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Old 12-20-2006, 04:32 AM   #121
SkinWalker
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If it were a simple matter of religious people "just choos[ing] to believe in somethings," I would have no problem whatsoever. Their beliefs wouldn't matter a bit to me.

However, the reality we live in is one where religious people want to codify their beliefs in my public schools; in my government; they want public policy to reflect their superstitions with regard to scientific discovery, achievement, and research; they use their beliefs to discriminate against others; they feel the need to keep telling me I'm going to hell for not accepting their beliefs; and their are religious people that go so far as to kill from 1 to 3000 people in a single event because they think their deity will be pleased. To top it all off, there are religious people who are using my tax dollars to fund their superstitions and beliefs that I find to be disagreeable and even misguided.

I should not have to suffer their delusions, but if I must, I'm going to say my piece. And I should have full right to "go after" religion as I see fit as long as I cause no physical harm.


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Old 12-20-2006, 04:44 AM   #122
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And that's part of the problem, as I see things. Should people be allowed to believe in Atheism? Yes. Should they be allowed the same rights as those who follow religion? Yes. Should they be allowed to act out their beliefs? Yes. Should Atheists be allowed to believe they have the right to hound those who follow religion? No, and the reason why I say no is because if people believe they have that right then they will act on that belief and when they act on that belief they cause the exact same problems Atheists criticise religion for, which brings down what is a very valid and good belief to a lot of people.
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Old 12-20-2006, 05:08 AM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I'll point out the myth of Exodus. Not only is there no evidence to support this biblical myth, there is actually archaeological evidence that says it was completely made up during the Iron Age. The myth is about figures and events that are alleged to have occurred in the Late Bronze Age. That this event really took place is a delusion.
I'd be interested in the journal citations for that one, as some of the evidence I've seen dictates otherwise.
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Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Another Christian delusion is transubstantiation: that a little cracker and grape juice becomes actual flesh and blood of Jesus after consumed. This is actually believed by many people.
That is a church doctrine, not something specified in the Bible. Some view church doctrine on par with the Bible, I do not (Biblical doctrine supersedes church doctrine), though I recognize its importance on a number of spiritual matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
The delusion of prayer is another, and one that has been discussed at length in this very forum, with the only result being that there was no empirical evidence to support prayer and only a few anecdotes that could not be tested.
The only thing I've determined is that the studies needed better design (note that's not 'better designed to prove prayer', but simply 'better designed to get a definitive answer'). However, since this is the realm of metaphysical rather than physical, it's going to be hard to create a good physical design.
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Originally Posted by SkinWalker
My final word on the topic is this: if you're going to participate in debates on sensitive topics, be prepared to have your sensibilities challenged and even offended. I've participated in atheist vs. theist debates in many different forums (both internet and not). I've never seen the atheist position lose in a single one.
I would not call the debate between Dawkins and Zacharias a 'win' for Dawkins. Dawkins was on the defensive a large part of the time, though he did state his points well and I found his arguments interesting. I was impressed with their civility to each other, and that is the model I think of as something to which this forum could aspire. I cannot imagine that we would be so completely unable to achieve that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
And in nearly every single debate, the theists supporters appeared offended that their beliefs are challenged and questioned.
If you don't like to debate theism vs. atheism, please don't participate in such threads. Certainly, don't start such threads. And if you do chose to participate, check your sensibilities at the door and do not -do not- allow being offended cause you to engage in a flame war.
_If_ this is an oblique reference in my direction, let me reiterate--I don't object to debating the tenets of theism/atheism, so long as it's done respectfully. I do object to belittling, condescension, and arrogant replies, on both sides of the fence. Feel free to attack the ideas--I find the whole discussion fascinating, as long as it doesn't involve attacks on me (or anyone else) as well as, or instead of, the ideas. It's not a 'win' in the debate if the opponents are driven away by obnoxious behavior rather than facts. The tone and delivery in some posts are barriers to effective communication; once those barriers are overcome, however, I think an intriguing discussion could ensue.
The intent of this thread was never to debate theism or atheism itself, and obviously I erred by not making that very specific proviso worded in a very specific manner in the original post. I'm trying to get a sense of where the atheist/theist paradigms mesh and where they differ in regards to everyday life. About the only thing of significance that I've discovered so far is that we're all successful at annoying each other.

So, let me really narrow the focus, inspired jointly by the season and, believe it or not, one of Spider AL's comments somewhere along the way about Christmas and the celebration, or choice not to celebrate. I'm sure there are about as many different ways to celebrate Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/etc. as there are people here, and I'd be interested in people's traditions and where religious/non-religious celebrations are similar and different.

Spider AL, I agree completely with you that Christmas has become over-commercialized. It should not have turned into what it is today. It drives me nuts to see Christmas items on display in October (craft and sewing stores excluded--it takes a lot of time to do crafts/sewing projects, so people have to start early--they get a pass in my book, but they're the only ones). I don't know that we could go as far as you have and eschew gift-giving altogether--it's too much fun to make something or find something special for people who have a lot of meaning in my life. The looks in my kids' eyes when they receive gifts are precious. Family/friends derive joy from giving to me as well.

And moving on to make this more general to everyone now....With our kids we try to have them pick toys of their own that they'd like to give to charity--one toy donated for every toy received. They're not old enough to handle the deeper meanings, but they can grasp the concept that their donations mean another child will benefit. It helps them think of something besides themselves. We decorate the tree, have a little village, a creche set, and an advent calendar (I love counting down the days, what can I say). With my adult family members--we draw names and put a low limit on gift cost to avoid the trend towards commercialism. Homemade items are favorites. My agnostic aunt/uncle give gifts because they've worked hard and done very well for themselves financially, and they like to share it. Instead of receiving gifts, however, they ask for donations to be made to charity in their name, and they don't care what the amount is. I made my aunt a small scrapbook one year--she appreciated that more than anything I could have bought for her in a store.

A couple of my agnostic friends celebrate Christmas like any Christian does, except they don't go to church. They'll go to concerts and visit friends/families or host parties in lieu of church services. One of my agnostic friends has a 'Solstice party'--he and his family celebrate the changing of the seasons and the fact that the shortest day of the year is now behind him (he likes summer a lot better than winter. ). They decorate with evergreens, holly, natural seasonal items, and such but avoid any religious symbols.


Feel free to discuss other holidays--Christmas just happens to be convenient since it's only 5 days away.


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Last edited by Jae Onasi; 12-20-2006 at 01:57 PM. Reason: typos from writing this at 3 am
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Old 12-20-2006, 05:30 AM   #124
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If it were a simple matter of religious people "just choos[ing] to believe in somethings," I would have no problem whatsoever. Their beliefs wouldn't matter a bit to me.
Well thats great to here

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However, the reality we live in is one where religious people want to codify their beliefs in my public schools; in my government; they want public policy to reflect their superstitions with regard to scientific discovery, achievement, and research
Please by all means give some examples. Im pretty sure with schools it involves intelligent design. So how about an idea here just dont teach anything involving creation. Have classes that will teach it but not have it as manditory to teach it. So basically just let the parents decide what they want there child to take etc. Thus both sides win. But will teacher boards go along with it I doubt it. Its either 1 or the other.
Well, I would go for intelligent design myself but from a stand point
that both dont have enough evidence to some from both sides why not either teach both or none all together.


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Old 12-20-2006, 05:51 AM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
This is yet another fallacy known as an appeal to popularity. Its actually a form of the non sequitur since, again, it doesn't follow that because there are a lot of adherents that a given cult's doctrine is fact. Lot's of people believe space aliens are abducting them (no offense to Windu), this doesn't mean they are correct.
Ok, SkinWalker when the hell did I ever say, that aliens was abducting me?
You must really have misunderstood my arguments in that UFO thread.
Also if you didn't mean any offense you wouldn't have referred to me.
You think you are really slick, huh?

