Paths To Knowledge (dot Science)

What is actually real in Objective Reality? How do you know? Now, prove it's real!

The loving eternal god of the bible – yeah right

Posted by pwl on May 1, 2009

Many of the sentences in the bible and beliefs uttered at church are in fact designed to be rules that the congregation – aka cult members – can use to identify members of the cult and to more importantly identify those who are not members of the cult and to whom they can treat differently, often harshly differently with torture, murder, rape, death and nasty killing methods. The koran does this with us heathen atheists and anti-theists. The bible does it with the quote above and many others.

Actually what it is giving is a practical and effective rule for keeping members of a cult, any cult, in the cult when their family comes to attempt to save them from their doom as a member of the cult. The cult makes it ok to murder your own family members if they try to extract you out of the cult or to not follow the leadership of the cult “lord”, whomever that might be: jesus, hitler, stalin, bush, jones, the pope, … the list is essentially endless although groups without this don’t count.

Thanks, I’ll be using to in a very important letter to my evangelical young earth creationist zombie jesus death cult focused preacher sister to put into her own “literal” taking of the bible how and why she obliterated my relationships with over eighteen people in my family. It’s her faith that destroyed our family of eight siblings, a still living mother, and all the inlaws and their offspring. Very sad situation which this passage clarifies directly to the heart of it. Thanks. Peace.

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80 Responses to “The loving eternal god of the bible – yeah right”

  1. MrPete said

    Hi pwl,
    There’s a flaw in your logic on this quote. You’re assuming it is “a cult, any cult.”

    What if it isn’t a cult, but a situation where you are hanging on to the truth. How strongly should people defend the truth?

    Should we be willing to compromise absolutely anything and everything, in favor of family harmony?

    Apply your logic to the truths that you find to be the most important in your own life. Apply your logic to the truths that your greatest hero finds/found most important in their life.

    At what point, if ever, do we take a stand, even against family members?

  2. pwl said

    What the heck are you droning on about, truth? What truth? You left any so called “truths” unspecified. I’m not a mind reader and neither are you.

    Of course any and every religion is a cult, a culture of delusional beliefs in made up nothings. Sure those made up nothings might bind people together but isn’t it better to bind people together based on actual somethings that are real in Nature? Like a common bond of family or goals that can actually be accomplished?

    In the case of my family a couple of my sisters went on a war path under a particular set of shallow empty delusional beliefs that were easy to see were false based upon evidence. However, evidence doesn’t matter to a person who is accepting of any of the notions in the bible on the basis of “faith”. Faith is itself the devil, the source of evil, in these matters since faith says you don’t need any evidence and even worse, faith says to actively ignore any evidence no matter how strong it might be.

    An example is the so called resurrection of the zombie known as jesus. Clearly no biological bodies can rise from the dead once brain death, organ death, heart dead have all set in. Not even in a modern medical hospital can that be accomplished. Certainly not in a primitive society barely living out of the mud. The resurrection is just one example of the perniciously evil cult control asserted upon a person when they “embrace faith” in a cult such as any christian group/church. The evidence of biology be damned. Faith rules the delusional minds of the followers (who take it seriously).

    It is this type of leap of faith when all the evidence demonstrates beyond any doubts that no resurrection could have taken place unless it was a magic trick or a planned con job (very likely scenarios).

    Religion is a training ground for incompetent thinking that ignores actual evidence in objective reality.

    When people ignore any evidence you provide them for what actually happened and they assume the worst based upon their faith actively ignore all evidence to the contrary then they are the ones doing the evil in the world especially when their faithful actions cause great harm to the people they faithfully excoriate.

    The constant “leaps of faith” required to stay delusional in any religion predisposes people, actually trains people, in an inability to think in the real world.

    Dead bodies don’t come back to life unless your faith says so. Which is real? Well it’s real that dead bodies never come back to life once they have passed the point of no return (brain dead, organ death, heart death). It is actually true that people, many people, take a leap of faith in believing that jesus, the best known zombie of all time, came back to life. What is true is that people believe that nonsense that violates the Laws of Nature, which is very sad for us as a species.

    Critical thinking skills are crucial. It doesn’t take much to slice and dice through almost any belief any religion or religious person has to demonstrate the actual Nature of objective reality.

    The problem is that people prefer their fantasy world over the real world they actually live in. I suppose it gives them comfort even they they are destroying lives and relationships with their absurdities.

    Face life as it really is not as your fantasy insists. Let go your futile hankering for the taste of the flesh of the zombie jesus lord of all that is evil and vile as required by faith in the bible. Give up your quest for an immortal afterlife which is another of the cult delusions that get you hooked. Give it up. Come back to Nature. Life your one life to it’s maximum in the real world. In the here and now. Let go your silly delusions.

    I stand for being decent with people whenever possible. I stand for being real. I stand for honesty and direct communication. I stand for people seeing through their delusions and connecting as directly as possible with objective reality. I stand for integrity. I stand for authenticity. I stand for respect when deserved or earned. I stand powerfully for love. I stand for dignity. I stand for standing on delusions so that they can be rubbed with our feet into the dustbin of history. I stand for clarity. I stand for peace and a strong defense against active faithful stupidity. I stand for being the best we can be and that means letting go of delusions. I stand for my family even though most of them are being compete and utter delusional idiots – but that only goes so far as it doesn’t violate integrity. I stand ready. Bring it on.

  3. MrPete said

    “Religion is a training ground for incompetent thinking that ignores actual evidence in objective reality.”

    So, let’s think clearly and critically.

    Obviously, you are upset about those who would condone violence, even killing, to “protect” their particular belief.

    I’m trying to break this down into its component parts, and to remove personal peeves from the conversation, at least to begin with. Makes it easier to think and communicate objectively 😉

    The first part is to discover what it is you are actually upset about. And so, that’s why I want to ignore the particular topic for the moment and find out if there is ANY topic for which you believe the stated actions are justified.

    I probably jumped too far, so I’ll break it down more clearly. You wrote:

    “…a practical and effective rule for keeping members of a cult, any cult, in the cult when their family comes to attempt to save them from their doom as a member of the cult. The cult makes it ok to murder your own family members if they try to extract you out of the cult or to not follow the leadership of the cult…”

    I am asking the question more generally. Is there any community holding to “truth” — firmly held knowledge — for which you would agree that it’s ok to have

    “…a practical and effective rule for helping those who are part of the community stand firm, when their family comes to attempt to save them from their doom as a member of the community. The community makes it ok to kill your own family members if they try to extract you out of the community or not follow the leadership of the community…”

    For example (just trying some things on for size):

    What if “the community” is…
    — Secret Service, Special Ops agents, or other authorized military force?
    — A team of scientists feverishly working to create an antidote for a horrific plague?
    — Jews in Germany during the Holocaust?
    — A prisoner in Stalin’s prisons, sacrificing his own life to save 10,000 others? [But his family has come to ‘save’ him]

    Do any of these (or others you might imagine) rise anywhere close to a level of significance that might make such an extreme response more understandable?

    [In all such cases, I’m imagining the caring, concerned family coming into the situation saying “hey guy, this is crazy! You’re throwing your life away… for what?!!! Give it up! Just stop this insanity, join the rest of the normal world, and live a normal, peaceful life…”]

  4. pwl said

    The concerns or, as you put it, an upset about something have nothing to do with the observations that cults have rules in the form of beliefs that they cult members use to discriminate who is a member and who is no a member of their group. Cults have been doing this most probably since the beginning of time.

    My agreement or disagreement regarding whether or not it’s “ok” for cult groups to impose their rules upon others is irrelevant. It misses the point.

    The specific groups you listed are all cults that impose their will upon others thinking that they are “right” to do so.

    Who authorizes them? What gives the people or principles the “right” to authorize them? Usually this ends up being “political power” rather than any actual “right”. Just one group using power to subdue another. Not far removed from the law of the jungle, pure survival where anything goes.

    Clearly evil actions derived from political power are evil. By evil here it’s when innocent people get trampled by those who supposedly are in “authority”.

    Clearly bombing innocent people is an act of pure evil regardless of the “cause” or the “authority” or the “rightness” of the reasoning. Those that are casualties of said non-hypothetical bombings (which occur all the time in many situations at any given time on the Globe) sure think that the aggressor (the ones with the bomb drop or detonation control) is the terrorist, and they are in fact the terrorists regardless of any validity that they might think they have in killing people for their cause.

    This does in fact mean that the large groups of people are just as much terrorists as those that detonate one device.

    People need to be honest and get some perspective. The dead and injured and harmed are the objective way of counting the evil actions taking it out of the purely subjective realm.

    As for someone sacrificing themselves to save others, that depends on the harm done to others in the process now doesn’t it. A suicide bomber detonating a bomb in a cafe does it for political reasons yet is still a terrorist. Self sacrifice is usually the ultimate arrogant fuck you action that a person takes in their life. Often someone is harmed in the process.

    Looking from “each side” provides a perspective of “understanding” of that sides motives and actions in support of those motives yet won’t take us to a new level of thinking. For that you need to step back and look at it from a neutral observation of an observer not connected with either side. Now that’s difficult since we all are humans and are within our cult-ure groups. Yet it is what is needed to avoid WWIII (or is it WWIV or even WWV by now, I’ve lost track).

    This is why a morality grounded in objective reality can make use of the facts to highlight actions that have caused harm. Yet it’s not about tallies.

    I know many people enamored with the Castros (living in Canada which is somewhat friendly to Cuba this isn’t a surprise) yet when one studies the facts of his rise to power and control of the population it’s clear that he is a mass murderer of epic proportions and not worthy of any admiration for his crimes.

    Yet, there is another man who has murdered as many or many more people with the name of Bush (actually both Bush’s qualify). Yet Bush, at least in the USA, is favored as a good guy. Objectively his policies lead to the deaths of many innocent people. That is a fact on the record.

    It also in an objective moral sense makes the two of them unlikely companions in the epic journey of life as they are both mass murderers on the large scale. Surely their other cohort Sadam is in a different legue but so what, that still doesn’t justify the massive deaths that any of them have caused.

    Objective morality doesn’t take sides – remember. The body count of politicians can be used as a measure of how objectively evil they and their policies are.

    Now most individuals have little to do with such matters other than silently or not so silently agreeing to the policies of their leaders (no matter how they are put into power) yet are still culpable. It’s only those that reject such policies that have a chance to not be responsible for these deaths and evil actions.

    The bible is often used to justify the mass murder. Listen to the public recordings of on George W. Bush and his cohorts and you’ll hear the retoric throughout his elections and his reign as a mass murdering president of the united states cult of america.

    Yes, countries are also cults. Think about it. In Nature there are no countries. There is just land, water, air, the planet earth. Do insects respect man made borders? Nope, not a chance. Countries are man made groupings of cults of people on a massive scale. They only exist by the application of force and political power imposed upon their citizens. Most people would be quite happy if they didn’t exist at all. It’s usually the political cult class that are the ones who impose their sense of order upon the masses. While countries don’t exist in Nature the people who think that they are real are very real and take deadly actions upon those that they feel the need to. Countries are an evil side to modern civilization in so many objective ways that they might be the undoing of humanity.

    It’s fortunate that there are dreams of a world without wars and without countries in Star Trek. Yet the Roddenberrisque utopian vision of Star Trek is not without it’s problems. Likely that’s too many cooks spoiling the soup.

    Cults, large and small, do great harm in our world. It’s time that members of these cults see the harm that their groups are doing to others.

    The bible is one of the greatest causes of harm in the world over the ages for it gives it’s faithful followers poor thinking skills that disconnect them from the Nature of Nature and from peaceful non-discriminatory conduct. To have faith in god means to literally disconnect oneself from Nature and to belief that fairy tales are true when it’s clear that each of the fairy tales can’t be true since they violate easy to demonstrate laws of Nature. The dead don’t rise. People can’t walk on water (without a magic trick) of any depth (sure you can walk on a wet side walk but we all know that’s not what I’m talking about). People don’t fly up into the sky without a reason grounded in physics to explain it. No jesus flying up to heaven defying gravity’s ever present grip. No magic life after death for any of us except in the memories of those who are still alive. Even that will fade with the end of the human species. Eventually there will be nothing. Then the Earth will be swallowed up by the Sun extinguishing all life remaining on Earth. If we are smart we will take to the stars yet the energy required to spread our seed of life across the galaxy is just too great and the journey too long. Likely it’ll be robotic life seed ships that will take the long journey at slow speeds (and low energy requirements) to cross the immense guff between the stars and grow new humans and other life forms while terrifying appropriate planets. There could be many generations of humans grown and educated by our robots. Or, we’ll find that it’s easier to just build a new world in orbit of a star and terraform it. There are options on epic scales. Just as likely if not more so our species will simply die out here on Earth or in the Sol system as it fades away.

    In the end life is empty and meaningless yet it’s a mistake to make that mean anything since life is empty and meaningless and it’s empty and meaningless that it’s empty and meaningless. The mistake my sister made when confronting the abyss of the nothingness of life was to make that mean something. Unfortunately she also read a mystical book full of stories that if taken literally (which she did) simply can’t be true (as mentioned in the paragraph above). Dead bodies don’t rise from the dead. Yet this book called upon her to “have faith”, to take a “leap of faith” and she did. It’s just that she also took a leap out of being grounded in Nature (as she pretty much was in my experience looking up to her) into a fantasy world of gods and demons. In the process she has become a demon of sorts (as mentioned above in the article) and now causes great harm to her loves ones with her silly and dangerous mythology; she finds me calling it a mythology offensive yet that is all that it is objectively but to her it’s a personal mythology that is important to her. It’s so important to her that she’d allow her silly beliefs – provably false beliefs – destroy her birth family all in the name of her delusion of god and the distorted morality of the bible. It’s a shame really. A waste of a human life.

