. In fact, I see it quoted up there. jon. "
End of preview (truncated to 100 rows)

# Dataset Card for "newsgroup"

### Dataset Summary

The 20 Newsgroups data set is a collection of approximately 20,000 newsgroup documents, partitioned (nearly) evenly across 20 different newsgroups. To the best of my knowledge, it was originally collected by Ken Lang, probably for his Newsweeder: Learning to filter netnews paper, though he does not explicitly mention this collection. The 20 newsgroups collection has become a popular data set for experiments in text applications of machine learning techniques, such as text classification and text clustering.

does not include cross-posts and includes only the "From" and "Subject" headers.

## Dataset Structure

### Data Instances

#### 18828_alt.atheism

• Size of the generated dataset: 1.59 MB
• Total amount of disk used: 15.58 MB

An example of 'train' looks as follows.




#### 18828_comp.graphics

• Size of the generated dataset: 1.58 MB
• Total amount of disk used: 15.57 MB

An example of 'train' looks as follows.




#### 18828_comp.os.ms-windows.misc

• Size of the generated dataset: 2.27 MB
• Total amount of disk used: 16.26 MB

An example of 'train' looks as follows.




#### 18828_comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware

• Size of the generated dataset: 1.13 MB
• Total amount of disk used: 15.12 MB

An example of 'train' looks as follows.




#### 18828_comp.sys.mac.hardware

• Size of the generated dataset: 1.01 MB
• Total amount of disk used: 15.00 MB

An example of 'train' looks as follows.




### Data Fields

The data fields are the same among all splits.

#### 18828_alt.atheism

• text: a string feature.

#### 18828_comp.graphics

• text: a string feature.

#### 18828_comp.os.ms-windows.misc

• text: a string feature.

#### 18828_comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware

• text: a string feature.

#### 18828_comp.sys.mac.hardware

• text: a string feature.

### Data Splits

name train
18828_alt.atheism 799
18828_comp.graphics 973
18828_comp.os.ms-windows.misc 985
18828_comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware 982
18828_comp.sys.mac.hardware 961

## Considerations for Using the Data

### Citation Information

@incollection{LANG1995331,
title = {NewsWeeder: Learning to Filter Netnews},
editor = {Armand Prieditis and Stuart Russell},
booktitle = {Machine Learning Proceedings 1995},
publisher = {Morgan Kaufmann},
pages = {331-339},
year = {1995},
isbn = {978-1-55860-377-6},
doi = {https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-1-55860-377-6.50048-7},
url = {https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9781558603776500487},
author = {Ken Lang},
}
`

### Contributions

Thanks to @mariamabarham, @thomwolf, @lhoestq for adding this dataset.