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Old 12-20-2006, 05:13 PM   #126
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Just looking at SkinWalker's post again I'd just like to comment on religion (Christianity) being taught in public schools. Right here is an example of the issues I have with Atheist beliefs in pushing their views on others, as the proposal is that Christian religion is taught to school children, religion being pushed onto others, especially impressionable minds, with no regard to them or their families being of Jewish faith, Muslim, ect or choosing not to follow religion at all, to be Atheist. That is exactly the issue I'm talking about with the belief of pushing your views onto others, and I agree with those who are against the idea and say that religion should be something that is a choice, not pushed upon in schools. If you want to have religion in schools I'm all for it, have religious groups that students can take part of if they so wish. But to force upon them religion as part of the education process, in my view it goes beyond education and goes more into the direction of indoctrination.
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Old 12-20-2006, 07:24 PM   #127
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If atheism is the default position, and I have no reason to believe it isn't, then there is no beliefs being pushed on anyone. Teachers that go out of their way to say that there ARE NO gods, however, are out of line; they're not leaving it at simple lack of belief, they're pushing a belief in no gods.


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Old 12-20-2006, 07:39 PM   #128
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We have enough trouble just teaching our kids to _read_, much less address anything metaphysical.


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Old 12-20-2006, 07:58 PM   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
We have enough trouble just teaching our kids to _read_, much less address anything metaphysical.
If we put the same amount of money into education and health care as we do blowing the **** out of one another, that wouldn't be a problem. The U.S., for example, has an annual defense budget of $466 billion, not including additional funding allocated by Congress frequently. In addition to this, the Department of Defense also... absorbed $1.1 trillion that it will not account for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
If atheism is the default position, and I have no reason to believe it isn't
There's a multi-million dollar mosque that's part of Boston Latin, a public school here in Boston. So, in addition to the teachers who say there are no gods, there are those who say there are gods and administrative faculty who waste the taxpayers' money on places of worship (no offense, but that money could have bought a hell of a lot of books and other supplies for other schools in the area that have 40 kids to one teacher and 20 usable books per class).



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Old 12-20-2006, 08:30 PM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142
If we put the same amount of money into education and health care as we do blowing the **** out of one another, that wouldn't be a problem. The U.S., for example, has an annual defense budget of $466 billion, not including additional funding allocated by Congress frequently. In addition to this, the Department of Defense also... absorbed $1.1 trillion that it will not account for.
I won't argue with you on that--I'd much rather address domestic issues than pay for a war.
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Originally Posted by jmac7142
There's a multi-million dollar mosque that's part of Boston Latin, a public school here in Boston.
How in the world did they ever get _that_ past the ACLU and the courts?


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Old 12-20-2006, 08:37 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
How in the world did they ever get _that_ past the ACLU and the courts?
Heh, it's Boston, contesting something like that in court is considered racist and/or anti-Muslim in many parts of the city/areas around the city (*cough*Cambridge*cough*).



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Old 12-21-2006, 01:13 AM   #132
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Anti-religion charges have never stopped the ACLU before.


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Old 12-21-2006, 01:24 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Now the truth of Atheism the way Spider AL sees it is that Atheism is fananticism. Fananticism is mindless, fananticism is dangerous, fananticism is stupid
One cannot be fanatical about logic and reason in the sense that you're using the word, Nancy.

Dictionary.com definition:

fa·nat·ic /f?'næt?k/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[fuh-nat-ik] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
-noun 1. a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.
-adjective

Atheists cannot qualify as "fanatics" on the subject of atheism by this definition, because atheism is BASED on critical thinking. Rational thinking. Fanaticism is by its very nature uncritical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Imagine damning another human being simply on the grounds that he didn't think like you.
An atheist can obviously not damn anyone in the religious sense, as we don't believe there's a hell. So the only remaining sense is to "harshly condemn". And if you show me where I've "condemned" anyone, your assertion won't be discarded as the spurious nonsense that it clearly is.

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Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

If our aim in life is to seek peace, it is impossible to achieve it by fananticism. Peace and fananticism are incompatible.
Which is exactly why unquestioning faith in a religion... or ANY delusion for that matter, is not a good thing. Because as long as there are religious or political fanatics, be they fundamentalist Christians or US/UK neoconservatives... There will be no peace.

So atheism is good, as is politically dissident activism. Because they're both logical and rational positions to hold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

As for the cheese question you're obviously blind because for the last time I have said that no one follows such a religion, so any creditbility it might have is basically null and void. Christianity, Judism, Islam, Buddism ect have a following of hundreds of millions making it something a lot of people believe in. Does it make it any more of a truth?
This is supposed to be your answer to the cheese question?

"Lots of people believe in God, so there must be something to it"? That doesn't make any sense. It's not logical. When people believed the earth was flat, that didn't make it flat. People have believed all sorts of stupid things throughout history... That didn't make them RIGHT. If the number of people who believe in something in ANY WAY affects its rightness or wrongness, that means that Christianity was a wrong belief when christians were in the minority in Roman times... but is right now, because it's the largest religion in the world? That doesn't make any goldarned sense.

But frankly as Mace pointed out, this isn't even a real answer to the cheese question. It's just illogically dodging the question. You asked me "Can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that god doesn't exist?" And I retorted: "Can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the sinister sentient slices of cheddar cheese from the island of Mandango don't exist?" And of course, the point was that NO negative can be disproven. You cannot prove that something "does not exist", no matter how ludicrous that something is. That doesn't mean that it exists.

So logically if you believe in "God" you must also believe in the slices of cheese, because there's EXACTLY the same amount of evidence to support both beliefs. i.e: NO evidence. End of line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

For all I know when you die all that happens is you become worm food in the ground. What a horrible thought for so many people, if they want to believe in there being something more is that so bad?
Lying to yourself is never good, Nancy.

If you tell yourself that after you die you'll go to heaven, or valhalla... or wherever the heck your religion of choice tells you you're going, then you're essentially lying to yourself. You're wasting your life in pursuit of a goal that can only be attained after you're dead. Instead, a rational man tries to give his LIFE meaning... within his own lifetime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

But is there any truth in such beliefs or are they insane ramblings that Atheists must wipe out? I cannot judge how valid any one religion might be but the fact so much has been written on all of them and how much is believed to be true. Have any of you tried looking at religious scripts and seeing what they have to say?
It's close to a truism that a large number of atheists know more about the bible and other religious texts than most religious people do. Especially the history of such texts that is not often taught in the religious community. So what's your point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

That's five points where he's either said Atheists should persecute those who follow religion or otherwise say they're deluded. And by the way he's of the opinion that he isn't arrogant, condescending and trollish. Well with the mods permission would he be willing to have a poll where people can say whether or not he is these things?
First, as several people have already noted, the quotes of mine you posted DON'T support your wierd assertion that I'm in any way "forcing" religious people to discard their theism.

As to the second, the mods have already ruled on the issue, but I am perfectly willing to defend my arguments and my own person at ANY time. So if you wish to debate me on the topic of me, feel free to PM me and I shall converse with you at great length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

You want an end to the arguement? Just say that you can accept that others follow religion
By "accept that others follow religion", what do you mean?

Isn't it the case that to you, "accept that others follow religion" really means "never ever point out the fact that religion is illogical, because it upsets some people when you do that"?

If I'm incorrect in this assessment, feel free to correct me.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142:

The bad part about debating morality is that morality doesn't have a set definition, personally, I'd rather make their lives a bit easier by teaching them what is and is not socially acceptable.
Of course morality has a "set definition". An objective definition, in fact.

