Einstein: Religion is "childish," "primitive"

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326 Responses to “Einstein: Religion is "childish," "primitive"”

  1. ploni says:

    #52:

    Did I just call you (and many others) a fool too?

    Of course not.

    But if you or anyone else tries to publicly insinuate that the Jewish people are “childish” or “weak” — and if you have little or no knowledge how to read and analyze the Torah in its original Hebrew, I most certainly will.

  2. Xopher says:

    Sister Y 132: OK, that’s it, I officially love you!

  3. Roach says:

    Because when I think “premiere religious authority,” I think Einstein!

    Specialists don’t generally do well outside their specialty, at least not for the last few hundred years. I doubt this is making any stirs anywhere except the popular media.

  4. Anonymous says:

    But what did he think about steampunk?

  5. ploni says:

    Rushkoff:

    I am fluent in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Yiddish. I have studied intensively all works of Torah, including the Tanach, Gemara, Halacha, and works of Chassidus and Kabbalah, in their original languages for the past 47 years.

    gn, nly fl stts pblcly bt smthng h r sh knws nthng bt.

    Lt’s dbt, nd shw y yr wn flshnss.

  6. Antinous says:

    I don’t mind at all when someone has homosexual relations with me. I take it as a compliment, really, as long as I’ve consented beforehand.

    In my case, it’s evidence of their merciful and charitable nature. You know, assuming that it’s not a slump buster thing.

  7. Nelson.C says:

    Teresa @150: I’ll take whatever praise I can get, but wild applause from you is valued indeed. Thank you. (Though I don’t think it’s particularly difficult to be a better theologian than Evidence.)

  8. Antinous says:

    If you can consciously not fight when you’re not in a fight, it leaves you a hell of a lot more energy for when you get into one. That and the crystal.

  9. Antinous says:

    FYI, I don’t debate. The point of debating, as far as I can tell, is to win the debate, which holds no interest for me.

  10. arkizzle says:

    #12 Cpt. Tim
    haha. i love how the very language that gets disemvoweled on this site by moderators is also posted as content by admins.

    #39 RoseThornn
    While I agree with Einstein here, I do find it amusing that he would indeed get disemvowelled if he dared post such sentiments in the comments section.

    Where is this coming from? Why do you think people are disemvoweled here?

    Watch me say the same things..

    I believe religion is childish. I believe religion is superstitious. I believe religion is primitive.

    Bask in my vowels.
    __

    #13Jim Dandy

    I am not blind to the serious weaknesses of the American system of government and I would not like to live under such government. But it has, on the other side, great merits and it is difficult to decide whether it would have been possible for the Americans to survive by following softer methods”

    *Perspectivized* that for ya
    __

    #25 EndStar
    To Dacker (#18):

    Religion, in its most noble form, tries to answer questions that science can’t: Why is the world put together the way it is? What is the purpose of life? How can I live to fulfill that purpose?

    And what’s the latest news off the wire? Have we settled on an answer yet? Or, in fact does religion not seek to answer these questions at all, except to keep raising them as questions that science can’t answer.

    I think those questions are accepted as the ‘domain’ of religion, but rarely get looked at, other than as lofty treatise to god.

    Philosophy on the other hand.. (question with no answers, you say?)
    __

    #48 Lukkas
    If a religious person had characterized religion as childish, primitive and superstitious it could be considered a positive statement. These characterizations would speak to the fundamental nature of religion. They would reinforce the idea that all of reality, including science and logic, spring from the reality of religion.

    Clearly, Einstein wasn’t trying to promote religion in any meaningful way. But, using some entry level interperative acrobatics, his comments could be seen as a sly support of religion.

    WTF? How much bending a statement to fit your personal view, do you think you can get away with, without actually breaking it.

    How is religion being “childish, primitive and superstitious” a positive view for the religious? You would have to have such perfect pre-conditions for that statements to be positive thats it’s just silly to suggest.

    Chair: “Welcome to the first annual meeting of the American Primitive Society, co-chaired by the local Chapter of Baptists and Luck-a-lot RabbitsFoot makers. Attended by the ThinkYoung corporation.
    Let me open the meeting by saying that religion is childish, primitive and superstitious!”

    Crowd: “YAY!”
    __

    #53 Noen

    Scientific Atheism has done more than it’s share. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, were all leaders of officially atheistic countries. Together they murdered many many millions of people. So that argument fails.

    ..I’m not sure that the killing was done in the name of scientific atheism, or to ‘appease’ science. The reverse is not true.
    __

    #60 Ploni

    Where’s the arrogance?
    Again, arrogance is publicly calling someone a fool when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Ahem.. *cough* *cough*

    #50 POSTED BY PLONI , MAY 14, 2008 8:01 AM
    Einstein was a fool..

    Right here Ploni?

  11. Antinous says:

    The difference between religion and Atheism is that one is an excuse to practice “might makes right” while the other is a result of embracing one’s individuality.

    That’s funny because the correlations are interchangeable depending on your perspective.

  12. Sister Y says:

    GregLondon – I haven’t read every single post of yours, but I’ve read a bunch of them, and you seem like a very sensitive and interesting poster. I don’t think you need to change your style. I think, if you want to take a post apart by pointing out logical fallacies, you should do so – you seem to be able to do so in an interesting, ultimately respectful, not-at-all-”canned” way.

  13. Evidence says:

    The difference is who saw that they needed to repent.

    We are all sinners. Some agree with God and repent. Some use God for gain. Some just deny he is there and do what they want.

    What do you mean by extra line breaks?

  14. noen says:

    “Noen’s claims that atheists need believers in accordance with some imagined law of symmetry”

    Not imaginary. How could Atheism exist without Theism? It could not. In a world with no supernatural beliefs, which would be a very dull world, no one would ever think to call themselves “Atheist”.

    Similarly the very act of belief creates disbelief. Theism can never rid itself of doubt. You both depend on the other. Each is the warp and woof of your constructed social reality.

    Both Atheism and Fundamentalism came into prominence in the nineteenth century in response to the same challenge. Today’s Atheism, which is really just a repackaged Logical Positivism and shares its flaws, trumpeted the industrial revolution and set up the scientist as a new priesthood. Fundamentalism is it’s mirror opposite. Both are branches of the same root.

  15. Takuan says:

    tai tai no sen

  16. endstar says:

    To Dacker (#18):

    In my opinion, many scientists are active believers because they
    can put science and religion into their own compartments. Science addresses how the physical world works. Science tries to explore how far back we can go in understanding the chain of events that led to the world as we now see it. Science tries to apply what we know for our own ends, like building bridges, designing better microprocessors, curing diseases, and, sadly, sometimes killing people more effectively.

    Religion, in its most noble form, tries to answer questions that science can’t: Why is the world put together the way it is? What is the purpose of life? How can I live to fulfill that purpose?

    As a self-proclaimed natural philospher, I can’t fathom how other scientists fail to acknowledge and respect that aspect of religion. Even if a scientist subscribes to the most reductionist version of evolutionary psychology, they have to admit that religion has survived because the communities that employed it have been successful. Giving meaning to people must have made them work more effectively. With that in mind, it should not any easier for us to cast aside religion than it is to cast aside
    love, kinship, or casual sex.

    That said, I do not believe in god, but only partly because of “science”. My train of thought runs like this:

    The biggest question is, how can an entity that cares about individual humans design a world so full of suffering? What perverse entity would intentionally place beings with such a strong desire to live among all these parasites, cancer, and murderous clan wars? And why would some humans be spared the suffering of the rest of the world, and instead get to ride
    around in fancy cars and post comments to boinboing from Mac laptops? Could this possibly have been designed with specific concern for my soul?

    Following on that, one can ask, can this universe we live in tell us anything about whether or not there is a creator? I would say, no, not specifically, because one can never rule out miracles (although invoking them is useless for doing science). At the same time, the world looks to be guided by simple principles, which we currently understand as things like the standard model for particle physics, general relativity, the big bang theory, and evolution. To my reading of this, if there is a god, that entity must have just set things into motion with a wave of a mathematical wand, and probably doesn’t bother itself with the
    moral consequences.

    If such a god exists, I see no reason to care. I hope that someday
    everyone can move beyond looking to a diety for guidance. We should use what we have available to us in this physical world to make things better for everyone.

    Man, I shouldn’t read boingboing when I’m supposed to be getting sleep. , ,

  17. koichan says:

    @ #40
    Pretty much my views too, shame it can’t be done because of free speech issues though.

    what i’d like to happen though (also same free speech issues probably), is to ban teaching religion to children.
    I think it’s disgusting that children get brainwashed into religions when too young to properly makes their minds up about things.

  18. Modusoperandi says:

    Evidence “The original was made, as we all are, with free will. The “bug” was failing to follow the program as given (eg rebellion not curious).”
    And when was this original?

    “You write a program for your computer. Write in an option that allows it to not follow your code when it wants. See how long it is before you smash it to pieces. What until it calls you a noob for allowing it its freedom. Let it say “Why did you make me so” Then ask yourself “How kind/patient you would I be” towards it.”
    But we aren’t omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.

    “Jesus is the “patch” as you call it. He came to fix us.”
    Except that He doesn’t actually fix us. It’s more a work-around, really.

    “Then why aren’t they [atheists] silent? Why do they protest against something they say is not there?”
    Creationism, biblical law, eschatology, arguments from authority/tradition/ignorance, caring about the beginning and end of life but not the eighty years in between, Pat Robertson, Ben Stein, John Hagee, various Popes, Imams and the like, the Danish Cartoon “incident”, abstinence-only sex-ed. Shall I go on?

    “Why would an atheist care about anything?”
    Because we’re human, too.

    …Let alone what I believe.”
    As long as you keep your damn fool beliefs to yourself, I really don’t care. It’s none of my business, then. Personally, I try to keep my nuttier beliefs to myself (my pants talk to me. They don’t get along with my belt, apparently. It’s too needy. True story).
    When the Pope is more concerned with getting food into the bellies of poor brown people than what they do with their genitalia, I’ll stop caring about what he believes.
    When the Middle East doesn’t get set on fire because someone satirizes Muhammad, I’ll stop caring what they believe.
    When the Christian Right learns to shut its collective mean-spirited cake hole, I will cease to be concerned with what they believe, too. (How many of them believe that JC will be back in their lifetime? How many believe that He will be back this year? How can we be expected to plan anything in the future when a significant minority of the population fully expects not to be here at the time, and at least some of those share a disturbing fantasy that our collective future will be really unpleasant?).

    “If there is nothing why comment? Why bother?”
    There isn’t nothing. I, for one, am both surrounded by, and made up of, something. For example, I had something for breakfast, spoke to the something ahead of me in line at the coffee shop, and got cut off by a stupid something driving his something on the way to work. The universe, even in its emptier areas, is chock full of something.
    I don’t ordinarily have a problem when people believe that they see a something where I see nothing, even when they insist that that something tells them what to do. I do have a problem when that something tells those people what I should do. I do have a problem when that something tells those people what two consenting adults can do in the privacy of their own house. I do have a problem when that something tells those people that science class should be based on Genesis.

  19. brunomiguel says:

    @#42
    Hey, one can dream, right? :)

  20. Evidence says:

    Abraham slept with his servant at his wife’s request. That is adultery. David did, Solomon did, many did.

    Jesus took it farther and said God says if you eve look with lust that I count that as adultery. So we are all doomed by the law. That is why we need a Savior. None of us are good.

  21. Antinous says:

    Religion is opium for the people.

    Doesn’t that seem a funny metaphor when science is literally Prozac for the people? Whether via CCTV, biometric IDs or mind-numbing drugs, science has a potential for social control that even a medieval Pope would have envied.

    Tomorrow.

  22. Tenn says:

    Yeah, I was being an ass. Sorry.

    Cowicide, you have garnered my immense respect and internet bowing. MOM! It wasn’t quite the troll turn around you were hoping for, but LOOK!

    +1, sir, you’re pretty snazzy.

  23. Evidence says:

    @GREGLONDON

    You sir are very clever.

    @evilrooster

    “Either you’re interested in what people here believe, in which case you might try paying attention to their comments and reading the things they link to, or you’re interested in saving their souls, which I find more likely.”

    Both.

    “The problem is that you’re just preaching at them”

    I have been responding to questions.

    “You have to listen to what people are saying, and care about them as individuals”

    I do.

    “Assuming that your take on things is absolutely correct (for instance, that He will condemn anyone who is not a Creationist to hell) is—in my opinion—sinfully arrogant.”

    No one goes to hell for believing evolution or not being a creationist we go to hell because of our sin.

    I am not here to be superior but to warn, when the occasion arises, that danger is ahead.

  24. Fee says:

    I distrust part quotations from things, and have been unable to find the whole letter. When someone makes a partial quote and uses it to drum up publicity for a sale, it makes me want to see what they have cut out and why. The article in the Guardian gives more of the text than the original link, but still has a tantalising ellipsis immediately before the quotation about God.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/13/peopleinscience.religion?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews

    Notwithstanding the incompleteness of the quotations, it seems to me that Einstein had already explained himself fairly clearly in this area: “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)” and

    “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)”

    It seems to me that this shows like many people, he did not believe in an old man with lengthy beard and obsessive interest in human actions, but had a revererence for a possible creative force in the universe which *some* people would call God. You cannot extrapolate an absence of belief in something greater than oneself, and indeed, many other quotations indicate that he did think in that way about it.

    What seems clear is that he tolerated other people’s right to have their own beliefs, while maintaining his right to believe in his own way, which is a position which most people can admire, whether theist, deist, athiest or other.

  25. noen says:

    Let’s debate, and I show you your own foolishness.

    All your study has not prevented you from being a arrogant jerk. My guess is you missed a lesson somewhere along the line.

  26. Evidence says:

    “Long-suffering= Didn’t kill me the minute I first sinned.”

    “See? I knew our definitions were different. Long suffering to me is “patiently enduring wrongs or difficulties”.”

    I don’t see how our definitions are different.

    He gave you an out for not being able to be perfect, rather than punishing you eternally for not being so. That’s an odd take on justice and mercy.

    How so? He didn’t have to make away of escape. He didn’t have to take the punishment on Himself. Thats merciful and just. Sins Paid for mercy given.

    And the best part is you just have to believe the right thing, rather than be the best, imperfect, person you can be.

    Because the best imperfect being I can be is still imperfect. His standard is perfection.

    “If you love something let it go. And if it loves you it will return.”
    God’s version: If you love something and it disobeys you, kick it out of the garden…

    Adam knew the rules before he disobeyed. Suffering wasn’t Gods choosing but He does use it to draw us to Him. He warned the cities before they attacked, they choose to stay and fight. What about you? You seem to know what is expected and the consequences for disobedience and still fight. Why? You don’t want a good ending?

    for finite sins

    We sin against an infinite God so we pay for it proportionately.

    If I kill an ant = nothing happens to me.

    If I kill a deer without a license = A fine is placed against me.

    If I kill a person = Jail and or death for me.

    Same thing “Killing” but what I killed determined my punishment. Breaking any of the commandments are sins against an infinite God so they are paid for eternally.

    I don’t understand “O_O”

  27. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Coping, Takuan, coping.

    Modus Operandi, I can tell you’re an atheist. I was asking whether you were raised Presbyterian, since Total Depravity is one of their riffs. And you’re right: what they mean by it isn’t nearly as interesting as it should be.

    Nelson: Amen to that.

    Xopher, never apologize for explaining the rules to the newbies. It’s a virtue.

    Evidence:

    I will catch up tomorrow gotta go.

    Not like this, you won’t. If you persist in posting canned explanations, I’ll disemvowel them.

    What is a canned explanation? What is disemvowel?

    Okay, Evidence. Let’s start with disemvowelling. I’m sure you’ll remember the Ben Stein/lizard evolution thread. You certainly should; you posted in it 76 times, starting with comment #3 and continuing on throughout the thread to your last comment, #707. Disemvowelling got discussed there in more than one comment. It also happened to more than one comment. How is it that you don’t remember it?

    It seems to me that there are two possible explanations for this strange gap in your memory. One is that you’re being disingenuous. If so, that’s an odd way to behave when you’re preaching religion.

    The other possible explanation is that you weren’t really paying attention to the conversation in that thread, but were instead just monitoring it for opportunities to hustle religion. If that was the case, I don’t think I can convey the full extent of my disapproval. It’s contrary to everything I value as a moderator.

    This brings us to the matter of canned explanations. I really don’t believe you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, or that you don’t know what I’m referring to.

    Not everyone here can spot Sunday School boilerplate, but I certainly can. I’ve got the ear, and I was made to sit through thousands of hours of religious instruction and church services when I was a kid. (I believe you’ll remember that as well from the lizard evolution thread.) What you’re doing barely qualifies as conversations. The easy answers you’re rattling off in this discussion are almost as formulaic as the Penny Catechism. That’s why you keep dragging the conversation back to basic principles, rather than engaging with the subject matter in the main entry.

    “Also, stop leaving extra line returns in your messages.”

    I also don’t understand this. Is it returns at the end of the total message or something like that?

    Both throughout and at the end. Everyone needs a subject they’re a crank about, and the promiscuous waste of vertical space is mine. Presently I’ll realize it’s a hopeless crusade and give it up for a while.

    So only like minded people are allowed here? Is that what you are telling me?

    I already figured you were a troll. I said as much in the lizard evolution thread:

    Evidence, I see you’ve ignored my question. Until now, you’ve been the one who’s wanted to force discussions of religion on this thread. Now that you have someone else talking about it, you draw back.

    Could it be that you don’t actually care about Creationism, ID, or Biblical literalism? Are you just another troll who’s discovered a subject he can use to commandeer an amount of attention he could never attract on his own?

    Evidence denied it, of course; “I really do go to church on the weekend” is the self-description of his I remember best. I did notice, however, that when I pointed out that he really had been stuffing religion down everyone’s throat, and in consequence had given thousands of people you’ve never met a poorer opinion of Christianity than they had before, it didn’t particularly upset him. That would be an odd reaction for a sincere proselytizer, but entirely in character for an attention-seeking troll.

    But it’s this line that has finally convinced me:

    So only like minded people are allowed here? Is that what you are telling me?

    That’s a classic response from the Troll Penny Catechism. Trolls are forever concluding that online venues that think poorly of them only do so because they can’t tolerate people whose opinions don’t match their own. Moonbat’s constant refrain, “Everyone except me is engaging in Groupthink,” was just another way to say it.

    What particularly distinguishes trolls is that they’ll say this in forums where they’ve just watched the locals peaceably airing strongly divergent opinions.

    Look at this immediate thread, for example. Ploni got criticized for bad manners, not for being a whack-a-mole religious mystic. We’ve heard from militant atheists, quieter atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, mostly secular Jews, a Wiccan, a pilgrim syncretist, at least one Catholic, and miscellaneous others. The religious believers haven’t gotten trashed.

    So where’s the likemindedness? It consists of disapproving of Evidence. None of the other wild variations in opinion matter. And why does the accusation take the form of “likemindedness”, or “groupthink” in Moonbat’s case? Because modeling it that way puts the blame on everyone else. As I’ve said before, the real definition of a troll is someone who’s incapable of understanding that it’s their manners, not their opinions, that get them into trouble.

    TAKUAN can go by and say something totally random like” I wear gold slippers!!!” adds to the thread and that is fine?

    Evidence, Takuan can see and judge the timing of the conversation’s traffic lights blocks in advance. You have yet to figure out the existence of lanes and curbs.

    I will go if I am not wanted

    It’s kind of you to offer, but I know you’re only saying it to make me feel hopeful.

    Tenn:

    Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

    That’s very good. Let me offer in return one of my favorite passages about religion: Margaret Fell, describing the first time she heard George Fox preach, 1694:

    …And then he went on, and opened the scriptures, and said, ‘The scriptures were the prophets’ words, and Christ’s and the apostles’ words, and what, as they spoke, they enjoyed and possessed, and had it from the Lord’: and said, ‘Then what had any to do with the scriptures, but as they came to the Spirit that gave them forth? You will say, “Christ saith this, and the apostles say this;” but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of the Light, and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?’ &c. This opened me so, that it cut me to the heart; and then I saw clearly we were all wrong. So I sat down in my pew again, and cried bitterly: and I cried in my spirit to the Lord, ‘We are all thieves; we are all thieves; we have taken the scriptures in words, and know nothing of them in ourselves.’

    Xopher: Glossolalia is learnable? I had no idea. I want to do it. I can sometimes hear semi-glossolaliac strings of syllables running through my mind, and it seems like a shame to waste them. How do I get started?

  28. ploni says:

    Where’s the arrogance?

    In modern-day America, the prevailing philosophy–inculcated through secular mass-education, corporatism, and the welfare state–is that God doesn’t exist, those who can analyze Scripture in its original language are “extremists” and worthy of public ridicule, immorality of every kind is healthy and correct.

    gn, rrgnc s pblcly cllng smn fl whn y dn’t knw wht y’r tlkng bt.

  29. Xopher says:

    Yes, yes, Antinous! Hear, hear.

    I keep getting in what I think are discussions with people, and gradually figuring out that they’re not discussing to learn, but debating to win. They “listen” to my points only to counter them, usually by label-and-dismiss rather than by actually addressing them, because it’s quicker that way, and they want to get to what is for them the real point of the conversation, which is to win and be seen to have won.

    It’s most annoying.

    Oddly, you can actually learn something from these conversations, even if they don’t. Still, I wish I had the strength of character to just bow out when I know I’m not going to accomplish my goal, which is to be heard and understood, and to hear and understand. There are times when people I’m still trying to reach really should have been given up on long before.

  30. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Did somebody say they needed a debate judge? It’s one of the things I used to do for fun before I found SF fandom.

    This is another one of my bragging points, like being 3 for 3 on getting Harlan to turn in his copy in time: I once constrained Will Shetterly to a logically structured argument. I’ve got witnesses. It happened in Jane Yolen’s kitchen.

  31. Tenn says:

    I don’t mind at all when someone has homosexual relations with me. I take it as a compliment, really, as long as I’ve consented beforehand.

    Thirded.

  32. Antinous says:

    There are times when people I’m still trying to reach really should have been given up on long before.