    Yes, falling for fantasy as if it’s the actual reality is a waste of a human life. No, I’m not talking about enjoying entertainment for a few hours when watching a movie like Star Trek or Lord of the Rings or which ever. I’m talking about taking the words written in a book and believing them without testing objective reality against them. I’m talking about your mythologies that grip you so deeply that they allow you to ignore the actual objective reality where you exist for the brief moments of your life (even a hundred orbits of Sol is too few in my view yet that is what is real for most people – sigh).

    Having faith in jesus or god to save you from your certain death is a deep rooted delusion that prevents the faithful from connecting with Nature and Objective Reality where we actually exist. Dead bodies don’t rise from the dead once brain death, organ death and heart dead have occurred. Thinking that they do means that you are clinically delusional for not accepting the reality of Nature. Harsh yes, but that’s life.

    Look in a mirror and see the true horror of your own mythologies upon others in your life. See the damage that you’ve done with your jesus myths. With your patriotism. With your cult. Can you undo the harm? If so then act now. If not, then do no more harm. Allow no more harm to be done. Seek help.

  5. MrPete said

    I think we’re getting somewhere! Thanks for the conversation, this is a good thought-challenge for me 🙂

    pwl, key questions emerge from some of your statements.

    Statements:
    “By evil here it’s when innocent people get trampled by those who supposedly are in “authority”.”
    “This is why a morality grounded in objective reality can make use of the facts to highlight actions that have caused harm. Yet it’s not about tallies.”
    “Objectively his policies lead to the deaths of many innocent people. That is a fact on the record.”
    “Objective morality doesn’t take sides – remember. The body count of politicians can be used as a measure of how objectively evil they and their policies are.”
    “…do no more harm. Allow no more harm to be done.”

    Am I hearing correctly that you are defining…

    Evil: when ‘innocent’ people are hurt
    Objective reality: measurable (tangible, quantitative observations) (yet not ‘tallies’)
    Objective morality: basing choice of good/evil on body counts and other similar measures

    I’ve not heard you define ‘innocent’, nor have you really defined ‘cult’. I’ll get back to that.

    I’ll keep going for convenience, but please consider the above before applying it to what follows 😀

    Here are some hard scenarios:

    Scenario A

    * In the name of science, Leader A begins to “purify” the population of various weaker/unfit groups. Many innocents are killed by his actions. Leader X is objectively evil: his observable body count is N thousand.

    –> Leader X is doing harm. How do we “allow no more harm to be done” (obtain justice for the innocents) without doing harm ourselves?

    (Bottom line problem of “harm” is that people are selfish and arrogant. We tend to think we can get what we want, either without harming others, or not caring what harm is caused. And we tend to think we’re capable of evaluating the same in others. Not as easy as it appears.)

    * Leader Y, in the name of justice, goes after X. He has no intent of harming innocents. However, due to limitations of technology (or its power, take your pick), 10x innocents are killed in the process.

    Headlines: Leader Y is responsible for much more death than leader X.

    –> Is Leader Y objectively evil?

    * A few years later, it is discovered that Leader X actually killed millions.

    –> Now what is our view of Leader Y? Good or evil?

    (This is typical of our measures of Objective Reality: our ability to measure accurately tends to lag the need to apply those measures to the real world.)

    Propositions

    * All “knowledge” is a mythology, in the sense that there is extremely little bedrock knowledge that is completely time-invariant. Basic math, not much more.

    * Other than basic math, all of “objective reality” is probability-based. Science simply applies some convenient definitions, such as (last I checked) 10^-65 is considered “impossible” probability. It’s not really impossible, just very very improbable. Most of our reality is based on far looser boundaries. For example, all of semiconductor electronics is based on a very loose approximation that says “much greater” is about 20-30%. There’s an unsolvable equation that we get around by making that assumption. How do we do that? It Just Works.

    * Your philosophy is itself a religion. The defining question is “what is your source of Truth?” Your answer: based (i.e. interpreted) from what humans can tangibly observe. A very smart guy named Vishal Mangalwadi once did a very nice comparative-belief-systems thing. As he put it, it all comes down to your source of Truth:

    – There is no Truth (true Atheism)
    – Everything is Truth (Hindu)
    – Nature is Truth (Animism)
    – Truth is found in Mr X (Buddha, etc)
    – Truth is found inside everyone
    – Truth is found in people’s knowledge (some group, a majority, etc)
    – Truth is in ‘God’ out there somewhere (Judeo/Christian)

    He then ripped a good one against Western Enlightenment. Something along the lines of: Christianity taught that we don’t have the Truth, but we know where to find it (God.) Enlightenment said, well, if we really know God then we have the Truth ourselves… and we don’t need God.

    Point being: Objective Reality still depends on your frame of reference. Your reality is someone else’s “cult.”
    By your definition of “cult”, every truth system is a cult.

    So, looks to me by the end of this part of the conversation, we’re all on a pretty level playing field:
    * None of us are really all that smart after all; we all have much to learn, there will always be much we don’t know, and we will always discover that what we knew before was in some ways full of holes.

    Bottom line: I think stupidity can be found in any group, and everyone is stupid sometimes. Even the smartest guy I know can be stupid sometimes (although he works really hard to avoid it.)

    😀

  6. pwl said

    Utter nonsense.

  7. pwl said

    What is your obsession with truth?

  8. pwl said

    My philosophy is most certainly not religion, in fact it takes great pains to not be a religion. Science based thinking, critical thinking, objective reality based thinking, Nature based thinking, are the antithesis of myth based thought belief/cult systems. That is a characteristic of science based thinking, it can examine itself and reorganize to eliminate thoughts and ideas that don’t work in the real world. Religions by definition are about faith and belief regardless of the evidence in the real world. In religion dead bodies magically rise from the dead and fly up into the sky. In science based thinking dead bodies stay dead no matter who they are because the laws of Nature ensure that fact. It’s Nature that the facts are derived from not some mystical nonsense fairy tale. Science based thinking has come a long way from it’s roots in antiquity when the first humans realized that objective reality is what matters not silly myths of gods and demons.

    Your thinking is so muddled MrPete (strange name).

    The point of not comparing evils is that may not be wise. For example, Bush and Castro are both responsible for the deaths of a great many people. In fact they each have killed so many that the numbers barely matter. They are both massive serial killers (usually by proxy) that they have both done immense harm to others in the world. While Saddam may have killed more than both of the others it’s basically irrelevant since each has killed at least 100,000 which puts them into the annals of history as massive serial killers. It is well known that the greatest threat to humanity, that the greatest killers of humans, are State based Organizations that act essentially with impunity (most of the time) upon their own peoples committing horrific crimes. This is not limited to despots alone as the Bushes have demonstrated (although some do consider them despots too).

    I use standard definitions unless otherwise noted.

    Cult means what it says, a mind control group, or a group that has control of some sort over the minds of the members of that group. Culture is a variant of the word cult and applies to groups like the Catholic Church or Americans or Canadians or Cubans.

    The question is how to think at a new level to solve the worlds problems. This was a way of thinking of Einstein (amongst others). We need to shift our thinking. My way of doing that is to measure objectively the “harm” and “evil” done in the world by people such as Bush, Castro, Saddam and bring that to light. In addition to these easy to point out examples I work at a local level with the people in my life educating them on the ways that their thought systems and (whacked out) delusional belief systems generate evil, harm, torment, death, killing, etc…

    It has little to do with truth although telling the truth is important. It has to do with harsh facts of life usually. It has to do with NOT taking actions that cause others harm. It has to do with altering ones perception to see that the country that one lives in is NOT as important, our entire planet is what is important even those people over there whom your bible or your politics says to kill. Don’t do it. Learn to live in peace, it’s the harder thing to do.

  9. MrPete said

    You say “Religions by definition are about faith and belief regardless of the evidence in the real world.” And you seem to believe that science-based thinking is the antithesis of religion.

    Believe it or not, I resonate *strongly* with your desire to avoid being linked to “religion.” Accomplishing that is actually quite difficult however, in some ways.

    For example, a Webster’s definition: “any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.”

    …and since some “religions” involve no worship of any kind, that definition is too narrow and some would argue it devolves to: “any specific system of belief, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.”

    At which point, you’d have to be dead to not have a “religion.” 😀

    Moving on…

    Why focus on “truth”? Because incorrect “facts” are untrue. Truth is important.

    A few interesting tidbits, on which we may be in vehement agreement:

    1) Some very important arenas of science are actually religion by this definition. The adherents are unwilling to accept proven real-world evidence, because it does not fit their preconceived notions of reality.

    2) The earliest valid form of the scientific method was designed (by Sir Francis Bacon, founder of the The Royal Society, etc etc etc) so that people could better know God through provable observation of the Real World??!! Somehow, people (on all sides) have mostly forgotten that.

    3) The Bible itself argues against applying your definition to belief in God. It is very much a text to be tested against facts, investigated, sifted, etc etc etc. NOT something where we’re to just turn off our brains. [Any god who is less smart than me is no god at all. Because I know I’m not god, and I’m not perfect.] Lots of people ignore that.

    Returning to my earlier question, which you have not answered. Applied to your latest statement… “to measure objectively the “harm” and “evil” done in the world”…

    By what standard do you claim to be able to objectively measure “harm” and “evil”? The standard you apply is, of course, your standard for objective moral good. So I’m quite interested in your yardstick.

    And the Really Hard part is to achieve justice: not causing harm, and eliminating harm, at the same time. Because people don’t naturally go there.

  10. pwl said

    Once again you are spewing utter nonsense.

  11. pwl said

    What is real is important. There are many truths that are not actually real, that is they don’t actually exist in objective reality but just in a human brain as a thought that is considered true for various reasons including logical ones.

    It’s absurd to assert that science is a religion. You must not know either.

    In religion you worship an invisible non-existent super being who is always on your side and does magic for you when you pray and who gives you ever lasting life. Haven’t you ever been in a church and listened to the mindless droning on about what they believe in.

    If so you’d know the actual difference between religion and science.

    In science you theorize and test with experiments to find out what is real in objective reality verses what are just silly theories that are to be dumped into the dustbin of history. Science is prepared to revise itself given new evidence that fits new theories better than the old ones.

    In religion belief is more important than facts and evidence. The unbeliever who knows for a fact that dead bodies can’t rise from the dead is to himself be shunned as the belief that jesus actually rose from the dead is more important that the evidence that dead bodies stay dead. Everytime you eat meat you are eating evidence that jesus could not have risen from the dead yet billions of humans are delusional in maintaining their belief that jesus miraculously violated the laws of biology and physics and chemistry but above all the laws of Nature. Then he flew up into heaven, where ever the hell that is.

    Your thinking process MrPete is producing what I like to call mind poo. Sorry to be so direct but that’s how I see it and that’s how I call it. Learn some critical thinking and apply it to your own thoughts.

    Science has moved beyond the magic beliefs of some of the people who were early scientists. Be clear that not all early scientists had whacked in the head beliefs in god, there are many atheist scientists from antiquity who amongst those who started the field.

    Besides the scientific method is such that it matters not that there are some scientists who have god delusions. This is possible since the scientific method is designed to eliminate the scientists beliefs and focus the process on the actual facts of Nature leaving aside stupid human beliefs like gods in the dust pan of history.

    Learn some critical thinking skills MrPete. Seriously raise the quality of your arguments.

  12. pwl said

    It’s easy to measure harm and most of the time it doesn’t take much to do that other than common sense and a newspaper.

    Someone killed someone. Count the bodies.

    A politician ordered that his men do something that causes people to die. Count the bodies.

    The people who were killed had friends, relatives and countrymen who didn’t like the fact that they where killed thus they felt justified in retaliating.

    Count the bodies. Use math.

    It’s easy. Dead body killed by someone = evil action done.

    You’ve got to get out of your own cult-ure. If you are American, as is likely the case from your IP Address that means seeing from a non-american point of view. Which one? How about trying them ALL on? You might not like what you see. Then instead of reacting, do something to stop the evil your countrymen are doing in the world. You are part of that cult-ure and it often works best for members of a cult to impact their own cult-ure themselves directly rather than hearing it from outside the cult-ure where it can easily be ignored.

  13. MrPete said

    “It’s absurd to assert that science is a religion. You must not know either.”

    pwl, permit me to share a couple of examples, of each, and then you decide how well your definitions hold up.

    You wrote:
    “In religion you worship an invisible non-existent super being who is always on your side and does magic for you when you pray and who gives you ever lasting life.”

    Would you consider Buddhism a religion? Most people would. Your definition doesn’t fit Buddhism at all. How about Animism? I could go on. Many religions are about survival on earth, not everlasting life. Many religions are about appeasing an angry god who is never on your side, not getting in good with a loving god who wants to give you goodies. Many religions involve a very visible human being, or nature itself, not an invisible super being. I was in India and saw for myself how, just outside the main science (!) university, a spot of road construction paint on the side of the road was noticed, “honored” (with flowers)…and over the next few years ended up becoming a shrine. There was ultimately a plaque listing major donors… including scientists at the university next door. I was shocked.

    “In science you theorize and test with experiments to find out what is real in objective reality verses what are just silly theories that are to be dumped into the dustbin of history. Science is prepared to revise itself given new evidence that fits new theories better than the old ones.”

    On this topic, a warning: almost by definition, anything I say here will be controversial and upsetting to you, because you are a True Believer in Science.

    All I am going to argue is that even scientists are not immune from fuzzy thinking, from confirmation and other biases, and from silly theories that will be dumped into the dustbin of history.

    Yes, science eventually is self-correcting. Guess what. So are many “religions.” But it can take quite a long time in either case.

    Three science examples:

    A past example. Plate Tectonics was considered a loony-tunes theory for a long time. My best buddy in high school had an uncle doing research in that area. He was treated pretty badly. Took a long time for it to be accepted. People just wanted to hold on to their previous notions.