Go to this thread: Moral Relativism

The topic was argued to death, and the point that morality is objective, logically arrived at and MUST be universal... was logically proven therein. Any claims that morality is "subjective" in any way, are erroneous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142:

There's a multi-million dollar mosque that's part of Boston Latin, a public school here in Boston. So, in addition to the teachers who say there are no gods, there are those who say there are gods and administrative faculty who waste the taxpayers' money on places of worship (no offense, but that money could have bought a hell of a lot of books and other supplies for other schools in the area that have 40 kids to one teacher and 20 usable books per class).
If this is as you say it is, then it is a perfect example of how organised theistic religions seek to invade and infect the secular education system with their irrational nonsense. It's almost exactly comparable to the "intelligent design" situation.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

That is a church doctrine, not something specified in the Bible. Some view church doctrine on par with the Bible, I do not (Biblical doctrine supersedes church doctrine), though I recognize its importance on a number of spiritual matters.
Transubstantiation is a ludicrous belief surrounding a ludicrous ritual, itself based on some fairly odd-sounding passages from the bible.

The bible is "church doctrine" itself, in that it is a selection of documents written by proto-churchmen collected over a period of centuries. It is essentially the violent, mysoginistic and altogether morally reprihensible Judaistic old testament, with the much more philosophical stories about the character of Jesus crassly stuck onto the end of it. It is a mass of contradictions, it is perennially mistranslated from the source languages and- in short- it is not the "word of god", but the word of some random men.

Therefore I find your assertion that the bible should be given more weight than the rituals practiced by the church in more recent centuries... to be a nonsense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

The only thing I've determined is that the studies needed better design (note that's not 'better designed to prove prayer', but simply 'better designed to get a definitive answer'). However, since this is the realm of metaphysical rather than physical, it's going to be hard to create a good physical design.
Once again, the burden of proof is on those who make outlandish, irrational claims to PROVE the validity of those claims. There is simply no logical, rational evidence that prayer is an intrinsically effective practice.

But in terms of gleaning the "definitive answer" that you desire, we already have it. Because in rational terms, until the existence of a thing is demonstrated by logical argument and/or tangible evidence, it effectively does not exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

I would not call the debate between Dawkins and Zacharias a 'win' for Dawkins. Dawkins was on the defensive a large part of the time, though he did state his points well and I found his arguments interesting. I was impressed with their civility to each other, and that is the model I think of as something to which this forum could aspire. I cannot imagine that we would be so completely unable to achieve that.
Please post a link to a source for this debate, I have never seen nor heard of this one, and I'd be most interested in seeing it/reading it.

That aside, I highly doubt that a debate between Dawkins and Zacharias would result in anything but a "win" for Dawkins, quite simply because debates are won by the most rational, logical arguments, and I have never heard a single rational, logical argument to support uncritical clinging to outmoded superstitions. Ever. Not from Ravi Zacharias, not from the current Archbishop of Canterbury, nor from any other religious "luminary". I wait patiently for some religious bod to present something based on logic, in other words.

Of course, EVERY debate Dawkins has ever had on the subject has been hailed by the religious set as a victory for his opponent. And in each case that I've observed, Dawkins' opponent came out with nothing but irrelevant, dogmatic nonsense. So why did the religious folk claim victory for their side? Because they're irrational when it comes to the subject. If they were not... they'd be atheists.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterRoss08:

Please by all means give some examples. Im pretty sure with schools it involves intelligent design. So how about an idea here just dont teach anything involving creation. Have classes that will teach it but not have it as manditory to teach it. So basically just let the parents decide what they want there child to take etc. Thus both sides win.
The concepts of evolution and natural selection are vitally important to the study of biology. They should be taught to all schoolchildren.

"Intelligent design" is not science. There is no logic to it. It's thinly veiled creationism, and therefore it should be taught only in churches. Not in our schools, which are supposed to be places of real learning.

And under such a system as you describe, only irrational religious people would "win". The side of reason and logic would lose. Bigstyle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterRoss08:

Well, I would go for intelligent design myself but from a stand point
that both dont have enough evidence to some from both sides why not either teach both or none all together.
Ross, the fact is that intelligent design has NO evidence to support it as a concept.

Evolution has a great deal of evidence to support it as a concept.

So be rational: Which theory do you choose to accept as working fact and operate under? Is it the theory with quite a lot of evidence to back it up... or some nonsense theory that doesn't have any evidence to back it up?

You've chosen the latter. But that's not a rational choice.


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Old 12-21-2006, 01:38 PM   #134
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I am unfamiliar with the Dawkins / Zacharias debate. Can anyone provide me with a link or citation I can find in my library? A transcript of the debate or a podcast would be ideal.


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Old 12-21-2006, 01:42 PM   #135
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Ditto.

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Old 12-21-2006, 04:19 PM   #136
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If you condemn people simply on the basis that they don't think the way you do then you are a fanantic. That is what fananticism is, to condemn others simply on the basis that they do not think the way you do.

As for what I mean by accepting that others believe in religion, I mean...just that. Being able to accept that people choose to follow religion. That is doesn't matter whether or not people choose to delude themselves. To say to yourself "oh well, they choose to follow that belief, or that belief, not my problem". As I said, if you persecute others because of their religion then you are guilty of causing the exact same problems religion is blamed for, and bring down Atheism by your persecution in the process.
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Old 12-21-2006, 04:27 PM   #137
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There's a difference between "persecution" and criticism. When religion seeks to influence secular life, or when a single religious cult seeks to influence others, then they warrant logical and reasoned critique.

The problem that the reasoned position encounters time and again is that the religious adherents cry foul that their "sacred beliefs" are being criticized or even ridiculed. They think their's is a position that should be hands-off and I don't buy it. Indeed, I speak out against it.


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Old 12-21-2006, 05:30 PM   #138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skinwalker
The problem that the reasoned position encounters time and again is that the religious adherents cry foul that their "sacred beliefs" are being criticized or even ridiculed. They think their's is a position that should be hands-off and I don't buy it. Indeed, I speak out against it.
Couldn't have said it better myself. And I tried.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me
To add a bit more to my original post, one of the reasons I can't accept any religion in particular is that there's a tendency some religious people have to think only in the most literal terms. "I believe in X. As I know that my particular bit of religious dogma was beamed down directly from God's own fax machine, X is unquestionably true, therefore everything else is by definition wrong. Contradicting X or saying it's wrong is offensive to me, and should never be done."
Add delusions of persecution, and that brings us pretty much to where this thread's at now.


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Old 12-21-2006, 06:14 PM   #139
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Would it surprise you if I said I was Atheist, that I stood for the beliefs of Atheism? That's why I'm so passionate about the belief some Atheists have that they have the right to persecute religion and be intolerent of religion, because that belief really does give Atheism a bad name.
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Old 12-21-2006, 06:23 PM   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I am unfamiliar with the Dawkins / Zacharias debate. Can anyone provide me with a link or citation I can find in my library? A transcript of the debate or a podcast would be ideal.
I'll try to find it, because _I'd_ like to hear it again. I was listening to the debate while driving through Chicago a few years back and couldn't stop anywhere to copy down the relevant info. Likely it's at the rzim.org site, if you don't mind sifting through the other stuff to get to his apologetics topics. I'm at work atm and can't do an extensive search til I get home.


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Old 12-21-2006, 07:06 PM   #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
That's why I'm so passionate about the belief some Atheists have that they have the right to persecute religion and be intolerant of religion, because that belief really does give Atheism a bad name.
You're just being silly here. No matter what anybody else says, you seem to be under the assumption that anything anyone says against religion is persecution. This is not the case. Criticism != Persecution. It has nothing to do with the fact that religious people think differently, it has to do with the fact that religious people try to push their dogma onto everyone else. Not all religious people do this, of course, and I have no qualms with those who want to believe whatever they want to believe, so long as they don't push it on others.

I have many friends who are quite religious, and we get along just fine, because they don't bother me about my beliefs and I don't bother them about theirs. But once they start trying to teach intelligent design, or do anything else to push their dogmatic agendas onto anyone else, I take offense and have the right to speak out against it.