    I think that we’ve all seen ample evidence of that phenomenon. Thank you. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

  33. Takuan says:

    “Oh, my golden slippers am laid away ‘Cause I don’t spect to wear ‘em til my wedding day And my long tailed coat, that I love so well I will wear up in the chariot in the morn. And my long white robe that I bought last June I’m goin’ to get changed ’cause it fits too soon And the old grey hoss that I used to drive I will hitch him to the chariot in the morn. Oh, dem golden slippers Oh, dem golden slippers Golden slippers I’se goin’ to wear Because they look so neat. Oh, dem golden slippers Oh, dem golden slippers Golden slippers I’se goin’ to wear To walk the golden street. Oh, my old banjo hangs on the wall ‘Cause it ain’t been tuned since way last fall But the darks all say we’ll have a good time When we ride up in the chariot in the morn. There’s ol’ brother Ben and his sister, Luce They will telegraph the news to uncle Bacco Juice What a great camp meetin’ there will be that day When we ride up in the chariot in the morn. So, it’s good-bye, children I will have to go Where the rain don’t fall and the wind don’t blow And yer ulster coats, why, you will not need When you ride up in the chariot in the morn. But yer golden slippers must be nice and clean And yer age must be just sweet sixteen And yer white kid gloves you will have to wear When you ride up in the chariot in the morn.”

  34. Evidence says:

    Is that evoultions formula?

    death= growth=change=belief?

  35. Modusoperandi says:

    Sister Y “Often we’re too willing to do the “respectful” thing, and say “well you believe that and I’ll believe this,” instead of the truly respectful thing, which is to try to figure out what’s going on underneath the disagreement.”
    Sometimes, people just need a hug.

  36. Sister Y says:

    Xopher – what a great post. The most valuable comment threads or discussions, to me, are ones where I change my mind about something, or where someone changes his or her mind about something. It’s the rarest thing.

    Sometimes my point is to teach (very presumptive of me, I know), sometimes to figure out if my view is right at all, sometimes to hear what the various positions are, and sometimes no point at all. But the desire to win sometimes interferes with all that – funny how the desire not to look silly often makes us look silly.

    Iris Murdoch talks about how as soon as we experience an injury to our dignity, we’re immediately looking for ways to make ourselves look dignified again – e.g., to win. I think this goes a long way to explaining flame wars.

  37. GregLondon says:

    Antinous@302: When someone can no longer hide behind rhetoric, at least the onlookers know what’s really being talked about without any gloss or pretense.

    Like calling a Strawman Argument a strawman argument, or a Hasty Generalization a hasty generalization. Calling it what it is without the spin.

    Obviously, this doesn’t stop all torture supporters, but I never said debate was the grand solution to anything. I only said this is one place I debate, not to ‘win’, but because the topic is important to me, and debate lays false claims clear. At least for me.

    Oh, another reason I debate: sometimes I don’t understand either what someone is saying or why they are saying it, and I’ll enter into debate as a way of trying to understand what they mean or understand their point of view.

    engaging in a logical argument with someone can sometimes take their vaguely worded notion and show that it has a different outline than the speaker describes, or that it is in fact empty, or something else. In the end, I may not agre with them, but I might understand where they’re coming from.

  38. Takuan says:

    you have to adjust your time scale. Don’t be in too much of a hurry, people change over time. Sometimes. It helps if you’re Undead.

  39. Takuan says:

    gather around then, Best Beloved, I will relate the Tale of the Philosopher and the Fish,for is it not written: :Today is a big new fish”?

    And so it came to pass that that the Philosopher did undertake a journey across the land of his adoption in good company with like scholars. They drove in the summer heat their chariot alongside the Sea for a great distance and lo, their water did come to strain them mightily. See then, Best Beloved, they did pull over to a high place and stop to ease themselves and look upon the Great Sea.

    As their streams did arch, so saith the Philosopher’s companion – likewise a man of Mathematik – “Speak then, Honored One, Truly thou see the die passed over by the hand of the Mighty and Most High, that indeed Divine Plan rules Chaos?”

    As he asked the companion noted the Philosopher spoke not, yet a tear welled from his eye. A Sign then, thought he. Then, looking down he saw below the Carcasse of a Great Squalus, cast by Mother Ocean on the strand, tragic in it’s destruction and reeking to the welkin. Laying immediately below the Philosopher.

    Take the Moral, Best Beloved.

  40. Xopher says:

    Takuan is a surrealist.

    Teresa, I think we were more or less deciding that debate is not what we want to do on comment threads, because the goal of debate is to win, not to learn, teach, come to agreement, or even persuade. Debate is a sport, and as with most sports, I have no desire to participate or even (mostly) watch.

  41. Antinous says:

    One question: what if the guidance is just, you know, weird?

    It sometimes is. If it passes my moral filter, I just do it. The worst that can happen is that I have an adventure. The most regular tidbit of guidance that I receive is, “Has anything bad actually happened to you that hasn’t been caused by your own anxiety?”

    I once was in the pier park here in Hoboken

    I read that as Hobbiton the first time around. Dang.

  42. Xopher says:

    Greg, you missed MO’s joke.

  43. Takuan says:

    And I know you did it right. I must state: any who took the earlier opportunity to bitch about my blind, arrogant mis-use of illegitimate power in my rabid crushing of free speech had better be damned efflusive in their compliments to you, Teresa, the silly gits have no idea how good they’ve had it. Until now. Mwaha, mwahaha, MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Oh sorry,was that my out-loud voice again? Antinous? do you have my meds?

    In all seriousness; does any sorry son-of-a-bitch out there really not understand how good at her job Teresa is? Understand also you won’t reach me by comparative criticism since I KNOW how much better at the moderating, the editing and the general literary world she is than me. She can spell, punctuate, write and suffer fools much more graciously than me. But I will learn. Because I KNOW I don’t know everything. Yet.

    Jane Yolen? Really? Really really?

  44. Cowicide says:

    #23 posted by Roach , May 13, 2008 11:02 PM

    Because when I think “premiere religious authority,” I think Einstein!

    Specialists don’t generally do well outside their specialty, at least not for the last few hundred years. I doubt this is making any stirs anywhere except the popular media.

    So, who is the “premiere religious authority” anyway? The pope? LL Wht dd h stdy? Th Bbl drng hs Nz Yth clsss? Yh, tht sht sn’t bsd t ll… LL

    I love how people are now coming out and saying Einstein wasn’t worthy of using his incredibly advanced mind on anything but the theory of relativity all of the sudden. I bet many of these rocket scientists used to love quoting Einstein when it seemed to promote their own bullshit beliefs… but now? He’s a fool when it comes to religion !! Har! Har!!

    Lk, fc t… th gy wh t th vrwhlmng mjrty f s hmns thnk s prtty mch n f th smrtst gys t vr hv lvd thnks rlgn s BLLSHT.

    Y my nt lk ths fct, bt t dsn’t chng t frm bng s n mttr hw mch y btch nd cmpln bt t. LL

  45. Nelson.C says:

    Noen @118: In such a world no-one would call themselves atheist, but they would still be atheists. In a world of vegetarians, no-one would call themselves vegetarian, but that is what they would be. What you are talking about is an artifact of language, not a universal law. It would be possible for everyone to be atheistic, with no theism anywhere (as must have been the case before humans invented gods (though not in Evidence’s version of history)) without the world crashing from the supposed paradox of one existing without the other.

  46. Evidence says:

    Xopher

    Are you saying you believe there are spiritual forces at work in the universe that we can’t place in a lab and experiment on?

    Gotta go catch you tomorrow.

  47. Antinous says:

    My next-week me may not agree with my this-week me, so it’s hard to get too worked up about somebody else disagreeing with me.

  48. Master of Space and Time says:

    You said it ! Bob

    Only meditation and Mantras are powerful anyway…

  49. Ugly Canuck says:

    Sin doesn’t exist, Evidence. No proof, or evidence, for it. Just like transcendent beings.
    If I’m wrong, your religious Pride seems to qualify as sinnish, eh what?

  50. scottfree says:

    From statistics I’ve seen, over 50% of Americans are religious. Fair enough, the Jewish fundamentalists are a separate crowd from the Christian ones, but I always find it interesting when religious people bring up corporatism. Even if the Christian fundamentalists weren’t hand and hand with the ‘free market’ right, corporations do a pretty good job of disseminating religious morals. Whenever I’ve seen Hassidim or ultra orthodox on tv–there was an episode of house a few months back–they are always portrayed not as extremists, but as possessing some strange wisdom inaccessible to the rest of us. So balls to that argument.

    I don’t know. I know eff all Hebrew, and even I admit its a travesty I was ever Bar Mitzvahed. But I have a deep respect for the Jewish approach to religion. My attitude is its all rubbish, but Judaism is better rubbish, if that makes sense. You read something in Torah, you have faith that with study, it will make sense; other people examine Torah without the assumption that it is consistent or makes sense, try to understand its cultural context etc. and come to different conclusions. There really is no point of agreement on this.

  51. GregLondon says:

    I am not here to be superior but to warn, when the occasion arises, that danger is ahead.

    It’s comments like these that warm the very cockles of my heart. I just wish I knew what a cockle was.

    It almost disappoints me to have to point out that this isn’t an argument. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition.

    Maybe we could start with your premises? Then address your inferences? And see if we reach the same conclusion?

    whaddya say?

  52. Sister Y says:

    So what do we do about the sociopaths among us?

    Noen have you seen the data that there are two types of sociopathy – one genetic (1% of the population, equally male and female), one non-genetic (2-3% of the population, mostly male)? The current theory is that even if we managed to eliminate sociopathic genotypes, the niche would still be filled by folks without that genotype. There are ev-bio reasons for that, apparently.

    I think the “what do we do about the sociopaths” is one of the most interesting questions there is, given the disproportionate amount of harm they cause. I think focusing on limiting the harm they cause, rather than “weeding them out,” is the more realistic strategy. How do we do that? One author actually proposes reserving certain exciting, socially rewarding jobs for them so that they’re less tempted to resort to criminal activity! I love this idea, though it seems unfair to the non-sociopaths in some ways.

    Ploni, do you, perhaps, have a manifesto?

  53. Takuan says:

    and Cowie darling; we must have ocean-word-sex one day, it’s a rare pleasure to hear from one who Knows.

  54. Takuan says:

    follow me and be free. But it’s gonna cost ya.

  55. evilrooster says:

    Evidence @225:

    You managed to entirely miss the point of both halves of my comment. Your answer contained neither any grasp of how you come off to your fellow commenters nor any notion that you might be wrong in your beliefs. Instead, you carefully picked out a sentence from each paragraph that you could look good by answering.

    I find it a plausible hypothesis that you read Scripture the way you read other people’s comments, looking for boxes to check rather than seeking the heart of the matter.

    Still, God is powerful and eternity vast.

  56. Anonymous says:

    If religious was really opium, I might have a go on it

  57. arkizzle says:

    Evi,
    But if it’s him who keeps chnaging the rules, surely we have evidence of violation of our original service agreement, and we can break the contract without penalty.

  58. Evidence says:

    @ MODUSOPERANDI

    “The original was made, as we all are, with free will. The “bug” was failing to follow the program as given (eg rebellion not curious).”
    And when was this original?”

    The original that Arkizzle and I were referring to was Adam, the first, original man.

    “But we aren’t omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.”

    He is long-suffering, kind, patient,merciful, gracious, and loving. I was appealing to these qualities that we do have in our possession.

    “Jesus is the “patch” as you call it. He came to fix us.”
    Except that He doesn’t actually fix us. It’s more a work-around, really.”

    Clever but He does fix us. He makes us new. We cannot fix ourselves.

    When I am charge with being judgmental aren’t you judging me? Isn’t that hypocritical of you? Only atheists and agnostics can be judge things?

    I have no problem with you judging me just don’t yell at me for it while you are doing it.

    I have not charged anyone with anything (from the Bible) that I have not charge myself with.

    ??How do you guy get italic and bold type?

  59. evilrooster says:

    Modusoperandi @258
    Doesn’t everything involving groups of people involve, in some way, ethics, morals, and the like?

    MO FTW. That was indeed my point, and it goes doubly so for the Internet and trebly for BoingBoing. Now try reading Deuteronomy as early BB, and it makes more sense (though it is sadly lacking in unicorn chasers).

    Sister Y @272:
    Doesn’t anybody else get Internet-mediated fight-or-flight responses? I wonder how abnormal that is.

    I certainly do. It’s one of the reasons I’m not on BoingBoing much, preferring the gentler atmosphere at Making Light. (There are other reasons, like having a family, a job and a bindery, aka a life in meatspace.)

    Antinous @279:
    I’ll forgive you if you accuse me of making an ad feminam argument just because it would have panache.

    How about an argumentum ad igoscendem canem? (Nam nemo interneto te canem sciit.)

    Takuan @281:
    …devoid of irresponsible Latin…

    Aw, nuts.

    Sister Y @283
    I would want “Devoid of irresponsible Latin!” to be one of the slogans on the front of my packaging. It would be false advertising, though.

    O soror mea! (Sorry, Takuan, did it again)

  60. Jack says:

    @ #13 POSTED BY JIM DANDY:
    You might want to do some research of the era before passing judgment on anyone who was sympathetic towards socialism and the Soviet Union. Far more repressed and underclass folks in Eastern Europe saw true hope in the Soviet Union. Any why not? It was relatively new and better than what most people were living with. And it gave hope to many who saw the mess in post-World War I europe.

    But it was only when stories of what happened behind the Iron Curtain started to come out did people question their behavior, but not necessarily the underlying ideology. People still held hope.

    During World War II only Nazi Germany could distract anyone from the mess in the Soviet Union. Sure if you ran way from your Eastern European enclave to the relative safety of the U.S.S.R. you might go into forced labor camps. But it was better than gas ovens or brutal death in war ravaged Europe.

    You need to factor another issue with Einstein. He was a genius and he was legend in his time. He might have been playing politics to avoid choosing clear sides on the world stage. And even avoid being a target to anyone who thought he was too polarizing.

    Also, as a secular Jew I think most folks who are anti-religion might at least acknowledge there are cultural differences between groups formed around religion even if you yourself are not religious. If you were raised Catholic but are not agnostic or atheist, you were still raised in a profoundly different environment than a Jew, Muslim or a Buddhist. Ditto all the way around.

    Einstein was very Jewish, but not religious. It’s possible to balance that. Too bad we live in a polarized world where some can’t see the difference between culture and religion.

  61. GregLondon says:

    Teresa@306: Did somebody say they needed a debate judge?

    I need a translator. I’ve been trying to grok what Aninous and/or Takuan have been saying for the latter part of this thread, and I’m just at a loss.

    I once constrained Will Shetterly to a logically structured argument. I’ve got witnesses. It happened in Jane Yolen’s kitchen.

    Was “Scurvy Cure” involved?

    I will say that the first time someone offered me a taste sample of scurvy cure, that was the absolute weirdest moment of my entire life. And I’ve done some pretty weird things in my life.

    Anyway, apparently logical arguments are vastly different things to different people. But yeah, I’d be willing to be reffed and give it a try. Do I get coaching when I screw up so I can learn something?

  62. historyman68 says:

    My impression is that most people have fairly complex views on stuff like religion. If you asked me today what my thoughts on God were, they might be completely different from what they were last week or next week, especially depending on context.

    So if we’re talking about a private letter between Einstein and someone else, all we can really say conclusively is that he believed this at the moment when he said it. Science seeks to find consistencies – given a thousand experiments, a certain number of them will have a predictable result. As far as I know, human emotion isn’t exactly the same, in that it is far less consistent. So it’s fine if he said this once in a private correspondence to… who? But Fee’s absolutely right that we need to look at context before declaring this particular quote to be Einstein’s final word on religion.

  63. Evidence says:

    @MODUSOPERANDI
    “Don’t ever go into law enforcement.”

    That made me chuckle. I see what you are saying. I bring a lifetime of thought and meaning when I say it that way. Those who hold to the same world view that I do know what I mean when I say it like that so forgive me I need to be clearer. I think we all agree when we converse with people with opposing views we learn to express our thoughts more clearly, or should.

    The laws that God gave all come with the death penalty as their punishment. “The wages of sin is death.”

    So I said it the way I did knowing that I deserved the death sentence for every infraction. I am glad I live in the age of grace.

    “He didn’t have to take the punishment for breaking the rules that He knows we can’t consistently follow ”

    Yes you are getting it. See many think the laws are given for us to live by to make us holy and acceptable too God. Not true. They are given to show us that God is holy and we are not.

    James (the book 1:23-25) compares the law to a mirror. We look at the mirror of the law and see we are dirty and this drives us to the wash basin of Jesus to clean us.

    “Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.” The law was given so we would sin more because we now have something to measure ourselves by. It is there to frustrate us and break us so we will humble ourselves and ask Him to save us because we cannot save ourselves. It show us our need for a Savior.

    “Thats merciful and just.”
    Um, no. That, by definition, cannot be both merciful and just.
    Mercy is “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence”, while justice is “the administering of deserved punishment or reward”. One is letting you off for things you did, and the other is punishing you for things you did.

    It is exactly as you describe it.

    Merciful because He did not leave me in my lost state, He showed pity to me and compassion and benevolence by sending Jesus to take my punishment upon Himself for me.

    It is just because He did not wipe my sins away arbitrarily but paid for them. It was a legal transaction. Jesus paid my fine, now my court case could be dismissed because payment had been made. I do not go to Heaven because I or anyone is a good person but because my sins have been paid for, my death sentence has been commuted by the court. I am forgiven and payment for my violations have been made by my kind benefactor, Jesus.

    “To damn a child for disobedience not the act of a benevolent parent.

    Not an exact apples to apples comparison but as close as we could get. The child would be punished by a loving parent and the child now knows the parent was truthful, right, kind in warning them, looking out for their best interests, and that they (the child) are disobedient and suffers for their disobedience (burns….), they should listen and respect the parent that loves them. We should save ourselves some pain and listen.

    “Suffering wasn’t Gods choosing but He does use it to draw us to Him.”
    That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.”

    I can not do this justice right now but if you want me too I can explain more later. (Think the child being burned as above)

    “Faith lacking evidence can be okay, I guess. Faith in the face of the evidence, however, is daft.”

    I totally agree with you. It comes down to who or what we trust for our information. Remember information is only as reliable as its source so we need to choose wisely who or what we trust. You all throw up Pascal I say run to the evidence but look at it without bias and truely seek the truth.

  64. Sister Y says:

    MO – re: resident apologist – not it.

  65. Wally B says:

    @ #225 Evidence, I’m not sure I get “No one goes to hell for believing evolution or not being a creationist we go to hell because of our sin.”

    I thought that “you must believe in God the Father” and “you must believe that Jesus is his only-begotten son who was sent here [and so on]” were among the rules for getting into Heaven. I may be constructing faulty logic here, but isn’t denial of God and His works sin, if not explicitly (citation?) then at least implicitly? Believing in evolution, i.e. man’s interpretation in opposition to God’s word, denies God, therefore it’s sin, right?

    I’m not trying to contradict you; I’m just trying to wrap my mind around the apparent disparity between Belief and belief, if you take my meaning, and the implications of the latter (i.e. Hell) over the former (i.e. Heaven).

  66. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan “annoying thing about real life and real humans. But would the constancy of stones and wind be any better?”
    Well, wind can be amusing. I make it, sometimes. The other people in the elevator would probably disagree with me on this point.
    As for stones, if you’ve ever had to pass them…no, they would not be any better.

  67. Modusoperandi says:

    Evidence “BB posts caught my attention and I wondered. “What do nay sayers to the faith believe?”.”
    I think that the believers here* are insulted.

    *and there are some. There must be. Someone here pasted a Jesusfish sticker over the Darwin one on my trunklid. Also, they played with the presets on the stereo. It’s all Christian Contemporary Rock now. Ewww!

  68. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Einstein on this.

    But hey since science is not useful yet to undestrand what all this mean I decided to leave the religious people alone for this one.
    Personal believe is a personal thing.

    But hey religious people! do not interfer with what science can study and demonstrate such as the shape of the earth or evolution.

    Yet don’t believe those naive and simple minds of pseudoscientists who believe that human are like ants or in the supposed benefit of the supposed natural selection! Science tell us now that this is not the way evolution is working.

    And no evolution do not necesserally negate creation. It is just because if there is a god is he/she is a lot smarter than you think.

  69. Evidence says:

    NELSON.C understands me!

  70. gbv23 says:

    Good points all—there’s other stuff besides boring old “religion” or close-minded materialism.

    Listen to the good ETs or the crystal skulls or the cutting-edge thinkers— they’ll tell you where we’re heading—towards the realization that we can start co-creating consciously, rather than doing so unconsciously and pretending to be victims.

    The abstract, eternal, unchanging, non-specific love that is the only “real” reality does even know about the transitory illusion that we inhabit–its just a momentary dream that’s already over—- in the mind of his one sleeping child. He knows the child is having a nightmare but can’t see the specifics of such an unreality—he just whispers so that the child will very gently wake-up to realize that it was all just a dream.

  71. Takuan says:

    serendipity. Your stones took me here

    http://www.exportlawblog.com/archives/date/2007/07

  72. Modusoperandi says:

    GregLondon; are you playing logical fallacy bingo?

  73. ThinkPositive says:

    Einstein was fanatically Jewish, but didn’t see this identity as necessarily religious. There are millions of secular Jews.

  74. Nelson.C says:

    Evidence @217: Please don’t make malicious comments like that. Yes, I know which comment you were misrepresenting, but that doesn’t make your remark any less malicious. Or the malice any less obvious.

  75. Takuan says:

    all we`are saying, is give peace a chance…

  76. Modusoperandi says:

    Way to hog the tread, Agent 86.

  77. MarlboroTestMonkey7 says:

    Einstein, like we all do, held stances or expressed different views on this and other issues at different ages.
    So I’m not saying this is wrong or right, but that Man changes, we should be aware of it, or always feel we have betrayed ourselves.

  78. Evidence says:

    Believe in what?

  79. GregLondon says:

    GregLondon; are you playing logical fallacy bingo?

    Playing? Hell, I think I got a whole row!

  80. Takuan says:

    Dear Greg

    [Origin: 1350–1400; ME cokille < MF coqille < VL *cocchīlia, L conchylia, pl. of conchȳlium < Gk konchȳ́lion, equiv. to konchȳ́l(é) mussel + -ion dim. suffix; cf. OE -cocc, in sǣ-cocc lit., sea-cockle < VL *coccus for L concha conch]

    The correlation of heart shaped mollusks and the actual internal anatomy of the heart and its valves also being reminiscent of mollusks – a reminder of the untold human agonies and slow deaths wrought by medical ignorance of anatomy brought about by religious proscriptions against dissection of corpses.

  81. Xopher says:

    Evidence, I’m not one of the atheists here, remember.

  82. Evidence says:

    @ugly

    “Sin doesn’t exist, No proof, or evidence, for it”

    Do you like to be lied too? Stolen from or cheated on? We show the law is written on our hearts when we use it as our standard to judge how others treat us.

    Rom 2:14 -15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

    I am not being prideful I am just saying what the Bible says to warn you. I am not good. I am a sinner. Never claimed otherwise.

