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User Name: will
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Joined: Monday, June 29, 2009
Last Visit: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 1:36:26 PM
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: difference between religion and morality
Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 12:43:15 PM
Still persevering with the ad hominem I see, jacobmaximus Shame on you
If I appear to be rude, it may be as a result of my consternation at what I assume everyone must realise is faulty logic, and assuming it to be deliberate obfuscation. For example:

jacobmaximus wrote:
Cowardice in the face of the enemy was punishable by death. Everybody knew that. Even the poor shell-shocked sods would have believed they were cowards. There was no other explanation. The evidence was indisputable. But in the light of a better understanding today it was horrendously wrong.

Emphasis mine. As Lotje1000 pointed out before, your anecdote proves the exact opposite of what you are arguing -- the underlined are direct contradictions. If the evidence was indisputable, than how and why is that situation not currently the case?

The answer is that the evidence was disputable, like all good objective evidence. Humanity did dispute the evidence. Humanity looked objectively at all the (most current) available evidence and came to a better understanding of reality, i.e. shell shock is a genuine physiological trauma, and the death penalty is not only not justified, it is horrendously wrong.

jacobmaximus wrote:
Faith in God, on the other hand is a personal experience. It cannot be understood by those who do not have it. There is nothing you can read or study that will help you determine whether a person's experience of God is authentic or otherwise. Therefore, if you believe that a person's faith in God is mistaken, you can only believe it by faith. But that does not change anything for the one who believes.

This is about as perfect a definition of indisputable as any you’ll find. If the decision to execute deserters was made on Faith there would be nothing, as you say, that one could read or study that would help determine whether that decision is authentic or otherwise.

And, if Faith in God is a personal experience and cannot be understood by those who do not have it, as you say, then I’m still keen to know by what measure you arbitrarily dismiss the Faith of others and judge them to be non-believers... but I’ll come back to that, along with the ad hominem, when Lotje1000 has wrapped up.


Edited to correct numerous typos Shhh

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Topic: difference between religion and morality
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 3:24:09 PM
Hope123 wrote:
What! Librans never ever do ANYTHING bad. How dare you suggest such abhorrent fake news! Sad.

Well it’s all nonsense anyway… but I would say that, typical Gemini that I am Shhh

Hope123 wrote:
Yes, it is another way of saying what atheists have been saying all along - morality (good and bad deeds as defined by a culture) is not exclusive to the religious. But I'm not sure premises one and two lead to a valid and sound conclusion when you added the word that religion is “generally” irrelevant. Unless those religious people find a different concept to coalesce around and do their good deeds, then those particular deeds won’t be done.

To be clear, I didn’t mean ‘generally irrelevant’ when I said ‘… that Faith, generally and specifically, is irrelevant?’. I meant Faith as a whole – any immovable belief without evidence – and specific examples of Faith are irrelevant. My bad, I perhaps could have been clearer.

And I’d like to quickly stress an important distinction here between ‘religion’ and ‘Faith’. I said Faith and you’ve used that interchangeably with religion; most theists do this and I believe it’s the main source of confusion in this debate.

Religion is a part of most cultures. There is no denying that religion plays a part in shaping cultural values. I have no issue at all with religion's (or any subjective opinion) place in an objective framework. Religion is a collective human construct and as such is subject to the innate human capacity for reason. Religions can be challenged. Religions are invariably (although often reluctantly) shaped by the same objectivity that shapes other aspects of societies and cultures… hence the countless sects and divisions in all religions.

Faith, however, seeks to assert divine authority over and above objectivity. Faith leads (some) people to cling to subjective personal opinions (that they attribute to god's opinion) completely against reason -- and in many cases force those subjective opinions upon others. Whether it’s that certain cultural standards are unacceptable, or that the Earth is 6 thousand years old, or that god is served by blowing yourself up in a concert hall full of young people, Faith is the enemy of reason.

Hope123 wrote:
If some religious people do their good deeds to "get into the kingdom of god" do atheists do their good deeds for nothing?