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Old 12-21-2006, 08:33 PM   #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Would it surprise you if I said I was Atheist, that I stood for the beliefs of Atheism? That's why I'm so passionate about the belief some Atheists have that they have the right to persecute religion and be intolerent of religion, because that belief really does give Atheism a bad name.
But you're not Atheist, and you don't stand for the beliefs of Atheism, as you've made very clear in this and many other threads. If you were, you wouldn't be continually harping on this imaginary "persecution" kick you're presently on. Nobody is persecuting you or forcing you to abandon your religious beliefs. You can wrap your head around that any day now.


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Old 12-21-2006, 08:43 PM   #143
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it has to do with the fact that religious people try to push their dogma onto everyone else.
Well well well dont we have touchy people here.
I wouldnt say that only religious people are the only touchy ones here.
I find it hard to believe that people get so worked up with people only trying to
spread in some views ( even some i believe in) good news. You feel as though
your the ones getting attacked here about people in your oppinon trying to
force there beliefs on you. I can also say some people are forcing your
beliefs on others. With banning prayer in schools, even trying to get rid
of the pledge of aliegance etc. So dont go saying that religions are
the only ones that do this. And besides it feels to me as though you =anyone that is against religion take offence to this (forcing beliefs). And besides why you
all(against religion) getting so worked up about this(forcing beliefs) .
In my oppinon your term of forcing beliefs is over done. Anyone can
participate in the democratic process of are goverment to try and improve life.
So I would like to know why you all think this is the end of the world with
people that you think are crazed people do to your view that peoples
religions are delusional( which makes them idiots from what im taking it as)


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Old 12-21-2006, 10:46 PM   #144
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Here's where atheism loses me:
1. It cannot explain the origin of the universe.
2. It cannot, in a satisfactory way, address abiogenesis in a manner that requires less faith than religion, i.e. it's so statistically improbable that theism is more probable. If you want an entire thread on stats/molecular biology/biochemistry/cellular physiology I can oblige.
3. I prefer to think that I was put here for a purpose rather than think that I'm some cosmic accident--atheism does not offer me the same meaning in life. And before that gets jumped on with a vengeance, let me state that there are a zillion people who obviously find meaning in life outside theism. I just find it far more difficult in my case to do so.
4. I prefer a set objective of right and wrong, not something based on what feels good at the moment or an ethic which constantly experiences change. If you look at a naturalist view, even with the empathy/morality paradigm, things change, i.e. in a naturalist view, man has changed and developed over time. Our ability to reason has changed over time. Our ability to empathize has changed over time. If the level of empathy is tied to morality and empathy changes, then the level of morality changes. Among individuals--if their ability to empathize is different, and clearly there are individuals who have more empathy than others, how is a set level of morality maintained?
There can be no sliding scale for evil, because if there is, then nothing can truly be condemned as evil--someone somewhere will always declare that x act is 'right for him' or 'right for that situation' and therefore not evil to him, even if it's the most reprehensible act to the majority of the rest of us.

Turns out I had the wrong atheist who was debating Zacharias--it was Bernard Leikind, not Dawkins. I suspect Leikind mentioned Dawkins which may be where I got that misconception. And why yes, I _had_ forgotten Dawkins doesn't do debates like that...which is too bad, because I think his arguments could be honed even more with the give-and-take. My apologies for the confusion. Link http://shop2.gospelcom.net/epages/rz...uct/View/DVD15 for the description of the DVD (which you may be able to get through the library, and some of the big churches in Houston may have it in their church libraries, but I don't know if they let non-members borrow from their libraries).
Description: "Ravi debates the difficult question, "Is There Meaning in Evil & Suffering" at the Faith and Science Lecture Forum. Ravi's address is followed by a rebuttal from three panelists: Dr. Bernard Leikind, a plasma physicist, senior editor at Skeptic Magazine and a renowned atheist; Dr. Jitendra Mohanty, one of India's most noted Hindu philosophers and a distinguished professor at Emory University in Atlanta; and William Lane Craig, a noted author, Christian philosopher and apologist. After the rebuttals and Ravi's response, the audience asks questions. (2 hrs, 33 minutes)"

The arguments were still fascinating, however, and Leikind made some very interesting points. Mohanty was not quite as prepared as the other participants and did not do as well in the debate as a result, but the others put a lot of time and effort into the research needed for their points, and I appreciated the work all of them did because it made the discussion very lively and intriguing.

Edit: Can download the mp3 free of the debate--it's in 4 parts.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


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Old 12-21-2006, 11:42 PM   #145
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I don't why I'm even bothering with this, since you only responded to one point in my previous arguments...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
1. It cannot explain the origin of the universe.
Neither can religion. The typical response I hear is 'God created it.' Whenever I ask 'where did God come from, then?' I have never heard anything other than 'God is infinite. He always existed.'

Quite impossible. Both atheism and religion offer huge questions that cannot be sufficiently explained. In enough time, however, it's inevitable that the origin of the universe will be discovered. How long that'll take I can only guess, but far sooner than the origin of something I don't even think exists.

How God could even create the universe is another unanswered question. I've not seen any logical explanation for how there be a being with such tremendous power either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
2. It cannot, in a satisfactory way, address abiogenesis in a manner that requires less faith than religion, i.e. it's so statistically improbable that theism is more probable. If you want an entire thread on stats/molecular biology/biochemistry/cellular physiology I can oblige.
I wouldn't mind. Biology isn't my specialty.

Regardless of the improbability of life existing, it still happened. But again, the existence of a supreme being who can do anything is an even more improbable occurence than regular mortals like us. How can something with an infinite lifespan exist? How can this same being create planets on a whim? I doubt any scientist can give a rational explanation for how that's possible.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
3. I prefer to think that I was put here for a purpose
Ah, the key difference. I don't factor my personal opinion into the existence of reality.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
atheism does not offer me the same meaning in life.
Atheism isn't intended to offer you any meanings, philosiphies, or hidden messages to put it bluntly. Just simple facts.

Personal opinion does not and should not factor into how one perceives reality. I could declare right now 'the sky is green!' and say that the evidence I had to support that was that I think it's green. Opinions, naturally, shouldn't count at all towards such an idea; if I looked outside and the sky was green, then that statement would obviously have merit.

Religion, no offense inteded, is actually much more similar to that example than you might consider. There's no definite proof there's a God, but His followers feel He exists, so that's enough for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I prefer a set objective of right and wrong, not something based on what feels good at the moment or an ethic which constantly experiences change.
That statement is quite biased, and does not take all facts into consideration at all.

What about laws? Those aren't inspired by religion, but they've done a far better job at enforcing order than any examples Christ has provided.

Not only that, but the fact that man came up with religion provides even further credence towards my statements. All people who claim they're following examples provided by God are really following ones that simple mortals came up with, whether they realize it or not. I have already stated why God cannot exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Among individuals--if their ability to empathize is different, and clearly there are individuals who have more empathy than others, how is a set level of morality maintained?
That's a great question to ask an anarchist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
There can be no sliding scale for evil, because if there is, then nothing can truly be condemned as evil--
What is it our earthly laws are for, then? If you rob someone's house, you obviously should have to give back what you've stolen and pay something additional. Common sense alone can tell you that.

Religion provides an indefinitely inferior set of laws. The Ten Commandments are far too vague to actually be applied to our reality; while they can serve as inspirations, it's impossible to say they can deal with specific instances.

Religion provides far less in the way of that. Does it say anywhere in the Bible what the penalty should be for selling twelve pounds of cocaine? Or fifty pounds? It had some humane principles, but it's been left to man and not the supernatural to come up with crime and punishment.

The Bible is outdated in any event. You yourself have agreed on this.


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Old 12-22-2006, 12:04 AM   #146
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Quote:
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Here's where atheism loses me:
1. It cannot explain the origin of the universe.