    A present example. Take a look at much of the climate change research. There’s plenty of evidence that some scientists are playing fast and loose with the data. Based on the growing number of scientists from other fields who are looking in and saying “that’s not science if you toss the data you don’t like”… “that’s not science if you match wiggles on a graph but have no physical theory to go with the data”…”that’s not science if you simply vote for what you prefer” etc.

    A future example. Take a comprehensive look at journal articles on abiotic origins [i.e. how did the earth go from non-life to life], you would find the religious nature of this area is emerging. Essentially, they’ve come so close to proving that naturalistic means are impossible… that they are seriously imagining little green men in spaceships, etc. (Which doesn’t solve the abiotic origins problem at all. Several of the major issues show that if it can’t happen here, it can’t happen anywhere.)

    Bottom line: when otherwise-sane scientists can’t accept the evidence in front of their eyes, and start to cook up silly theories that will soon be dumped in the dustbin of history, that’s religion.

    “In religion belief is more important than facts and evidence.”

    The “religion” I’m involved in is far more reasoned than that. In fact, we would say the exact opposite. Belief without evidence is imagination.

    There *is* a major challenge in there however. And it is a challenge for both science and “religion”, although some scientists (NOT all!) have a hard time accepting it:

    Some things, even tangible observable things, are always going to be beyond our understanding.

    There are boundaries to what can be known in the universe. It’s built right into the laws of nature.

    That has implications that are very frustrating at times.

    Even if I’m the smartest guy on the planet, some things will remain a mystery. Some things will make no sense. I’m imperfect, so some things that I think are right, are actually wrong, and some things I think are wrong, are actually right. Gotta stay humble.

    Two examples and a model. Feel free to poke at these if you want to talk more about them:

    * Heisenberg Uncertainty: at a certain level, you can’t precisely nail down the attributes of a particle. Position or momentum. Can’t get both. It’s a property of nature.

    * Diffusion: at a certain level, there’s a limit to how sharp a photo can be. More megapixels in a given camera sensor size eventually is a waste. All you get is fuzz. (And we’ve hit that limit in compact cameras.) It’s a property of nature. Better lenses, etc are NOT gonna help.

    * Flatland. I love that story (it’s a book.) Describes a world in which 3-D beings interact with 2-D beings. If I’m 2-D, it looks like “magic’ if a 3-D being interacts with my world. They can show up in multiple places simultaneously, they can “see” my future, etc etc. Helps me envision what it would be like for an 11-dimensional being to interact with our universe.

  14. MrPete said

    I am saddened by your definition of harm.

    It means that those who favor “good” have no ability to oppose “evil” because anything we do in opposition is itself evil.

  15. MrPete said

    (oops — I wrote “diffusion” but meant “diffraction”. Writing too early 😉 )

  16. pwl said

    It’s not my definition of harm, it is harm in objective reality.

    Objective reality doesn’t care about good or evil, it just is what it is and isn’t what it isn’t.

    Objective Reality doesn’t care about your motives for why you harmed someone, or why someone harmed you. Someone is harmed if someone is harmed. Someone one is dead if someone dies. These are just very factual statements.

    Making a Difference that Makes the Difference in the world is about mitigating and reducing or eliminating the harm you do to others even those you consider evil. In many ways it’s just about the math of harm where zero is the goal, and negative harm is even better!

    It eliminates the evils of perspective morality that is always different from one person to the next. It puts things into the ultimate perspective, that of Objective Reality; not that Objective Reality is an entity or a being or has it’s own perspective since it doesn’t but we humans can take on the perspective of Objective Reality and make a huge difference that contributes rather than destroys.

  17. pwl said

    What is the religion you are involved in? Do you have an invisible super being you call god that you worship? Let’s get specific otherwise we’re talking about the burning bush rather than about the disrespectful prankster god that killed the bush by lighting it on fire. How caviler with life the gods of humans are.

  18. pwl said

    So your god is an 11-dimensional being that you “imagine”. Hmmm… just your imagination at work does not create a god in Objective Reality but only in your mind does that 11D god exist.

  19. pwl said

    That life originated by Natural means is no surprise. There are many mechanisms what can explain that. The quest is to find the ones or one that actually did it. That’s called science. Narrowing down what did happen is difficult not because it’s not possible but because of the erasing effect of change through time.

    Read “A New Kind of Science” (NKS) by Stephen Wolfram. You can learn more about Wolfram Science here at this site in these articles.

    In chapter 2 of a NKS Wolfram proves that simple systems can be as complex as any other complex system yet simple rules generate this maximal complexity. This is proven mathematically. This has tremendous implications for our understanding of how life originated and how it seems to people that something magic happened when if fact it’s no more magic than when I write a video game for people to enjoy. The universe is many ways is a computer at a fundamental level and Wolfram shows how cellular automata – dumb simple rules without any god inspired magic just simple rules – solve the riddle of the creation of life.

    In our universe life will originate where ever the conditions are right is the essential conclusion. Life of many forms, any that the simple rules of cellular automata can possibly produce and that is a very large number of possibilities in forms and function. Evolution by means of Natural Selection then takes over however it does in each particular environmental system (e.g. planet or other environmental volume that can support life for example).

    Just because we’ve not pinned down all the exact details doesn’t mean we don’t have an idea about how life originated. It’s only you who need for some reason to think that every mystery was done by god that are the ones who think it’s done by god. God is your answer for everything mysterious. If it weren’t for people like Diagoras of Melos ~2,500 years ago eliminating superstitions man would not have progressed as far as we have. Now individuals such as yourself are holding us back with your silly superstitions about eleven dimensional invisible super beings. Very sad.

  20. pwl said

    I am not a true believer in science as that is a repugnant notion from the world view of someone who doesn’t know what it means to not be a true believer.

    Applying the scientific method to your own life isn’t easy. I work to eliminate beliefs. By belief I mean statements that are taken as true without reproducible and testable evidence that they are true to the highest degree of accuracy possible.

    Almost every religious statement is a whacked out belief precisely because it rejects the very need for evidence of any kind. Now I know that some, like my sister mentioned in the above article, will attempt to present their religion as one that seeks truth but truth isn’t the same as having testable evidence that a statement about life or objective reality holds up to scrutiny using reason, logic, the scientific method or just plan old common sense practical as it can be at times.

    The delusion sets in when evidence is rejected that obviously proves that a belief is false moving it from the realm of uncertainty to a very certain fact of knowledge based upon evidence.

    For example. Many believe without evidence and with a lot of faith that a man named jesus was the son of god (and god too actually) and came to us from a place in outer space known as heaven (jesus is a space alien I gather) and then was nailed to a cross after being tortured for a long time (not water boarded but still tortured) and then actually died for our sins (as if that’s actually possible, dying for everyone elses sins that is) and then magically rose from the dead and not too long after flew up to heaven.

    There are so many whacked out beliefs in that story from the bible that it’s not funny Yeah, it’s actually quite sad. Yet this is the story that holds many people wishing for the rapture (essentially the end of life on earth as we know it). How evil is that? Very.

    So what is the evidence that all these delusional god fearing folk completely ignore to have their magical fantasy be true? It’s that a man – a special man for he is god after all and god’s son, his own son, after all – can magically defy the Laws of Nature (specifically biology, chemistry, physics, rottification of dead meat, and the like, …).

    Well as we know each time we eat meat, dead bodies don’t get up from the dead and begin their life again. Yes, every time you or someone sinks their teeth into a chunk of life meat that is evidence being consumed that jesus, if he existed, didn’t rise from the dead.

    Now that doesn’t prevent Jesus from having pretended to be dead but that likelihood would kinda mess up the religion and the bible even more than they already are messed up. Can’t have the house of cards crashing down now can we, after all priests and other con men and con women of churches need to eat their meat too.

  21. pwl said

    Have you actually visited a country where Buddhism is relevant? If so you’d see that it’s just as much a religion with superstitions as any other.

  22. pwl said

    Yes, I know there are some vegan religions, well they might not eat meat and while that is a literal metaphor aimed at christians it also can be taken as a metaphor on it’s own. The evidence of no gods is abundantly around you. You just need to question your own perceptions and prejudices that it must have been done by a god or gods. Nature isn’t a god, it just is and is without being a being. Gods don’t explain anything, they just play with their toys, us humans, in so many malicious ways. Any god is the ultimate evil for a life form like humans. Deciding our fate. Not coming to our aid when we are in trouble. How evil is that? Very.

    We are sentient living beings with a very short life in existence. Just a few orbits of the Earth around Sol, our planet’s star. We are born and we live and we die the permanent death with zero hope of any afterlife other than being worm food (or ashes).

    No magical invisible super being will save you and give you everlasting life in heavenly bliss, where ever the hell that is. Besides it’s such a disrespectful notion considering what we really are in objective reality: sentient living beings of walking meat and mostly bags of water. We are the universe of inanimate matter and energy come to life for a brief succession of moments. Enjoy the life you have for that is all we get.

    You don’t believe that? Good neither do I for belief has nothing to do with it. I don’t believe it because all the actual factual evidence proves that that is how it is. Most won’t believe it because their mythology requires them to have faith that they have a magical life after death experience coming to them. Sorry to shatter your world but that’s just your brain dying as it’s starved of oxygen and other life sustaining chemicals and electrical impulses across your neurons. It’s the last gasp, enjoy that too for that is truly your last moment should you even have that experience.

    Life, existence to a large degree is what you make of it. It can be a magical fantasy with invisible super beings from the eleventh dimension (should it be from the 5th dimension – anyway I digress) who will give you ever last life if only you believe in them. Why the hell would I believe in such a con from an invisible super being since it’s so obvious that they are so insecure about them-invisible-selves by requiring us to believe in them? Ah… the fun with the religionists will never get old – unfortunately.

  23. MrPete said

    “In many ways it’s just about the math of harm where zero is the goal, and negative harm is even better!”

    Not sure, but I think we’re in strong agreement on this.

    The hard part is that people are not predictable machines. Thus, many times we can’t predict the outcome of a course of action.

    That’s why I gave my example of a situation where observed harm at level N per year is taking place, and best apparent course of action to reduce the harm is to actually cause a “minor” amount of additional harm. But the action turns out to cause 10xN harm. But later we find the original harm was actually 1000xN. So with 20/20 hindsight, the action really was a correct decision, minimizing total harm done.

    All along the way, real decisions must be made. It isn’t as simple as “let’s just reduce harm.”

    If you’re ok with that practical reality, I’m completely on board.

  24. pwl said

    Ah yes, it is the 5th dimension not the 11th!!! 😉

    Bride of Chaotica!.

    The fantasy of the 5th dimension is at least more real than yours of the 11th since a number of episodes of Voyager were made about the 5th dimension. Note that it was the 12th episode of the 5th season! No 11 anywhere to be found.

  25. pwl said

    Causing harm to solve harm is the current paradigm and way of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place. It’s what otherwise good folks use to justify the most horrific crimes against others.

    “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” – Einstein

    Reducing harm by causing harm is operating at the same level of thinking as the problem, the initial harm; whenever that was since so many harms are a cycle of violence that never ends. That is why it’s a failed manner of thinking, doing harm to stop harm that is.

    You need to rise above that or just be part of the problem which it seems that you are.

  26. pwl said

    These are not difficult concepts to grasp. It’s just that they are outside your normal mode of thinking which seems very muddled and caught up in the mystique of some nonsense power of belief and faith in some invisible super being in the 11th dimension or whatever your mythology of god is.

  27. pwl said

    I killed the mythology of god that was shoved upon me. I suggest that you do the same. By kill I don’t mean harming anyone but I do mean questing every belief and every thought connected with the mythology of god. Fortunately for me the mythology of god never took hold as I have always asked to many questions for that god nonsense to stick. Maximizing your life in objective reality, maximizing your connection, real connection not imagined, with Nature relies upon giving up faith in beliefs.

  28. MrPete said

    “I work to eliminate beliefs. By belief I mean statements that are taken as true without reproducible and testable evidence that they are true to the highest degree of accuracy possible.”

    I would hope that any thinking person would agree with this. Some people claim they have no “beliefs” (in this sense) at all, but that’s patently false. Too much of life is neither reproducible nor testable. And in fact there are entire realms that are provably non-provable.

    I have a great interest in the edges of what is knowable. That’s why I was able to provide the above two examples of the limits of “highest degree of accuracy possible.”

    I’m sure you’re aware that in mathematics, you can get published either for proving something… or for showing that something is impossible to prove. And there are plenty of things in the latter category.

    One of my favorites goes back to junior year semiconductor electronics. We had rigorously worked out the mathematics of semiconductor physics/chemistry, until we got to a certain point (picture white boards crammed with equations…) And there before us was a humongous equation that needed to be reduced before we could go on. We stared for about half an hour, suggesting various things… until the professor gently said “actually, it has been proven that this equation can’t be solved. We have to make a simplifying assumption.”

    We were kinda shell-shocked. After all, we’d been SO rigorous until that point!

    Long story short: it was a fraction. As long as the numerator was “much bigger” we would be ok. But how big was “much bigger”? The bidding began at 10^6. It ended at 120%. Twenty percent bigger is “good enough”. We don’t know how or why. We just know it works.

    And then we went back to completely rigorous math. But the memory is etched in me: at the heart of all of semiconductor electronics is a simplifying assumption that says 20% bigger is “much bigger” and it’s good enough because it “just works.”

    The same challenge applies in many areas of knowledge:

    * History is not reproducible; all we have is the available documents and archaelogical evidence, etc.

    * Many accurate historical measurements are essentially impossible. No thermometers more than 150 years ago. No satellites more than 30 years ago. etc.