As we're using anecdote to make our points... I have been asked more than a few times 'if there is no god and no punishment for how you act in this life, what stops you from killing and raping people?'. This is the extreme, but this kind of fecked up logic filters down to a common belief that people without gods, or the wrong gods, have no morals. Brick wall

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Topic: difference between religion and morality
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 10:46:42 AM
jacobusmaximus wrote:
This is an assertion, if you like, based on my experience of being forced (I don't, as a rule, take the initiative) to defend my faith in Christ Anecdote, how could any one ‘force’ you to defend your Faith against those who are, or who claim to be, atheists. Prejudicial generalisation What I mean by that is that the more mature, or older, atheist invariably shows him or herself to be well-informed about their own beliefs and can state their case without resorting to caustic remarks about the Church, and about the Establishment in general, as does the younger generation. Anecdote based on prejudicial generalisations Men and women in their teens and twenties, taught by College Lecturers in their 30s and 40s, are convinced that Christianity is at the root of all evil; Anecdote based on prejudicial generalisations that before the Church had power there was no slavery, no poverty, no capital punishment and no religious or political refugees. Anecdote and assertion. Personally I’ve never meet anyone who thinks this They are taught at school or College that Man is the only species that kills Assertion of absolute nonsense. It is so patently and demonstrably not true that man is the only species that kill, that I assume you are being deliberately hyperbolic Worryingly, for me anyway, young people think they cannot find work because (according to their teachers) Britain doesn't make anything anymore and what wealth there is is all in the hands of evil, selfish Bankers. Irrelevant anecdote based on prejudicial generalisation (incidentally showing a lack of hope in the worthiness of mankind and young people in particular) In short, they have no hope in the worth of mankind, Assertion based on prejudicial generalisation no hope in Christ, Assertion based on the premiss that your Faith is correct and valid and atheism, for them, is no more than a get-out-of-jail-free card. prejudicial generalisation, anecdote and assertion based on the premiss that your Faith is correct and valid. They have no evidence for atheism, but they are trusting in it. Basic ignorance of the null hypothesis


Anecdote is rarely a compelling argument – it wouldn’t stand up in a court of law – and it’s even less so when it’s full of prejudicial generalisations and assertions based on an unsupported premiss, in this case that your personal Faith is correct and valid.

As Absinthius, Tunaafi and others have already explained, in a pleasant and non-aggressive manner, which you chose to ignore, atheist simply means absence of a belief in gods; in it’s broadest sense simply the prefix ‘a’, meaning ‘not’ or ‘without’, applied to theism, meaning a belief in the existence of a god or gods. An absence of belief in all gods – including your own personal Christian god – is no different, no more dogmatically defined and no more a religion or belief system than your absence of belief in Zeus, or Vishnu, or unicorns… or indeed your absence of belief in the personal Christian god of all those Christians you arbitrarily reject as non-believers.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
If texts appear to be outdated it is because they have done what they were written to do, but they remain to guide against backsliding. You can still find medical instructions about boring holes in peoples' heads to relieve headaches, or, in Law, about the best way to execute people by hanging, or the efficacy of throwing people into Debtors' Prison, but these are not current in this country at least.

This analogy completely contradicts your argument. Trepanning, capital punishment and debtors prisons are not current because objective empiricism – the weight and efficacy of evidence based claims -- has advanced humanity’s collective knowledge towards a more accurate description of reality. This is completely contrary to your assertion that “At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable”. Outdated medical practices, laws and moral attitudes are consigned to the history books; they do not exist with equal status alongside modern standards and knowledge for doctors and lawyers to subjectively chose what they accept as true and reliable. This is how humanity arrives at the most current, rational and equitable (evidentially supported) standards.

This is anathema to the immutability of Faith in (personal relationships with) god/s and divinely inspired texts. The good that most theists take from their Faith and personal interpretation of ancient texts sits square alongside the intolerance, dubious morality and scientific absurdities. Your own example of slavery makes this point; religion, faith and scripture both challenged and supported slavery. Fortunately reason and the efficacy of evidence based claims tipped the balance.

This conflation of unquestioning belief in the absence of evidence with confidence based on evidence is the central flaw in your position. This has been pointed out to you (and generations of theists of all creeds) multiple times in polite, humorous and, apparently, unpleasant and aggressive terms. You really need to address this point if you genuinely want to understand why people don’t find your Faith compelling.

I wrote:
At worst religion actively promotes outdated immoral attitudes and holds back progress towards more enlightened attitudes.


jacobusmaximus wrote:
What evidence do you have for the underlined sentence, above? Which attitudes do you regard as immoral?