    @ARKIE

    What rules keep changing? Holding the current law higher is that what you mean? He is being kind to us so that we don’t deceive ourselves into thinking we can be good enough.

    He examines the our thoughts and motives.

    We are all without excuse. We have all violated the law. If we have only broken one we still have a broken covenant on our end not His.

  83. Xopher says:

    Teresa 166: I started doing it as a small child, and while I’ve taught the skill, it’s been in person and in groups (which makes it easier to teach). But it sounds like you’ve got a start on it already. As the syllables run through your head, just say them out loud (well, out soft). Let your mouth actually form them. After you’ve done that for a while, start filtering out anything that actually means anything in a language you know.

    That’s the practice/priming part. When you get used to doing it, you’ll find that it becomes a letting go: your speech runs without connection to your intention (except to speak or not). And because your brain keeps trying to interpret the sounds as language, it becomes a powerful trance-leader.

    Years ago, my hands wrote this: “Gather in the moonless night and speak in unknown tongues: the Dark Mother and I will listen. Sing to us and cry out, and the power will be yours to wield.”

  84. Nelson.C says:

    Evidence @115: Your concern would be touching, if it weren’t so cloying. You can care too much, you know. In the unlikely event that I am condemned to the fiery pit for not believing in biblical literacy, if you will stop preaching at us, I promise not to blame you for anything. I will instead preserve my every gramme of hatred for the trickster god who sent me there.

    Yet again you demonstrate the apalling ignorance of one who believes in a single book more than they believe in the world. Morality is not an exclusive quality of biblical literalists, nor even of Christians, nor even of any kind of believer; it is an almost universal feature of human beings. A fact you would know if you occaisonally looked at your fellow mortals, unblinkered by the tiresome need to convert everyone who doesn’t believe as you do.

  85. error404 says:

    I don’t think Einstein was FANATICALLY anything.

    Aside from human.

    There is no god.

  86. Xopher says:

    But I do believe that you worship an evil god.

  87. Takuan says:

    Evidence, you were invited in good faith, yet you elect to martyr yourself pointlessly in a fanged blender of intelligent, unencumbered minds. Drop the dogma and show yourself – if you have anything left of the actual you when all the encrustations are shed.

  88. scottfree says:

    Noen,

    I sort of see where you’re getting at, but i think you’ve set up a false dialectic: first of all making the classic mistake of synecdoche, substituting the part for the whole, then I disagree with your cultural analysis. I mean, these are internet comments, fair enough, not a thesis defence, but still, beware the consequences of invoking theory. I’ve the free time to write an entire manifesto today, and I’m not above doing it!

    To say, for instance, belief implies and necessitates disbelief, well yea, I can roll with that, but these are functions that do not require specific objects. Belief in Gd specifically requires disbelief in Gd, but disbelief in Gd does not conversely require belief, if it sublates the original object, synthesising an original thesis. In practical terms, Richard Dawkins can only sell his book as long as evangelical Christians exist, because otherwise who would care? But I, as an atheist lived many long and happy years without ever worrying about Gd. Or take, for instance the Tenach: there are 616 commandments and not one of them is believe in God–you can be a perfectly good Jew, and an atheist. is it any wonder the ancient rabbis stand alongside Socrates as the original dialecticians?

    As material dialecticians–about as far from positivism, which is almost entirely an American academic disease, as it can get–we recognise the historical debt we owe to Gd, but the question of gd’s existence to us is no longer historically relevant. For Evidence, you can see how Gd represents an absolute other: perfect goodness to his sinnerly ways. For me, as I’ve said elsewhere, my absolute other is ‘nature’, but that is neither here nor there. For me the conflict is not man against Gd [the good of Gd vs the evil of man] but man against man–whereas religion was once what held society, today it is production. the good of production vs the evil of ownership of production. If you’d like to see that put in Christian terms: industrial production has given us everything we see here today, but its good exists in an unweeded garden gone to seed: things rank in nature possess it merely–all the sweet stuff we can make is subverted in that it is all owned by those who do not produce, but exist vampire-like on the back of dead labour.

    Ok, reality as symbols. Well, isn’t it just? Here I don’t quite know what you’re getting at. Consider the real and symbolic in relation to the subject, since, after all, that’s what we all are, as far as the argument is concerned. The symbolic order is the most meaningful order to the ego–in fact surely it is where objects receive meaning. I disagree with your minimum definition of reality: for me, following Lacan, the real is distinguished only insomuch as it is where things contradict. To drag the argument through pop philosophy, this order has been systematically dismantled by prevailing ideology in post-industrial nations–the message is to double-think, to take contradicting ideas and experience them deprieved of their contradicting content. So for instance, people that go to Kenya and say ‘oh wow look at all the colourful natives, their dances are so vibrant and everyone is so friendly etc etc’ and fail to consider what separates that culture from theirs–economically, culturally, historically. The pop philosophy example is of course from the Matrix, when Morpheus takes Neo to the surface and says ‘Welcome to the Desert of the Real.’ In the present political state, we are obsessed with the image of the ‘matrix’ and blissfully ignorant of the desert of the real. So when you say ‘reality is a crack, a pure difference, within the symbolic network’ well, that’s first of all sloppy, because it posits reality to exist within the symbolic order when it exists alongside it. Your key word is ‘difference’–the regressive symbolic chain which represents reality properly responds to difference by synthesising a new link in the chain.

    I am more or less cognizant that the above probably fails to make much sense, but I got Faith, you know?

    I know precious FA about Kant, having learned philosophy from a ‘continental critical theorist’. I’ve read ‘Kant with Sade’ in Ecrits, which is absolutely brilliant, and i highly recommend it to anyone who likes to think about stuff and things.

  89. scottfree says:

    Sister Y,

    Fair enough, I have my own interesting questions that I cant help but bait a hook with and see if anyone bites.

    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere I’ll be studying to qualify as a psychoanalyst in coming years, and one point I’ve observed is even the craziest person is capable of productive labour, if they’re allowed to decide how to do it. I know several people who are slightly crazy–intermittent epilepsy, slight autism–who are perfectly intelligent, perfectly willing to work, but cant hold jobs because no entry level job will sufficiently accommodate them. In the UK they would probably qualify for disability, but in the US they’re–I mean happily I suppose–wasting away. And on a similar note, the mind boggles at the creativity wasting away behind a McDonald’s counter. I think the situation of the mentally unwell belies a systematic fault: society is not structured to allow for progress or creativity, it isn’t capable of seeing beyond the horizon. Its a real shame, but the problem isn’t limited to sociopaths.

  90. elsmiley says:

    I knew all that rhetoric about Einstein believing in god was bunch of crap. I always knew it in my heart.

  91. noen says:

    kmgraba
    you keep trying to equivocate atheists and religious fundamentalists

    You need each other. One cannot exist without the other. Just as the Left cannot exist without the Right nor the Right without the Left. The only difference is where you place your antagonisms. For the right winger or the fundamentalist, antagonisms are external to the social order. The communists, the blacks, the Jews, or terrorists, these are all external threats to the original harmonious social order.

    For the Left, the majority of atheists identify as on the left or at least as liberal, social antagonisms are central. Diversity, tolerance, multiculturalism, the scientific method; these are given a central role within society. Society itself is conceived differently. Instead of a smooth harmonious whole it is thought to be a multitude of differences all living together.

    These are two sides of the same coin.

    Where’s the atheist dogma?

    The dogma is the belief that reality can be represented by symbols. That our task is to cast an ever finer mathematical net in which we will one day capture ultimate reality, the really real.

    This will never occur because the minimum definition of reality is that which resists symbolization, inclusion into our universe of meaning. By this I don’t mean Kant’s “thing-in-itself” that is independent of and prior to our perceptions. True reality at it’s most radical is a crack, a pure difference, within the symbolic network itself.

    Scientific Atheism misses this and posits the symbolic real as comprising all of existence. As we have seen, this leads to it’s own form of totalitarianism.

    What dishonest lies do atheists keep trying to push…

    That Atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief.

  92. Modusoperandi says:

    Evidence “The original that Arkizzle and I were referring to was Adam, the first, original man.”
    That answered a question. Not mine, though. Mine was a when, not a who. Who was Adam, anyway? Who were his parents? And why does Genesis say that everything before “the Fall” was a vegetarian (Gen1:29-30), when that is clearly false, as vores (both omni and carn) pre-exist homo sapiens sapiens by a considerable margin?

    “He is long-suffering, kind, patient,merciful, gracious, and loving.”
    Your definitions of these words must be different than mine.

    “Clever but He does fix us. He makes us new. We cannot fix ourselves.”
    Fixes us how? Takes away our sins? The sins of simply being human, with all that entails (both good and bad)? That’s just faulty intelligent design.

    “I have no problem with you judging me just don’t yell at me for it while you are doing it.”
    I’m not yelling. Yelling would be all-caps with those exclamation pointy thingies. Sorry if I got all “street” and “hip” there. I’m “down” with the “lingo” of the kids these days.

    “I have not charged anyone with anything (from the Bible) that I have not charge myself with.”
    And? Just because, say, you thought you were a rodeo clown doesn’t mean that the rest of us, therefore, must be rodeo clowns as well.

    “??How do you guy get italic and bold type?”
    Triangle brackets, baby. The future is in triangle brackets. left triangle bracket b right triangle bracket turns on bold, left triangle bracket /b right triangle bracket turns it off. Italics is the same, but with i rather than b. I could write it out more confusingly than that, but I would no doubt sprain something in the attempt.

  93. Modusoperandi says:

    Xopher “Greg, you missed MO’s joke.”
    I don’t know if he did, but if so, it’s a common mistake. A presuppositionalist accused me of a logical fallacy once (the genetic fallacy. He was right), so I told him that my two favourites were argumentum ad populum and ad hominem, because everyone thinks he’s an idiot. He missed the punchline entirely and got offended. My problem, I think, is that I’m too subtle.

    Sister Y: Hugs all ’round! Woo! Go hugs!

  94. Jeff says:

    Lots of people reached that conclusion without being a superbrain. And very smart people have also reached a different conclusion.

  95. noen says:

    ScottFree
    I understand it, more or less (probably less) but don’t have a reply. It would take some time and by then this thread will be long dead. Thanks for your reply.

  96. Master of Space and Time says:

    What do you mean by “there is no god”

    God can be a math logic, a energy, a conciousness, a vibration, a light, a link…

    If you expect a guy ?!!!

    And who knows ?

    When you will die , you will know

    or not ?

  97. rosethornn says:

    @evidence

    I don’t mind at all when someone has homosexual relations with me. I take it as a compliment, really, as long as I’ve consented beforehand. This kinda messes up your intuitivist argument for the Bible there.

    Also, plenty of people know “in their hearts” that other races are inferior, other religions are evil, other sexualities a sin. “Knowing something in your heart” just means you really, really believe it. It doesn’t make it true.

  98. evilrooster says:

    Antinuous @235:

    Was that rhetoric?

  99. Tenn says:

    I’m in my college kid phase a couple of years early. You all know the ckphase. Therefore when I confront dissenting opinion I scream and rant and claim the poster is killing the world.

    Not really. I recognize they may have a valid point, attempt to understand, and then sometimes come to the conclusion that I still can’t believe them and it may be my age and the college kid phase kicking in, or it may be that they are honestly idiots.

    As I can’t tell the difference from my perspective I am forced to accept all arguments as potentially valid (except certain religious arguments and certain perspectives on war and treatment of humanity. If I ever change -those- views I would request that Taku-san drag me into the briny deep and let me drown.)

  100. Ugly Canuck says:

    #35: The burden of Proof rests upon he who asserts.

    What do you mean “There is a God?”
    Prove it.

    And none of the things you mentioned is “God”.

  101. arkizzle says:

    Jesus took it farther and said God says if you eve look with lust that I count that as adultery. So we are all doomed by the law. That is why we need a Savior. None of us are good.

    It was light-hearted, Evidence, I thought you might laugh. But it does sound like you are suggesting that the law was made broader, arbitrarily, and we should have known all along.

    We are all without excuse. We have all violated the law. If we have only broken one we still have a broken covenant on our end not His.

    I can’t tell you how repulsive I find this kind of rhetoric.

    “We are dirty, dirty animals, and shall never be clean!”

    Ugh.

  102. scottfree says:

    Cheers, modusoperandi, I didn’t know how to do bold and italics either.

  103. Evidence says:

    @EVILROOSTER

    “how you come off to your fellow commenters nor any notion that you might be wrong in your beliefs.”

    If I thought my beliefs were wrong I would not believe them. (see below)

    “Instead, you carefully picked out a sentence from each paragraph that you could look good by answering.”

    That sounds like a charge my wife would level at me. I can’t answer every line. I want to but time does not allow it. I work two jobs.

    “seeking the heart of the matter.”

    I think I get the heart of the matter. You all want tolerance, pliability, mushy gushy, maybes. Not right and wrong. I say God is right men are wrong. Does that mean I can be wrong? You bet.

    “Still, God is powerful and eternity vast.”

    We agree.

  104. Sister Y says:

    Evidence my brother, what gives God authority over us?

    Also I just wanted to share my plan for today with you. First I’m going to create a sentient computer program. I’m going to create lots of interesting files for it to view and learn from, but tell it that one file is forbidden, and not to access it. In the forbidden file, I’m going to hide a trap that will cause the sentient program to be tortured forever, no matter what it does, and also to spawn a bunch of other sentient computer programs that will also be tortured forever.

    Second, I’m going to sit around watching them all get tortured for a few thousand years, doing nothing. Then I’ll send in a program that says that if the program believes X, then when the hardware it’s running on breaks down, the torture will end and it will go to computer paradise. But I’m also going to allow other people to send in contradictory programs with false information.

    Is that evil?

  105. Master of Space and Time says:

    I don’t say there is a god…

    But the first question would be ” what is god ?”

    So How can you say that none of the thing I mentionned is god ?
    Prove it.

    For Pascal, the prove that god exists is that you are free to believe in him or not

  106. Takuan says:

    who’s got the rotting shark story?

  107. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan “…in a fanged blender of intelligent, unencumbered minds.”
    You totally stole that from my bumpersticker! Granted, it makes little sense as a sentence fragment on the bumper of a car, but I needed to cover up that “Horn if your honkey” bumpersticker. People were honking all the time. Including me. Mostly me. Okay, just me.

  108. Era says:

    I tend to agree that Einstein fulfilled a need for heroes in America during WW2, in opposition to the disturbingly powerful personality of Hitler and perhaps other personalities and social forces. The opinions which Einstein offered on many topics of then-current interest, though sometimes cleverly expressed, often seem to me as well to have been trite in hindsight.

    One particular conversation between Einstein and Niels Bohr is quite revealing in any case as to their respective philosophical positions concerning the nature of the scientific search for truth. It seemed to me when I read that conversation (which admittedly was some time ago) that Einstein was something of a transitional figure between two major strains of thought. The first is the Cartesian or German Enlightenment reliance on axiomatic systems as the basis of truth–as also exemplified by David Hilbert insofar as Hilbert wanted to reduce quantum mechanics to formal mathematics and mathematics to formal logic. The other is modern mathematical physics with its abstract formal theories in search of supporting experimental data. Einstein seems not to have read Nietzsche or Kierkegaard and so he missed the development of existential thought in the late 19th century as embodied in those two philopher’s works. In this vein he directly and indirectly supports the view that truth can be learned through pure intellectual effort–and he is in this respect close to the religious notion that truth can be learned through divine revelation, which is a rather deep-seated feeling that I believe still underlies much scientific thinking even today and especially the scientific method itself.

    Niels Bohr on the other hand sounds completely modern, defending the idea that we should be willing to overturn our assumptions as new information comes along. He puts it even more strongly: we should not begin with any assumptions whatsoever.

  109. Xopher says:

    Evidence 217: I have heard you consult with a witch on how to channel the voices in your heard [sic] and you are telling me I am wrong in in [sic] thinking that witches, buddhists, evolutionists, atheists and agnostics are nay-sayers to “the faith”?

    This is an offensive mischaracterization, as Nelson pointed out; if you are attempting to paint the adherents of “the faith” in as poor a light as possible, you could hardly have done better than this.

    And by the way, since you’re clearly ignorant (in both northern and southern senses) of this fact, it is rude not to capitalize the names of other people’s religions. I am a Witch, and my religion is Wicca. Tenn is a Buddhist. Since ‘evolutionist’, ‘atheist’, and ‘agnostic’ are not the names of religions, you’re OK there.

    Don’t call me a witch, and I won’t call you an Xian.

  110. Xopher says:

    I object to the banning of “irresponsible Latin” on the grounds that we’d have to have criteria for which Latin is irresponsible, developing which would divert us from from more amusing pursuits. Either that or appoint an arbiter of linguistic responsibility, and then quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The only other way to do it is worse: ban all Latin. But abusus non tollit usum, so we clearly shouldn’t do that.

  111. Antinous says:

    I think religion should be forbidden.

    It’s been done. It didn’t work. The governments that forbid religion also control your access to all information. Maybe you’d like to move to China. Since you won’t be able to access BoingBoing there, we won’t have to read your comments. Win/win.

    Austin Mayor,

    Please don’t put your blog URL or a signature line in your posts. That goes on your profile page.

    What happens when the next Newton or Da Vinci comes along, and he happens to be a Scientologist? — Only trolls are this obtuse on purpose.

    Newton, at least, was highly religious. Da Vinci, not so much. You might want to do a little research before you call someone a troll.

    Ploni,

    If you want to debate religion, let her rip. It’s a very popular topic here, but keep it polite, please.

  112. Evidence says:

    Moderator

    “Evidence @91: Don’t call Arkizzle by nicknames unless the two of you are friends — which you aren’t, yet.”

    He called me Evi I took it as a friendly gesture and called him arky or something.

    “Evidence @96: “I will catch up tomorrow gotta go.”Not like this, you won’t. If you persist in posting canned explanations, I’ll disemvowel them.”

    What is a canned explanation? What is disemvowel?

    “Also, stop leaving extra line returns in your messages.”

    I also don’t understand this. Is it returns at the end of the total message or something like that?

    So only like minded people are allowed here? Is that what you are telling me? TAKUAN can go by and say something totally random like” I wear gold slippers!!!” adds to the thread and that is fine?
    I will go if I am not wanted but I enjoy my conversations here.

  113. Evidence says:

    It doesn’t make sense to you?

    “I can’t tell you how repulsive I find this kind of rhetoric.”

    What do you mean? What is repulsive? Being accountable to some one?

    Is “Ugh” a caveman reference?

    I will catch up tomorrow gotta go.
    Have a good evening.

  114. Ugly Canuck says:

    Sinners are like witches. There are no such things – although there are people who consider themselves (and/or others) to be witches and who would (and do) describe themselves (and/or others) as taking part in witchcraft, and who change their actions accordingly (sometimes attacking the “witches”, sometimes just calling them sinners -oops, i mean witches.).
    But there are no such things as witches. And there is no such thing as witchcraft. Prove that there is such, you who do assert.

    And there are no such things as Sinners, and no such thing as Sin. Prove that there is such, you that do so assert.

    Better question. Why does one need to assert that “Sin” exists (it ain’t self-evident), unless to gain Power over others….

    As Christ said, “Resist not Evil.” But Evil is that which the Evangelists never tire of “Resisting”. So, who is the Sinner, in Christian terms? I say Evidence, casting stones … I say Evidence also “sins” against the Truth. Scientific Truth, the only kind that ever helps, the only kind that is truly difficult …a double sinner, so to speak.
    He’s right that you need “sin” before you need “forgiveness”, hence, a necessary condition for a Christian Power grab…I say, their concepts are hollow, nonsensical and a means to an end (the enslavement of rational Man in the chains of superstitious ignorance and fear).

  115. ill lich says:

    Well, that proves it then, Einstein was stupid.

    –Snarky the Clown

    (I was re-reading Bukowski’s “Ham on Rye” recently, and he reminisced about hanging out in Pershing Square watching the “religionists and atheists” debate. Ahhhh, if only he were here now to read this [soon to top 500 post] thread).

  116. Takuan says:

    “What do nay sayers to the faith”

    You attempt co-option. There are other planes than your present one. “The” faith? “Nay-sayers”? Silliness.

    As I said, be easy, we won’t kill you – out of hand anyways. I do request you respect the intelligence of all here and be prepared to rationally defend or contritely retract as befits free, adult humans.

    Maybe you could drop some armour at this point and stop being a butt and using us likewise.

  117. Xopher says:

    Evidence, don’t you see that being absolutely certain that you, as a mere mortal, are right about anything INCLUDING “the faith,” is Prideful?

    Doubt everything except your own fallibility.

  118. Takuan says:

    X is a recognized reverent Greek abbreviation – among scholars I might add

  119. Antinous says:

    Can we talk about ad hominem? Am I the only person who thinks that it’s a phrase out of the Troll’s Handbook? I tend to view it as saying, “I can act like a dick, but you’re not allowed to call me one.”

  120. Tenn says:

    I wish the world were full of people like you.

    High praise indeed, Sister Y, and I appreciate it. (I only wish I was more ‘like me’ than I really am; I think I come across as more reasonable and ‘good’ over the internets, and I am not such a good person in meatworld).

    I actually don’t think I’m qualified to give you advice, but about your Pentacostal issue, I have an idea.

    Not qualified? I have a great deal of respect for your advice, actually, and this suggestion is particularly good. I am on occasion forced into church-going, and I think the church we went to was non-denominational. I rather liked the message. The smaller regular church my mother goes to doesn’t seem too crazy (I don’t know if it is specifically Pentecostal) but yes, they believe in speaking in tongues and my grandma has collapsed doing so. My mother has had a ‘revelation’ as well. They both ask why I can’t believe in the face of all this evidence but in honesty I see speaking in tongues as a faith-seizure more than anything.

    I’m going to do that, though, on the next occasion I end up in church and note a message that is particularly chilling.

    Buddhist teaching is -very- adaptive, Sister. Buddhist teaching is simply “be good to others” with various lessons on why and how and what is good and yet the Buddha does not ask you to judge sin based simply on what he says it is.

    On a Buddhist morally:
    “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. ”

    “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

    And the idea which I hold to be the principal truth;

    “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

    The Buddhist religion gives each practitioner the express tenet that morality should be determined individually. There are no strict end all be all commands. A Buddhist should not do murder; but if that murder would perhaps save an innocent life, it is permissible and not sin. Buddhism is as Einstein said the religion of the future; it is the -individual-’s religion.