    * Lots of stuff that benefits us is little-understood. We begin to use new technologies even though we don’t really understand the implications or side effects. Often, we get bitten.

    Nice personal example:
    * I have an apparently-unique sleep disorder. Top guy at the AMA says so.
    * Testing scientifically proves I have this disorder, even though they have no idea what it is or what causes it.
    * I treat the main symptom with a particular medication. Years of analysis has resulted in no scientific understanding of how the medication works. It is different from all other sleep/wake drugs in how it acts.
    * Testing scientifically proves the medication does take care of my main symptom. Otherwise, I’d not be able to drive (because I might fall asleep.)

    Bottom line: I have an unknown medical condition, treated by a mysterious medication. Science doesn’t know what causes the condition, they don’t know how the medication works. Yet science proves the condition is real, and can prove the medication properly treats the symptoms.

    I think that’s totally cool!

  29. pwl said

    Using harm to stop harm, killing to stop killing, is just more of the same. Try communicating for a change, for a paradigm shift. Talk with your so called enemies rather than bombing them. Stop the cycle. Many – but not all – terrorists are simply continuing the cycle of violence brought against them in the last cycle by your country. That’s the problem, both of you. You need each other to continue the violence and to stop it. Or you can just obliterate them and they will then come and obliterate you back. It’s a waste of life. Precious life. By killing them you are making the statement that you don’t value their lives. Evil inherent your way of thinking. Of course here I was talking generally about the typical nature of geopolitics that is prelevant right now, not “you” specifically but this could apply to you – I just don’t know your specific politics and don’t care to since the principle above will not change given your stated justification for harming people is to stop harm which just repeats the cycle.

  30. pwl said

    “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” – Einstein

  31. MrPete said

    pwl, you need to get out a bit more. 🙂

    Never heard of an 11 dimension universe? You haven’t been following string theory.

    I agree 100% it is edgy stuff. But very serious physicists have been investigating it for quite a while. And it fits the definition of predictive/falsifiable science.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory for a nice simple intro.

  32. pwl said

    It depends upon with sense of the word belief that is actually meant. There are so many meaning for the word belief that it’s nauseating. Generally however, when discussion “personal beliefs” people are referring to beliefs that are considered true (or false) based upon FAITH and the evidence be damned. That is the kind of belief I’m going after to eliminate from my life. Whenever I observe one of those gripping me I immediately work to eliminate it as a belief whereas religious folks like my sisters work to reinforce their faith in it and completely ignore any and all evidence. I suspect that you are the same given your writing above.

    By eliminate I mean I work to either prove or disprove the belief, in either case it ceases to be a belief that I consider to be true (or false) without any evidence. I find the evidence to support it. No not fake evidence, and this is where the orientation towards the scientific method makes the difference for it helps rule out silly nonsense evidence which folks like my sister accept to reinforce their faith that “dead bodies rise from the dead” while ignoring all the hard science that proves otherwise.

    A commitment to faith leads one to conduct very bad science, especially when the subject of the science is oneself.

    It’s fine to admit a mistake. Correct it if possible and aim towards mastery so that you get to a place where it’s highly unlikely or impossible for you to make the same mistake again.

    Beliefs based upon faith that are so strong that the person refuses to accept basic facts of Nature that prove the belief incorrect are a pernicious evil. Faith itself is the real demon.

  33. pwl said

    As for unknown medical conditions, that is common since our medical science is still primitive to a high degree. Come on where are the bio beds that scan you while you sleep each night? Where are the toilets that analyze your every dump? Where are the medical expect systems that augment the medical staff caring for you?

    Besides, each person is a unique bio-system and will have a unique combination of conditions (aka a unique condition) some of which will never be seen in anyone else. That is why the above list of advances (and others) are needed. The fantasy medical show “House MD” often points out the unique nature of each patient’s condition.

  34. pwl said

    Yeeesh, of course I’ve heard of the string theory 11 dimensional universe. Just because the math works out that way doesn’t make it so. Evidence is needed.

    Obviously my humor is too dry. 5th! Go Captain Proton! 5th!

  35. MrPete said

    On dimensions: the new LHC partially exists to prove whether string theory is correct or not. ‘Twill be interesting to find out! Just because we’ve not yet proven it doesn’t mean it is false. Just something we don’t yet know.

    On harm: Have you ever studied principles of diplomatic negotiation?

    Empirical evidence proves you wrong. Do you really imagine jawboning would have stopped Hitler? Or Japan? Others thought so, and were proven wrong.

    In another case, sadly the world ignored Stalin for too long. 55m+ people died. Wishful thinking and nice talk will not stop people like that.

    Today, the radical islamists have no interest in being talked into peaceful coexistence. Read up on Qutb.

    The world does not nicely fit into a simulated annealing algorithm for finding the path of minimal harm. Please learn to focus your dreams on reality. 🙂

    back to work…

  36. MrPete said

    on faith: “basic facts of Nature that prove the belief incorrect”… just be careful not to presume too much about basic facts of Nature.

    Back to the challenge of abiotic origins. It sounds like you’ve not looked into it very much. There’s a big difference between “we don’t have all the answers yet” and “we’ve run into a dead end”.

    Example of a hypothetical dead end: what happens when two conflicting scenarios are proven? For example,
    “First-life requires an atmosphere with no oxygen”
    “First-life requires an atmosphere with oxygen”

    Conflicting requirements. No third option. Ouch. Logic says “therefore, ‘first-life’ is impossible”

    Yet here we are.

    People do not fully understand the entire basis of our body’s functioning, whether cellular function or breathing or whatever. Yet we live. In that sense, we live by faith: we see it works, we accept it. We don’t worry about it too much. Over time, we figure out more and more.

  37. pwl said

    So you deny gravity do you? That’s an easy one to test Newton’s laws with. It’s also one that proves beyond any doubt that no man not even one named jesus flew up to the heavens where ever the hell that is. In space I guess.

    We’ve not run into a dead end with understanding the origins of life. Where do you get your mind poo from?

    Your so called logic sucks so much that it’s an insult to call it logic.

    Your choice then is because we don’t understand something in all it’s details that god did it? How stupid are you?

    We don’t live by faith. We live by bio-chemical-electro-physical processes that we know quite a bit about, much of it only learned recently. There is no faith present in our existence. We simple exist.

    The only faith is brought in by people who for some reason can’t grasp the true Nature of Objective Reality and need a “god” to have everything be ok. Look, there is no god but the imaginary ones you create. The god of the gaps in knowledge only exists because of your stupidifying philosophy that require a god because otherwise you’d melt down when faced with your imminent at anytime it could come certain death that will come before long. We all die the permanent dead with none going to the imagined heaven to be tormented for all time by harps and a vengeful god. The bugs get their feast when we go. We are beings scheduled for recycling. It really is a soylent green type of scenario. Horrors but real life and death. Not some fantasy with zombie jesus saving you for all eternity. It’s real life. You will die. How you treat others now only matters if it matters to you and/or others.

  38. pwl said

    Yes science continues on with newer and better experiments such as the LHC that may or may not find evidence of Strings in the 11th dimension – unless of course anti-science thinking like yours sucks us into a black hole of stupidifying philosophy of gods and demons and zombie saviors and retaliatory politics forever perpetuating the cycle of violence that leads to premature deaths in the millions if not billions.

    You’ve ignored answering directly what your religion is. Please, what is your religion?

    There is no “empirical evidence” that proves your political points. Your political world view is entirely mainstream and operates implementing solutions that are at the same level of problem as what caused the earlier round of the violent cycle. To break the cycle you must first break it when it occurs in your philosophy, in your politics, in your daily actions.

    In fact there is substantial evidence that paradigm shits generated by will, stubborn determination and non-violent communication has saved the world a number of times, and if not the world then many millions of lives countless times.

    Besides you’re convinced and blinded by your aggressive and deadly politics that it’s pointless to even attempt to get you to jump outside your comfy death to others is justified box. Just remember that when you advocate death to others those that you advocate death to may just very well be thinking the same way. There in lies the problem that you don’t seem to want to have enter your brain. For each one of them you’ll just create more enemies. There are many Muslims to make enemies of if you keep up your aggressive policies and the rain of indiscriminate death upon innocents or even the guilty from your views. Are you going to kill them all? Maybe you’ll get them to think the same way, oh you already have. Now how to get out of this never ending cycle?

    “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” – Einstein

  39. pwlare said

    You are on the path of the dark side of the force MrPete. Give up your darkness required by your delusional beliefs and faith in your invisible super being friend and come back to the light of the best of humanity.

  40. pwl said

    The mathematics of harm is not meant as a way to justify more harm, but as a means, a tool to show the harm being done by thought systems such as yours, and as a result to have people like you stop the harm you are doing against others in the world.

    The mathematics of harm to justify more harm is the work of evil in the world itself. It is what perpetuates violence between peoples. It is what starts wars. It is what destroys.

    Peace is harder than war. Much harder. It starts with you.

  41. MrPete said

    Pwl, your response indicates that you don’t seem to understand what I’m saying.

    I agree 100% that we want to reduce harm. We want to see it go away. Yes, peace is harder than war. Yes, not getting defensive is harder than lashing out. (You may not have noticed that I’ve been mostly practicing that with you. Without knowing me at all, you’ve lashed out at me pretty forcefully. I try not to respond in kind.)

    I’m not justifying MORE harm. I’m seeking LESS harm.

    Scenario A: Harm N done this year, growing 2x/yr. Diplomacy does not stop it. (Without diplomacy it would have grown 3x/yr, so diplomacy did help.)
    Year 1: N
    Year 2: 2N
    Year 3: 4N
    Year 4: 8N
    Total: 15N (and growing)

    Scenario B: Harm N done this year, growing 2x/yr. Harm opposed successfully.
    Year 1: N
    Year 2: 2N
    opposed: 0.5N
    Year 3: 0
    Year 4: 0
    Total: 3.5N (and stopped)
    –> 0.5N harm in opposition put a stop to the original harm, and avoided immense harm.

    Unless I’m misunderstanding what you are saying, your philosophy says we should try hard to convince those causing harm to stop it, but we can never knowingly cause even 1% harm to bring the harm to a halt.

    Stopping harm ethically is harder than diplomacy. Much harder. It starts with being willing to lay down my life to save another.

    Would you lay down your life for a friend? Would you do it for someone who hates you?

    All the talk in the world, all the pacifism, all the selfless love… won’t address some kinds of harm.

    Think about firefighting. Sometimes, you fight fire with water to put it out.
    Sometimes, you have to create a backfire to cut off the bigger fire.

    Likewise, if one does nothing to oppose certain kinds of harm, then one allows it to run rampant, and it spreads unchecked.

    Cancer normally needs to be removed or destroyed. Bacteria in a pure culture needs to be removed or destroyed. Etc.

    It’s been a long time since we had a harm-free world where one could simply avoid causing harm to maintain a zero-harm state.

  42. pwl said

    You obviously don’t get it. You’re still stuck in the retribution for actions done to you paradigm.

    After 911 when George W Bush stood on the rubble it was shameful how he spoke of revenge. It was the saddest day I’ve ever seen for America in my lifetime.

    I will add that I lived one and a half blocks away from thw WTC Towers in 1993 when the first attack occurred. I saw the aftermath during my lunch break just 10 to 20 minutes after it happened. I stood there at the permitted of the court yard seeing the carnage as people waked away.

    After 911 for three weeks I was glued to the TV. It was my old neighborhood after all. I had plans to use my significant expertise to help chase down the “bad guys”. Then I realized that I had been sucked into the gutter just as they had wanted. I deprogrammed myself from such thoughts. I thought about other approaches.

    Had George W. Bush considered it a police action and not invaded countries that had nothing to do with it and had just brought those responsible for it to justice, alive not dead, the USA would have a much different perception in the world today that it does. It would have shifted paradigms in ways that you just have no idea about.

    Instead we had Bush and Cheney’s criminally murderous revenge jihad crusade, “war on terror”, for seven and a half years going on eight since it’s hard to stop what they started.

    Unfortunately the “war on terror” makes the USA the worlds leading terrorist organization of state sponsored terrorism. It’s just that harshly plain. The evidence is that Bush and Cheney are responsible for torture and for killing more people than Castro ever did as leader of a communist murderous dictatorship.

    So these are very real differences in approaches. Murder, Death, Kill verses seeking to resolve matters less aggressively and without harming those not responsible.

    The Bush speech on top of the rubble of 911 is evidence enough against the man, he is an enemy of free peace loving people and all the people of Earth.

    We’ll see how Obama does… although it’s not looking good as he has now bloodied his hands a number of times. Will he be as big a mass murderer as Bush.

    A politician, a president, should be judged in part on the inverse ratio of dead bodies they leave behind to rate their evil level in the world. 1/DeadBodyCount. Bush rates quite high, not as high as Saddam or Hitler, but higher than the Castros.

    Objective Morals don’t care for the reasons. It’s the numbers. There is always another way until you’ve choose the path with your actions. There was another way for Bush and Cheney and cohorts who carried out the evil harmful actions. Yet they spread death and destruction possibly two orders of magnitude greater than the harm done their fellows.

    Evil walks the earth and carries a big stick. If you support them you are also responsible for their actions of the rain of death and destruction rendered a thunder upon the earth. Evil in your shoes walks the earth and carries a vote.

    I choose to think different and work on different solutions including education people like you who obviously don’t think or who only think of yourselves and forget about the people you kill during the unfolding of your [country’s] revenge.

  43. pwl said

    “Evil is not [to be] traced back to the individual but to the collective behavior of humanity.” – Reinhold Niebuhr.

    I disagree in that individuals do cause “evil” by their actions, look to Bush, Cheney, Saddam, the Castro brothers, Stalin, Hitler, et al. as examples that invalidate Niebuhr’s assertion.