Slavery is an example from the recent past and gender and sexual equality are current examples of more enlightened attitudes that Christianity is reluctantly struggling to reconcile… just about every religious doctrine past and present has a history that lagged (or lags) behind advances in social, ethnic, gender equality.
Immoral religious attitudes are abundant: the Westbro’ Baptist Church, ISIS, genital mutilation, sectarianism, the wealth of the Catholic church, the guy down my local that thinks homosexuality is a sin… just to to scratch the surface.

Now, I’m aware your standard dismissal of these facts goes something like ‘those are not true believers’, but the ‘no true Scotsman fallacy’ cuts both ways. Faith has no reliance on evidence; all claims without evidence can be dismissed without evidence… including yours.

What societies deem ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are judged on a higher standard than Faith.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Christians have always regarded slavery as being morally unacceptable. People who supported slavery may have been religious, but they were not Christians any more that so-called Islamic terrorists are Muslims.

There you go… no true scotsman.
By what standard are you dismissing their Faith?

Your say so is no more compelling than any other subjective opinion. However I (you, anyone and everyone) can make an evidence based argument for why slavery and terrorism are wrong without any need for appeals to the supernatural; your personal Faith, and the Faith of Christians who supported slavery, is at best redundant here.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
No one is asking you, will. You can dismiss my faith and status if you wish but as you are clearly totally uninformed about Christian beliefs and dogma it cuts no ice with me and will impress only your own kind.

How could I possibly be informed? To be informed requires an appraisal of the evidence. Your argument is that Faith is not reliant on evidence and ‘at the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’ This is why Faith is such an attractive device for theists... it cannot, by definition, be challenged with evidence.

I don’t deny you have Faith. My point is that your subjective claims can be dismissed as easily as you dismiss the subjective claims of others… you’re correct, it cuts no ice. My non belief in the Christian God – and all other gods – is based on the complete lack of supporting evidence and the overwhelming evidence for alternative non-supernatural hypotheses.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Wrong. Suicide bombers and other terrorists have no relationship with God.

Again, no true scotsman.
Do you have any evidence to support that? They have Faith that they do have a relationship with their god. The fact that they would die for that Faith suggests to me that they are actually more committed and certain of their Faith than you are. Your argument is that Faith is not reliant on evidence and ‘at the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’ My argument is that Faith, all Faith, is a flawed methodology.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Wrong again. This debate goes round and round because some people want the kind of evidence that satisfies them, rather than that in which I put my trust.

Everybody wants the kind of evidence that can objectively be shown to accurately reflect reality, that is what makes every aspect of human life possible. The fact that theists reject some aspects of objective reality to uphold beliefs without, and contrary to, evidence is at the root of the cognitive dissonance that makes religion such a taboo subject. If there were a god, it strikes me as perverse that It would design a system so reliant on blind Faith and so prone to conflict.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
I have said it all before - innocent people have been hanged on 'evidence'. Guilty people have walked free (and often been generously compensated) on 'evidence'. Brave, shell-shocked soldiers have been shot at dawn for cowardice on 'evidence'. Jesus was crucified on the 'evidence' of blasphemy, which it was not, but it was what religious men wanted to believe because it threatened their standing amongst their peers.

And as has been pointed out to you before, most recently by Lotje1000, here, where she said: Evidence can be checked, as you showed with your anecdote. Faith cannot. If the decision that came from on high to shoot those men was made in faith, nothing could disprove it and they would still not be pardoned.

You persist in ignoring this rebuttal.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Maybe, but the Prosecution would not, which is the situation that obtains today in a debate such as ours. You only want evidence that is admissible to you but you object to what I submit under oath. In this you have an advantage of sorts in that you are not under oath. I am.

The issue here is not he “meaning of evidence and its efficacy”, or what is admissible. The fact is you expect more than subjective opinion in a court of law, or in the science that makes your life possible, and in every other meaningful aspect of your life. You have no problem weighing the opinion that the Earth turns on it’s axis as it revolves around the Sun, against the opinion that the Sun is drawn across the sky in a chariot. The issue is that you insist upon the validity of your personal Faith, while at the same time have no problem with arbitrarily dismissing the Faith – the same methodology -- that other theists demand.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
This is all meaningless twaddle, will, designed to offend and beginning with your insulting misuse of the name of Christ. Of course His name means nothing to you but you might try to be civilized enough to remember that it is precious to me. You might try to understand, even if you do not accept, that Scripture is important to Christians, at least to those of the Reformed Faith, and it was against Scripture that I compared Mister Mills' erroneous statement. If Mister Mills has different standards he should take them up with me and not leave it to others who evidently know nothing about the subject.