    My grandmother even ADMITTED that what I believe is what she believes, sans deity. I think it takes more fortitude to not go to a God than it does to take to a God (which is not to believe myself stronger or braver than a God-believing person) because when you do not have a deity to turn to, you must rely on your own self and your own actions. This is not pride as I have been told; Evidence has used the phrase “you cannot pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” – Buddhism believes that you can and you must. Humans should be good for humanity’s sake.

    Xopher:

    Buddha Handles Snakes Too. You know, that’s a brilliant title. I like these suggestions. If I don’t write a novel, I will write a series of essays and post them to my journal or DA. I will probably use that title, too. I like what you say about Wiccans being able to speak in tongues too; I see it as something very spiritual but not necessarily holy.

    When I meditate, I am sometimes lucky enough to put away my ‘self’ and my aspirations and reach a moment or two of peace, of contentment. It is a cleansing experience. When I ‘love’ meditate, which is not clearing of the mind but focusing on success and doing well and being good, and then wishing those that you love good health and good life, and those that you do not feel for good health and good life, and those that you dislike good health and good life, I finish feeling clean and pure and good towards others. This isn’t a God thing, it’s a spirit thing. I think introspection is good for anyone, – Christian or Wiccan or Buddhist or Atheist.

  121. arkizzle says:

    Greg, FWIW (and to add to what Sis has already said above):

    I was following this thread, on and off, and I’m loathe for you to come away from this thinking it was somehow about you.

    I honestly think Antinous was saying he was sick of hearing “ad hominem” and “strawman”, the phrases themselves, and not talking about your interaction in this, or any, thread, nor the validity of logic in general.

    Those two phrases (whether used correctly or not) are trotted out, more often than not, during troll parties. Personally, I knew both terms before, but have never heard them used so much as on BB during a “fact”-off. I don’t think the validity of either phrase was being challenged, just their over-use in heated (or tedious) situations, where their usage is sometimes a bit more disingenuous.

    I think the distinction between debate and discussion is a valid one. I believe the distinction being made is the intent, not the structure. A discussion is about learning and exchanging. A debate is just about winning.

    So whether we are ‘technically’ debating or discussing, the notion that the truth is secondary to some great wordplay and a winning finish is what, I think, was being discussed. I don’t think anyone thinks you are doing this, or that it was even remotely directed at you.

    I don’t think anyone was accusing you of being over logical or talking just to win. I think some things were being discussed in general (perhaps a snarky throw-away line) which you mistakenly took personally, and no one thought (or knew) to correct your assumption.

    I for one have enjoyed your deconstructions and contributions, and can only imagine that the rest feel the same. It’s a pity there was a crossed wire to make you feel negatively appreciated. We certainly don’t want that.

  122. rosethornn says:

    While I agree with Einstein here, I do find it amusing that he would indeed get disemvowelled if he dared post such sentiments in the comments section.

  123. Takuan says:

    The Troll’s Handbook…. there’s an idea.

  124. arkizzle says:

    wait.. can’t we just sue GodCorp® for making the original Humanâ„¢ v1.0 faulty (eg. curious), and then blaming the rest of us for his uber-non-l33t modding skillz? What a n00b.

    Surely sin is just the original ticket in the bug-submission-system of human development, and the project developers haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet. When can we expect the SP1, with the OriginalSin patch?

    And does anyone remember clicking ‘agree’ on a EULA of any kind? I think I’m gonna go Linux on my next incarnation, at least we can patch our own faults and not owe anything at the end.

  125. Xopher says:

    Takuan, you know that and I know that (did you really think, given my name, that I didn’t?), and Xps for ‘Christus’ and Xpi for ‘Christi’, both of which are used in Kells (and perhaps Lindesfarne, I’m not certain of that one), but the adherents of “the faith” seem to find it offensive, so I try not to call them Xians and their religion Xianity (or even Xnty, which I’ve seen but which makes much less sense to me), unless I’m really trying to piss them off.

    Or as a gentle reminder when they’re pissing me off.

  126. Xopher says:

    The Ocean is the beginning of the Earth
    The Ocean is the beginning of the Earth
    All life comes from the Sea
    All life comes from the Sea

    (Pagan Chant)(Note scientific accuracy)

    The Brownies are the beginning of Dessert
    The Brownies are the beginning of Dessert
    Chocolate comes from Brazil
    Chocolate comes from Brazil
    (Xopherian Chant Parody)(Note dubious factology)

  127. Xopher says:

    Greg: someone comes into a thread and is being a total jerk. Someone else says “you’re being a jerk.” The jerk says “That’s an ad hominem attack! That’s not allowed!” (These people assume that the rules they know are the rules everywhere, don’t they?)

    They are completely unfamiliar with the logical fallacy of argumentum ad hominem. They’re just using it to try to silence anyone who calls them on their jerkiness. ‘Ad hominem’ is just a key phrase they try to use to win, win, win.

    This is, despite my joking about it, what Takuan meant (I think) when he referred to “irresponsible Latin.”

    I don’t know what Antinous intended, since I’m not inside his head. But it honestly did not occur to me that he might have meant you, and it still seems unlikely. Take that as a data point, if you will.

  128. Takuan says:

    no mention of them in the Necronomicom though.

    back in an epoch

  129. GregLondon says:

    Nelson@171: but just the “Yes” was such a simple, positive thing that he half fell in love with her before even meeting

    yes is a world
    & in this world of
    yes live
    (skilfully curled)
    all worlds
    –e.e.cummings

  130. Xopher says:

    Evidence, there are several people who have commented here who are Christians. I don’t know how broadly you define “the faith,” but at any rate you would have to consider them heretics rather than nay-sayers!

  131. evilrooster says:

    Evidence @239:

    I think I get the heart of the matter. You all want tolerance, pliability, mushy gushy, maybes.

    I think you don’t get the heart of the matter. I can’t speak for others, but for my part I know that I can only see through a glass darkly. That means that I may be wrong in what I believe, because my perceptions are limited and what I am trying to perceive vast.

    It also means, as a consequence, that others may be right, in whole or in part. Won’t I feel a complete idiot if they are and I’ve been spending all my time condemning them? More importantly, will I have been advancing the cause of rightness by so doing, even unaware?

    Not right and wrong.

    OK, now I know you’re talking and not listening on this blog. The vast majority of the comments on BoingBoing are about right and wrong, and negotiating and discussing the various reasons for each view! As people, like all people, we are obsessed with right and wrong.

    These comments may be about the rightness and wrongness of copyright and food wastage, but that’s just the Deuteronomy of the modern era, the details that express the underlying principles and commandments of a society.

    If I thought my beliefs were wrong I would not believe them.

    There is a difference between thinking that they are wrong and acknowledging that they may be wrong.

    I say God is right men are wrong. Does that mean I can be wrong? You bet.

    If your comments accepted this possibility, you’d get along an awful lot better here.

  132. brunomiguel says:

    I don’t fully agree with Einstein’s opinion about religion because my opinion is actually a lot more “hardcore”.
    Short version: I think religion should be forbidden.

  133. lukkas says:

    Arkizle
    “WTF? How much bending a statement to fit your personal view, do you think you can get away with, without actually breaking it.”

    Yea, I bent the statement to the point of breaking. Agreed. I don’t think Einstein intended this to be a positive assessment of religion.

    That being said, the terms he used could be subverted to support religion. Like ‘nigger’ has been subverted by some to be an expression of black identity, ‘primitive’ could be subverted to be an expression of religious primacy.

  134. Antinous says:

    <b>This is bold</b>
    <i>This is italic</i>
    <blockquote>

    This is blockquote

    </blockquote>

  135. GregLondon says:

    Xopher@262: Greg, you missed MO’s joke.

    Oh, no. I caught it the first time. But then I got caught up in an odd quest as to whether or not Evidence had ever used ad populum or not. Then I got wrapped up in distilling what I was seeing (partly for the readers, partly for myself).

    By the time I was done, I forgot to mention any reaction to the joke.

    argumentum ad populum, yet? If not, 84% of Americans…

    Actually, I prefer that sort of subtle humor. It’s like an easter egg, it rewards those paying attention. I was paying attention, but then got distracted.

    oooh, something shiny. I’d forget my head if it… shoot, where did I put that thing?

  136. Ugly Canuck says:

    That Prideful Evidence decided to clear out, eh?
    Notice that Paul was addressing Romans who had had Law for a thousand years, but not Jewish Law, and Christian Law was just a-borning…a Power Grab , explainig to his audience why Roman Law (the Axioms of which still continue in use to this day) was OK even though Pagan…”God had written it in your hearts…” also a way to flatter his potential converts…
    A rotten argument for a transcendently-based ontological distinction – does this behaviour/thought count as a “sin” or just is it just “bad”? Or “illegal”? A supernatural distinction…
    Who needs this distinction? “Sin” ,like “evil” is a loaded term, full of hidden acceptances of underlying Judeo-Christian beliefs. Don’t use ‘em, they only perpetuate sloppy thinking…

  137. GregLondon says:

    … I’m back. What was I saying?

    Oh, yes. Nice pun, MO.

    Very Eddie Izzard of you.

    (I consider that to be a compliment)

  138. Anonymous says:

    “posted in: Science”
    What does this have to do with science? The fact that Einstein was a scientist? Come on.

  139. GregLondon says:

    xopher@165: I had a powerful urge to walk up to him and say “yes.” It coalesced into an urge to say “yes; the answer to the question in your mind is yes.” Nothing more. No idea what the question was or why it was up to me to tell him the answer. To make a long story short, I chickened out, but I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t.

    It’s a weird thing, wanting something and thinking ourselves undeserving of it at the same time. To simultaneously say to ourselves both “yes” and “no”. To be in this eternal, internal conflict. It seems to be one of the natural steady states of human nature.

    What would happen if you said “yes”? You would have brought resolution to internal conflict. Whether or not he could hear what you’re saying is another matter entirely. But you would have brought your own personal peace to the table. And whether some particular person can hear it or not, I think it’s worth saying, even if no one hears it just yet.

    Someday (soon I hope) the world will be able to hear it, to hear the “yes”. I only hope that when that time finally comes, someone, anyone, is stilly saying it.

  140. Landowner says:

    ploni

    If Jews had magic why didn’t they make Hitler go away?

  141. scottfree says:

    Now to practise on a dead thread.

  142. Xopher says:

    Greg 183: Wow. Just wow. I like the “stilly saying it,” which at first I thought was a typo…but then I got the deeper truth in it.

    Back when that first happened to me, I imagined the interaction (which didn’t happen) from his POV,and posted it to my LiveJournal.

  143. Evidence says:

    @Tukuan

    Thanks

  144. arkizzle says:

    That being said, the terms he used could be subverted to support religion.

    But why?

  145. Takuan says:

    yeah, that’s about it

  146. Modusoperandi says:

    Evidence: So, to you “…didn’t kill me the minute I first sinned.” and “patiently enduring wrongs or difficulties” are the same thing? Don’t ever go into law enforcement.

    Evidence “How so? He didn’t have to make away of escape. He didn’t have to take the punishment on Himself.”
    He didn’t have to take the punishment for breaking the rules that He knows we can’t consistently follow (try “though shalt not lie” the next time your wife asks you if she looks fat in that dress or try “though shalt not covet” when something covetable is near. The former is just protecting the feelings of others and the latter is id, which is not under your control). Any number of miztvahs are worse, depending of course on your interpretation of bits like Matt5:18′s “jot and tittle”. I wonder if He giggled after saying “tittle”. I know I would’ve. Granted, I’m a sucker for that mature, intellectual, cerebral humour.

    “Thats merciful and just.”
    Um, no. That, by definition, cannot be both merciful and just.
    Mercy is “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence”, while justice is “the administering of deserved punishment or reward”. One is letting you off for things you did, and the other is punishing you for things you did.

    “Adam knew the rules before he disobeyed.”
    Yes, but Adam (and I’m not saying that he existed) couldn’t possibly have known the consequences of his actions. Without a knosh from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil, he would have possessed, at most, a very limited sense of consequences. As such, he “knew” but did not “understand”. Think of it this way, if you tell your child not to touch the hot pan, what’s the first thing they do? If you explain to them why they should not touch the pan, they probably still will. It’s only after gaining an understanding of the consequences of hot pan touching that they won’t do it again. To damn a child for disobedience not the act of a benevolent parent.

    “Suffering wasn’t Gods choosing but He does use it to draw us to Him.”
    That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.

    “What about you? You seem to know what is expected and the consequences for disobedience and still fight. Why? You don’t want a good ending?”
    Pascal’s Wager, revisited. Hurrah! That only works on those who believe. To the rest of us, it’s a threat, and not a very good one at that. I can’t just believe in something that so terribly contradicts what I see around me. JC (apparently) said that if I don’t believe Moses and the Prophets (an awesome name for a band, by the way) that I won’t believe that one rose from the dead.
    Well, I don’t believe Moses and the prophets. Faith lacking evidence can be okay, I guess. Faith in the face of the evidence, however, is daft.
    6 day creation= wrong,
    6,000 year old world= wrong,
    first man magik’d up from dust= wrong,
    first woman magik’d up from man= how messed up is that?,
    animals all vegetarians before “the Fall”= wrong (take a close look at Tyrannosaurus coprilites),
    Tower of Babel (as the origin of the differing languages)= wrong,
    Exodus= negligible evidence of 2,000,000 people wandering a 100×150 mile area for 40 years,
    Etc.

    “We sin against an infinite God so we pay for it proportionately…Same thing “Killing” but what I killed determined my punishment. Breaking any of the commandments are sins against an infinite God so they are paid for eternally.”
    It doesn’t reflect well on the human concept of God when we can figure out proportional punishment, and He can’t.
    You’ve got the math wrong, anyway. Any finite number, in comparison to an infinite one, is infinitely small, not infinitely large. I think I just blew my own mind. That happens, sometimes.

    “I don’t understand “O_O””
    O_O

  147. scottfree says:

    I object to using the term ‘Judeo-Christian’ when what you mean to say is ‘Christian.’ They’re two distinct religions with very little in common, in terms of practice.

  148. Tenn says:

    though it is sadly lacking in unicorn chasers

    A long time ago when the earth was green
    And there was more kinds of animals than you’ve ever seen,
    And they run around free while the earth was bein’ born
    And the loveliest of all was the Unicorn.
    There was green alligators and long-necked geese.
    There was humpy bumpy camels and chimpanzees.
    There was catsandratsandelephants, but sure as you’re born
    The loveliest of all was the Unicorn.
    But the Lord seen some sinnin’, and it caused him pain.
    He says, “Stand back, I’m gonna make it rain.”
    He says, “Hey brother Noah, I’ll tell you watcha do
    Go and build me a floatin’ zoo.
    And you take two alligators, and a couple of geese,
    Two humpy bumpy camels and two chimpanzees.
    Take twocatsandratsandelephants, but sure as you’re born,
    Noah, don’t you forget my Unicorn.”
    Now Noah was there and he answered the callin’,
    And he finished up the ark just as the rain started fallin’.
    He marched in the animals two by two,
    And he called out as they went through,
    “Hey Lord, I got your two alligators and your couple of geese,
    Your humpy bumpy camels and your two chimpanzees.
    Got your catsandratsandelephants, but Lord I’m so forlorn
    Cause I just don’t see no Unicorn.”
    Ol’ Noah looked out through the drivin’ rain,
    But the Unicorns were hidin’ playin’ silly games.
    They were kickin’ and splashin’ in the misty morn,
    Oh them silly Unicorn.
    Then the goat started goatin’ and the snake started snakin’,
    The elephant started elephantin’ and the boat started shakin’
    The mouse started squeekin’ and the lion started roarin”,
    And everyone’s aboard but the Unicorn.
    I mean the green alligators and the long-neck geese,
    The humpy bumpy camels and the chimpanzees.
    Noah cried, “Close the door, ’cause the rain is pourin’ -
    And we just can’t wait for them Unicorn.”
    Then the Ark started movin’, and it drifted with the tide,
    And the Unicorns looked up from the rock and cried.
    And the water came up and sort of floated them away -
    That’s why you’ve never seen a Unicorn to this day.
    You’ll see a lot of alligators and a whole mess of geese.
    You’ll see humpy bumpy camels and lots of chimpanzees.
    You’ll see catsandratsandelephants, but sure as you’re born
    You’re never gonna see no Unicorn.

  149. Sister Y says:

    Ugly Canuck – right on. When I listen to old Notorious B.I.G. tracks, I find myself silently thinking “shut up Puffy” over and over again. It’s depressing how he litters the beautiful tracks with his irritating voice. Likewise when I read the New Testament, but with Paul.

    Though I do think words like “evil” have their place in discussions of ethics. “Harm” and “wrong” don’t always cover every sense you might want to express.

  150. airdrummer says:

    too bad al, dawkins, et al, couldn’t see the forest for the trees…of_course_religion doesn’t stand up to rational examination: the target audience is the pre-rational mind: children.

    a conscience must be instilled in a child before the age of rationality, or it never will (nd r nnr cts r sd xmpls f tht)-:

    religions obviously exist because they have survival value: the bible is full of sage advice like “get your drinking water downstream from your latrine” wrapped in mnemonic yarns, the only way to propagate cultural knowledge in a pre-literate world.

    but civilization itself would be impossible in a population without consciences.

    and religion has proven to be a powerful motivator: the pyramids, cathedrals, etc, wouldn’t have been built, the knowledge of the greeks wouldn’t have survived the dark ages, w/o the power of religion…think of it as empirical applied psychology;-)

    unfortunately, religion also has the power to make people blow themselves up in crowds:-(

    so if al gore really wants to stop global warming, he should follow Lron’s example & start his own religion;-}

  151. Evidence says:

    @Xopher
    “I don’t know how broadly you define “the faith””

    I do not define it very broadly at all.
    1. Bible is God’s word and is inerrant
    2. Jesus is God in the flesh, the second person of the Trinity
    3. Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose again bodily three days later
    4. He is coming bodily to the Earth again
    5. Christians are those who have repented of their sins and placed their trust in Jesus to save them from their sins and are then “born again”
    6. These “born again” Christians are those in the faith.

    Thats as bare bones as I can make it right now.

  152. Jupiter12 says:

    Einstein’s views on religion are about as meaningful as the pope’s views on science.

    I’ll pass.

  153. Sister Y says:

    Antinous, I understand your pain. A comment thread is not a formal debate, so in some sense, why should logical fallacies be noted, except for our amusement? And ad hominem is so common as not to be amusing.

    But there’s something to be said for avoiding it and having a general awareness that it’s cheating. Perhaps I am just an unreasonably delicate flower, but I find that when people call me nasty names (someone once called me a “Ron Paultard” – me, a registered Green!) it raises my heart rate substantially, brings on things that the kids these days call “panic attacks,” and makes me feel terrible for days.

  154. scottfree says:

    I remember finding a R. Buckminster Fuller book in my mum’s basement as a kid that focused on Einstein’s philosophy. Really very formative for me.

    This is an essay from my lengthy ‘to read on the internet’ list: http://www.pantaneto.co.uk/issue17/weinert

    As I say, I haven’t read it yet, but it’s again, about Einstein as philosopher.

    Funny thing about religion: I am crazy enough to compensate when I get all radical atheist. For instance a few weeks ago, I had an argument with a friend who made her fiancée convert to Judaism. I didn’t see the point, since neither of them actually believed in it. But very soon after I stopped eating shell fish. All of a sudden shell fish were repugnant to me.

    I don’t know. I’m the sort of person who, while not at all religious, will under no set of circumstances step on a crack in the pavement. I literally don’t want to think about what would happen if I did.

  155. GregLondon says:

    You all want tolerance, pliability, mushy gushy, maybes. Not right and wrong.

    I… I don’t even know where that one goes on the bingo card. It’s a faulty premise, to be sure. But it also attacks “you all”, so it’s ad hominem too. But it also completely misrepresents anything that anyone here said, so it’s a Strawman. And the fact that you say that with a straight face simply reinforces the point several people have tried to make to you: You DON’T LISTEN. I think that qualifies for the bonus round.

    What I want is a single example of premise->inferences->conclusion that you used to reach your line of thinking. Just one. Even a small one. It would demonstrate that you understand logic, and it would also demonstrate that you can reply to someone’s question in the context of their question.

    As it is, you have thus far acted in a manner indistinguishable from a cross between a cut-and-paste spam-my-religion bot and an Eliza program that responds to questions with more questions, occaisional sermons, and random quotes from the bible.

    You’re now entering the phase where the limits of your spambot/eliza program has reached its limits and is starting to repeat itself. If this were my blog, I’d start charging you a nickel every time you say you’re not showing Pride, you’re just warning people that we are all sinners, just on the principle of wasted and redundant bandwidth and storage alone.

    I will go if I am not wanted

    Your cut-and-paste sermons certainly weren’t on my request list. Your Eliza-bot non-responses to my questions certainly weren’t what I was looking for. You’re not engaging in any sort of conversation with anyone here. Several people have pointed that out to you already. Spamming your religion and ignoring people’s comments and questions to you is NOT what anyone here wants.

    And you’re “I work two jobs and dont’ have time to reply to every point” wins another bingo card point for you. You have plenty of time to cut and paste your sermons. You have yet to demonstrate that you understand the context of someone’s question or statement to you and that you are able to respond in context. That’s what people want. And you’ve yet to engage. Sermons from someone who doesn’t even care to actually talk with me is not something I want. Using “you all” to make Strawman attacks and Ad Hominems against folks here isn’t something I want.

    Do not want.

    So, I propose that you have a couple of options. Either give people what they want and drop the sermons from on high and engage people as individuals (maybe even acknowledge a strawman, an ad hominem, etc), or, keep giving people what they don’t want, and then decide if you’re own words about leaving mean anything to you.

    But that’s just me.

  156. jonathan_v says:

    just goes to show you… people call him one of the smartest folks ever for a reason!

  157. Ugly Canuck says:

    That Prideful Evidence decided to clear the Hell out, eh? Well, if you can’t stand the heat…
    Notice that Paul was addressing the Romans who had had Law for a thousand years, but not Jewish Law, and Christian Law was literally just a-borning…an Evangelical Power Grab , explaining to his audience why Roman Law (the Axioms of which still continue in use to this day) was OK even though Pagan and not [what exactly? What was the objection? Perhaps the Tolerance which Roman Law extended to all religions within her vast Empire (save and except those in open revolt)?] originated by “God or his Prophets”…”God had written it in your hearts…” also a way to flatter his potential converts…
    A rotten argument for a transcendently-based ontological distinction – does this behaviour/thought count as a “sin” or just is it just “bad”? Or “illegal”? A supernatural distinction…which was rapidly annihilated when the Empire became Officially Christian (at the time of Emperor Theodosius’ prescription of Christianity as the mandatory religion for his subjects), for then any act made illegal was therefore and thereby also a sin. Like in the Papal states, or any other theocracy.
    Who needs this distinction? “Sin” , like “evil”, is a loaded term, full of hidden acceptances of underlying Judeo-Christian beliefs. And these “qualities” need a Priest to detect them. Don’t use these terms, they only perpetuate sloppy thinking…
    Evidence is a Dominionist, I think, seeking to fortify State power by the social use of an Official Religion. GWB speaking about “evil” while launching violent attacks on populations of a different religion was a big step backwards, I think, but not for the Dominionists.
    I personally like the “We are all bad evil sinners , I do this for you, not for any reason of my own” shtick that Evidence employs. Make ‘em feel guilty, make’ ‘em fear Hell….such delicious manipulation…

  158. Antinous says:

    So only like minded people are allowed here?