    Then look to your own actions in your life and you’ll see examples of how you’ve caused harm when there were alternatives – maybe even alternatives you never thought of and still can’t.

    ps. It’s fitting that I found a quote by a preacher credited with contributing to the concept of “just war” for this thread before I knew about the author of the quote. How many men, women and children have died as a result of this philosophy? Too many.

  44. pwl said

    “We can’t change the world [for the better] unless we change ourselves.” – various

    That applies to you MrPete, and to you as well who ever you are who is reading this.

  45. pwl said

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” applies to the cycle of war humans wage upon each other. It also applies to the “faith in god” that many humans have. Insanity, a bitter pill with no eternal reward just a life of delusional disconnection from Nature and other human beings.

  46. MrPete said

    I’m fascinated that a person like you, who bases their life on critical thinking and objective reality, finds it so difficult to do so in practice.

    You say “You’re still stuck in the retribution for actions done to you paradigm.”

    Where in any of my statements have I suggested or implied retribution for actions done to the proverbial ‘you’? You are imagining things.

    You continue to avoid my basic challenge: how does your philosophy address any of the endless historical and modern day examples of people who will cause harm without limit unless stopped?

    My comment about the whole 911 thing is that you need to learn about Qutb. I can give you the Objective Reality summary but you shouldn’t believe it without investigating for yourself. The bottom line: the radical Islamists have a long-term goal of domination over the entire world. Their demand: submit or die. It’s that simple. (BTW, this says nothing about Islam in general. And I’m not wanting to start an entire discussion of the details; this is just a modern day example of people who cause harm and objectively will not be convinced to stop.)

    My question is simple: how does your philosophy stop them from succeeding?

    The only thing I’ve seen you suggest is the following: “Had George W. Bush considered it a police action…and had just brought those responsible for it to justice, alive not dead…”

    So, we can use handcuffs to bring bad guys to justice, alive not dead?
    – Hitler
    – Stalin
    – Pol Pot
    – Idi Amin
    – Mao
    – Bin Laden
    – Kim Jong Il

    Sorry, without any evidence to support your proposal, I call it a fantasy.

    Freedom is not obtained for free. It never has been. I agree that the “good guys” do not need to stoop to the level of the “bad guys”, yet there needs to be a credible threat of enforcement.

    Oh, and your arguments about heinous US activities are objectively false. Please get an education on Saddam Hussein. Investigate the Iraq Research and Documentation Project at Harvard University. Millions of documents detailing things like beheading, eye gouging, acid baths, drilling through hands, and more. (You can learn some of this online, e.g. at http://www.iraqmemory.org)

    Plug that into the mathematics of harm calculator. See what pops out.

  47. MrPete said

    ” ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ applies to the cycle of war humans wage upon each other.”

    Why are you expecting different results? There will never be a war that ends all wars, just as there will never be a peace that ends all wars. Don’t expect different results and you won’t go insane.

    Science and technology enables us to greatly diminish the death of innocents in war; it won’t eliminate war.

    Objective Reality: People are inherently selfish. Some people are pretty nasty. It’s always been that way, always will be that way.

    Deal with it. Get real. Stop dreaming.

  48. MrPete said

    More objective reality: you’ve succumbed to opinion polls about leaders like Bush and Cheney.

    Pwl, deal with the facts, not conjecture.

    Bush and Cheney were
    * Subject to law
    * Not gaining territory or resources for themselves or their nation [want to argue this? Show me the anticipated net financial gain to the US, at any time before or during the war! Then, look at the financial incentive of nations who were opposed to the war (e.g. Russia, France, Germany, etc).]
    * Horrified when innocents were harmed
    * Those who willfully harmed innocents were brought to justice
    * Bottom line goal was liberty for the people: freeing people and empowering them with the capacity to self-govern.

    NONE of the others shared any of these attributes. Yet you are unable to distinguish them.

    And you claim to be a critical thinker?

  49. pwl said

    Science and technology doesn’t diminish the deaths of innocents. Just yesterday Obama became responsible for the deaths of many potential innocents in the war in Pakistan. Not something I’d want responsibility for.

    “Stop dreaming”? What the fuck is wrong with you? You’ve resigned yourself to the conclusion that you can’t make a difference in the world in a positive way it seems. What a negative vibe you put out.

    It’s impossible for humans to stop dreaming! That is an essential characteristic of our nature in Objective Reality.

    You’ve got serious mental health problems dude.

  50. pwl said

    “Without knowing me at all, you’ve lashed out at me pretty forcefully.” – MrPete

    You’re confused. I haven’t lashed out at you at all. This is my verbal style. Don’t take it personally. Don’t mind read beyond the words, and even then don’t assume to be able to decipher ambiguous meanings: ask for a clarification. That is the process of communication without mind reading.

    “Trying is why you fail. There is only do or do not.” – Yoda

    “Stopping harm ethically is harder than diplomacy. Much harder. It starts with being willing to lay down my life to save another.” – MrPete

    Not necessarily. You’ve just not considered other possibilities. Maybe you don’t even see them, maybe you do see them and for some reason discount them. Regardless there are always possibilities until you cut them off or let the opportunity pass. That itself is often the source of massive problems in the world.

    If people are a cancer then Bush and Cheney need to be excised by the bringing of war crimes charges against them.

    Critical thinking is at times easy and at other times not so easy but the nature of the cost of critical thinking is essentially entirely irrelevant. What is important is that people think.

    You’ve accepted the “just war” doctrine it seems from your writing. That allows you to support evil in the name of good which makes you evil too. Not that hard to see this simple concept.

    I am aware of the propaganda of the global domination plans of some Islamists. Fear is your enemy not all Muslims. It’s your own fear that is consuming you and preventing you from seeing that it’s individuals that are causing the problems, ideas are tools that people use. Sure there are some very bad and evil people in the world. No doubt about it, however, becoming them yourself isn’t the answer as Bush and Cheney et. al. thought. That just adds fuel to the fire, and it likes like it might now be a nuclear fire brought down unto your country. That would be very unfortunate for the entire planet should that happen. Bush and Cheney would hold much of the responsibility as a result of their misconduct over their eight years of power over your country.

    “So, we can use handcuffs to bring bad guys to justice, alive not dead?” – MrPete

    Yes, that would be a more effective approach. A lot less bloody too.

    What you call freedom isn’t. Your cult-ure places so many restrictions upon you that what you call freedom is a very pale delusional imitation of what freedom actually is. If you truly were a freedom fighter you’d know that.

    “Objective Reality: People are inherently selfish.” – MrPete

    That might be true of some people yet clearly not of all people; your statement says more about your outlook on life than it does about objective reality. Your own views of the world ignore key facts.

    What you don’t seem to grasp is that there are other possibilities to the way that you’ve organized your world view. It’s not as tidy as you’d like it. We are talking about a paradigm shift, a stepping outside of your box. While you stay in your box – as you have with this conversation – you won’t see other possibilities such as I’m hinting at. In fact your mind will attempt to only see things in your own perspective. You’ll fit everything into your tidy box even if it takes a shoe horn to get it in there. This creates a disconnect from what I’m saying and what you’re getting. That’s fine. You are a human being afterall and haven’t made a commitment to get the communication beyond your notion of arguing a point in an online forum. That’s fine.

    As has been said via a fictional character “there are always possibilities” to which I add “until you let them pass or until you act; so act upon them now and see where it leads.” Who knows, maybe a shift in views will occur that makes the difference and war is averted to peace. It is typical of those caught up in the vicious cycle to not see any way out – it is precisely at these moments that unthought, unthinkable positive possibilities can make the difference that makes the difference between war and peace. Choose peace – all our lives depends upon it.

    What is your religion? What are your beliefs? You’ve not answered that and I’ve asked a couple of times.

  51. pwl said

    A usual requirement of a paradigm shift has a shift in context and not just a shift in perception. Sure sifts in perceptions get you so far and has in fact averted wars. Sifts in the context enables a entirely new flexibility with the various points of view and can lead to an opening of communication and possibilities that hadn’t happened or that were impossible before.

  52. MrPete said

    “You’re confused. I haven’t lashed out at you at all. This is my verbal style. Don’t take it personally. Don’t mind read beyond the words”

    I’m not taking it personally, just pointing out facts.

    You said “You’re still stuck in the retribution for actions done to you paradigm.”

    That’s a false statement. If making false statements is just your style, it will be difficult to carry on an intelligent conversation.

    “You’ve just not considered other possibilities.”

    I consider many possibilities. I consider them not only with respect to current reality, but also to historical reality. Your suggestions have been tried… and proven dismal failures.

    We can keep this simple. N. Chamberlain was all about negotiating with Hitler to stop the harm. He’s famous for having done so, and having believed he had succeeded. He utterly failed.

    So, what would your brilliant alternative be? I see you believe you have a solution that the rest of the world failed to recognize. I look forward to being enlightened!

    “You’ve accepted the “just war” doctrine it seems from your writing. That allows you to support evil in the name of good which makes you evil too.”

    You still refuse to answer my simple question. You have brought no suggested solution.

    “Fear is your enemy not all Muslims.”

    Note: I specifically said it is only some Muslims who are a problem.

    You keep making assumptions about me, my background, my intentions. And your statements are simply a cover for your apparent inability to answer my simple question.

    OK, I’ll reveal some more, even though it is irrelevant. I have friends in that community. I have been to these places. I have discussed the issues, on the ground. I have seen both good and harm. I have seen and helped encourage extraordinary, peaceful, community/family-building efforts that have accomplished great success and promise to bring transformation over time. I’m not afraid, I’m all about good, transformative change.

    I have seen and contributed to positive solutions that can help in many cases.

    At the same time, I have no illusion that all human “forest fires” can be eliminated without setting a “backfire.”

    The ball continues to be in your court.

    ““So, we can use handcuffs to bring bad guys to justice, alive not dead?” – MrPete

    “Yes, that would be a more effective approach. A lot less bloody too.” – pwl

    Please provide Objective Evidence of this. I myself cannot think of a single example of a genocidal tyrant who was brought down without any loss of life, any “backfire.”

    Unless you can provide real-world evidence, I must conclude your ideas are insane by your own definition: wanting to see something happen for which there is zero evidence.

    “What you call freedom isn’t. Your culture places so many restrictions upon you that what you call freedom is a very pale delusional imitation of what freedom actually is. If you truly were a freedom fighter you’d know that.”

    Mutual freedom always includes boundaries. Otherwise, exercise of your freedom will ultimately bring harm to another.

    “Objective Reality: People are inherently selfish.” – MrPete

    “That might be true of some people yet clearly not of all people” — pwl

    Some people are able to learn discipline to get beyond selfishness. I’m not saying it is uncorrectable.

    Show me an example of a person who has never ever been selfish.

    Objective reality: of the billions who have ever lived, it is close to impossible to find a person who lived their entire life without any selfish actions, thoughts or words.

    “What you don’t seem to grasp is that there are other possibilities to the way that you’ve organized your world view.”

    Of course there are other possibilities. But: each worldview can be assessed in various ways.

    pwl, right now I’m attempting to assess whether your worldview has any practical potential in the real world. I have asked you a few simple questions, and provided a few simple test cases. You have no solution to these issues. No proposals, no evidence that your ideas can work. You simply believe they can work. You have faith. Even though your ideas have been tested and found wanting throughout history.

    Your “paradigm shift” is actually nothing new.

    I’ve done much more than discuss online. I live out my worldview. And it functions nicely, past, present (and no evidence it would not function in the future.)

    You’d like me and others to “switch” to your worldview. A view that:
    * assumes it is a new paradigm, yet is actually quite old
    * assumes it will succeed, yet has proven to fail when tested
    * is unable to exist in harmony with other worldviews, yet claims to be all about peace and avoiding harm

    “What is your religion? What are your beliefs? You’ve not answered that and I’ve asked a couple of times.”

    I have not answered because my own beliefs are immaterial to the present discussion. I’m responding as objectively, scientifically, rationally as I can to your statements. I’m simply holding them up to the light of reason, of reality. As a scientist, what I think doesn’t matter. What the evidence says is what matters.

    You of all people ought to understand that 🙂

  53. MrPete said

    “Science and technology doesn’t diminish the deaths of innocents.” — pwl

    A long time ago, entire civilizations were wiped out in wartime.

    My father-in-law flew bombers in WW2. They were happy if the squadron all were able to drop their bombs within a few miles of the target city. [My father was on the ground being bombed… so I do understand both sides of that equation… intimately.]

    Today, we are upset when a cruise missile does not hit the correct window in the correct building, and a family next door is harmed.

    Improved technology most assuredly diminishes the death of innocents.

  54. pwl said

    You can tell that to these people, oh wait, you can’t because your country bombed them and killed them even though they are innocents in the mess.

    killed in Afghanistan.

    Policies are real and innocent people are dying. That is a huge mistake. Huge.

    By supporting that activity you are as surely guilty as the men who ordered it and who carried it out – mistake or not.

    Real life is messy enough with without you guys mixing it up time after time after time thinking you can rule the planet and be absolved of all the murders committed in your country’s actions name.

    What you fail to see is that the more people you kill in your country’s name the more people your enemies feel that they can kill back. Thus the cycle perpetuates. Break the cycle. You have the power to do so and in many ways only you have that power. Set an example. Shift the paradigm for real.

  55. MrPete said

    pwl, you continue to be hung up on your imagination of what I think about Bush/Cheney, etc. They are honestly irrelevant to this discussion. Let’s simplify this further, using a scenario we can both look at dispassionately (albeit with heavy hearts. This is NOT fun stuff to think about!!!)