Yet you believe it is perfectly valid to arbitrarily decide that other theists, with Faith just as strong as yours, are not Christian or are non-believers? Not talking
Never mind your ignorance of epistemology, I urge you to look back over this thread and count how many times you have dismissed out of hand the very methodology you are attempting to defend.

The fact is your personal religious Faith that you insist others simple accept as valid is practically unique to you and serves principally your own comfort.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
To conclude, will, I don't think you are an atheist but merely a rootless unbeliever. No offence meant.

No offence taken... an accurate use of the term 'conclusion', a summary of your argument.


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Topic: difference between religion and morality
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 10:15:30 AM
Hope123 wrote:
Even if I don't agree with the idelogy, I still see the good that is done by religion.

Here’s the thing, Hope123, if people of mutually exclusive Faiths do ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds, and people of no Faith do do ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that all people have the capacity for ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds and that Faith, generally and specifically, is irrelevant?

Consider this:
Sagittarians are kind and giving. Being that Sign leads to a great deal of good in the world… but people of all signs of the zodiac do good deeds, so we perhaps we should conclude that being any astrological sign leads to much good in the world.

But, then again, there are many examples of Librians doing bad deeds… let’s agree that those people aren’t truly Libra. But there are also examples of bad deeds committed by people of all signs of the zodiac. So now we must conclude all astrology leads people to do good and bad deeds… or perhaps widen our ‘not truly Libra’ to the totality of all personal astrological beliefs.

Wait. What about the countless people who don’t believe in astrology because there is absolutely no evidence to support it? Some of them do good deeds, some do bad, many do both…

at some point it becomes clear that astrology is completely inconsequential to moral standards. Think


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Topic: difference between religion and morality
Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017 3:03:04 PM
jacobusmaximus I’m sorry you find me unpleasant and aggressive. However your perception of my emotional state has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of the points made. I don’t wonder why you choose to resort to ad hominem rather than address the argument, it’s quite clear why.

And so we go round and round, eh?

While it’s my main intention to make a solid argument in favour of critical thinking, I’d be lying if I said I don’t get some satisfaction out of seeing the pious publicly implode in fits of indignation when challenged. People who believe with all their being that they are privy to the ultimate answer to life and the universe, an answer that elevates them above the mortality and suffering that will be cast upon the unbeliever, do tend to be prone to delicate sensibilities. Think

tunaafi, don't get me started on the subject of the religious indoctrination of children... then you will see how unpleasant I can be. Speak to the hand


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Topic: difference between religion and morality
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 5:40:51 PM
Hope123 wrote:
Hi Jcb. As I said, it was a bad example…

I disagree. It was a perfectly good example. That human instinct towards ‘thank god that didn’t happen to me’, that fear of death or random personal misfortune, is at the root of just about every religion and sub sect that has ever existed. Affiliation to an interventionist god, the personal beggary of prayer, the concept of sin and punishment of sinners (usually limited to things to which an individual or group personally disapproves) and eternal paradise for the chosen are all examples of the same selfish fear that makes religion such an effective and pernicious tool.

DragOnspeaker wrote:
Religion your beliefs about the beginnings of the universe, its purpose, man's role in it and so on.
(This even makes atheism a religion basically.)

In the same way as crystal healing and antibiotics are both medicine, basically. Or how speaking to the dead and cold reading are both clairvoyance, basically. Or how believing in unicorns and not believing in unicorns are equally valid positions to take, basically… etc. etc. etc.



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Topic: difference between religion and morality
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 5:37:50 PM
jacobusmaximus wrote:
Atheism, in particular, lays the blame for all the world's evils at the door of religion, especially Christianity.

Do you have anything to back that up? Or is this just an assertion based on your own prejudice? If ‘Atheism’ collectively lays blame for the world’s evils anywhere – which it doesn’t – I’d say Islam is especially bearing the brunt. I reckon most atheists consider Christians to be mainly harmlessly… but I could be wrong, I can’t, and don’t claim to, speak on behalf of other people with a non-belief in things for which there is no evidence.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Some outspoken Atheists do not know, or they choose to ignore, that slavery, for instance, existed amongst the Native Americans long before the white man set foot on that continent. And who can deny that Native Americans had high moral standards?