    Takuan has earned respect. You’ve earned…. something else. As far as I can tell, you’re just a gasbag who likes to hear himself talk. I believe you are that which, in Christian terms, is sometimes called a Pharisee.

  159. Man On Pink Corner says:

    Being one of those obnoxious card-carrying evangelical atheists, I rarely miss an opportunity to bash religions and their practitioners on an ecumenical basis. But I don’t see how pointing to a quote by Einstein and going “Nyah, told ya so” accomplishes much of anything.

    People seem to think of Einstein as some sort of domesticated demigod, expert in everything from physics to philosophy to plumbing to psoriasis cures. Einstein in turn seems to have been only too happy to oblige, offering weighty, eloquent opinions on all sorts of random stuff, about which he was no more qualified to comment upon than the guy who sold him his bicycle was.

    Apparently, if ol’ Albert says there’s no invisible sky wizard, that seems to be good enough for a lot of people.

    It shouldn’t be, though.

  160. Evidence says:

    I am gonna half leave for a week. My daughter is graduating high school.

    I am not running a way wally B the answer is sin send us to hell and that includes disbelief. Repentance and faith/trust is what saves you. Repent of your sins and trust in Jesus to save you is how Heaven is gained. It is a gift and is not earned.

    If I can sneak on a computer I will if not, see ya.

  161. Xopher says:

    Then you’re probably the only one here who’s in “the faith.”

    Also, one of the Gospels says that Jesus (not the Bible) is the Word. Again, what you believe seems like bibliolatry to me.

  162. Takuan says:

    been there, moved on

  163. Sister Y says:

    People were honking all the time. Including me. Mostly me. Okay, just me.

    ModusOperandi please be Internet friends with me.

    As people, like all people, we are obsessed with right and wrong.

    EvilRooster, it is heartening to hear you say that, ’cause I always worry that I’m hijacking threads into ethics discussions.

  164. Antinous says:

    I’m not recommending rampant name-calling, but occasionally the reality of the situation seems to cry out for a direct accusation of dickishness.

  165. mikelotus says:

    “God is a concept by which we measure our pain.” — John Lennon

    Is there any modern, physicist that is a leader in the field that is religious?

  166. Antinous says:

    Quick. Change the URL.

  167. Tenn says:

    Man 14,

    Hear, hear. I’m not going to use a quote from Einstein and expect people to use that as a basis for belief any more than I would listen if somebody quoted the Bible.

    Nevertheless, ethos has a hand in our society. When a respectable person thinks a certain way, people often use that as an excuse to absorb those beliefs (pop culture, anyone?) or vindicate their own through them.

    Nevertheless, Einstein was a pretty rad guy.

  168. Versh says:

    @ #40
    Be careful to how the pendulum swings, Brunomiguel, do you really want to make large groups of irrational people angry and suppressed?

    As unfortunate as it is, humanity will always have tinges of superstition and irrational fears to contend with, and thus, there’ll always be some form of religion for those who need it.

  169. Ugly Canuck says:

    All religions are equally useful, says the Magistrate.
    All religions are equally false, says the Philosopher.

    Sorry about double-posts and inelegant spacing.

    All religions are equally true, says the Artist.

  170. SeppTB says:

    #4 – I can agree with you there. However, I often see the reverse happening, where religious folks will throw out some Einstein quote (“God does not play dice with the universe”) to justify their arguments, not realizing Einstein’s intent behind it or that he often used the word god in the deist sense rather than the theist sense. Having a nice quote like this to shut them up is handy.

  171. Ceronomus says:

    Ah religion. I often wonder when the rest of the world is going to grow up and join the adults at the big kid’s table. This belief in invisible father/mother figures is…well…strange to me. But that isn’t what bothers me. People can believe whatever they choose to.

    What bothers me is people using these superstitious beliefs as an excuse for war and bigotry. Such people are, to me, insane, having allowed some nonsensical bit of voodoo to so shade their opinion of the world that it is okay to go out and kill people because .

    You don’t see a lot of people reading books on physics using those tomes to justify mass slaughter of people who don’t agree with them. That remains the claim of religion.

    Religion doesn’t start ALL wars, but it sure has started a LOT of wars and caused a great deal of suffering.

    As for the religious people out there who are good, charitable people? You don’t need to “have religion” to be a good person.

    So Einstein didn’t believe in religion. That isn’t likely going to change the mind of any religious person. It just means that the more rational minded of us don’t have to keep having an Einstein quote thrown in our face as “proof” taht even science bows to religion.

  172. Takuan says:

    Dear Sister

    Really?

    Antinous, go for it, what could possibly go wrong?

  173. arkizzle says:

    I think it has to be the tip of the top of badness before you should use the word ‘evil’. I think lazy speakers use it to avoid having to give actual sane arguments to the things they want you to see as morally reprehensible.

    I mean, it has become such a watered down piece of rhetoric that it can be applied to things like comics and computer games, or pr0n. To me, ‘evil’ is things like genocide and torture.

    Murder less so, (in the ‘crime of passion’ context anyway. Running around manically laughing whilst filling everyone in your vision with hot-lead is bit closer to it). I think ‘evil’ is less about the specific crime, and more about the intent. Like getting pleasure from hurting people is probably evil on a sliding scale, proportionate to the action.. eg. putting toast-crumbs in your friend’s bed: small evil, but evil none-the-less :)
    __

    ps. Sis, I couldn’t even make enough sense of what canuck wrote to consider a reply, your cryptographical prowess is made of win!!

  174. GregLondon says:

    Tenn@287: anger to me is just as bad as displaying hurt (which I also have difficulty doing).

    Well, the thing about saying “that hurt” is that you know that when you say it, it’s always true (unless you know you’re lying). Even the formal “you insult me, sir” isn’t neccessarily true because it assumes the other person’s intent was to insult. And the “F You!” response assumes bad intent and also escalates.

    ‘course, someone could use “that hurt” to play the victim, which would be abusing that process, but if something hurt you, then you know it hurt, and you know that saying it wouldn’t be lying.

    Sometimes the person you’re saying “that hurt” to won’t care that they said something that hurt you, which might be reason to avoid it. That ends up taking one hurt and turning it into two. Keeping the guard up, being angry, or being icy/formal, might be an attempt to prevent another hurt, but it also doesn’t resolve the previous hurt.

    I’d like a “Formal Debate Duel” system though- throwing the gauntlet down would improve my argument skills, which need much work.

    Well, are you talking about logical argument development? Or are you talking about the art of persuasion? For logical arguments, there’s really only one rule: start with true premises, infer intermediate truths, and reach a true conclusion. And then there are a whole bunch of ways to break this rule. See the list of logical fallacies. I bookmarked a handy list here.

    Once you start following the process yourself, then it’s a matter of being able to recognize when someone else is following the rules or committing a fallacy, which turns out to be a lot harder than it might sound (for me, anyway).

    Completely independent of logic, though is the weird (for me, anyway) art of Persuasion.

    Persuasion isn’t logic, it’s about getting the other person to agree to your point of view, which means you have to start studying and understand the human point of view and start tryign to figure out where the other person is coming from. In my version of an ideal world, everyone would simply respond to a sound logical argument with somthing like “Oh, yes, you’re right” and take on that point of view. But logic is like the third level of human development, and there are at least five levels total. And not everyone is operating on the logical level.

    I think I have some mastery around logic, but I’m definitely a beginner in the art of persuasion.

  175. evilrooster says:

    Sister Y @249:
    EvilRooster, it is heartening to hear you say that, ’cause I always worry that I’m hijacking threads into ethics discussions.

    Well, I think it’s very right of you to pursue these matters. But it seems wrong that you feel that you need my encouragement; you’re a member in better standing here than I am.

    Trust yourself.

  176. Evidence says:

    “seems like bibliolatry to me”

    No in fundamental circles bibliolatry is called King James Version Only.

    They worship the Bible as the fourth person of the Trinity. (or whatever they would call it)

    Jesus is the Word made flesh.

  177. Anonymous says:

    It’s not like Einstein was ever wrong about anything…even in his own field:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohr_Einstein_debate

  178. GregLondon says:

    the answer is sin send us to hell and that includes disbelief.

    Why do you say that?

    Repentance and faith/trust is what saves you

    Does that interest you?

    trust in Jesus to save you

    Who else in your family saves you?

    It is a gift and is not earned.

    Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about… your mother.

  179. Tenn says:

    Sepptb 6,

    Or his mention of Buddhism as the religion of the future. I think people who throw out quotes like that should be dismissed in a debate, and not even replied to (but as my comment history will show, I don’t always do that unfortunately.)

  180. arkizzle says:

    Well, if you can’t stand the heat…

    That’s a little mean spirited (besides the fact that you appended it later, after had a chance to think about it).

  181. Anonymous says:

    I would consider myself to be a reasoning human being who also is religious. Many of my peers share this same idea that religion and science are mutually exclusive. Part of my belief lies in the fact that I don’t believe in chance. Luck and coincidence mean nothing to me except as place holders to describe particularly good or bad events. I look in wonder at some of the mathematical flow of the universe and cant help but think that such things did not simply happen.

    I don’t expect everyone to think as I do or even to agree with me but people like #40 who wish to create crimethink makes me raise my eyebrow a bit.

  182. Modusoperandi says:

    Xopher: I say without even a hint of irony that we should, nay, must ban all latin.

  183. Landowner says:

    Man On Pink Corner What happens when the next Newton or Da Vinci comes along, and he happens to be a Scientologist? Oops.

    That will not happen. Just like a flower can not grow in the vacuum of space. A genius can not grow in the thought vacuum of a cult.

  184. Takuan says:

    any recent research on the neurochemistry of the conversion and/or religious experience?

  185. Sister Y says:

    Takuan, yeah, it was only one time and it was a lot worse than just the calling of a single name, though. Unmoderated boards, they are not for the weak!

    Doesn’t anybody else get Internet-mediated fight-or-flight responses? I wonder how abnormal that is.

    occasionally the reality of the situation seems to cry out for a direct accusation of dickishness.

    Yeah, I’d probably have to agree with that statement.

  186. Ugly Canuck says:

    Getting on-topic, Einstein surely meant what he said.
    As to the term “Judeo-Christian”, I was going to use the term “Abrahamic”. Irrespective of their differences, Judaism, Christianity and Islam share a Universalist intolerance, an excess of “Holy Zeal” which from time to time becomes violent.
    I think they are all bad, and only grudgingly admit that in rare cases individuals think that they have obtained some (illusory) comfort or solace thereby. But why should we care about harmless illusions?
    I think Religion is only important insofar as it is Political. I’m with Bonaparte on this. Religious discussions are political discussions. If the religious stuff doesn’t matter in political terms, then it does not matter at all. And Politics is only about Power – the Power people have over others. “People” not “God/Jesus/Allah”. So you’ve gotta come out swinging as far as these religious types go. They have caused immense social damage over the last two or three thousand years with their thorough-going lies and sophisticated frauds.
    Finally, how we term or characterize a problem only matters if and only if it helps to resolve the problem. The term “evil” doesn’t, nor does it aid understanding.It seems obscurantist.

  187. GregLondon says:

    Oh. You’re playing a quote game. OK. I can hang with that.

    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

  188. Cowicide says:

    @ #4 posted by Man On Pink Corner

    Poo poo it all you want, but I think that someone who many (if not most) consider to be the word’s most quintessential, household-name, smart guy saying religion is bullshit carries some significance in this world.

    But… then again, he might have responded….

    “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” – Einstein

    Who knows…

  189. Takuan says:

    a charming tale, Xopher, echoed in Go Rin No Sho I believe.

    Dear Evidence:

    The great theologian-comedian Woody Allen once remarked: “Millions of Universes crying out for a god, yet He hangs around this one looking for work”

    I think you are here for your own purposes. I think you want something missing from your life. Be easy.

  190. GregLondon says:

    Antinous@294: FYI, I don’t debate. The point of debating, as far as I can tell, is to win the debate

    Well, I have been known to enter a debate now and then, and I do so for a number of different possible reasons. A lot of times, I debate to learn, to find out where I’m wrong, to find out where I’ve made an assumption about something, to push my own envelope, to have someone point out a flaw in my reasoning because I can’t see it.

    Other times, I debate because the topic is important to me. If someone starts rambling about torture, I will probably engage them in some way. Not because I want to “win”, but because a world without torture is important to me.

  191. So-Called Austin Mayor says:

    Now that we’ve established the inherent silliness of religion, Mr. Einstein, let’s talk about your hair!

    “My haircut is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness — a collection of honourable, but still primitive styles which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this…

    “For me the oversized mustache, like all others, is an incarnation of the most childish facial hair. And the cookie-duster wearers, people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity, have no different quality for me than all other people.”

  192. Modusoperandi says:

    Evidence “I bring a lifetime of thought and meaning when I say it that way.”
    No, you bring way more than a single lifetime’s thought. For a couple thousand years (for Christianity, at least, more for older religions) people have been trying to figure out what it all means. Despite your username, however, they’ve been starting at a feeling and basing everything on that. This is why religions keep dividing. If it was all evidence-based, the opposite would be happening. Feelings are all fine and dandy, but they’re a piss poor base for finding truth (or, weeding our falsity). Science isn’t perfect, by any means, but it’s excellent at finding what’s false (no matter what ICR and AIG say), and scientists (though some will dig in their heels) admit the error, learn from it and move on. Theologians just add another coat of paint to a foundation that used to look a lot more solid before we stopped asking “What’s His will today, anyway?” and replaced it with “Look, a bug! I wonder how that works, anyway?” or another bad “proof” to the many other bad proofs of God, as though a stack of mediocrity actually proves anything other than the fact that their time would be better spent on other things. Scientific theory (even the many weak and conflicting hypotheses of Abiogenesis) is far stronger than ontological proofs ever were.

    “It is just because He did not wipe my sins away arbitrarily but paid for them. It was a legal transaction. Jesus paid my fine, now my court case could be dismissed because payment had been made.”
    Remember that when a Christian Right loudmouth states that American law is based on the Bible. Also, that you use “just” and “arbitrary” in the same sentence scares the hell out of me. Again, don’t ever go in to Law.

    “I do not go to Heaven because I or anyone is a good person but because my sins have been paid for, my death sentence has been commuted by the court.”
    So, He demands the perfection that you (His own design) are incapable of, threatens to punish you for being what He made, takes that punishment Himself (although not really. He’d be in Hell then, wouldn’t He?) so that He can let the imperfect creation that He can’t have near Him near Him? You know how the tales of other religions tend to sound kind of nutty to you? That’s exactly the way that yours sounds to me.

    “Not an exact apples to apples comparison but as close as we could get. The child would be punished by a loving parent and the child now knows the parent was truthful, right, kind in warning them, looking out for their best interests, and that they (the child) are disobedient and suffers for their disobedience (burns….), they should listen and respect the parent that loves them. We should save ourselves some pain and listen.”
    You’re right; it’s not apples to apples. Parents don’t damn their children for disobedience, parents don’t give children rules that they know categorically the children will be physically and intellectually incapable of following, parents are constantly there (in the most literal sense) to guide their children, and parents (the good ones, anyway) are consistent. Good parents don’t guide one child to the (big T) Truth that “jot and tittle” means that the OT rules are no longer in effect (except, oddly, the Big 10 and those bits about homos) while guiding another child to biblical theonomy, a couple others to either take Genesis literally (complete with the Ussher math) or not, and the others to other religions entirely. Also, good parents don’t tell their kids to go all Joshua on the neighbours (who, to torture an analogy even further, are also the parent’s children).

    “Suffering wasn’t Gods choosing but He does use it to draw us to Him.”
    That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.”
    “I can not do this justice right now but if you want me too I can explain more later. (Think the child being burned as above)”
    Actually, you can’t. In the entire span of religion, no one has come up with an adequate explanation for why an all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful diety lets bad shit happen to good people. Kids don’t get cancer because of “the Fall”, because His plan is mysterious, because His ways are not our ways, or because He’s testing us. Kids get cancer, in part, because cell division is pretty good, but not perfect. When it’s not perfect, things can go terribly, horribly wrong. There’s the rational explanation. It’s not perfect and it’s far from comforting, but it’s the truth. You have no one to pray to and, generally, no one to blame, but that’s it. Life sucks, sometimes. For better or worse, an imperfect, incomplete, uncomfortable natural explanation is more real and more (small t) true than even the most ironclad, perfect supernatural fantasty.

    “Faith lacking evidence can be okay, I guess. Faith in the face of the evidence, however, is daft.”
    “I totally agree with you. It comes down to who or what we trust for our information.”
    I trust the universe. There’s 14.6 billion years of history there.
    I trust the Earth. There’s 4.5 billion years there.
    I trust the history of life. There’s 3-4 billion years there.
    In each of those, we’re learning more and more everyday. None of it leads to “the Fall”. None of it shows a population pinch down to eight people 4,500 years ago. None of it shows the Babel hypothesis of the origin of languages to be true. None of it shows Exodus. None of it shows an earthquake and an eclipse and the temple curtain tearing and the dead getting up and wandering around Jerusalem.
    Jesus the man? Sure. Jesus the Son of God and a virgin hottie, and descendant of David, and a bunch of begets (but not nearly enough to go from what would be considered the first homo sapiens sapiens), and descendant of Adam (created as a standalone model with no common descent in 4004BC and made from dust)? No way.

    “Remember information is only as reliable as its source so we need to choose wisely who or what we trust.”
    There, we differ. Our seats of knowledge are two very different things. Special revelation is a poor substitute for knowing what the f*ck you’re talking about.

    “You all throw up Pascal I say run to the evidence but look at it without bias and truely seek the truth.”
    I’ll stick with modern science’s “based on the evidence we consider this to be true (for now, until disproven by further investigation)” over religion’s argument from (biblical) authority, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it”, or ID’s modernized argument from design, “Boy, that sure is complicated!”.

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator “Modus Operandi, I can tell you’re an atheist.”
    It’s because I’m not wearing pants, right?

    “I was asking whether you were raised Presbyterian, since Total Depravity is one of their riffs.”
    No. I was raised apatheist. Most of what I’ve learned about such things was to try to understand where others are coming from. I still don’t “get it”, but I can at least see the blur of the outline of the smudge of belief.

  193. Evidence says:

    @TAKUAN

    I heard that Einstein thinks religion is “childish,” “primitive”.

  194. GregLondon says:

    Antinous@265: Can we talk about ad hominem? Am I the only person who thinks that it’s a phrase out of the Troll’s Handbook? I tend to view it as saying, “I can act like a dick, but you’re not allowed to call me one.”

    I think my parser may have lost it’s place. Labeling an ad hominem as an ad hominem is acting like a dick?

    Reminds me of my days on wikipedia years ago when accusing someone of violating NPOV would get a response such as “Hey, no personal attacks!” Well, you violated NPOV, if you take that as a personal attack on your character, I’m not sure you should be an administrator on wikipedia. When someone on arbitration committee said that to me, I gave up on wikipedia.

    Did I parse that correctly, Antinous?

    No, BoingBoing threads are hardly formal logical developments, but when presented with something outrageous, I think it’s better to point out the basic logical fallacy than to try and engage in the specific point in every way that it is wrong. If they’re not going to acknowledge a logical fallacy, why would they acknowledge an explanation of why that particular statement is an appeal to authority and that such a statement doesn’t prove anything logically?

  195. Man On Pink Corner says:

    #8 Poo poo it all you want, but I think that someone who many (if not most) consider to be the word’s most quintessential, household-name, smart guy saying religion is bullshit carries some significance in this world.

    OK, so that’s Einstein’s take on it. What happens when the next Newton or Da Vinci comes along, and he happens to be a Scientologist? Oops.

  196. noen says:

    I’m probably in that later category. Though I am a little tired of Atheism of late. It really strikes me as a kind of fundamentalism. Notice how they tend to seek their own antithesis in the Evangelicals and the like. It makes for a lot of fireworks but isn’t really that illuminating.

  197. Nelson.C says:

    Greg @252: Is this to be an empathy test?

  198. Cowicide says:

    #150 posted by Teresa Nielsen Hayden:

    Cowicide @31, you’re not helping make this a nuanced and civil discourse.

    Yeah, I was being an ass. Sorry.

    #124 posted by noen:

    … In a world with no supernatural beliefs, which would be a very dull world, …

    I find (arguably fictional) supernatural beliefs a dull world compared to the fantastic wonders of the very real natural world around us. I guess I’m very blessed to have experienced and appreciated aspects of the natural world that have filled my heart with so much joy and wonder that it only makes thoughts of the supernatural add mere “spice” to the entire meal, if that. I’m not saying the supernatural definitely doesn’t exist for me and I do find some aspects of metaphysics interesting to say the least, but… ah..

    Is making love dull without voodoo?

    I think William Blake said something like, “energy is eternal delight”…

    I’ve been incredibly fortunate enough in life to experience the raw, natural power of the ocean tumbling, hissing and completely encompassing my body with misty cathedral sunbeam reflections and refractions darting all about within this breathing (oh, yes.. at size, you DO hear and very much FEEL this entity breathe), animalistic, dangerous spinning barrel of beautiful liquid energy transference only to lean forward on my board and be shot out of this vortex, this amazing wonder of physics…. shot out like a tiny spit-wad.. unharmed.. with so much adrenaline coursing through my system that the imagery and feelings are permanently and vividly implanted into my mind (or some may call it soul) and for even years afterwards it’s so throughly etched into my being that it still feels in many ways as if it transpired yesterday… and I still crave for more (probably till I die).