    Here is a version of a standard philosophical scenario, a moral dilemma called the “lifeboat” scenario. You’re not gonna like this. I know I don’t. Moral dilemmas are heartbreaking! But it helps us learn to think clearly:

    * You are the captain of a boat; you’re responsible for your passenger’s lives.
    * The boat has an accident in a remote area in shark-filled water.
    * No SOS was sent before the accident; no outside rescue can be anticipated.
    * 20 people are jammed into the lifeboat, which can only remain afloat with 19 in it.
    * The lifeboat is surrounded by sharks; you have no weapons to defend against the sharks.
    * The boat is beginning to sink due to the overload.
    * You can see a deserted island in the distance, but the boat will sink in the next few minutes unless something is done.
    * Probability of boat sinking with 20 people aboard: 100%.
    * Probability of boat sinking with 19 people aboard: 1%.
    * Probability of people being eaten by sharks once in water: 100%.
    * Probability of rescue: 0%.

    * You, the captain, cannot choose to martyr yourself: only you have the skills to help the others survive this ordeal. That solution is not available.
    * You ask for a volunteer who will give their own life to save the group. You ask several times. Nobody volunteers.
    * You now have the responsibility to decide what to do next.

    * If you (or the group, or whatever) decide NOT to sacrifice one person, then you are responsible for the death of all 20 people.
    * If you sacrifice one person, you will quite likely save the lives of 19 people.

    What do you do?

    Note:
    * ‘There must be another creative solution’ options do not exist. Just like in the real world. (If I missed one, then I didn’t describe the scenario properly. It is designed to force the captain to make the hard choice.)
    * If you decide not to choose, then you have chosen to not sacrifice the one to save the 19. I.e., you have chosen to sacrifice everyone. Not-choosing is itself a choice.
    * If you take a chance (even though Objective Reality says the probability of said chance succeeding is 0%), then you will lose everyone, instead of saving most.

    Bottom line: Either you choose to sacrifice one, or you will sacrifice all. The choice is your responsibility, even if you delegate it to the group.

    A few comments to tie this theoretical scenario into the real world:

    * Most people would not call this sacrifice a “murder”… because it must be considered in the context. Looking at the bigger picture, it is a form of justifiable killing.

    * These horrifying choices come up more often than anyone likes, in the real world. Things like:

    * Baby’s birth gone wrong: if we don’t sacrifice the mother or the baby, they will both die (usually the baby is sacrificed)

    * Company financials: if we don’t let some people go, the whole company will go under and all will lose their jobs

    * Victims of war. Parents may kill their own children to save the children from horrific torture and death.

    As you can see if you seriously consider this scenario, the principle of moral dilemmas is valid. We can’t avoid the issue through arm-waving. (Yes, many people *abuse* this by claiming a moral dilemma when there is none, but that’s a different issue.)

    pwl, I hope you’re able to wrestle through this one. It’s a pretty important part of dealing rationally and ethically with the facts of the real world, including gaining the ability to accurately assess your family’s religious hangups.

    Note: my challenge to you is NOT to describe how you would choose the one. But simply to recognize that this is a case where such a choice must be made (by anyone who values human life! There are some who have no qualms about sacrificing everyone, simply to avoid proactively making that choice. Again, not-choosing is actually a choice, and a choice far more horrific to most people.)

  56. pwl said

    I’ll have to say this for you MrPete, you are certainly determined.

    Bush/Cheney/et. al. are highly relevant but you can’t deal with a real scenario it seems. Instead you pose hypotheticals.

    Bush/Cheney/et. al. they are an actual case of moral issues gone off any decent moral course into murderous revenge gone mad with crusade like delusions of grandeur. “War on Terrorism”, give us a break, a “War on Terrorism” is just another form of terrorism, Super Power State Based Terrorism, but terrorism none the less.

    Put them all in jail for the rest of their lives for their crimes against humanity and your nation.

  57. pwl said

    The needs of the one out weigh the needs of the many.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

    Choose? No thanks. There are always other possibilities, if you can’t see them then you are blind and there in lies the problem, you are in your box. Get out of your box, shift paradigms.

    You haven’t a clue about what I’m talking about. No doubt about it. No matter, it’s not likely that you’d get it given this medium of blog comments and your mind’s burning need to prove that you alone are right in justifying your murderous views.

    There are always other possibilities even if you can’t see them.

    You can decide by killing off the options (and the people you don’t like) or you can choose to see other possibilities.

    This is not about logic and it’s childish reasoning. This is about wisdom. The power not to act even when you have the power to act. The greater the power the greater the responsibility precisely because of the power to do great harm, or even small harm.

  58. pwl said

    MrPete, what religion are you anyhow? You’ve not answered what your religious beliefs are even though I’ve asked a number of times so far.

  59. pwl said

    This film that I reviewed is an excellent example of “revenge” gone mad. While I like this kind of film as entertainment I certainly don’t like to this in the real world. It’s people like MrPete, Bush, Cheney, et. al. that don’t realize that seeking revenge against others will only continue the cycle as this film so expertly shows. Put down your chainsaws and machine guns.

    The Machine Girl.

  60. MrPete said

    pwl,

    [Sorry for delays… the Real World intrudes 🙂 ]

    You’ve not answered nor hypothesized a single idea to address the core question. All you suggest is “there’s always a way out.”

    I am delaying discussion of current events, and providing a simplified “hypothetical” yet very real situation, because it is impossible to intelligently discuss the complexities of current real world events if one can’t even think clearly about a far simpler case.

    I’ve never suggested revenge, and don’t believe in the need for revenge. Hatred never gets you anywhere. Yet you assume that’s my motivation.

    How do you expect to have an intelligent conversation with anybody, when you keep making such horrible assumptions about the person across the table?

    Do you really think your ideas merit serious consideration when you continue to spout off in such a way about someone who is simply wanting to discuss the merits of the underlying issues? Put yourself in my shoes. I ask some honest, very basic questions. You respond with accusations.

    So far, your statements communicate that you only want to claim adherence to scientific principles and objective reality. You don’t want to actually follow those principles.

    Instead, you want to bash people using unsupported logic, unsupported reason, indefensible argument. You are happy to accuse people, even those you don’t know (like me!) of terrible motives apart from any evidence.

    If you’re willing to accuse me of such motivation and actions, why in the world should anyone believe you are telling the truth about anyone else?

    You’re vanishingly close to disproving your own case.

    At this point, I have zero reason to share, let alone attempt to intelligently discuss, my own beliefs with you. Every evidence on this thread says that your opinion of my beliefs will NOT be based on reason or objective evidence, but only whether you initially like what I say.

    I discuss such things with lots of people. And I’m happy to do so with you too. But we’ve got to get this conversation to a level of reason and objectivity.

    Right now, you’re simply making fantasy claims.

    It’s like some of the high school kids we mentored. At the beginning they were imagining they had no need to learn or study anything… because a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend had reportedly found the Easy Way to earn $100k a year without any effort. None of it was true, but they lived in that fantasy world for a few years.

    Your fantasy world appears to be one in which sacrifice is never necessary.

    Your fantasy world appears to be one in which seeking justice for the oppressed is the same as seeking revenge.

    Your fantasy world appears to be one in which efforts to accomplish good are actually bad, if they fail.

    Your fantasy world appears to be one in which we all ought to just live in isolated cocoons, since that’s the only way to guarantee we won’t accidentally harm one another, come to harm ourselves, or get into a situation where we need others to take a dangerous risk on our behalf.

    … and your fantasy world appears to be one in which “The Machine Girl” is just plain fun, “entertainment”, nothing to be concerned about because it’s fake. Just like the nursery rhymes taught to preschoolers in Gaza, etc…that break down their natural horror of death, preparing them to become human bombs (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110003690)?

    If that’s NOT your world, then please answer my most basic question. You’re not demonstrating wisdom by refusing to answer, you’re demonstrating willful ignorance.

    Wisdom is the ability to see a good path to the future. “There must be another way” is not wisdom. “THIS is a good way: xyz” is wisdom.

    Neither your nor my “religion” is relevant here. As you’ve eloquently said (and I agree!), Objective Reality is what is important. So, let’s deal with it, pwl!

  61. pwl said

    You proceed upon many false assumptions and allegations.

    I have made very few claims. If there is something specific that you are railing against please state it clearly so that I can address it as the generalizations you are using don’t communicate what you mean!

    Much of what you are saying is essentially that “the end justifies the means” so to stop harm you’re willing to go to just about any means. That sounds awfully like those who do your country harm!

    The movie “The Machine Girl” was referenced to show you the horrors of your line of thinking that you can inflict harm upon others with impunity. The reality of war is shocking. The movie shows this and attempts to communicate what revenge really looks like. If you can’t stomach it then you don’t have to watch it; there were warnings in the posting! The film shows where your line of thinking inevitably leads all to often.

    As an adult I’m immune to such childish psychology as you presume to think The Machine Girl implies. Even as a child violent films didn’t rub me towards violence, in fact they had the opposite reaction.

    Indroctrination is one of the sure signs of a cult organization, of a cult-ure shaping the minds of those within it.

    Your religion is relevant for if you believe in god you are delusional and can’t be relied upon to make rational and cogent thoughts that have to do with objective reality. What?

    Yes, do you believe jesus rose from the dead? You do, don’t you? Admit it.

    Anyone who believes that jesus rose from the dead after being dead for real is ignoring the facts of life: dead bodies don’t rise from the dead once heart death, organ death and brain death have occurred – not even in modern day hospitals can that happen! It’s just a fantasy delusion.

    So if you believe in jesus it means that you reject objective reality and embrace delusional fantasies and thus are disconnected from Nature and objective reality.

    These are just simple indisputable facts of Nature.

    “But it was a miracle” many would say. That’s the leap of faith and not a science based way of thinking. In fact science has already proven that no human beings can rise from the dead. It’s called biology, chemistry and physics. They are quite advanced you know.

    Now if you don’t believe in jesus that’s entirely different. Then their might be hope for you even though you seem stuck in a super rigid point of view that you must harm those that harm you.

    So of course your religious beliefs, or if you have any, are relevant or not. They do affect your ability to think critically for if you take miracles to be possible then you’ve crossed the line into pure fantasy worlds from which it’s likely you’ll never return.

    Oh, and yes, The Machine Girl is nothing to be concerned about since for the vast majority of people it’s just a film and won’t influence their actions in life. Even though a majority of people are delusional god believers most won’t be negatively impacted by such a graphic film. Sure some won’t like it but so what, I can’t stand religious nonsense as it’s mind numbing, so guess what, I don’t watch it! I turn the channel as fast as possible (unless I’m studying a particular nut job’s delusion for my books and films on the subject).

    As I’ve said you’ve missed the point which is fine. To reiterate for your benefit.

    The point is that causing harm to stop harm is itself harmful evil in the world. It perpetuates the cycle of harm. The cycle of killing. The cycle of war. You might think it’s the illusion of “justice” or “revenge” or “retribution” or “doing the right thing” or whatever you do think about it but it’s always causing harm and an evil. No entity other than the person(s) committing the acts of harm are implied with the usage of the word evil.

    A cult having a rule that they use to determine members within that group can itself be harmful if it is the “cause” or “justification” for actions taken against someone. For example, a group at school beats someone up due to their not fitting the group’s definition of who they don’t beat up.

    There are many definitions that qualify.

    I prefer real world examples over hypothetical since the real world provides so many cases of actual harm that it’s not funny. No need to go hypothetical when objective reality provides so many shocking examples with real choices that people made – harmful and otherwise.

    So you’ve still not answered what your religion or religious beliefs are, or even if you have any (which is likely the case given your writing).

    You’ll note that my stand on this is much different than that of Christopher Hitchens who seems to take a stance similar to yours – at least there are some similarities if I can presume to make such a comparison with such limited knowledge of you.

  62. MrPete said

    pwl, you’re making some interesting claims in this thread.

    First, I want to encourage you by listing some things you’ve said that I agree with 1000 percent in my own life:

    * “When people ignore any evidence you provide them for what actually happened and they assume the worst based upon their [faith] and actively ignore all evidence to the contrary, then they are the ones doing the evil in the world especially when their [faithful] actions cause great harm to the people they [faithfully] excoriate.” (I apply this independent of where their assumptions come from. When people act on assumptions that ignore real evidence, they can cause great harm!)
    * “The constant “leaps of faith” required to stay delusional [in any religion] predisposes people, actually trains people, in an inability to think in the real world.” (I apply this independent of the source of delusion.)
    * Critical thinking skills are crucial.
    * It doesn’t take much to slice and dice through almost any belief [any religion or religious person has] to demonstrate the actual Nature of objective reality. (My operating thesis: almost everyone makes invalid assumptions that are part of their belief system; it usually doesn’t take much to slice and dice through it.)
    * “The problem is that people prefer their fantasy world over the real world they actually live in. I suppose it gives them comfort even they they are destroying lives and relationships with their absurdities.” (I strongly agree with this!)
    * “Face life as it really is not as your fantasy insists.”
    * “Life your one life to it’s maximum in the real world. In the here and now.” (yup! Hard part is understanding what “maximum” is… some people have a much bigger perspective on that than others.)
    * “Let go your silly delusions.” (absolutely. webster: “something that is believed to be true or real but that is actually false or unreal. delusion implies an inability to distinguish between what is real and what only seems to be real”)
    * “I stand for being decent with people whenever possible. I stand for being real. I stand for honesty and direct communication. I stand for people seeing through their delusions and connecting as directly as possible with objective reality.” (awesome!)
    * “I stand for integrity.” [yup! webster: “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values”]
    * “I stand for authenticity.”
    * “I stand for respect when deserved or earned.” (I agree, yet a wise old man in Asia taught me to go even further: respect can be simply granted. The recipient has no say.)
    * “I stand powerfully for love. I stand for dignity.”
    * “I stand for standing on delusions so that they can be rubbed with our feet into the dustbin of history.” (Tricky of course. As “mom” always said, gotta make a love sandwich. Truth without love is pretty unbearable, and love without truth is useless.)
    * “I stand for clarity. I stand for peace and a strong defense against active [faithful] stupidity.” (Again, I agree, and I go further: I don’t care about the source of stupidity, we need to address it anyway.)
    * “I stand for being the best we can be and that means letting go of delusions.” (You really have a thing about delusion, but I’m ok with that. I go further: truth AND love.)
    * “I stand for my family” (Obviously, the delusional idiot thing is a pain in the neck but hey, everyone has at least minor delusions, if only a belief that chocolate has zero calories 😉 )

    OK, so we agree on a ton of stuff.