Native Americans likely had a wide range of moral standards, as defined by a wide range of cultures at particular points in time. And moral equivalence is not a compelling defence for continuing to hold outdated texts in high regard today.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Before Christian Missionaries had any influence in some Black African countries it was standard practice to kill one of new-born twins as this was considered a bad omen. Superstition or not, it was done for the best of reasons - to protect the tribe from misfortune.

“Black African countries”? Eh?

The argument most commonly made against the concept of ‘religious morality’ is that morality is a fluid human construct and that religion, unquestioning faith and ancient texts are at best a unreliable guides and very poor arbiters. At worst religion actively promotes outdated immoral attitudes and holds back progress towards more enlightened attitudes.

The bible was written at a time when slavery was morally acceptable and this morality is obviously reflected therein, in the same way that Scientology is of it's time. During the struggle for abolition religion was used to both support and challenge slavery. Now the majority of religious folk (and the rest of us, without any reference to the supernatural) see slavery as being morally unacceptable.

Both your examples above demonstrate that it’s the moral standards of the time – fluid human constructs that differ over time and location – that shape religions, and not the other way around, as an endless parade of religions have asserted since homo sapiens first attempted to make sense of nature.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Hang on there, Mister Mills. Jesus was not condemning those who did good…


Hang on there jacobusmaximus. So says you. To which Mister Mills could, quite rightly and justifiably by your standard, dismiss your personal relationship with God and assert ‘and so we go round and round on the meaning of evidence and its efficacy. At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’
In short, by your own standard, your Faith and status as a Believer can simply be dismissed. Not the most fulfilling state of affairs if you ask me Think

Also as I’ve stated before, your standard is likewise just as ‘valid’ to a person whose faith (dismissing weight of evidence, logic or reason) in their personal relationship with god leads them to blow themselves up in a concert hall full of young people. At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable, right?

Wrong. This debate only goes round and round because you continue to defend your personal faith in a particular version of a particular god by conflating it with the objective empiricism that makes every other aspect of your daily life possible.

One standard to measure the ‘meaning and efficacy of evidence’ would be to ask whether you would truthfully be content to have it used against you in a court of law. If your liberty relied on nothing more than the prosecution asserting that they very strongly believed in your guilt, despite a complete lack of evidence. I guarantee you would demand a higher standard.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
I have met a few - a very few - people who profess belief in God who talk like that, but they tend to be a bit eccentric and soon reveal themselves to be self-centred rather than God-centred. In short, they are not Believers.

Christ on a bike! Can you not see the irony here?
In this thread alone you’ve dismissed epistemology out of hand, while expecting everyone else to simply yield to the validity of your own personal belief in your own personal salvation. And you’ve arbitrarily removed ‘Believer’ status from countless Christians, and corrected Mister Mills on his personal faith, for no other reason than the fact that their personal belief without evidence does not agree with your personal belief without evidence.
And all this in defence of your personal belief that the entire history of the universe has culminated in you being born into the correct culture, at the correct time, with the an almost unique insight into the correct divine revelation, thus affording you a seat at God’s right hand while billions of other individuals, with countless individual relationships with god/s, perish in whatever hellish fantasy you subscribe to… and you don’t think that is self centred? Pray



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Topic: get in(to) hot water
Posted: Monday, June 05, 2017 8:28:01 AM
TheParser wrote:
The leader of the country that is situated between Canada and Mexico has gotten into hot water because he says what a lot of people think but are afraid to say.

What a _ _ _ _! Whistle


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Topic: “Earth to Trump” - German Tabloid
Posted: Monday, June 05, 2017 6:11:06 AM
I was hoping Trump would continue to stumble down this road. It’s good news for emerging green economies around the rest of the world, it’ll galvanise international resolve, it’ll barely effect the trend toward global carbon reductions, most American companies and many cities and states will stick to the principles of the Paris agreement... and it'll cement Trumps legacy as the complete asshat that he is.

Fossil fuel finally has an ideological definition to go with its literal one.



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Topic: The Neuronal Construction of Facial Recognition
Posted: Monday, June 05, 2017 6:09:22 AM
So it is me, specifically, that they are throwing their poo at! Eh?


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