I don't see why atheism would try to. Science seeks to, but science and atheism are hardly synonymous terms regardless of how many scientists are atheist. Moreover, none of the religious cults of the world can realistically explain the origin of the universe. Many think they do, but not a single one has provided empirical explanation that can be tested. Instead, many religious cults (perhaps even most) have superstitions that explain the universe that range from cosmic corn to Ptah spoke it into existence to Yawheh and Elohim said "let there be light." None, of course, offer a real explanation but, rather a superstition. Atheism, therefore is the logical choice. Agnostic-atheism, specifically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
2. It cannot, in a satisfactory way, address abiogenesis in a manner that requires less faith than religion, i.e. it's so statistically improbable that theism is more probable. If you want an entire thread on stats/molecular biology/biochemistry/cellular physiology I can oblige.

Again, why would it. Science has many hypotheses that offer viable and tenable explanations for abiogenesis (see Dawkins' The Selfish Gene and Sagan's Cosmos) that, of course haven't been demonstrated, though they are very tenable. But there's no reason for atheism to try and explain such a thing. Atheism isn't science. The vast majority of atheists aren't scientists and do not attempt to be so bold as to make wild claims they are under-educated on or unable to support. There are, perhaps, many atheists who *can* explain abiogenesis, but atheism itself could give less than a hill of beans. Interestingly enough, religious cults are also unable to explain abiogenesis. Nor should they be expected to, but there are many who do expect them to and those within religious cults that pretend to explain such matters. None, absolutely none, of them have ever offered a single verifiable or testable explanation that was even tenable. Not a single one. Yet they keep making claims. Atheism is, again, the logical and reasoned choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
3. I prefer to think that I was put here for a purpose rather than think that I'm some cosmic accident--atheism does not offer me the same meaning in life.

Not being an atheist, I wouldn't expect you to have a clue as to what atheism could offer you with regard to your "purpose" in life. But I would hardly hold that against you. One doesn't choose atheism because they're looking for purpose in life. One settles on atheism and agnosticism (and, in my opinion, the only logical choice is agnostic-atheism) because of logic and reason. Religious explanations are no longer tenable and to them or perhaps never were. But you are correct that many, many people find purpose without religion. Every single atheist and agnostic I know -and I know many- feels a purpose and feels that their lives are meaningful. For some, its an understanding that they are part of a greater social collective called humanity and that if they do their part, they may have some lasting effect that can ensure the society's survival and well-being.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
4. I prefer a set objective of right and wrong, not something based on what feels good at the moment or an ethic which constantly experiences change.


My first thought then, is why choose a religious version of morality. If ever their was a moral relativist outlook, it seems to be with religion. I worry about the religious nutters that feel that their god(s) want them to die for them or kill for them. And I'm not just speaking of Islamic fundamentalists. I cannot count the number of Christians I've encountered in my life that believe they would be willing to die for their gods or that their gods demand the most from them. I'm even appalled when I hear Christians say things like "god first, family second, then my job." Bull. Family first. Always. If your god spoke to me in the middle of the night and asked for a sacrifice of my kid on the altar, I wouldn't got the path of Abraham, I'd tell him/her to kiss it.

If the atheists are right, and there are no gods, then that would mean that morality is a human concept not a divine one. Moreover, the very fact that the non-religious appear to have higher moral standards than the religious provides evidence that morality is just that: a human condition and not one that is divinely given. If it were, the gods that inspired morality are among the most incompetent and don't deserve worship.

For those that find the need to lean on religion to supply them with their morality, my opinion is that it says more about their own moral convictions and ability to interact on a positive and appropriate social level with their fellow man than not. But I accept that there are those among us that cannot find their moral center without believing that they'll answer to a "higher power." But its these individuals that continue to cause the most problems for society time and time again. The prison system is full of religious criminals and nearly absent of the non-religious, which are disproportionately represented in prisons and jails.

Finally, when it comes to moral center, I worry about end times nutters, of which there are a great many (anecdotally, there could be a strong correlation noted simply by observing the popularity of the Left Behind series of the ironically named Christian fiction genre). These people see no reason to leave a positive legacy or make decisions today that have value in posterity. Global warming, the price of oil, toxic waste, resource depletion, wetlands destruction, fiscal management in government, social programs designed to last decades, etc, etc. -none of these hold true meaning to believers in the end times mythology.


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Old 12-22-2006, 12:17 AM   #147
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You're just being silly here. No matter what anybody else says, you seem to be under the assumption that anything anyone says against religion is persecution. This is not the case.
Not at all. I am under the assumption that some Atheists believe they have the right to persecute religion. Prove me wrong please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mace MacLeod
But you're not Atheist, and you don't stand for the beliefs of Atheism, as you've made very clear in this and many other threads. If you were, you wouldn't be continually harping on this imaginary "persecution" kick you're presently on. Nobody is persecuting you or forcing you to abandon your religious beliefs. You can wrap your head around that any day now.
Reply to post impossible. Reason: arrogant and condescending tone too great.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:32 AM   #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterRoss08
I can also say some people are forcing your
beliefs on others. With banning prayer in schools,
There is no ban on prayer in public schools, moreover, I would be against such a ridiculous thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterRoss08
... people that you think are crazed people do to your view that peoples
religions are delusional( which makes them idiots from what im taking it as)
I'm not sure who said that religious adherents are "crazed." I didn't see that term used in the thread. Also, I think you may have a misunderstanding as to what the word "delusion" means. Simply put, it is a misguided belief. There are hundreds of mainstream religions in the world that are actively adhered to. Many vary to such a degree that they can be characterized as contradictory to each other. Most believe their own cult to be the appropriate and only correct one. Obviously they cannot all be right. Would you consider the adherents of a small Polynesian religion that believed in making regular sacrifices to their volcano god and engaging in anonymous sex during an annual festival to be correct in their beliefs? Would you not see them as deluded in their beliefs, even if you respect their right to believe it?

Perhaps you might be tempted to answer that question with some sort of convenient dodge, claiming to respect the beliefs of other cultures; understanding those that haven't heard "the Word;" etc., but those responses don't wash. This culture has "heard the Word," and they boiled the missionaries and had them for their festival's feast.

Christianity is deluded. Period. Much of the biblical mythology is based upon claims that simply don't pan out when the evidence is evaluated. Archaeologically, the so-called Wandering Israelites of the Late Bronze Age didn't exist and neither did the places and peoples they claimed to encounter. The Noachian Flood myth was borrowed heavily from the much older Sumerian and Chaldean myths of deluge, such as the Gilgamesh story.

And so one and so on. I could go on and on about the anonymous authors of the gospels not being eyewitnesses, etc., but I suspect you might not even read what I wrote. At the very least, you would write off my words as the trappings of satan.


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Old 12-22-2006, 12:46 AM   #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
Not at all. I am under the assumption that some Atheists believe they have the right to persecute religion. Prove me wrong please.
The definition of persecution is to cause suffering or oppress. The only thing I've seen any of the atheists in this thread admit to was feeling the need to criticize, question and challenge the claims of religion. And that is a right that I not only feel I have, but one I demand. Still, the assumption you state above is your own assertion and, therefore, the burden of proof lies not with others to prove a negative but for you to prove a positive. If you're saying that atheists believe they have the right to "persecute," that is, to cause suffering and oppress the religious, then I ask you to quote that passage from this or any other thread in the forum or, for that matter, any other source on the internet or public media.

That simply isn't in line with the humanistic beliefs of most well-known and influential atheists and certainly something that I've seen called upon here.

Persecution of the religious would be requiring that they close their churches; restrict establishment of churches within 500 meters of liquor stores and cigar shops; ban public television from airing religious programs on Sunday; ban public newspapers from publishing a Religion section in their Sunday paper; make neighborhood proselytizing an offense punishable by fine or imprisonment; fining anyone caught soliciting donations for faith-based organizations; requiring that faith-based organizations go to the bottom of the list in awarding public contracts; or requiring stickers in all bibles even at church that offer a disclaimer that the contents of the book involved with explaining creation is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. The material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

That, my friend, would be persecution. But I'm all for the sticker.