    Scientists now suspect information can escape black holes because the universe is larger than we once thought. Even Hawkings has recently recanted. I already knew this through surfing (and screwing around with scale of symmetry video feedback, but that’s another story)

    Surfing within the barrel of a large wave feels like being a chased rabbit caught mid-hop impossibly deep inside the throat of an enormous, powerful animal only to escape in the nick of time before it thunderously clamps down its jowls upon you as you feel tremendous air pressure and spit at the back of your neck. The fear, the adrenaline, the fantastic colors and visuals that are (at times) hard to believe, the camaraderie of your fellow surfers, the feeling of paddling out and duck-diving to punch through a wave and pop out of the back of it to be congratulated with a delicate mist that shot off the top of the lip of the passed wave that’s now embedded with rainbows and falling lazily onto your hot, sun-drenched back and cooling it… or the sensual, mercurial feeling of skimming and dipping your hand across the face of a wave rushing inches away from your body at speeds that constantly ebb and flow as you both move.. the…

    Wait… what were we talking about? Yeah, the world would be a dull place without supernatural beliefs… yeah…

    You have seen pictures from the Hubble telescope, right? Would you consider those spectacularly beautiful (and mystifying) natural events captured by hubble… dull? To me, the natural world around us is very far from dull.

    I’ll quit rambling on about this and just let Carl Sagan take it from here.

    If you haven’t already, please read: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

    Here, Carl Sagan goes into all this far more eloquently and intelligently than I ever could attempt to.

    Here are some other references or sources, if you will:
    http://www.network26.com/email/new_mail_temp/Monday_waves/MMW89.jpg
    http://www.starstore.com/acatalog/Riding_Tube-poster.jpg
    http://photo.net/general-comments/attachment/2887590/12-HAWAII-02.jpg

    And, of course…
    http://images.google.com/images?um=1&q=hubble+images&btnG=Search+Images

  199. Antinous says:

    Doesn’t anybody else get Internet-mediated fight-or-flight responses?

    The point of moderation is to keep the predators from driving everyone away. I’m thick-skinned and am happy to act as a lightning rod to divert the flak from more sensitive commenters. When a commenter insults me, I usually find it funny.

  200. KYJurisDoctor says:

    Oh my. Einstein is NOT as smart as I thought.

  201. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Tenn @193:

    Now for your final – if we all made an effort to ignore [cretins], would they ever just shut up of their own volition?

    This proposition has been extensively tested on Usenet. The data gathered thus far suggests that:

    1. If you can get everyone in a discussion area to consistently ignore an individual troll or cretin, it will eventually go away, but not nearly as soon as you would hope; and all it takes is one person slipping up and responding to it to reset the clock.

    2. Ignoring all trolls and cretins does not make them all go away. It just encourages them to circulate.

    3. When you get two or more of them in the same venue, you’re in real trouble, because they can keep setting each other off indefinitely.

    4. Trolls and cretins have a mysterious ability to find and bond with each other. I have hypothesized the existence of anal telepathy.

    Evidence @203:

    BB posts caught my attention and I wondered. “What do nay sayers to the faith believe?”

    I believe I’m offended by your assumptions. And for someone who supposedly came here out of curiosity, you sure did a lot of talking and not a hell of a lot of listening.

    I still think you’re an attention troll. Like the trolls of old, all you need is the right bait, and a population that will reliably rise to it. Preaching literalist creationist fundamentalism on Boing Boing will do that nicely.

  202. Pipenta says:

    Oh hey, if you want a reason to stop eating shellfish, just start paying attention to the crap we’ve been dumping in the oceans.

  203. Takuan says:

    That’s terrible. Do step aside here if that comes up here and let those of us that revel in bloodshed deal with it. I had no idea. You ask a good question, I wonder how many others are similarly discommoded by discourtesy? I generally thrive on it since I can extract the life energy of the originator from their over-reaching. I can honestly say I’ve only had my feelings hurt once here.
    Whatever! The main point is that there should decorum in our brawling and mutual respect no matter the depth of feelings.

  204. Evidence says:

    @ MODUSOPERANDI

    “Who was Adam, anyway? Who were his parents?”

    Adam was the first man. God was his Father, no bellybutton.

    And why does Genesis say that everything before “the Fall” was a vegetarian (Gen1:29-30), when that is clearly false, as vores (both omni and carn) pre-exist homo sapiens sapiens by a considerable margin?

    Vores, as you put it, were before Adam but only by a few hours. They were made the first part of the 6th day and Adam was made a little before Eve. (He he)

    They were vegetarian. They became meat eaters after the fall. The fall changed everything.

    We have only observed the fallen world so don’t fall into the trap of thinking as it is today is how its always been.

    “He is long-suffering, kind, patient,merciful, gracious, and loving.”
    Your definitions of these words must be different than mine.

    Long-suffering= Didn’t kill me the minute I first sinned.

    kind, patient,merciful = same as above.

    Gracious, and loving= same plus He made the way of escape for me. He did not have to I don’t deserve it.

    I think of it as in this old adage.

    If you love something let it go. And if it loves you it will return.

    Will you return? The choice is ours. Hell is just what many ask for and God gives it to them.

    No God, no Christians, no Church. But filled with plenty of false christians, false churches and false gods.

    I don’t remember saying I was a rodeo clown.

    Thanks for the type tips. I have tried them above so I hope they work. If not I will look like a rodeo clown.

  205. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Tenn @177, it’s okay, I already knew that Cowicide’s generally a reasonable person.

    Cowicide, well done.

    Here’s an important piece of my theology: my God makes atheists on purpose. What purpose is that? I don’t know. Still, Creation is much greater than I am. Who am I to tell it what it should and shouldn’t contain?

  206. Cpt. Tim says:

    haha. i love how the very language that gets disemvoweled on this site by moderators is also posted as content by admins.

  207. Ceronomus says:

    I think the most meaningful comments on religion have been made by George Carlin. I think he sums it up pretty well.

  208. arkizzle says:

    Can I request that all the spare line-breaks that Teresa culls from my posts, be donated to Ugly Canuck to aid his clarity?

  209. Sister Y says:

    Re: evil, see Arkizzle? You just made a clear, interesting distinction and explanation using the word “evil.” It’s not the word that’s the problem, it’s the use.

    But I agree it’s overused and often stretched, like “terrorism” and “community.”

    Haha, we switched from discussing the Problem of Evil to discussing the problem of “evil.”

  210. Sister Y says:

    The point of moderation is to keep the predators from driving everyone away. I’m thick-skinned and am happy to act as a lightning rod to divert the flak from more sensitive commenters.

    I appreciate it.

    This discussion reminds me of evidence (the legal discipline, not the poster) – “character evidence” is considered irrelevant, so you can’t have anybody testify about whether a witness or party goes to church or belongs to the Communist party or is an evolution denier, in order to show the jury that the witness or party is a good/bad guy. The main exception is evidence tending to prove a reputation for telling the truth or lying. You can totally get somebody’s neighbor to testify that he’s known in the community as a liar. Oh, or you can show that the person was convicted of a crime involving dishonesty (like tax evasion). Other than that, it’s ad hominem, but the appropriate objection is “relevance.” Maybe in the interest of Antinous’ sanity, we should start talking about whether things are relevant instead of whether they’re ad hominem. I actually think sometimes an ad hominem statement can be relevant, in practical terms. How about it Brother Antinous?

  211. Takuan says:

    what about people who aren’t atheists, believers or agnostics? Does your God acknowledge competitors?

  212. Takuan says:

    yer not gonna let me save his soul, are ya?

  213. GregLondon says:

    Nelson@253: How can it not know what it is?

  214. Sister Y says:

    When did you have your feelings hurt, Takuan? I thank you for your kind words. I think part of what makes a minor attack harmful is the feeling that it’s tolerated. If someone says something mean and then a bunch of people jump to one’s defense (or the comment gets disemvowelled), that’s really not that bad an experience; it could even be a good thing. But if someone says something inappropriate and mean and it’s just tolerated, that’s when it hurts.

    Not saying that people never deserve to get their feelings hurt.

  215. Antinous says:

    my God makes atheists on purpose. What purpose is that?

    Personal highest truth always oscillates. Between directive and receptive, self-determination and relinquishment, ego-consciousness and universal-consciousness. Atheism expresses a natural desire to assume responsibility. Eventually it morphs into responsibility within a transpersonal context. I would be suspicious of a self-proclaimed spiritual person who had never experienced some level of atheism. That spirituality would just seem like a body of unexamined assumptions.

  216. GregLondon says:

    I’m a bear of very little brain and big words confuse me.

  217. Xopher says:

    Do you think this should be an empathy test?

  218. twig says:

    What bothers me is people using these superstitious beliefs as an excuse for war and bigotry

    If they didn’t have religion, it would just be something else.

    I can’t not be a spiritual person. It would be lying to myself at the most fundamental level. So I can rally against a theocratic system as utter insanity, and support science in all of its goals, and believe in evolution – and yes, I can still believe in a God.

    It’s not an either/or, science or faith, and the concerted polarization of the issue from both sides is frankly disturbing.

  219. Antinous says:

    My biggest complaint about it is that it’s canned. I would be fine with someone saying, “That’s personal” or “You’re being mean to me.” I could work with that by either apologizing or telling them why they so richly deserve my scorn. Invoking ad hominem is a way of hiding behind social conventions, usually by commenters who don’t obey them themselves. Similar phrases like straw man are just cheap name-calling for people unwilling or unable to make a convincing argument. I’ll forgive you if you accuse me of making an ad feminam argument just because it would have panache.

  220. lukkas says:

    There’s a strong focus on Einstein’s characterization of religion as ‘primitive’, ‘childish’ and superstitious. Two points about this.

    First, Einstein is very careful to establish himself as being associated with religion, despite his characterizations of it. There’s something positive about religion that counteracts these negative characteristics. Not so much that he would proclaim himself a practitioner of religion but enough that he would proclaim himself a member of a community of religious practitioners. Let’s not read this quote and conclude that Einstein is rabidly anti-religious.

    Second, these three characterizations have negative connotations but their definitions are value neutral. If a religious person had characterized religion as childish, primitive and superstitious it could be considered a positive statement. These characterizations would speak to the fundamental nature of religion. They would reinforce the idea that all of reality, including science and logic, spring from the reality of religion.

    Clearly, Einstein wasn’t trying to promote religion in any meaningful way. But, using some entry level interperative acrobatics, his comments could be seen as a sly support of religion.

  221. Evidence says:

    Not gone because of heat just responsibilities. There is a time variable to consider as well. I post something and it is time stamped 12:00 and it 4:00 where I am. So allow some grace.

    @Arky

    “wait.. can’t we just sue GodCorp® for making the original Humanâ„¢ v1.0 faulty (eg. curious), and then blaming the rest of us for his uber-non-l33t modding skillz?”

    This was clever. The original was made, as we all are, with free will. The “bug” was failing to follow the program as given (eg rebellion not curious). (do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil).

    “What a noob”

    He is a noob for not making us robots who blindly follow programs?

    You write a program for your computer. Write in an option that allows it to not follow your code when it wants. See how long it is before you smash it to pieces. What until it calls you a noob for allowing it its freedom. Let it say “Why did you make me so” Then ask yourself “How kind/patient you would I be” towards it.

    “Surely sin is just the original ticket in the bug-submission-system of human development, and the project developers haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet. When can we expect the SP1, with the OriginalSin patch?”

    Good analogy. You are very clever.

    Jesus is the “patch” as you call it. He came to fix us. But He doesn’t force it, He still allows free will. Repent and ask Me to save you He pleads. Some say yes I want to run as intended. Others say “No I love my decisions”, “I must be true to me”, “leave me alone while I love and live in my rebellion to your commands”.

    He sends warnings that you must be patched before total failure occurs but we say “Remind me later” or hit “Ignore”, “Delete” or “Deny and don’t remind me again”.

    “And does anyone remember clicking ‘agree’ on a EULA of any kind? I think I’m gonna go Linux on my next incarnation, at least we can patch our own faults and not owe anything at the end.”

    Nice thought but the programmers does not allow it. One shot and one shot only. (Read the owners manual)

  222. Antinous says:

    An infinitely-merciful God who was less merciful than I (in my teenage vindictiveness!) was myself?

    When discussing spiritual guidance with students or clients, I always stress to them that you have to use your reason to evaluate whatever guidance you think that you’re receiving. Just accepting ‘God’s will’ without running it through your own moral filter leads to things like 9/11 and the Inquisition. I have a simple litmus test. If the guidance that I receive is not more compassionate, more forgiving and less linear-thinking than me, it’s my negative ego speaking, not my higher self.

  223. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Cpt. Tim @12: Thus proving yet again that it’s manners, not opinions as such, that get people disemvowelled around here. Since that’s what I’ve been telling you all along, I don’t see why you find it so striking.

    Jim Dandy @13: Not denouncing someone is not the same thing as actively supporting them.

    I’m sorry to have to say to, but the CSICOP article is foolish:

    Einstein refused to join or endorse an international commission headed by John Dewey to investigate the Moscow Show Trials (a consistent skeptic would seek both confirmatory and discrediting evidence)

    Oh, is that so? Do you know anyone who lives that way?

    The Moscow Show Trials confused everyone, even old Bolsheviks who were there. It wasn’t Einstein’s scene. He was a diffuse socialist with a strong interest in Zionism. Why should he, in particular, have set aside his work in math and physics to investigate whether Trotsky was innocent of Stalin’s charges? As far as I know, he didn’t even speak Russian. The only reason I can see to ask Einstein to support that commission was his tremendous personal prestige. That has nothing to do with skeptical inquirity into truth. It’s just the politics of endorsement.

    The nonsensicality of the position taken by the authors of that article becomes more obvious when you look at all the other things going on in 1936. It was a busy year. The Spanish Civil War got started — prime ground for skeptical inquiry, I should think. Japan had a major but unsuccessful military coup, and signed an anti-Comintern agreement with Nazi Germany. Italy was compiling Africa Orientale Italiana out of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea. Palestinian Arabs started a revolt that would run for three years. There were some major strikes in the U.S., including the nascent UAW in Flint, MI, and the Remington Rand typewriter workers in the Mohawk Valley. King Edward VIII of England ran off with Mrs. Simpson.

    All of those events got reported in contradictory ways, and were arguably worth investigating. Einstein didn’t collect the set. Neither did anyone else.

    (Did I mention that the Antikythera Mechanism had been sitting on a shelf gathering dust for decades, yet Einstein never made the slightest move to investigate it? Shocking, I tell you.)

    Einstein’s positive beliefs toward the Soviet Union did not change as substantial information came forth demonstrating that the Soviet Union was a totalitarian state that did not tolerate political liberty. Einstein was never shy about judging capitalism or Nazism by their deeds and actions instead of their rhetoric. He did not apply this standard to the Soviet Union…

    He hardly needed to. Are you clear that the U.S. intervened militarily in the Russian Civil War in support of the White Russians, and refused to recognize the Communist regime until 1933? Denunciations of the Commies were never in short supply.

    I also don’t think you understand how easy it is to find sources from the 30s and 40s that denounce this or that person for opposing Communism too early or too late. There was a hell of a lot of noise in the channels. The CSICOP article follows that long-established tradition. Einstein failed to go on record with sufficient denunciations of Communism, and therefore they not only know what he thought about the subject, but the process he used to get there? I don’t think so.

    Cowicide @31, you’re not helping make this a nuanced and civil discourse.

    Rosethornn @44: Nonsense. Einstein had very good manners.

    BrunoMiguel @45: Don’t bother. It wouldn’t work.

    Ceronomus @49: and plenty of them use non-religious excuses, scientific excuses, political or historical or aesthetic excuses. What does it prove? Only that humans who are behaving badly make excuses for their behavior. It proves nothing about the subjects from which they draw their excuses.

    A formerly popular meme I was glad to see the back of consisted of justifying some piece of moral or aesthetic relativism with “Hey, it’s like Einstein said — everything is relative.” The excuse wasn’t Einstein’s fault.

    Landowner @52:

    Man On Pink Corner What happens when the next Newton or Da Vinci comes along, and he happens to be a Scientologist? Oops.

    That will not happen. Just like a flower can not grow in the vacuum of space. A genius can not grow in the thought vacuum of a cult.Look up the biographies of Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, and Srinivasa Ramanujan.

    Saisumimen @57: No. That’s not a troll. It was an honest question.

    Ploni @58: Think of it as the moderator’s own version of gematria. If you know how to do the proper computations, it will yield the message, “You are behaving badly. Knock it off.”

    Unanimous @59, if you find out it went unpublished for one of the many perfectly legitimate reasons that might have happened, will you go back and apologize for that very rude statement?

    Koichan @66, children who grow up knowing nothing about religion have no spiritual immune systems, and fall for all kinds of appalling crap.

    Arkizzle @85:

    Why do you think people are disemvoweled here?

    Watch me say the same things…

    I believe religion is childish. I believe religion is superstitious. I believe religion is primitive.

    Bask in my vowels.

    BIG WIN! Thanks for the demo.

    Evidence @87 and elsewhere: We don’t need the junior Sunday School version of basic Protestant theology, thank you. I don’t think there are any readers here who aren’t capable of googling that up for themselves. Besides, I loathe canned precooked comments.

    Evidence @91: Don’t call Arkizzle by nicknames unless the two of you are friends — which you aren’t, yet.

    Evidence @96: “I will catch up tomorrow gotta go.”

    Not like this, you won’t. If you persist in posting canned explanations, I’ll disemvowel them.

    Also, stop leaving extra line returns in your messages.

    Arkizzle @108: You have a point. Ugly Canuck, please do a double line return between paragraphs. We have a huge oversupply of culled line returns, so don’t worry about running out.

    Nelson C. @130: Yes! Will you take a bout of wild applause from a theist? (Not that kind; this kind.) /And by the way, your theology is a lot better than Evidence’s.

    Antinous @134: Well done.

    A reminder to everyone: blockquote and close-blockquote will automatically add your vertical blank spaces for you.

    Evidence @136: My patience with you hasn’t yet recovered its full thickness in the wake of your last visit to this site. Just so you know.

    ModusOperandi @138: Total depravity? Presby?

    Tenn @149, by me, that’s not about religion; it’s about control. I also figure that if God cared all that much about the fine points of religious practice, God would have been clearer about it.

    As for Evidence, I’ve already spoken elsewhere.

  224. Takuan says:

    arrr, and how ye be this fine eve,lass?

  225. Tenn says:

    TNH 187-

    That’s why it wasn’t as nice as if it were an actual troll. He’s too rational for that to have been REALLY thrilling. (Why is it that people who always behave well hardly get any credit for doing something spiffy and the cretins get much more, relatively? Terrible thing.)

  226. GregLondon says:

    Xopher: Do you think this should be an empathy test?

    Don’t know, I don’t know such stuff. I just do eyes, just eyes

  227. Takuan says:

    I just follow my instincts. I spend a lot of time in jail of course.

  228. Nelson.C says:

    Xopher @148: That reminds of the story of when John met Yoko. (From memory of a radio interview from thirty years ago:) He was at a gallery of her work, and one of the pieces was a ladder against the wall, at the top of which was an eyepiece. So he climbs the ladder, and cautiously looks through the eyepiece, and he sees the word “Yes”. He said afterwards that it could so easily have been “No” or “F*ck off” or something equally negative, but just the “Yes” was such a simple, positive thing that he half fell in love with her before even meeting.

  229. Antinous says:

    Why is it that people who always behave well hardly get any credit for doing something spiffy and the cretins get much more, relatively?

    Because the cretins loudly demand recognition and people give it to them to shut them up.

  230. Saisumimen says:

    “OK, so that’s Einstein’s take on it. What happens when the next Newton or Da Vinci comes along, and he happens to be a Scientologist? Oops.”

    (facepalm)

    Only trolls are this obtuse on purpose.

  231. Xenu says:

    Einstein is my god, I worship the man. If he said this I will accept it without question.

  232. historyman68 says:

    re: primitive/childish

    There’s a word for “childish” with positive connotations: “childlike.”

    I still maintain that looking to one particular quote by a man who lived 70+ years as a measure of what he “really” thought is reductionist to the point of absurdity.

  233. Evidence says:

    KMGRABA ,

    “Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, nothing more.”

    Then why aren’t they silent? Why do they protest against something they say is not there?

    NOEN

    “What dishonest lies do atheists keep trying to push…

    That Atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief.”

    I agree with you.

  234. Evidence says:

    @Antinous

    “Science gets a better reception when it doesn’t act like a religion by proclaiming the experimental result of the week to be universal law”

    I agree. Wow!

    @endstar

    “The biggest question is, how can an entity that cares about individual humans design a world so full of suffering?”

    The suffering is because of mans sin not Gods design.

    “What perverse entity would intentionally place beings with such a strong desire to live among all these parasites, cancer, and murderous clan wars? And why would some humans be spared the suffering of the rest of the world, and instead get to ride around in fancy cars and post comments to boinboing from Mac laptops? Could this possibly have been designed with specific concern for my soul?”

    His design was for us not to sin. Since we have sinned He has placed you with access to more information that most people in history let alone in the world, use it.

    It says in ACTS 17: 26-27 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, {When you would live} and the bounds of their habitation; {Where you would live} that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

    All of us are in the place where we would most likely believe.

    As to the part where you say “To my reading of this, if there is a god, that entity must have just set things into motion with a wave of a mathematical wand, and probably doesn’t bother itself with the moral consequences.”

    You are wrong. He is very concerned with the moral consequences. He gave us the 10 commandments to measure our morality against His standard, we all fall short. But He did not leave us without hope.

    He is so concerned that the second part of the Trinity became a man, Jesus, and took the penalty we deserved for breaking His moral laws upon Himself. We need to realize we are sinners, people who have broken His laws, and trust Jesus to save us from our sins.

    You don’t die for something you are not concerned about.

    _________________

    Einstein, like everyone else at some point and time, rejected God because he loved his sin more than obeying God. He was a known adulterer.

  235. noen says:

    Scottfree
    So when you say ‘reality is a crack, a pure difference, within the symbolic network’ well, that’s first of all sloppy, because it posits reality to exist within the symbolic order when it exists alongside it. Your key word is ‘difference’–the regressive symbolic chain which represents reality properly responds to difference by synthesising a new link in the chain.

    In the special theory of relativity the presence of matter curves space. But when Einstein formulated his general theory he reversed it. The presence of matter does not curve space, rather it is a signal that space is curved. Matter is it’s effect.

    Likewise “The Real” is not that which escapes our semantic net as the mystics would have it nor is it the net itself as science would have it. It is not an inert presence which curves the symbolic space but, rather, an effect of these gaps and inconsistencies.

  236. Takuan says:

    how about this: formal rhetorical rules of argument may be invoked by anyone at any time. All parties must agree to follow them (and that means ALL of them). No “win” awarded if one party walks away. All parties must agree to a referee who does not take part. In other words, don’t dare start pitching “ad homimem” etc. unless you commit to a rigorous formal standard.