    So, since you’ve made these claims, can we evaluate them at all? We certainly can, at least some of them.

    * “Religion is a training ground for incompetent thinking that ignores actual evidence in objective reality.”
    * “Critical thinking skills are crucial. It doesn’t take much to slice and dice through almost any belief any religion or religious person has to demonstrate the actual Nature of objective reality.”
    * “The problem is that people prefer their fantasy world over the real world they actually live in.”
    * “Face life as it really is not as your fantasy insists.”
    * “I stand for being real.”
    * “I stand for people seeing through their delusions and connecting as directly as possible with objective reality.”
    * “My philosophy is most certainly not religion, in fact it takes great pains to not be a religion. Science based thinking, critical thinking, objective reality based thinking, Nature based thinking, are the antithesis of myth based thought belief/cult systems. That is a characteristic of science based thinking, it can examine itself and reorganize to eliminate thoughts and ideas that don’t work in the real world.”

    I have provided a test case above (a simple moral dilemma).
    You, pwl, have responded to the test case. Faced with a simple moral dilemma requiring a painful choice, I observe that you imagine there must be a non-painful option. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, you refuse to believe this to be the case. You provide zero evidence of a non-painful alternative solution to a moral dilemma. Despite the fact that moral dilemma scenarios are constructed specifically to demonstrate the painful choices required in the real world, you continue to believe in an imaginary, invisible, unreal “third option.” Despite the fact that throughout history people have been faced with moral dilemmas and (in tears) walk through those situations the best they can… you believe it’s all unnecessary.
    My observation: this is a clear demonstration that you, pwl, are adhering to a fantasy that does not work in the real world. The “painless option” is something you believe to be true or real but that is actually false or unreal. Apparently, you are deluded about this: you are unable to distinguish what is real and what only seems to be real.

    This is not an accusation, it is a simple statement of fact based on your own words.

    I further observe that this is a clear demonstration of (in your words) your incompetent thinking, of ignoring actual evidence in objective reality, and your preference for a fantasy world of imagining there’s always a non-harmful solution to a problem. You have demonstrated zero ability to see through your own delusion, nor are you able to connect with objective reality represented by this (or any) moral dilemma. You have provided zero evidence to the contrary.

    Again, this is not an accusation. I’m not upset with you in any way, I’m simply an observer of your own condition. You as a non-religious person ALSO have succumbed to the above problems. It isn’t a problem of “religion”, it is a problem common to people everywhere.

    * “I stand for being decent with people whenever possible.”
    You claim to be decent with people whenever possible. Yet I have observed your scurrilous claims against me, a person who has no animosity toward you at all.

    * “I stand for honesty.”
    Since you refuse to admit any of the above, which are visible to any rational person reading this thread, you also are being dishonest with yourself.

    * “I stand for integrity.”
    Since you require critical thinking, adherence to objective reality, and honesty of others…but not of yourself, you have also demonstrated a lack of integrity.

    OK, so we’ve demonstrated that you are human, imperfect, capable of delusion, dishonesty, lack of integrity. Welcome to the club! 🙂

    Perhaps now we can talk more realistically about all this.

    * “Much of what you are saying is essentially that “the end justifies the means” so to stop harm you’re willing to go to just about any means.”
    You fail to recognize or understand the implications of a moral dilemma. Let’s disassemble the lifeboat scenario a bit.

    Due to a natural disaster, it is 100 percent certain that at least one person is going to die. The painful part is that you, pwl, are in a position of responsibility and knowledge such that you must make a decision about this. You must decide who will die. You don’t like being in that position, it is an awful-no-good-very-bad-day. It’s horrible. You’re gonna be sick about it for the rest of your life. But if you abdicate the decision, it will be even worse: instead of one person dying, twenty will die.

    Now. What is the end purpose, the goal of your decision? Is it not to save as much life as possible, and to do so as humanely as possible? Is that not a good goal, a good end?

    And what are the means of your decision and action? They are means that cause pain. In fact, they are means that cause death. In this case, it isn’t just a remote possibility, it is a certainty.

    First observation: isn’t this the exact same personal decision every surgeon and anesthesiologist makes every day? Their goal is to save lives. Their means to that end is something painful (scalpels, needles, saws, long painful recoveries), with the distinct possibility of death. Sometimes, even a high probability of death at their hands. Yet they go ahead with the surgery. (Yet it is also an easier case because it is not a moral dilemma. In this case, they can and do obtain permission.)

    Second observation: the phrase “the end justifies the means.” We use that with glee to excoriate people in the past and present… seems to me that the “bad cases” of that are situations where their end purposes were not REALLY good end purposes. They just constructed a fantasy of “good ends” to justify bad means.

    So no, I do not at all agree with what you are implying. Good ends do not justify use of any means at all. Ends AND means must stand up to scrutiny. However, both ends AND means are sometimes quite painful, even objectively harmful if looked at in isolation.

    Suppose you’re playing a game and the coach wants you to sacrifice your position in favor of the team winning the game. “Sacrifice fly” in baseball, etc. Looks bad for you, but the team wins. These kinds of things are common, and reasonable. (Do you know about optimization and simulation technologies? Ever heard of Simulated Annealing? It’s another example in science/technology. A powerful, helpful tool.)

    OK, more than enough. The real world calls. I honestly hope you can process this without too much angst. I’m not upset in the slightest. Actually, this is an interesting and enjoyable discussion about your ideas, and a few of mine along the way.

  63. pwl said

    “You, pwl, have responded to the test case.”

    As I’ve said I don’t use hypotheticals as the real world provides much better examples. I don’t answer such questions as how you answer intellectually isn’t necessarily how you act when the situation is real.

    There are always options. That is a question of possibility based thinking, not evidence.

    If however want some evidence for alternatives to the blood baths that you propose history is littered with them.

    Life isn’t a binary choice. Get used to it, I know it’s hard to step outside your box.

    “Despite the fact that moral dilemma scenarios are constructed specifically to demonstrate the painful choices required in the real world, you continue to believe in an imaginary, invisible, unreal “third option.”

    What nonsense. You really are a binary thinker. Logic of that sort will only get you into trouble in your life.

    If you can’t understand that there are always alternatives then there isn’t much that will shake you out of your binary logic based philosophy.

    This demonstrates that you are a simplistic binary thinker who doesn’t consider possibilities beyond A or B, true or false, yes or no, black or white, ….

    You must consider A and B, true and false, yes and no, black and white, …, not to mention fuzzy thinking.

    I can’t believe the necessity to educate you in basic non-binary thinking but that’s not uncommon. Most people who embrace philosophy like yours are very rigid in their thought processes. Break free of the rigidity but don’t become disconnected from objective reality in the process.

    “My observation: this is a clear demonstration that you, pwl, are adhering to a fantasy that does not work in the real world.”

    That’s quite funny MrPete. I’m better than most people at distinguishing what is real and what isn’t. Most people think that Jesus rose from the dead and then flew up into the sky and before that walked on water. Sure I can walk on water in the rain but not on open water in a lake or river that’s deep without cheating and neither could Jesus, neither I nor jesus can rise from the dead, nor can we fly up into the heavens without the aid of a space ship for Newton says it ain’t possible (unless we have a space ship then it could be possible). I guess that means that jesus faked his death with a comma and his medical team woke him up and they got into their spaceship and flew away… oh wait, FLT is most probably impossible thus they can’t have been aliens… anyway unless they flew in a ship or tricked people Jesus simply couldn’t and didn’t really do any of those things. It’s just a story BECAUSE the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and a whole host of other Natural Laws prevent it from occurring for men or gods. Simple application of science that proves the events depicted in the story are not real as they could not have occurred in Nature but only in fantasy.

    If you state your believe in Jesus then your form of delusional insanity may become more clear to us all.

    When did I say the non-binary options were required to be “painless”, that is YOUR PROJECTION not anything I said.

    Look, it’s easy. Your brain presents the choices to you as a BINARY CHOICE. It’s just how YOU seem to perceive the world. There are other options but YOUR BRAIN and MIND simply don’t see it. Until you see it it won’t exist. There are so many psychological tests that demonstrate this for people that it’s not funny. Try a simple visual illusion to demonstrate it to your self. It’s when YOUR BRAIN LOCKS down the possibilities to TWO (or a fixed number of possibilities) that the problems begin. There are other options.

    “This is not an accusation, it is a simple statement of fact based on your own words.”

    Not it’s not a fact at all, it’s faulty logic on your part and really pathetic thinking too.

    “I further observe that this is a clear demonstration of (in your words) your incompetent thinking, of ignoring actual evidence in objective reality, and your preference for a fantasy world of imagining there’s always a non-harmful solution to a problem. You have demonstrated zero ability to see through your own delusion, nor are you able to connect with objective reality represented by this (or any) moral dilemma. You have provided zero evidence to the contrary.”

    Wow, that’s breathtakingly epic in it’s folly. Yes, there always are other possibilities. You really are stuck in binary thinking… if you don’t see them then they won’t be present for you. I’m not talking angels or fantasies here… I’m talking perception and non-binary thinking skills which you seem to not just lack but which you seem to deny exist at all. Wow, you take my breath away with your blockheadedness. Open Eyes MrPete! Let new science based information into brain. Learn.

    “Again, this is not an accusation. I’m not upset with you in any way, I’m simply an observer of your own condition. You as a non-religious person ALSO have succumbed to the above problems. It isn’t a problem of “religion”, it is a problem common to people everywhere.”

    That’s utter gibberish. So you likely are religious. That explains the pains to not admit to your own delusion and why you keep attacking nothing in a futile attempt to prove some incomprehensible gibberish you’re now spouting.

    You can justify your violent morals and philosophy all you want, the fact is is that it’s based in a binary thinking of right and wrong and you can’t even conceive of other possibilities. Of course you can’t you’re likely locked in due to your delusional god beliefs.

    Until you state that you don’t believe in god it’s clear that you most likely do given your refusal to answer said question which I’ve asked numerous times now.

    * “I stand for being decent with people whenever possible.”
    “You claim to be decent with people whenever possible. Yet I have observed your scurrilous claims against me, a person who has no animosity toward you at all.”

    Scurrilous claims against you? What are you ranting about? I’ve been quite decent with you. I’ve also been quite direct with you. Some people don’t consider being direct as being decent given that when one is being direct the social niceties often get dropped on the floor. Get used to it. I’m not forcing you to put hands to keyboard now am I?

    * “I stand for honesty.”
    “Since you refuse to admit any of the above, which are visible to any rational person reading this thread, you also are being dishonest with yourself.”

    There is nothing to admit to here in this conversation nor specifically in your prior post which this is in response to. Your conclusions are childish at best and at worst utter nonsense and gibberish.

    * “I stand for integrity.”
    “Since you require critical thinking, adherence to objective reality, and honesty of others…but not of yourself, you have also demonstrated a lack of integrity.”

    What are you going on about? Obviously your definition of integrity is way different than mine dude. I’ve not violated my integrity with you or anyone else in any online discussions over the years.

    “OK, so we’ve demonstrated that you are human, imperfect, capable of delusion, dishonesty, lack of integrity. Welcome to the club! :-)”

    I am a human being, that is what I am. All those other statements of yours are your own projection onto me by YOUR BRAIN’s faulty thought processes.

    So does your god dance his angels on the pin of a head?

    ” “Much of what you are saying is essentially that “the end justifies the means” so to stop harm you’re willing to go to just about any means.”
    “You fail to recognize or understand the implications of a moral dilemma.”

    Sigh… how do you know that? You don’t.

    “Let’s disassemble the lifeboat scenario a bit.”

    No, let’s not.

    Have you ever been in that situation? No is my guess, right? Then let’s not get into that hypothetical nonsense mind goo of yours.

    Since it’s a hypothetical anyways, you are rescued before any of the tough decisions are made and everyone lives happily ever after winning the lottery each year for the rest of their lives.

    Hypotheticals are pretty much useless especially in a forum format such as this. While it’s possible to think through hypothetical situations the real life situations are much more complex and much richer with possibilities of action. It’s much more interesting to confront real situations than play with the toys of hypothetical.

    It sounds like you might be a student in an introductory philosophy class or a fake school that really teaches religious dogma and it’s faulty thought processes that keep you within their cult control systems.

    Why don’t you have some back bone and tell us what your religious beliefs are?

    What you are missing MrPete is any sense that there are possibilities for real options, for real alternative choices. Yes, I know very well now that you can’t see them and that in fact you are actively resisting the possibility that there are other possibilities than the ones you’ve presented. No I’m not talking about anything that violates the laws of Nature. I’m not talking about fantasies or dreams or other such nonsense. I’m talking real possibilities for alternatives to your clearly limited form of thought, which seems to be binary much of the time. You seem to lock in way too soon thus shutting out the other possibilities that are actually possible in objective reality. Locked In Thinking Syndrome is a serious problem especially with those contained within, constrained within cult (and religious) groups that choose dogma over non-belief driven scientific method based thinking.

    I’ll grant you one thing, you do attempt to make a cogent argument but you fail for the reasons listed above as well as others that I can’t possibly be privy to since I don’t know you beyond the very limited confines of this very limited medium of communication – a text based forum.