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Old 12-22-2006, 01:31 AM   #150
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I think we all, me included, need to have it spelt out whether Atheists believe they have the right to persecute religion. Not discuss or debate, but out and out persecute religion. The way Middle Eastern Muslim terrorists persecute those who do not believe their blashemus Islamic fascism. Do Atheists believe they have a right to persecute religion in this way? Yes or no? I'm almost positive the answer is no but reading some of the posts I need confirmation.
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:40 AM   #151
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Psh. There is no yes or no answer. Some people will attempt to force their beliefs on others, whether they're religious or not.



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Old 12-22-2006, 01:43 AM   #152
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Of course, but I'm asking the people here. Does anyone here they have a right to persecute religion the way I had described?
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Old 12-22-2006, 02:24 AM   #153
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No, not like that. Criticism and rejection of actions based on those beliefs is entirely ok though.

Quote:
4. I prefer a set objective of right and wrong, not something based on what feels good at the moment or an ethic which constantly experiences change. If you look at a naturalist view, even with the empathy/morality paradigm, things change, i.e. in a naturalist view, man has changed and developed over time. Our ability to reason has changed over time. Our ability to empathize has changed over time. If the level of empathy is tied to morality and empathy changes, then the level of morality changes. Among individuals--if their ability to empathize is different, and clearly there are individuals who have more empathy than others, how is a set level of morality maintained?
As I saw it from Spider's posts: empathy is 'how well a person can put themselves in another being's shoes'. This can change relative to the person, surely, but the underlying fact of exactly how much a person hurts, etc. does not change. Because of this, morality is not relative (I personally find relativism abhorrent as well). The only thing that is variable is people's ability to find the moral solution to a problem - and that's a problem with all moral systems, theistic ones included (see the row over Terry Schiavo for an example). However, if you make a determined effort to be moral, you can hardly be faulted for failing sometimes because of ignorance particularly if you're trying to learn to do better - which is what the empathic morality actively seeks.

Quote:
There can be no sliding scale for evil, because if there is, then nothing can truly be condemned as evil--someone somewhere will always declare that x act is 'right for him' or 'right for that situation' and therefore not evil to him, even if it's the most reprehensible act to the majority of the rest of us.
Quite. I have little respect for that view.


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Old 12-22-2006, 03:02 AM   #154
Jae Onasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
I don't why I'm even bothering with this, since you only responded to one point in my previous arguments...
Because you are the eternal optimist, and also can forgive me for having an acute and rather serious attack of Life right about then. Man, am I glad that's over....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Neither can religion. The typical response I hear is 'God created it.' Whenever I ask 'where did God come from, then?' I have never heard anything other than 'God is infinite. He always existed.'
Hey, at least it's an answer, even if it's one that some don't like and is incomplete. I'd love to know how He did it. I suspect there's not enough room in all our brains to fully understand it, however.
We are finite beings. It's hard for us to conceptualize infinity. Heck, in the US it's hard for us to conceptualize anything longer than 0.3 seconds.
We're still learning how the eye sees something more complex than the orientation of 1 line, so the fact that we can't completely understand everything about God or the universe doesn't bug me. Something that ends does have to have a beginning. Something that does not end is not required to have a beginning--it is possible to be a self-existant, infinite being and not have an origin him/her/itself. God made the matter and the singularity that were needed for the Big Bang. It's more satisfying than saying it just appeared out of nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Quite impossible. Both atheism and religion offer huge questions that cannot be sufficiently explained. In enough time, however, it's inevitable that the origin of the universe will be discovered. How long that'll take I can only guess, but far sooner than the origin of something I don't even think exists.
That's speculation--we don't know which will happen first, though it's unlikely either will happen in our lifetimes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
How God could even create the universe is another unanswered question. I've not seen any logical explanation for how there be a being with such tremendous power either.
I don't know how He did it, either. Do you think we'd even be able to understand it at this point? We don't even have particle and quantum physics anywhere near mastered yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
I wouldn't mind. Biology isn't my specialty.
I'll see what I can do then.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Regardless of the improbability of life existing, it still happened.
Try taking all the atoms in the universe, mark 1 of them, and then pick that one out from a universe-size container the first time. For anything else except abiogenesis, we'd declare that impossible. For some reason with abiogenesis, that kind of statistic is accepted as possible, regardless of the ridiculously low probability.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Ah, the key difference. I don't factor my personal opinion into the existence of reality.
So you'd prefer I just said 'I was put here for a purpose.' I can live with that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Atheism isn't intended to offer you any meanings, philosiphies, or hidden messages to put it bluntly. Just simple facts.
Simple hypotheses, not facts. Atheism is a philosophy in itself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Personal opinion does not and should not factor into how one perceives reality. I could declare right now 'the sky is green!' and say that the evidence I had to support that was that I think it's green. Opinions, naturally, shouldn't count at all towards such an idea; if I looked outside and the sky was green, then that statement would obviously have merit.
And depending on the weather in the Midwest, the sky sometimes really _is_ green, in which case it's time to get to the basement before the tornado arrives, but meteorology is a different topic. And depending on how the color receptors work in your particular eyes, the sky could really be green to you. Perception is highly personal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Religion, no offense inteded, is actually much more similar to that example than you might consider. There's no definite proof there's a God, but His followers feel He exists, so that's enough for them.
Pasteur 'felt' bacteria existed before people could actually see them under the microscope. Watson and Crick 'felt' DNA existed before we could actually see it with an electron microscope. We don't have adequate tools to 'see' God, but to be honest, would we not still have doubters even with all the physical evidence in the world staring them in the face?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
What about laws? Those aren't inspired by religion, but they've done a far better job at enforcing order than any examples Christ has provided.
A good chunk of those laws are based on a Judeo-Christian foundation. Don't kill, don't steal....If we all followed the 'do unto others' philosophy, we wouldn't need half the laws we have. Further, the laws had to be broad enough to have relevence across cultures, countries, and millenia. 'Don't kill' is pretty easy to understand for pretty much everyone. It encompasses our arbitrary degrees of first degree murder, other types of homicides, manslaughter, etc., etc., etc. 'Don't commit vehicular manslaughter by driving a car while intoxicated' would only apply in cultures with cars and drunk drivers. 'Don't kill' would cover that specific law plus a great number of others. 'Don't steal' is broad enough to cover the laws of 'don't take your neighbor's chickens' all the way to 'don't steal people's money through internet phishing schemes,' and everything else in between.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
That's a great question to ask an anarchist.
and doesn't answer my question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
What is it our earthly laws are for, then? If you rob someone's house, you obviously should have to give back what you've stolen and pay something additional. Common sense alone can tell you that.
Tell that to insurance veeps and former Enron executives. It apparently was/is common sense to take whatever they want at the expense of others, so long as they don't get caught.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Religion provides an indefinitely inferior set of laws. The Ten Commandments are far too vague to actually be applied to our reality; while they can serve as inspirations, it's impossible to say they can deal with specific instances.
The very thing you condemn as too vague is an advantage when you're talking about disseminating core values. Specific laws are just variations on a theme.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Religion provides far less in the way of that. Does it say anywhere in the Bible what the penalty should be for selling twelve pounds of cocaine? Or fifty pounds? It had some humane principles, but it's been left to man and not the supernatural to come up with crime and punishment.
Why does it need to? It provides the basic values that we then adapt to our specific problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
The Bible is outdated in any event. You yourself have agreed on this.
I don't believe I used the term 'outdated'. The theology of Christ's sacrifice serving as atonement for sin superseding Judaic sacrificial Law is an entirely different thread, anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
There is no ban on prayer in public schools, moreover, I would be against such a ridiculous thing.
There was a ban on all prayer in our high school, including individual silent prayer. Granted this was a few years back....
How they were supposed to enforce that, I don't know. Like God is going to come down and plant the answers to the tests in someone's mind when they haven't studied anyway. Sigh....