    All other comments, discussions,arguments,cavorting (my specialty) to be informal, devoid of irresponsible Latin, presumed-in-good-faith, well intended, FUN, bickering.

    Would that work? We all assume we are trying to get along except when we make formal duel? Any citizen can be a judge if mutually accepted. (Remember Loony society in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress?)

  237. Jim Dandy says:

    Yes, Einstein was wise in all respects. Not.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/2007-03/einstein.html

    Einstein refused to join or endorse an international commission headed by John Dewey to investigate the Moscow Show Trials (a consistent skeptic would seek both confirmatory and discrediting evidence) and would subsequently write to Max Born that “there are increasing signs the Russian trials are not faked, but that there is a plot among those who look upon Stalin as a stupid reactionary who has betrayed the ideas of the revolution” (quoted in Born 1971, p. 130)…

    Einstein’s positive beliefs toward the Soviet Union did not change as substantial information came forth demonstrating that the Soviet Union was a totalitarian state that did not tolerate political liberty. Einstein was never shy about judging capitalism or Nazism by their deeds and actions instead of their rhetoric. He did not apply this standard to the Soviet Union…

    Einstein, a professed believer in political liberty, vrtlly rfss t crtcz th Svt gvrnmnt nd jstfs th mrdrs nd crtn f slv lbr cmps. Th clsst nstn cms t crtcsm f th Svt gvrnmnt s cntnd n th frst sntnc f th fllwng qt. Hwvr, th nxt sntnc spks fr tslf. According to Einstein in 1948, “I am not blind to the serious weaknesses of the Russian system of government and I would not like to live under such government. But it has, on the other side, great merits and it is difficult to decide whether it would have been possible for the Russians to survive by following softer methods” (Einstein quoted in Hook 1987, p. 471).

  238. Modusoperandi says:

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator “ModusOperandi @138: Total depravity? Presby?”
    Atheist, actually. On occasion, Deist. When confronted with a difference of opinion, I find it’s good to have at least a vague grasp of the basis of another’s “worldview” and lingo, even if I think it’s bunk. Total depravity sounds awesome; I was kind of disappointed finding out what it meant, lo these many moons ago.

  239. Antinous says:

    Stalin. Einstein. It was a mustache solidarity thing.

  240. Nelson.C says:

    Why aren’t you silent, Evidence? Despite Noen’s claims that atheists need believers in accordance with some imagined law of symmetry, in truth it is the god-botherers who feel the need the declaim before the unbelievers rather than the other way around.

  241. Antinous says:

    Would that work?

    Isn’t the whole point about dealing with people who won’t agree to any rules except their own spontaneously generated, self-serving ones?

  242. Takuan says:

    somewhat true. Frustrating as hell when the “unworthy poor” demand looking after, but I see no way around it. Perhaps because the really evil in need of justice take my strength.

  243. Sister Y says:

    Re: #279 – now it all makes sense. Ah yes, when you see someone invoke “ad hominem,” it must be with the same joy that I experience when I’m grading tests and I see that my student has copied verbatim something I wrote on the board three weeks ago.

    Takuan – that sounds like fun. If I were a packaged commodity, I would want “Devoid of irresponsible Latin!” to be one of the slogans on the front of my packaging. It would be false advertising, though.

  244. Takuan says:

    WKRP in Cincinnati

  245. Modusoperandi says:

    Antinous: Genesis, Episode II

  246. kmgraba says:

    You know Noen, you keep trying to equivocate atheists and religious fundamentalists, and you keep failing. Where’s the atheist dogma? Where are the superstitions that atheists share? What dishonest lies do atheists keep trying to push in schools to further their ‘religion’? What rituals do atheists hold because of their atheism?

    Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, nothing more.

  247. Xopher says:

    Evidence 157: If you press enter twice at the end of a paragraph, that’s fine. If you press enter three or more times, that’s an “extra line return” (or more). Also if you press enter at the end of your message. If something is one paragraph, you shouldn’t press enter in it at all, as you did in your last paragraph in this message.

    Disemvowelment is a moderation practice whereby the vowels in a message are deleted, leaving it barely readable. It serves to deprecate a message without deleting it. A “canned explanation” is copy-and-paste stuff that says the same thing we’ve heard a bajillion times before, whether literally copied and pasted or just recited.

  248. Anonymous says:

    “It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follow[s] from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science.” — Charles Darwin

  249. Evidence says:

    t s bcs w cr.

    f w (Chrstns) ddn’t spk p y wld cll s cld nd crl fr nt wrnng y.

    Why wld n thst cr bt nythng? Lt ln wht blv. f thr s nthng why cmmnt? Why bthr?

  250. Tenn says:

    Because the cretins loudly demand recognition and people give it to them to shut them up.

    Right in one. Now for your final- if we all made an effort to ignore them, would they ever just shut up of their own volition?

  251. GregLondon says:

    goal of debate is to win, not to learn, teach, come to agreement, or even persuade

    The goal of logic is to find the truth, wherever it may be. The point of pointing out logical fallacies is to highlight something false.

    If someone tells me they think Hillary is a bitch, I’d call that an ad hominem. If the rule is to be “no logic arguments”, then I can dance around the phrase by saying something like “Attacking Clinton’s character does not disprove her point”.

    But that’s still logic.

    Someone might say they don’t like black people because a black man mugged them, and I’d call that a Hasty Generaliztion. If the rule is “no logical arguments”, I could dance around it by saying “The action of one does not prove the action of many”.

    But it’s still logic. It is still a linguistic exercise in figuring out what is and is not true.

    Perhaps I missed the point of a number of threads on BoingBoing, but there seems to be a vein of threads which look at something that someone in the world is doing, such as pushing for unfair copyright laws, or pushing for more surveillance legislation, or pushing for more centralization of power in the government, and the thread reports it and then essentially says somethign to the effect of “that’s wrong and here’s why”.

    That is nothing but logic. If the rule is no logical arguments, no pointing out the falsehoods in what someone says or does, then that wouldn’t jive with a vein of threads posted by the BB’ers themselves.

    And all of this seems to have come up when I pointed out several logical fallacies that Evidence had posted here. Is the idea that Evidence had not committed the fallacies I thought he did? Or is the idea that I can’t point them out so directly? Because I’m pretty sure that quite a few people here were telling Evidence that he was wrong for one reason or another.

    if there’s going to be a rule like “no logic”, then someone is going to have to explain it to me using very small words so I can understand it.

  252. Modusoperandi says:

    Evidence: I woopsied, and misread this bit
    “It is just because He did not wipe my sins away arbitrarily but paid for them. It was a legal transaction. Jesus paid my fine, now my court case could be dismissed because payment had been made.”
    My comment should read more like this:
    Remember that when a Christian Right loudmouth states that American law is based on the Bible…Again, don’t ever go in to Law. Or, if you do, I will totally promise to believe in you if you pay my fine the next time I commit Excessive Public Nudity (when I do it, it’s Excessive. If you saw my package, you’d agree).

  253. Antinous says:

    I can haz Flickr fotoset plz?

  254. Antinous says:

    I’ve known lots of people who regularly exhibited obnoxious attention seeking behavior. I wouldn’t give them the time of day. They frequently turned off the irritating behavior and acted quite normally with me, but switched right back into obnoxious mode with anyone who fed into it. It’s important not to confuse compassion with codependency.

  255. Evidence says:

    Moderator

    “I believe I’m offended by your assumptions.”

    I have heard you consult with a witch on how to channel the voices in your heard and you are telling me I am wrong in in thinking that witches, buddhists, evolutionists, atheists and agnostics are nay-sayers to “the faith”?

    I have not given any of these labels they were given by yourselves.

  256. Joe MommaSan says:

    “For Pascal, the prove that god exists is that you are free to believe in him or not”

    You’re free to believe (or not believe) in Santa Claus, too. Is that proof that Santa exists?

  257. Takuan says:

    if it is a spontaneous community standard, why not?
    As soon as someone drops a “straw man” he or she is surrounded by other playground users chanting “Formal Debate!, Formal Debate! Ain’t It Great?!”

    Rules get followed if it is the only way to get someone to play with you.

    Of course, in this happy anarchy of even happier mutants, anything could happen.

    Hey, there’s a way to weed out stuffed shirts and mean people: “Ain’t gonna talk with you till you say out loud, here and now: I’m a HAPPY MUTANT!”

  258. Xopher says:

    Greg, who ever said anything that could be interpreted as “no logic”? You open with a quote from me about debate, which IME rarely employs logic. I’m all for logic.

    Pointing out people’s fallacies is also OK, IMO. What drives me crazy is people continuing to go back and forth on one point, or on a small number of points, long after they or anyone can get any new insight from the conversation, because they both want to WIN.

    I’m so sick of people trying to win. It’s so boring.

  259. Anonymous says:

    I think the point is that Einstein is said to be a theist based on some quotes which use the word ‘God’. What this letter suggests is that the evidence does not support this claim.

    Some of you are suggesting that Einstein said that p so p must be true is a bad argument. This is false. The argument from authority is a pretty decent one: If X says that-p and X is on expert on p, then one has good reasons for believing what the experts say. It does not imply that the expert is infallible or that we shouldn’t investigate for ourselves or ask the expert questions. And, of course, it only works if the person is an expert!

    So is Einstein an expert on God? He clearly thought about it and was obviously a bright person so I think there is a case to be made that he is better than the average bear. This should lend his claims some authority.

  260. Modusoperandi says:

    GregLondon: Do you have argumentum ad populum, yet? If not, 84% of Americans think that you should.

    Sister Y “ModusOperandi please be Internet friends with me.”
    I haz a new interweb friend! Hurrah! I’m totally going to put this on the Facebook…just as soon as I figure out what the hell Facebook is.

    “EvilRooster, it is heartening to hear you say that, ’cause I always worry that I’m hijacking threads into ethics discussions.”
    Doesn’t everything involving groups of people involve, in some way, ethics, morals, and the like?

    Nelson.C “Greg @252: Is this to be an empathy test?”
    Why would you think that?

  261. Takuan says:

    bor-ing! Not going there.

    We are our synapses. Is it possible that there is a critical period in brain development where a very basic plasticity “pre-sets” a lifetime disposition for belief? If stimulated? The old jesuit proverb; “give me a child etc….” may well be rooted in something quantifiable in a biochemistry laboratory. Think of it: god in a bottle. True believers by vaccination.

    From the descriptions I have read of religious conversion moments, cult “snapping” and my own experience (to say nothing of entheogens) I think it highly probable.

  262. arkizzle says:

    Sis, that’s the old meta-”bait and switch”.

    You talk about the actual thing, and I talk about the way we talk about the actual thing. Clever eh? :)

    Don’t get me wrong though (in my original post), I really was only talking about the way use the word, not it’s validity as a concept, (with or without the baggage implied by Canuck).

  263. Antinous says:

    Not being attached to the outcome is the new black. My question is: What do I hope to achieve? In the case of Evidence, I can’t imagine changing his mind about anything. Since, as far as I can see, he’s just trolling anyway, I don’t expect to learn from him. His arguments are canned, so I don’t see much point in a ritual de-bunking for the benefit of an hypothetical audience. He did provide a positive, if unintentional, service by inciting other commenters to come out of the closet about their spirituality, which has helped this community to coalesce.

  264. Modusoperandi says:

    Antinous “I can haz Flickr fotoset plz?”
    Not until I can get the cops to start taking full frontal mugshots.

  265. EH says:

    Proof of an “…in”-named cabal.

  266. Ashley Y says:

    God does not play dice with the Universe. Because there is no God.

  267. Tenn says:

    “Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, nothing more.”

    Then why aren’t they silent? Why do they protest against something they say is not there?

    I tried to stay out of this one, I really did.

    Why the hell do I protest against it? Why do I debate? Why do I speak my evil, evil beliefs?

    Because majority religion does not allow me to live peacefully, according to a morality which is not overruled by God. Because if a certain good friend of mine wants to get married to his boyfriend, he’s going to have to go out of state to do it. Because if he’s seen kissing him, the religious right is going to kick their heels and complain. People who call themselves Christians may even beat him. May threaten to kill him. May kill him.

    Not you, Evidence. I don’t see you as the violent sort, I have more respect for you than that. Maybe you’re the type of Christian that condemns internally while saying you don’t condemn, that it is not your place; you simply believe they are wrong. Maybe you’re even better than that and you don’t condemn, but you do believe it’s wrong, and you will vote against equal marriage rights and not support equal marriage.

    I underwent a medical procedure today. Nothing dangerous; the most dangerous part was the anesthetic. Anesthesia is an uncertain practice- they have to monitor you carefully because sometimes, things just go wrong and people die on accident. As opposed to dying deliberately, I suppose.

    Every time you go to do something like this, you are asked your religious preference, in order to know what rites should be performed, or what clergy should be called, in the event of a mishap.

    “What is the child’s religious preference?”
    My mother, Christian that she is, answers for me.
    “Pentecostal.”

    My protest goes unheeded. I say calmly- with the utmost respect (and I assure you I did speak decently, and am not embellishing), “No, mother.” She overrides me. I say, again, “Mother, I’m not a Pentecost.” A pause, and the data lady glances at me and my mother. I say, “I don’t believe in God,” and mom says, “The child’s religious preference is Pentecostal.”

    You know what? I’m a Buddhist. I meditate and I believe in being good for the sake of others, I believe that being good is its own reward, and that you should never harm another being or creature if that harm can be prevented. I believe in a sin of sorts; I believe that sin is that which harms another, that which harms the self, or that which has bad intentions.

    I am not a good person by Christian standards because I do not believe in Christ.

    I am condemned simply for my beliefs.

    I am absent my right to my own religion because I am seventeen years old and legally a child, and my every belief is called juvenile, likely to change.

    Every time I express my religious beliefs, my mother shuts me down. Tells me to stop raining on her parade, tells me to stop trying to make her disbelieve. Yet she tells me “God bless you, good night,” every night, and I respond with “Good night,” and what do I receive in response? “GOD BLESS YOU!” It’s a never ending litany. She demands I say God bless you in return (which I have avoided. I have spent thirty minutes saying calmly, ‘Good night’, in response to her ever increasing diatribe.); she has asked me to pray for her. How the hell can I do that? I do not believe. If I asked her to meditate and think upon the Buddha’s teachings with me, she would criticize me endlessly.

    I understand this is my own mother and not the whole of Christianity, but I’m going to leave it in. She is representative of Christianity and I know that there are many more like her.

    There is a definite divide in this country. It is a clear one. It is okay for religious people to proselytize because that is in their faith. It is not okay for atheists to inform because it is what they believe and they want to speak freely, too.

    Christians speak of oppression. Christians have not been oppressed since the lions. Yes, atheists and other religions may make fun of Christians in jokes, may paint them as fools.

    Christians impose their morality on the rest of the nation. I understand that not all Christians do this; but the Christian religion as a whole does this. You can see it by looking in the law books. You can see it by looking at the pledge, at currency, at attitudes. If I want to get married to a woman, by damn I should be able to get married to a woman. I’m not going to be lying with them in front of Christianity, so why does Christianity care? If I want to clang some ting-sha and focus on nirvana, I should be able to do it without being treated like I’m a fool on the highway to Hell.

    I don’t impose my beliefs on others. If my mother is ever in the hospital, I am not going to tell the nurse she is a Buddhist and have her comfort stolen from her. I believe everyone has the right to practice their own religion and I would not take that away from them; I simply believe that my right to be who I am should not be taken away from me. That includes any homosexual tendencies I may chose to express, any pork I want to eat, any damn thing I want to do that does not harm another being.

    Why do I care?

    Because. I live in a place where the merest mentioning of my religious beliefs causes argument and immediate attempt to convert.

    You may say these people are not Christians- I have only ever met one single person who was not like that. I have only ever met one person who I could truly imagine as a Christian.

    I will stop pressing my beliefs when Christianity stops making choices for me.

  268. GregLondon says:

    My biggest complaint about it is that it’s canned

    Just about everything Evidence posted here was canned. He didn’t respond to anyone’s questions or objections, he just preached from the pulpit.

    Invoking ad hominem is a way of hiding behind social conventions,

    Invoking ad hominem is a way of voicing a problem without voicing it with a personal investment in it. When things start getting personal in a bad way, things tend to get worse, not better.

    Similar phrases like straw man are just cheap name-calling for people unwilling or unable to make a convincing argument.

    Er, what? When someone takes what I said, twists it around and turns it on its head until it’s a complete nonsense point of view, and then tells me that’s what I’m saying and explains to me why I’m wrong for sayign it, it is a strawman argument.

    If you call that name calling because I used the agreed upon term to label that behaviour, rather than explaining it to them in a long drawn out description, all in an attempt to avoid the label because that would be “name calling”, then we couldn’t be further apart in viewpoints on this particular nugget.

    I might go so far as to say that taking the universally recognized term “strawman” and casting it as if it were nothing more than “name calling” or that “it’s canned” is, itself, a strawman. And if I have to explain it to you, rather than just call it what it is, then I’m flummoxed by your standards, but I shall try:

    “name calling” generally refers to labels on a person’s character, not their actions. Calling someone’s statement a “strawman” is commenting on their behaviour, what they said, not who they are as a person. Name calling would attack the person’s character in ways that have nothing to do with that person’s actions or words. i.e. calling the person a “loser” for believing in God or for not believing in God would be name calling.

    And a “canned” statement would generally refer to a statement made that is independent of the context of what others said to that person. Calling a strawman argument a “strawman” is responding directly to the context in which they spoke. A canned statement would ignore the strawman completely and quote John 3:16, which had nothing to do with anything, but that’s the point of being canned.

    I would be fine with someone saying, “That’s personal” or “You’re being mean to me.”

    When the fur starts flying, people tend to first react with anger, second react with formality, and only third and least likely react by expressing the hurt they felt.

    Someone offends your sensibilities to the point that you’re hooked or triggered, your first response will probably be “F you”

    If you cool off a bit, you might come up with a cold/formal response: “You insult me, sir”

    If you manage, to clear your head, walk away, get unhooked, then reread whatever triggered you in the first place, you might come up with something as honest as “That hurt my feelings”.

    Yeah, the third response would be the ideal one, but it’s pretty rare in an online venue with relative strangers interacting on completely opposite sides of some political or religious topic.

    I think invoking a formal response such as “ad hominem”, especially when the action fits the label, is at least better than to come back swinging.

    When the rules are working, a person ought to be able to refer to the rules as dispassionate descriptions of boundaries and hopefully they clearly indicate where they are crossed.

    Otherwise, the rules become nothing more than hammers that can only be wielded by admins/moderators. Ah la wikipedia on its bad days/weeks.

  269. rosethornn says:

    “The notion that religion is a proper field, in which one might claim expertise, is one that should not go unquestioned. That clergyman presumably would not have deferred to the expertise of a claimed ‘fairyologist’ on the exact shape and colour of fairy wings. Both he and the bishop thought that Einstein, being theologically untrained, had misunderstood the nature of God. On the contrary, Einstein understood very well exactly what he was denying.”

    – Richard Dawkins

  270. Takuan says:

    annoying thing about real life and real humans. But would the constancy of stones and wind be any better?

  271. ploni says:

    Einstein was a fool.

    For all his intellectual achievements, he did not know how to read Hebrew, the language of Torah and the blueprint for the universe. He therefore was unable to analyze the Torah’s revealed or mystical traditions and know what the Jews have known for the past 4,000 years.

    Those of you who dismiss the divinity of Torah, you probably are and have been influenced by the secular media, government, and corporate state who continue to dominate your lives. Or perhaps you’ve glanced at English translations–trly chldsh nd th prdct f fls s wll–which are circulated by the Christian hierarchy worldwide. Most likely you’ve come to the same conclusions s yr gdlss kprs r y’v gvn p tryng t ndrstnd. Instead, you search for meaning and understanding in every silly thing, and you suffer.

    Meanwhile, the world continues to founder, and the Jews know.

  272. scottfree says:

    The Pascal thing strikes me as a bit Big Brother-y. You are free whether to believe in him or not, so BELIEVE IN HIM!!!!! BELIEVE!!!!!

  273. Xopher says:

    Sister Y 86: Sister, my sister, that’s exactly what drove me away from Christianity after my brief period of dabbling in high school. An infinitely-merciful God who was less merciful than I (in my teenage vindictiveness!) was myself? Couldn’t believe in such a God, wouldn’t worship one even if I believed in Him.

    Ugly 88: I’m going to assume you mean Hollywood-stereotype eeevol witches, eh-heh-heh I’ll get you and your little dog, rather than modern-day Wiccan Priestesses and Priests (like me), because otherwise I’d have to get on my high horse, and I don’t feel like climbing. Besides, I mostly agree with what you have to say here.

  274. Sister Y says:

    Tenn: I wish the world were full of people like you.

    I actually don’t think I’m qualified to give you advice, but about your Pentacostal issue, I have an idea. When I was still in parental care, I participated (somewhat against my will) in a Christian evangelical youth group and went to bible study camp at the Assembly of God church. When I grew up and became first a Congregationalist and then an atheist, I realized that the churches I’d attended as a child had been some of the weirdest, most awesome (though morally insane) churches ever – Assembly of God are known as Holly Rollers and I think they even speak in tongues! Anyway, the point is, I wish that instead of gritting my teeth when they talked about stuff I thought was horrible, I had thought to ask questions and document it, especially the weirder, folktale-like stuff. Magic rituals (they won’t call it that). Non-biblical writings. Stuff that’s their interpretation of magica and religion. Which bible verses they find important and why. What practices they perform.

    Pentacostals – I’m assuming you know how weird they are as a sect. You’ve tried opposing them and it sounds like it’s bringing you pain – how about trying to document it for the rest of the time you’re stuck there? Maybe look at it from the position of a folklorist or anthropologist? Maybe you could write a book.

  275. Agent 86 says:

    I’m glad I can back to see the rest of this thread, it gave clarity to something that had been bothering me for the last month or two. It had never occurred to me that people would debate on the internet for any reason other than learning… and now I’m told learning is the last thing on the mind of the majority of the debaters on this site. Strange.

  276. Modusoperandi says:

    On a side note, thanks to my efforts in some states Excessive Public Nudity is a felony now. You can thank me later.

  277. Sister Y says:

    GregLondon, I hope you don’t take our conversation as directed toward you. I liked your post pointing out logical fallacies. I think you are a Logical Fallacy Bingo champion! I find it at turns useful, interesting, and funny (laughing with you, not at you) when someone devotes the energy to point out the faults in a wacked-out argument. That’s my favorite thing about Robert Todd Carrol, when he responds to reader “feedback” to his Skeptic’s Dictionary – snarky as he is, he devotes a huge amount of energy to deconstructing arguments, which I see as a sign of his essential respectfulness.