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I don't see why atheism would try to. Science seeks to, but science and atheism are hardly synonymous terms regardless of how many scientists are atheist.
Both theists and non-theists have to have some answer for first cause, in the case for non-theists, science is the tool used to attempt to find that answer. Which religion's version of genesis is correct is a whole other kettle of fish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
These people [end-times nutters] see no reason to leave a positive legacy or make decisions today that have value in posterity. Global warming, the price of oil, toxic waste, resource depletion, wetlands destruction, fiscal management in government, social programs designed to last decades, etc, etc. -none of these hold true meaning to believers in the end times mythology.
Then (since they are working in the Christian paradigm) they are ignoring the biblical imperative to be good stewards of this world and the very specific verses that state that no one knows when Christ is coming back. My very conservative brother-in-law and I were having a discussion on politics and he was disturbed about all the regulations on business. I pointed out to him that there won't be any business (or worship or anything else for that matter) if we allow companies to pollute our world too much for us to live in it. He had to concede that one. I'm very concerned about habitat destruction--we're running roughshod over various areas and we have absolutely no clue what impact it has on nature and its creatures. We're losing I don't know how many species of animals and plants with destruction of rain forests, and some of these plants could have tremendous pharmacological and other benefits that we're just ignoring, aside from the loss the world experiences when something goes extinct. There's a chemical that some poison dart frogs exude that has more potent pain-killing effects than morphine, but we're not going to have these frogs around very long if we destroy their habitat. I'd love to see more solar and wind power because it's far better on the environment, and I detest the fact that OPEC and the oil companies have us all by the throat.

And I need to get to bed for the night (or technically early am, if you like), because as interesting as this is, I'm still worn out and am falling asleep typing.


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Old 12-22-2006, 03:50 AM   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Hey, at least it's an answer, even if it's one that some don't like and is incomplete. I'd love to know how He did it. I suspect there's not enough room in all our brains to fully understand it, however.
We are finite beings. It's hard for us to conceptualize infinity. Heck, in the US it's hard for us to conceptualize anything longer than 0.3 seconds.
We're still learning how the eye sees something more complex than the orientation of 1 line, so the fact that we can't completely understand everything about God or the universe doesn't bug me.
Then why would you assume God did it? Do you also assume that God makes the eye magically work (at least until we figure it out, if/when that time comes)? Because, of course, even though you don't understand something doesn't mean that it requires a supernatural explanation.

Why do things that just don't have an adequate explanation at the moment make you want to invent one? I really don't see how that helps anything.

Quote:
Something that ends does have to have a beginning. Something that does not end is not required to have a beginning--it is possible to be a self-existant, infinite being and not have an origin him/her/itself. God made the matter and the singularity that were needed for the Big Bang. It's more satisfying than saying it just appeared out of nothing.
This is saying that you have no actual idea what happened, but it'd be nice to think that God did it. Do you honestly just believe that because it feels good?

Quote:
That's speculation--we don't know which will happen first, though it's unlikely either will happen in our lifetimes.
True, there is no guarantee of anything being discovered. This doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Quote:
So you'd prefer I just said 'I was put here for a purpose.' I can live with that.
Clever, though this is exactly the thing that every single agnostic-atheist here has shown is irrational.

Quote:
Simple hypotheses, not facts. Atheism is a philosophy in itself.
Only some types of atheism are philosophies. Agnostic-atheism is not; it says nothing about gods because there is no reason to believe in them. If there were such reasons, there wouldn't be any agnostic-atheists.

Quote:
And depending on the weather in the Midwest, the sky sometimes really _is_ green, in which case it's time to get to the basement before the tornado arrives, but meteorology is a different topic. And depending on how the color receptors work in your particular eyes, the sky could really be green to you. Perception is highly personal.
And the wavelength is exactly the same for everyone. There's a problem when someone says one wavelength is another because it is his personal belief that that's the way it is.

Quote:
Pasteur 'felt' bacteria existed before people could actually see them under the microscope. Watson and Crick 'felt' DNA existed before we could actually see it with an electron microscope. We don't have adequate tools to 'see' God, but to be honest, would we not still have doubters even with all the physical evidence in the world staring them in the face?
Interesting question. Some people claim that every single thing in the universe is "evidence" for a God. What sort of evidence do you mean?

Quote:
A good chunk of those laws are based on a Judeo-Christian foundation. Don't kill, don't steal....If we all followed the 'do unto others' philosophy, we wouldn't need half the laws we have. Further, the laws had to be broad enough to have relevence across cultures, countries, and millenia. 'Don't kill' is pretty easy to understand for pretty much everyone. It encompasses our arbitrary degrees of first degree murder, other types of homicides, manslaughter, etc., etc., etc. 'Don't commit vehicular manslaughter by driving a car while intoxicated' would only apply in cultures with cars and drunk drivers. 'Don't kill' would cover that specific law plus a great number of others. 'Don't steal' is broad enough to cover the laws of 'don't take your neighbor's chickens' all the way to 'don't steal people's money through internet phishing schemes,' and everything else in between.
And all of those sentiments were around even earlier than the Jews, in the Babylonian's Code of Laws, India, Egypt, etc. I'm not sure how you mean that easily derived morals based on empathy and self-preservation are somehow based solely on the Judeo-Christian foundation. That's where they came to Europe and eventually the US, sure, but they didn't start with the Jews and they won't end with us.

What's funny is that the Golden Rule, the core of morality for practically every religion on earth, is based on empathy. Interesting.

Quote:
Tell that to insurance veeps and former Enron executives. It apparently was/is common sense to take whatever they want at the expense of others, so long as they don't get caught.
Isn't it interesting how many of those guys might actually be classified as sociopaths? Maybe the job attracts people like that, those who have an incredibly low level of empathy (or perhaps none at all). Even Hewlett-Packard had an incident a few weeks ago where the CEO actually ordered wiretaps (not in so many words, but definitely meant) on someone, snooped on their dad, etc etc. Slightly atypical IMO.

Quote:
There was a ban on all prayer in our high school, including individual silent prayer. Granted this was a few years back....
How they were supposed to enforce that, I don't know. Like God is going to come down and plant the answers to the tests in someone's mind when they haven't studied anyway. Sigh....
Bans on prayer are unconstitutional (and evil). Bans on faculty leading prayer are necessary.

Quote:
Both theists and non-theists have to have some answer for first cause, in the case for non-theists, science is the tool used to attempt to find that answer. Which religion's version of genesis is correct is a whole other kettle of fish.
Have to have? I think you're mistaking your first cause argument. If it always existed, then there is no cause. Atheists, of course, would not say that because they don't know, which means that it may remain perpetually unanswered. So what? I'm not sure how that bothers anyone in particular. In fact, being unable to ever explain something is expected, because we are, as you said, limited beings...


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

Last edited by Samuel Dravis; 12-22-2006 at 06:07 AM.
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Old 12-22-2006, 04:47 AM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
God made the matter and the singularity that were needed for the Big Bang. It's more satisfying than saying it just appeared out of nothing.
Wouldn't it be just as satisfying to say it always existed? If god is capable of infinite existence then why isn't the matter of the universe? Conservation of matter states that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, so why isn't it just as fair to assume that the matter and energy of the universe have always existed?

If you can't accept that the matter and energy always existed, how can you accept that god always existed? If one of them MUST have some kind of beginning than so must the other one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
I am under the assumption that some Atheists believe they have the right to persecute religion. Prove me wrong please.
And I am under the assumption that you're still mis-using the term persecute. That is, assuming you're saying that some atheists that post in THIS thread believe they have that right. If you're talking in generality, well then duh. SOME atheists probably DO believe that. Some religious people believe they have the right to murder innocent people for their deity. Some people are stupid. Some people are jerks. Just because there are SOME people who want to 'persecute' religion means nothing. I've noticed plenty of religious people who believe they have the right to persecute religions that aren't their own. I don't know what your point is.