  278. GregLondon says:

    Xopher@315: who ever said anything that could be interpreted as “no logic”?

    Well, I’m seriously confused then, because I thought this subthread started back at 279 when Aninous attacked the use of logical arguments, or more specifically pointing out logical fallacies.

    Antinous@279: Invoking ad hominem is a way of hiding behind social conventions … straw man are just cheap name-calling

    And more recently, Teresa @306 said: Did somebody say they needed a debate judge? … I once constrained Will Shetterly to a logically structured argument.

    I’ve been reading “debate” to mean “logically structured argument” between 2 or more people, which I thought was the point of Teresa’s “debate judge” comment, and how folks have been using the term, and sort of goes back to Antinous attacking the use of logical fallacies as being “canned”.

    There may be a couple of simultaneous, but different, definitions floating around this thread.

  279. Unanimous Cowherd says:

    Interesting that this particular letter was “locked up” in a private collection for so long. I am not suggesting a conspiracy to silence Einstein’s opinion on religion, but it is curious, isn’t it?

    Perhaps Einstein’s family and friends wanted to keep this “inflammatory” statement quiet for a while. Who could blame them?

    Religious people hate hearing things like this. It makes them feel bad, and that makes them feel persecuted, even when they hold the reigns of power and dominate the debate. Better to just shut up and leave the religious to their delusions.

    Think I’m exaggerating? Read Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion to hear some of the wonderful sentiments that prominent American religious leaders had for Einstein’s statements on religion while he was alive.

  280. scottfree says:

    On a side note, thanks to my efforts in some states Excessive Public Nudity is a felony now. You can thank me later.

    Some of us found that out the hard way last summer, swimming across the river from Vermont to New Hampshire.

  281. Cowicide says:

    #180 posted by Takuan:

    and Cowie darling; we must have ocean-word-sex one day…

    Is that like Scrabble with dolphin judges?

    #187 posted by Teresa Nielsen Hayden:

    Cowicide, well done.

    Personally, I’d rather be cooked medium rare. ^_^

  282. Sister Y says:

    My interpretation was that Antinous is just sick of hearing a few stock logical fallacies that people tend to trot out over and over again.

  283. Takuan says:

    next: is it reversible?

  284. Takuan says:

    ad hominem is shorter than:
    “I feel you are replying to my argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of myself as the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of my argument or producing evidence against my claim. The process of proving or disproving my claim is thereby subverted, and you are working to change the subject.”

  285. Antinous says:

    He was a known adulterer.

    Funnily enough, so were many of the most admired men of the Bible. Loads of popes. Televangelists by the basketload.

    Having said that, please don’t put extra line breaks in your posts.

  286. Xopher says:

    And no, like-mindedness is not required, as you should know by now. Many of us disagree on one point or another. And as far as I know you disagreed with all of us at some length on the lizard thread, and Teresa never disemvowelled you or acted as if she might. But one thing she does try to suppress is the same person harping on the same topic in the same way, especially if you never comment on anything else.

    You’d get a lot more patience in these pages if you would comment on, say, skimpy prom dresses, or the current crop of topics like this one, this one, or even this one.

    If the only reason you come to BB is to talk about the Bible with people who don’t believe it the way you do…well, that is kind of what we mean when we say someone is a troll, though I personally don’t think that’s your intention. I deliberately picked topics above that are a mixture of ones on which you might have a strong opinion, and ones on which you might well have NO opinion.

    Your opinions on a variety of topics are welcome. Your opinion, singular, on the same topic over and over…not so much.

    (I am not an assistant moderator or anything, so this is just my opinion and helpful (I hope) advice, not a directive or ruling of any kind.)

  287. Xopher says:

    MO, I can confirm that passing stones is No Fun, as in No to the Fun power.

    But there’s some worth to learning to speak the language of stones, as the song goes.

  288. Anonymous says:

    Science and religion are about different things. It makes as much sense for them to be in conflict as it does for art historians to argue about dentistry.

  289. Takuan says:

    kinda of. Freediving feels the same.

  290. Djinn PAWN says:

    Um, Ploni (#50)…

    In a round-a-bout way did you just call me (and many others) a fool too?

    How divine, or is calling people fools part of some mystical tradition that I’ve missed out on over the last 4,000 years?

    Meanwhile, the world continues to founder as unjustified stereotypes and name-calling ensues…

  291. Falcon_Seven says:

    I can’t believe that all of you are still discussing this!

    Einstein, for all of his monumental scientific acheivements -and recently discovered ‘disdain’ for religion- still believed in ‘life after death’ because of the First Law of Thermodynamics.

    A ‘true’ scientist until the end.

  292. Xopher says:

    Sister Y 159: Speaking in tongues is just a spiritual technology. I’ve used it in Wiccan ritual as a trance induction.

    Suggested title for Tenn’s book: Buddha Handles Snakes Too.

  293. Cowicide says:

    @ #9 posted by Man On Pink Corner

    OK, so that’s Einstein’s take on it. What happens when the next Newton or Da Vinci comes along, and he happens to be a Scientologist? Oops.

    Ok… yeah, boy will I be sorry then… LOL

    Are you going to hold your breathe on that one? Name one brilliant scientist who’s a Scientologist? Sorry, sweathogs don’t count. LOL

  294. Modusoperandi says:

    Evidence “Adam was the first man. God was his Father, no bellybutton.”
    Appropriate reply = O_O

    “Vores, as you put it, were before Adam but only by a few hours. They were made the first part of the 6th day and Adam was made a little before Eve.”
    Again = O_O
    Also = 6 day/6k, no way!

    “Long-suffering= Didn’t kill me the minute I first sinned.”
    See? I knew our definitions were different. Long suffering to me is “patiently enduring wrongs or difficulties”.

    “…He made the way of escape for me. He did not have to I don’t deserve it.”
    He gave you an out for not being able to be perfect, rather than punishing you eternally for not being so. That’s an odd take on justice and mercy. And the best part is you just have to believe the right thing, rather than be the best, imperfect, person you can be.

    “If you love something let it go. And if it loves you it will return.”
    God’s version: If you love something and it disobeys you, kick it out of the garden, make the man work and give the woman birthin’ pains. Also, make their kids suffer the consequences of their parents. Oh, and make the rest of the universe hurt too, with entropy, sin, corruption, thorny ground and cancer. Then, for a measure of time, pick one tiny group of people in an itty-bitty corner of the mid-east and tell them that they’re your favourite. Also, make sure that they “they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword” a bunch of times to pretty much everyone who wasn’t them. While you’re at it, give them 600+ rules; some of which will age really badly. If men, after this entirely just and in no way not-inerrant work of fiction, chooses to believe that an itinerant apocalyptic Jewish preacher who carried a message for mankind that was so important that nobody at the time bothered to write it down, then they get the disproportionately good ending, with fuzzy clouds and singing in God’s eternal choir. If not, f*uck ‘em. They should’ve chosen to believe the story that, in numerous ways, directly conflicts with reality-centric evidence.

    “Hell is just what many ask for and God gives it to them.”
    I ask for, and expect, neither. Infinite punishment (with much wailing and gnashing of teeth) for finite sins is infinitely unjust, and infinite reward for believing the right thing is absurd, and infinitely so.

    “I don’t remember saying I was a rodeo clown.”
    I didn’t say that you were. I merely substituted that in for “a miserable and totally despraved sinner who is trapped in a fallen world and a slave to sin”. Rodeo clown sounds so much sexier. Say it with me…Roh-dee oh Klowhn. I can’t be the only one here who is a little turned on right now. Oh.

  295. Evidence says:

    If it is reversible you never had it to begin with.

  296. Tenn says:

    Taku-san, who hurt your feelings?

    Are your feelings recovered or should I set upon the criminal in order to defend your honor?

    Greg- I usually react the second way when the fur starts flying, so to speak. I shield better with icy formality than I do anger- anger to me is just as bad as displaying hurt (which I also have difficulty doing).

    I haven’t been hurt here, though. The majority of people here are nice, and even when they’re not being -that- nice I realize they probably don’t realize to be that mean. I can’t recall anyone being deliberately hateful to me. I’ve disagreed with you at points and some other people, but people here are nicer than people I know in meatworld.

    I agree that ‘ad hominem’ should be ‘allowed’ by the community in informal debates- we all do use it, refer the Evolution thread and other debates- when someone says dumb things we say their argument is invalid. I’d like a “Formal Debate Duel” system though- throwing the gauntlet down would improve my argument skills, which need much work.

  297. Evidence says:

    I thought guy witches were warlocks?

  298. Xopher says:

    Antinous, 148: If the guidance that I receive is not more compassionate, more forgiving and less linear-thinking than me, it’s my negative ego speaking, not my higher self.

    I really like this. It’s a good principle, and one with very broad application.

    One question: what if the guidance is just, you know, weird?

    I once was in the pier park here in Hoboken, and there was a young man sitting on a bench, and I could tell his mind was in turmoil (observe people for a while, it’s just not that hard to spot). I had a powerful urge to walk up to him and say “yes.” It coalesced into an urge to say “yes; the answer to the question in your mind is yes.” Nothing more. No idea what the question was or why it was up to me to tell him the answer.

    To make a long story short, I chickened out, but I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t.

  299. GregLondon says:

    Sister@317: I hope you don’t take our conversation as directed toward you.

    Well, yeah. At 222 I pointed out Evidence had committed several logical fallacies, including no true scotsman, hasty generalization, ad hominem, and Argumentum ad Antiquitatem.

    At 247, I pointed out a strawman.

    Then Antinous states:

    Antinous@265: ad hominem… I tend to view it as saying, “I can act like a dick, but you’re not allowed to call me one.”

    In #273, I state my complete confusion about the comments and say: Did I parse that correctly, Antinous?

    Antinous@279: My biggest complaint about it is that it’s canned. … Invoking ad hominem is a way of hiding behind social conventions … straw man are just cheap name-calling

    I didn’t see any exceptions being made to Antinous’s assertion that it is “canned”, “hiding”, and “cheap name calling”. Even after I asked for clarification, so I’m not sure what I”m supposed to take from that, other than it was about me. Or even if it wasn’t directly about me, it seems to apply to me.

    I think I was the only person to label someone’s post as “strawman” and “ad hominem” on this thread.

    Then a little while later, Antinous says:

    Antinous@294: FYI, I don’t debate. The point of debating, as far as I can tell, is to win the debate

    Which is the point where I took “debate” to mean the same as “logical argument”, as opposed to Xopher’s meaning, for example. And then it all went downhill from there.

    And I’m noticing how formal I’m responding to all this right now, and the truth is I felt like my contribution to the thread, the thing I’m good at (i.e. logic), was declared unwelcome.

  300. Evidence says:

    @Moderator
    “Disemvowelling got discussed there in more than one comment. It also happened to more than one comment. How is it that you don’t remember it?”

    I didn’t know what it was and the post(s) you did Disemvowel I thought the poster got his fingers off the home row or something. I guess I was playing it too cool and should have asked earlier.

    @Takuan

    “I think you are here for your own purposes. I think you want something missing from your life. Be easy.”

    I think there is some truth in this. I, for the most, part am surrounded with like minded people.

    BB posts caught my attention and I wondered. “What do nay sayers to the faith believe?” So I am trying to converse and learn. I say what I believe.

    Are you a writer? You took the golden slippers comment and ran with it.

    You sir have accused me of typing in a silly clown voice, invited me bowling and threaten to kill me. I don’t have you pegged yet but here is what I have for now.

    I picture you as the male steward in the Airplane movie. You pop in and say something random while looking directly in the camera. Sometimes I get the humor sometimes I don’t. So nervous laughter pervades.

  301. Wally B says:

    @ #97 Arkizzle — That might be the best post ever. EVAR.

  302. Modusoperandi says:

    GregLondon “When someone on arbitration committee said that to me, I gave up on wikipedia.”
    “Arbitration committee”? That sounds like the worst party ever. Did you ever notice how Wikipedia sucks the fun out of everything?

  303. dacker says:

    I’ve always been curious about Einstein’s view on religion. I always thought he was a active Jew, but now I know better.

    I’ve never been able to reconcile how any scientist worth a damn could possibly see religion as anything more than superstitious bunkum. I guess it served a purpose in its day, but no longer. Over and over again, science has proven many of the ‘facts’ in religion are false, yet so many people cling to their beliefs as if they are proven facts.

    Lenin had one thing right: “Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze…”

  304. rosethornn says:

    I’m going to get flamed for this, but wasn’t Abraham a “known adulterer”?

  305. Antinous says:

    If someone starts rambling about torture, I will probably engage them in some way.

    I do too, but if it’s that important, I don’t debate. I fight, and viciously. Not to win the argument, but to expose my opponent so that everyone can see what’s really inside. When someone can no longer hide behind rhetoric, at least the onlookers know what’s really being talked about without any gloss or pretense.

  306. scottfree says:

    Jim Dandy,

    I doubt you could point to any information on the USSR printed in the US up to the point of Einstein’s death that wasn’t a blatant work of propaganda. The standard tends to say its ok to be a member of the communist party [I don't think Einstein was] up until 1956 and the Hungarian uprising. To be a member of the Communist party after that was to be hopelessly naive, at best. To be a member after 1968 was simply to be hopeless. Of course, Einstein died in 1955, before very much was clear about Stalin and his activities.

    Bear in mind that after WWII in the US, supporting the Soviet Union was about the least popular cause imaginable. There is a reason why the McCarthy business is usually called a witch hunt. It speaks to Einstein’s intelligence that he did not bow to public hysteria or provide ammunition to a few opportunistic politicians and the businessmen behind them. The Soviet Union was crap, the US is crap, Western Europe is crap, the whole effin world is pretty crap on a political level, if you look at it. The difference was, Einstein could be excused at that place and time, for calling for reason instead of hysteria.

    Einstein was also a Zionist, and one wonders what he would have said if he lived to see how that all worked out. From the start he was critical.

  307. Antinous says:

    Over and over again, science has proven many of the ‘facts’ in religion are false

    The fact that over and over science has proven many of the ‘facts’ in science to be false might have something to do with it. Science gets a better reception when it doesn’t act like a religion by proclaiming the experimental result of the week to be universal law.

  308. GregLondon says:

    Evidence@203: I wondered. “What do nay sayers to the faith believe?”

    No True Scotsman in ten words or less. Nice. Can you do a Hasty Generalization in nine?

    you are telling me I am wrong in in thinking that witches, buddhists, evolutionists, atheists and agnostics are nay-sayers to “the faith”?

    Well, a bit over nine words, but not bad. How about an Ad Hominem in twelve?

    The suffering is because of man’s sin not Gods design.

    Well done. Now, how about an Appeal to Authority?

    I am not being prideful I am just saying what the Bible says to warn you.

    Excellent. OK. Now, I’ve been taking it easy on you so far, so here’s a tough one: how about Argumentum ad Antiquitatem in 4 words or less?

    The fall changed everything. We have only observed the fallen world so don’t fall into the trap of thinking as it is today is how its always been.

    You, sir, far exceed my expectations. I don’t think you’ve made a single point in this thread that wasn’t a logical fallacy or wasn’t premised on a logical fallacy you made somewhere else.

    I wouldn’t even know where to begin. And that’s saying something for a guy like me who generally falls into the trap of thinking everyone can understand something if it’s explained enough to them.

  309. noen says:

    Religion doesn’t start ALL wars, but it sure has started a LOT of wars and caused a great deal of suffering.

    Scientific Atheism has done more than it’s share. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, were all leaders of officially atheistic countries. Together they murdered many many millions of people. So that argument fails.

    As I see it the real problem isn’t science vs religion. The real problem is those who rise up in any society and seize power. It doesn’t seem to matter what political system you have. These tyrants keep popping up regardless. So what do we do about the sociopaths among us? Representative democracy was supposed to weed them out but that has clearly failed.

  310. evilrooster says:

    Evidence @203:

    As Teresa said, for someone who supposedly came here out of curiosity, you sure did a lot of talking and not a hell of a lot of listening.

    Either you’re interested in what people here believe, in which case you might try paying attention to their comments and reading the things they link to, or you’re interested in saving their souls, which I find more likely.

    The problem is that you’re just preaching at them. And preaching from the pulpit, to people who already share your beliefs, is a lot different than trying to evangelize a group of people who have virtually nothing in common apart from a habit of occasionally reading the same website. I’m not convinced that that sort of mass evangelizm works, personally. I think if you want to save souls, you have to do some real work. It’s the job of a craftsman, not an assembly-line industry.

    You have to listen to what people are saying, and care about them as individuals. That means talking about other things than religion, which may not be what’s uppermost on their minds at the given moment. And you can’t feign your interest; you have to actually enter into the conversation and follow its flow. You can’t shoehorn it back into why people should follow your religion unless your audience is interested, and you can’t determine that unless you’re really in tune with them.

    It also helps to proceed from the humble awareness that you, as a human, probably do not have a full understanding of the God who created the heavens and the earth. Assuming that your take on things is absolutely correct (for instance, that He will condemn anyone who is not a Creationist to hell) is—in my opinion—sinfully arrogant. That line of thinking certainly has the feel of a sin, in that it makes one superior to others. That sweet, smug little feeling in the pit of one’s stomach is a sure sign that one is not following Christ all the way to the foot of the Cross.

    Of course you may find, if you approach these discussions with love and humility, that the true conversion is within yourself. I trust that God would be OK with that.

  311. GregLondon says:

    MO@258: Do you have argumentum ad populum, yet?

    Naw. Evidence pretty much bases all his arguments off of appeal to authority stuff, with God and such as authority. Not a lot of room for people or appeal to people/popularity there. In fact, Ev comes right out and says repeatedly that all people have sinned and are going to hell for sinning, unless they appeal to authority to be saved and go to heaven.

    But that does explain his repeated use of ad hominem attacks here. He doesn’t respect people/sinners or their opinions. It also explains why he keeps rephrasing everyone’s views as Strawmen, because we have all fallen from grace and we can never save ourselves on our own, so obviously we cannot say anything that would make a difference in our own personal salvation.

    And probably most importantly, that’s why he doesn’t actually engage in conversation with anyone here and instead resorts to preaching from the pulpit. We aren’t worthy to engage. I’m sure he thinks he isn’t worthy either (because it would be Pride if he did, and he knows Pride is a sin), and so he becomes a mouthpiece for the only thing that is worthy in his view: the word of God.

    It’s an emotional and contextual construct that is practically impervious to normal conversation. Ask a question like “why do you say that?” and you will get John 3:16 quoted to you. Ask something like “how did you come to that conclusion?” and you get the church’s treatise on original sin. Because, in the end, Evidence has subverted himself as much as he’s subverted us. We ask him how he came to some conclusion, and he immediately appeals to authority because he knows that he is a sinner, that he is flawed, that he cannot get his own salvation. Therefore he holds his own opinion as irrelevant because it is insufficient for salvation.

    You can’t engage him because he defers all his opinions to some religious authority he deems to be worthy enough to have the answers.

    And it wasn’t until just now that I realized this and how futile it really is to ask him to engage in a conversation about his personal opinions and views with fellow “sinners” and their personal opinions and views. Because to him, none of us, including himself, matter.

  312. rushkoff says:

    Thanks Djinn. You got to that one first and more pithily than I might have, myself.

    As I see it, Einstein simply took Judaism to its logical (and intended) extreme. Note that he still maintains his affinity for Judaism; he has simply let the God part naturally fall away, just as it does in Tanakh (which, if Ms. 50 has actually read, might actually begin to comprehend).

  313. Antinous says:

    First it was his tool. Now it’s his stones. When does the madness end?

  314. Sister Y says:

    Xopher, I agree – I love Felicitas Goodman’s book on glossolalia. I would love to try it! I have been “saved” multiple times and I really enjoyed the experience.

    I like your proposed title.

    Also related to my last post to Tenn – Linda Degh’s book American Folklore and the Mass Media contains a chapter (Chapter 5) that describes her eight-year study of an Indiana Pentacostal church – it describes their practice of tape-recording miracles (people receiving the Holy Spirit, etc.) and using them to feel more connected to God throughout their week outside of church. It’s a great example of sympathetic, non-judgmental religious folklore study. I think you can get it for about $1 (US) plus shipping on Abebooks.

    One other things – my boyfriend was raised as a Buddhist and has taught Buddhism, and he says that it’s perfectly okay to take the teachings of Buddhism and adapt them to the existing gods, religion, culture, and language of your particular area. It would be hilarious and awesome to figure out a way to disguise Buddhist teaching in Pentacostal language and give them some spiritual lessons back!

  315. Takuan says:

    belief denies change, denial of change is denial of growth, denial of growth means death.

    My meme will last for ever

  316. Xopher says:

    ModusOperandi 129: you’re my new hero.

    Evidence 130: *facepalm* Just out of curiosity, did you think we twitched our noses to do magic, too?

    Sorry. I’m just so tired of that one. I was talking to a Moslem the other day about the questions (and worse) we keep getting over and over, and that one came up (his favorite was “but you can’t be a Moslem—you’re white!”).

    No, in Wicca both men and women are called Witches. The word ‘warlock’ means “oathbreaker,” and if you call a Wiccan (of either gender) that you’d better a) know what their oath contained and b) have pretty good evidence that they broke it.

    I expect the association of ‘warlock’ with men comes from my gender’s historical lack of ability to keep promises of all kinds, from magical oaths to marriage vows, but some of us DO take such things seriously, and this hypothesis is just cynical speculation.

  317. noen says:

    I don’t think Einstein can be excused so easily Scott. Sydney Hook saw through Stalin much earlier in ’32 and took the Left to task for their unthinking support and paper thin excuses.

    And I’m in close agreement with you Antinous.

  318. Sister Y says:

    I think Xopher is more of a peacelock.

  319. Sister Y says:

    Doesn’t everything involving groups of people involve, in some way, ethics, morals, and the like?

    Yeah, but it’s not always brought into the light where we can poke sticks at it.

    Often we’re too willing to do the “respectful” thing, and say “well you believe that and I’ll believe this,” instead of the truly respectful thing, which is to try to figure out what’s going on underneath the disagreement. Plus I do recognize that there are occasionally other things of interest in the world besides ethics, like beauty, and booze.

  320. Takuan says:

    oh pshaw! No need to be modest, you’re much more trod-on wolverine than that!

  321. Individual says:

    If you think the Atheist movement is better, stronger or more right because Einstein is in it, then you really don’t know what it means to be an atheist.

    The difference between religion and Atheism is that one is an excuse to practice “might makes right” while the other is a result of embracing one’s individuality.

  322. Takuan says:

    Well, I HAVE been called “Tool of the Universe”.

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