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Old 12-22-2006, 05:38 AM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Neither can religion. The typical response I hear is 'God created it.' Whenever I ask 'where did God come from, then?' I have never heard anything other than 'God is infinite. He always existed.'
There maybe infinite Gods, infinite universes and infinite forms of reality.
I like to take the Quantum Mechanics approach; all possibilities happen.
It might be found, if it is ever found, that God or Gods always existed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Quite impossible.
As I always say, Nothing is Impossible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
How God could even create the universe is another unanswered question. I've not seen any logical explanation for how there be a being with such tremendous power either.
Theorectical Physics maybe give the answer.
If the physical properties(if you can called it that) of these surpreme beings are infinite, then the jury is still out if we or any other civilization will be able to find evidence of these beings in a experiment.
But it maybe be the case that the mathematics and physics that our society uses probably can't explain the God or Gods of our universe if they are infinite.
I believe, if the God or Gods have greater energy content and have a greater information entropy value than the astrophysicists measure in our visable universe, then it is not hard for me to realize how the universe was created by whatever.
Also when the physics quantum entanglement become fully understood, It maybe be the case that our universe itself is a living entity because of the consciousness of all life that dwell in it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Regardless of the improbability of life existing, it still happened. But again, the existence of a supreme being who can do anything is an even more improbable occurence than regular mortals like us. How can something with an infinite lifespan exist? How can this same being create planets on a whim? I doubt any scientist can give a rational explanation for how that's possible.
It maybe is no rational explanation.
If existence is infinite.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Atheism isn't intended to offer you any meanings, philosiphies, or hidden messages to put it bluntly. Just simple facts.
Atheists are too close-minded for me, those so called ''facts'' are greatly incomplete.
Atheists conclusion on the argument that God or Gods don't exist, is only base from perspective of EARTH.
There is more complexity to our universe and even more complexity to existence .
I can't form any conclusion, with high confidence on the argument of surpreme beings.
Because of the great complexity of existence, for anybody on this planet to say completely, that these surpreme beings don't exist with no consideration on that stance, are just plain arrogant.

Last edited by windu6; 12-23-2006 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:57 AM   #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET Warrior
I am under the assumption that you're still mis-using the term persecute.
If you scrolled down a little you would have found this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
I think we all, me included, need to have it spelt out whether Atheists believe they have the right to persecute religion. Not discuss or debate, but out and out persecute religion. The way Middle Eastern Muslim terrorists persecute those who do not believe their blashemus Islamic fascism. Do Atheists believe they have a right to persecute religion in this way? Yes or no? I'm almost positive the answer is no but reading some of the posts I need confirmation.
Now when asked earlier in the thread whether Atheists had the right to persecute religion the reply was yes Atheists did. Now it's time to put your money where your mouth is, put up or shut up. Now that I've made it clear what I mean by persecute do Atheists, straight answer, believe they have the right to persecute as in Al Qaeda style, Nazi style, hell, American style persecution?
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Old 12-22-2006, 09:28 AM   #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

If you condemn people simply on the basis that they don't think the way you do then you are a fanantic. That is what fananticism is, to condemn others simply on the basis that they do not think the way you do.
I've already supplied you with the dictionary definition of the word "fanatic", and no atheist in this thread remotely qualifies as a fanatic. You're just trying to be insulting.

Furthermore, as stated earlier, I doubt whether ANY atheist can legitimately be described as a "fanatic" on the topic of atheism, because atheism is based on critical thinking, and fanaticism is defined specifically as uncritical in nature.

Furthermore, no atheist has "persecuted" anyone in this thread, and no atheist has "condemned" anyone in this thread. It's pure fantasy and nonsense to suggest that they have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

As for what I mean by accepting that others believe in religion, I mean...just that. Being able to accept that people choose to follow religion. That is doesn't matter whether or not people choose to delude themselves.
Of course it matters whether people choose to delude themselves or not. We've seen how people who delude themselves can adversely affect the course of human science, discovery, morality and thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``:

Now when asked earlier in the thread whether Atheists had the right to persecute religion the reply was yes Atheists did
This is just an outright lie. No atheist has said "yes" to your irrelevant and ludicrous question in this thread.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterRoss08:

You feel as though
your the ones getting attacked here about people in your oppinon trying to
force there beliefs on you. I can also say some people are forcing your
beliefs on others. With banning prayer in schools, even trying to get rid
of the pledge of aliegance etc.
What schools are you talking about here?

The only relevant organisations trying to force their beliefs onto impressionable schoolchildren at this time are the religious and fundamentalist political ones. Not atheists.

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

Here's where atheism loses me:
1. It cannot explain the origin of the universe.
Conversely, theism explains nothing. Religion makes up childish fantasies that claim to explain things, but since these fantasies are illogical nonsense, they explain nothing.

And frankly, you're confusing atheism with science. Atheism doesn't seek to fill the gaps religious delusions claim to fill. It is a LACK of delusion. Pure and simple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

2. It cannot, in a satisfactory way, address abiogenesis in a manner that requires less faith than religion, i.e. it's so statistically improbable that theism is more probable.
Rank nonsense. Theism is always THE most improbable answer to the questions that arise from our study of the universe.

I am a caveman. I see a snowflake. It's complicated. Because my knowledge is limited, I then state "THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER DID IT!!!!111"

This is theism. It's abject, absolute, utter drivel. It's the king of all non-sequiturs: "If we don't understand it, skydaddy must have done it."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

3. I prefer to think that I was put here for a purpose rather than think that I'm some cosmic accident--atheism does not offer me the same meaning in life. And before that gets jumped on with a vengeance, let me state that there are a zillion people who obviously find meaning in life outside theism. I just find it far more difficult in my case to do so.
Well then, the plain fact of the matter is that you want other HUMANS to tell you what your purpose is. Because when you read the bible it sure as heck isn't some skydaddy telling you what you're here for, it's a bunch of antique priests and churchmen.

I personally don't want to be told what the purpose of my life is by other humans who knew no more about the mysteries of the universe than I do. The really wise men in the world all say the same thing: Create your own purpose.

It's the only purpose there is to your life: Your purpose. If you allow others to dictate what your purpose is, then you're betraying yourself. It's your right to do so, but that doesn't make it a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

4. I prefer a set objective of right and wrong, not something based on what feels good at the moment or an ethic which constantly experiences change. If you look at a naturalist view, even with the empathy/morality paradigm, things change
No they don't change. You obviously don't understand the basis for objective, logical empathy-based morality. Read the thread I recommended to you. It's fascinating.

Morality has evolved as a human concept totally independently of religion. Religion != morality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

Turns out I had the wrong atheist who was debating Zacharias--it was Bernard Leikind, not Dawkins. I suspect Leikind mentioned Dawkins which may be where I got that misconception. And why yes, I _had_ forgotten Dawkins doesn't do debates like that...
Dawkins may avoid debates with ravening creationist morons, but sadly for him he has engaged in such debates in the past, usually on news and current affairs programmes. I can point you towards them if you're genuinely interested.

Dawkins "wins" all the debates of course, because... well, his "opponent" really didn't have ANY logical arguments to present. Some of them try to shout Dawkins down, some of them try to sound reasonable... but they're all just peddlers of illogical nonsense.

So more of a win by default than anything else. Tragic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi:

Simple hypotheses, not facts. Atheism is a philosophy in itself.
You're wrong.

In so far as there CAN be "facts", atheism IS based upon them.

Fact 1: There is no logical argument to support the assertion that there is a god.
Fact 2: There is no tangible evidence that suggests that there is a god.

Therefore... atheism. QED.


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Old 12-22-2006, 10:34 AM   #160
Mike Windu
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Quote:
If you can't accept that the matter and energy always existed, how can you accept that god always existed? If one of them MUST have some kind of beginning than so must the other one.


Mike welcomes himself back into the fray. Been a while.

*thund'rous applause*




That's the last time I buy anything just because it's furry!

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