    Don’t pull the trigger. There are other options, there are other choices, there are other possibilities that are actually possible in objective reality WITHOUT the need to resort to comforting illusions or miracle based thinking of gods and demons.

  64. pwl said

    “And there the battle stands, an ongoing argument between the blind who struggle to explore the world as it is around them, and the blind who prefer to conjure phantoms in the spaces within their skulls.” -pzm

    Your locked in conjured binary phantoms rule your thoughts MrPete. Let them go. Be free from their constraints upon your life.

  65. MrPete said

    pwl, you’re really funny, you know!

    You make a set of claims about how rational and objective you are. I use a simple binary choice example to help demonstrate how constrained your thinking really is. You are constrained by the need to escape any difficult decision! You simply refuse to face the reality. It’s getting kinda funny.

    Responding to your own accusations about limitations in my thinking or perspective is not difficult.

    Like you, of *course* I’m able to function well in the “fuzzy” parts of the real world. Sifting through a variety of options to find an optimal solution… and then seeking something totally unusual and creative to make it even better… is part and parcel of what we do in high tech. It is challenging and usually enjoyable. Sometimes it is painful.

    I just spent a month working toward a meeting with an “impossible-to-reach” contact. Most people would have given up at step one: their website said in no uncertain terms “sorry, we’re closed until the end of 2009. You may not contact us, may not make requests, etc. Come back later.” I persevered through three layers of similar “forget it, no way” scenes and ultimately had a great meeting with them.

    Another time, I was faced with a seeming “binary” decision as you put it: a relative was stuck in a hospital, dying because of the poor care. He needed to be out of there. Yet he could not be released into our care. And no rehab facility in the whole region would take him–by policy, none of them would accept a senior citizen cancer patient. There appeared to be no options. Yet at the end of the week, he was placed in a rehab facility (against their own policy, yet by agreement of their director!) Long story. But much creative “possibility” effort involved. And one death averted.

    Now.

    You *claim* to be a “possibility” thinker. Yet you have not made even one hint of a possibility of an idea of how you would escape what is, yes on purpose, a binary choice.

    It is fascinating that you are so threatened by a binary choice. I assume digital computer logic is not so painful for you? I sure hope not! 😀

    What is apparently faulty is your claim to objectivity and rationality.

    I’ve given you a simple challenge. You claim to have an answer. Yet you cannot even hint at such an answer. I suggest you go talk with the greatest “possibility thinkers” in the world, along with the greatest philosophers in history. Moral dilemmas involve a hard choice. And yet you seem to think you know answers that the greatest minds in history have been unable to discern.

    That’s funny.

    Let’s apply what you’ve just said, to another claim you’ve made: your family (and all religious believers) are delusional. By your own logic, your claim is binary thinking. pwl, you simply have not considered other possibilities! What if they are actually correct! What if (to use your example) there are situations where someone really COULD walk on top of the water in the middle of the ocean! Hey — that’s the ticket! THAT’s a creative solution to the lifeboat problem. Right?!!

    All I’m saying: the only way to escape a “binary” challenge is to show that a real third possibility actually exists.

    pwl, unless and until you can validate your interesting ability to find a new possibility where there are no other rational possibilities, the simple fact is that you are truly living in a fantasy world of your own making. Again, just an observation. Not “binary thinking.”

    (BTW, since you are a student of careful study, I’m surprised at your “suggestion” comment, which was explicitly excluded in the scenario! No, it is not a possibility that “you are rescued before any of the tough decisions are made” — Re-read the scenario, which already defines that no rescue is or will be available. The boat will (with 100% certainty) sink and the sharks will (with 100% certainty) kill the occupants if one person does not leave the boat.)

    (BTW, it required some significant “possibility” thinking to reduce the scenario to a binary choice.)

    Oh, and if you really do need to begin with a more real-world scenario, just use one of the real-world examples I gave. The horrors of terror in Africa will do, although it is not quite as powerful a situation. This is what I would call a “beginner” challenge. Horrible, but there are worse ones. There are less controlled, less controllable ones.

    You are a mother in a village. You know from first-hand visits to previous victim-villages that when the bandits attack, they kill everyone. They tie up the children, forcing them to watch as parents are raped and dismembered. Then they dismember the children. Then they burn the entire village to the ground, standing by to ensure nobody and nothing survives. Real world scenario. And in the real world, many moms provide their children with a “mercy killing” in advance of the bandits’ arrival.

    I for one cannot fault the moms’ logic. They are truly doing it to provide their children with the least terrorizing death possible. From experience, they know their child’s death warrant will be sealed in five minutes. This is their only opportunity to impact the situation in any way. Act or not act?

    (I’m guessing your assumption is that a skilled negotiator can talk their way out of this horrific situation. That’s a fantasy. Zero real-world evidence. Same with running away and so many other “possibilities”. All you are doing by going down such paths is extending the conversation about what happens. None of those actually work in this real-world scenario. But you’re not impacting the outcome.)

  66. pwl said

    Humor is important to me.

    “You *claim* to be a “possibility” thinker. Yet you have not made even one hint of a possibility of an idea of how you would escape what is, yes on purpose, a binary choice.”

    MrPete, I am a possibility thinker. I don’t need to provide you the specifics of how to, as you put it, “escape a binary choice”. That’s up to you to think of when confronted by those sorts of choices. One thing you are forgetting is that most “binary choices” are actually only binary due to the way that YOU or someone else FRAMES the problem.

    When did I say that I was threatened by a binary choice? I’ve never said that. You’re just projecting and mind reading again getting it wrong!

    There isn’t a unique answer like 42 to your questions. The answer to your question is what I’ve said, the question is what possibilities exist beyond how it’s being thought of to resolve a situation?

    “you seem to think you know answers that the greatest minds in history have been unable to discern.”

    What would those be? That god and jesus are silly ideas that have nothing to do with objective reality where we actually exist? They simply got that one wrong! Oh, wait, many non-theists even as far back as the 5th century BC got that one right!

    If you’re referring to anything else I have no clue what you’re referring to since you, once again, refer to generalizations to some unspecified items. It’s not that surprising since you believe yourself to be a mind reader that maybe you write expecting people to be a mind reader of your words. I’m not a mind reader, never have been, never will be since it’s not possible in objective reality.

    So you’re just laughing at your own impossible and inaccurate perception of me. Have fun delusional MrPete.

    “By your own logic, your claim is binary thinking. pwl, you simply have not considered other possibilities!”

    Now you’re being stupid and using simplistic (that’s an insult) methods of debate and thought.

    It’s clear that dead bodies can’t rise from the dead given the laws of nature. If you can’t get that you’ve got really serious issues comprehending the difference between fantasy and objective reality.

    You can escape the facts of life with your “miracles of resurrection” into pure delusional fantasy all you want.

    “pwl, unless and until you can validate your interesting ability to find a new possibility where there are no other rational possibilities, the simple fact is that you are truly living in a fantasy world of your own making. Again, just an observation. Not “binary thinking.”

    Nonsense MrPete. Pure utter nonsense as you’ve misconstrued the meaning of my words and are childishly attempting to twist them.

    You’ve also not answered the question of your beliefs. What ARE YOU AFRAID OF by not answering?

    Hypotheticals are arbitrary and pointless. If you haven’t guessed I’m not interested in discussing hypothetical situations with you (or in general with anyone).

    I hope you’re not a priest or some other deeply religious nut job but that looks like the way the discovery of you is headed.

    Morals are not as simple or as black and white as you paint. The real world always intrudes with many other considerations in a multidimensional decision matrix and choice network often involving complex and highly variable scenarios.

    Functioning in my role as moderator for this web site it also comes to my attention that you’ve strayed off the topic of the original posting. Please stick to that topic.

    Also, answering my questions is a basic requirement for this site as it’s common decency. You’ve been putting off advising the world of your religious beliefs. A clear statement will enable a better discussion.

  67. MrPete said

    “If you’re referring to anything else I have no clue what you’re referring to”

    I’m referring to the Lifeboat scenario. What I provided is a version of a classical philosophical moral dilemma. Philosophers around the world work with these case studies to better understand logic, thinking, perception, etc.

    You claim that “possibility thinking” can provide additional options. With no evidence for your claim, it must be presumed false.

    Just like anyone who claims the moon is made of green cheese. No evidence.

    I don’t know why this is so difficult for you to understand. You are making special claims of special knowledge. Without evidence whatsoever. No evidence historically, no evidence currently.

    Scenarios like this are valuable in many areas of learning, including science.

    Let’s frame it scientifically.

    Hypothesis: in the above-stated lifeboat scenario, at least one passenger will die.

    That is a simple, falsifiable hypothesis. All it requires to be proven false is to identify a solution that escapes the stated outcome.

    Now you claim this is off-topic. Your topic is a claim about using God as justification for treating others horribly. I’ve reduced the issue to a very basic challenge: is it ever true that people must be harmed in the course of accomplishing a good purpose. That’s 100% part of the issue.

    I will continue to decline to state my own perspective on religion, etc, until you answer this most basic question, because until you do so, it is clear that you are unable to think or respond in a rational or objective way to ANY topic in this realm.

    No matter what I say, other than “pwl, I agree with you”, you will make a similar irrational claim. You will claim anything I know that disagrees with your knowledge, must be false. You’ve already made that claim about the Lifeboat scenario. You’ve made that claim about abiogenesis. Even though your response makes it clear you know nothing about the subject at all. You just repeat what you’ve heard. I don’t really need more examples. One from philosophy, one from science. That’s plenty.

    pwl, you require that I accept you are able to develop other possibilities in any scenario. Even though you provide no evidence that this is true. Thus, I’m required to accept your irrational claim. A claim with no evidence.

    If I do the same to you (require you to accept my ability to develop other possibilities in any scenario), then I’ll be requiring you to accept my irrational claim. A claim with no evidence.

    Due to your requirement, we are currently halfway to a fully irrational discussion.

    I for one will not allow myself to knowingly communicate in an irrational way.

    I’m sorry, but unless you are able to find a way to get past your irrationality, and deal with the real world, neither I nor anyone else will be able to really help you. We could give you comfort, we could empathise, we could become similarly irrational… but all of that would be based on a lie. It would be delusion.

    You of course are thinking that it is I who am irrational. That’s one part of delusion. Please go learn something about philosophy and logic. Eastern, western, doesn’t matter. Certain aspects are consistent around the world.

    Please re-read our interaction, and “swap identities” with me. If you do so honestly, you will see that what I am saying is things you yourself have probably said to many other people. And your response to me is the kind of response that drives you crazy about other peoples’ delusions.

    BTW, more on me: I am a reasonably intelligent person, with a very strong background in science, engineering, a bit less in math, much less (higher education-wise) in “fuzzy studies” :). And a whole lot of life experience and interaction with some of the smartest people on the planet. I’ve invented or contributed seriously to quite a few technologies that you use. Yes, I can say that with confidence, without knowing you or where you live. Can you say the same?

  68. MrPete said

    If we could get past this, then there are some more interesting, maybe less horrifying angles worth talking about. Like the power of love, evidence for what actually works to influence our planet in good or bad ways, etc.

    pwl, when it comes to impact of the religions (and non/anti-religions), isolated incidents are great for headlines. But there will always be outliers, good and bad. Just like in any science, the outliers need to be understood and not ignored, yet it’s the trends, the bulk of the measures that need the most attention.

    Anyway, there’s lots of other useful things to understand about this. But it needs to be discussed rationally, based on objective evidence. And for now we’re stuck at the starting gate.

    For simplicity, I’m now going to assume that you don’t want to actually discuss your topic rationally. If you do, then simply answer the first question and we can go from there! (If you honestly cannot grasp what is illogical about (or, equivalently, believe it is fully rational) to simultaneously claim “I’m about objective evidence”, “there is always another possibility” and at the same time be unable to discover another possibility in a simple case… I would be happy to do some research to find out how others in your position have resolved their situation.)

  69. pwl said

    “You claim that “possibility thinking” can provide additional options. With no evidence for your claim, it must be presumed false.”

    That’s really funny pathetic logic on your part MrPete.

    I don’t need to “claim” anything about thinking up new options, it’s a simple fact of life. If you don’t know about that (at your age) you’re not just a god nutter but mentally incompetent as well.

    You are applying logic incorrectly as typical delusional religious people so often do. Clearly you’d fail any logic course.

    The moon is not made of cheese but of spaghetti and meat sauce for the spaghetti monster to feed on. Come on don’t you religious nut jobs know anything?

    Possibility thinking is limited to ONLY that which can occur in the universe. There are no claims made of any supernatural forces. If something isn’t possible in objective reality then it’s just wishful thinking to think it’s going to happen. Much like thinking that your god will save you from your permanent death and give you an immortal existence playing harps (a pernicious form of torture really).

    You god can’t exist in the universe given the known laws of Nature. The speed of light for instance prevents any gods from traveling faster than the speed of light since everything is limited to this speed limit: all energy and all matter. If gods aren’t energy or matter they by definition don’t exist. Now some, such as Dinesh D’Souza, claim that their god transcends time and space. Great way out of that… as it’s just another way to say that your god is invisible and thus doesn’t exist.

    Every time you eat meat you are eating proof that jesus could not rise from the dead.

    I have no interest in the hypothetical situations you’re posing. This is the last time I’ll be saying that, consider it a last warning. Hypothetical moral situations are are irrelevant to real life morals. They are not much different than other mental games, they might feel good and give you a sense of exploring your morals but in the real world people often choose very differently than what their “believed” morals would lead one to think they’d choose.

    So you’ve “contributed” with some technology as you say. You claim to even have worked with some smart people. So what? Good for you. Whatever. Doesn’t change the fact that you’re a delusional nut job who believes in invisible friends in the sky who will save you from the harsh facts of life: you’ll die and your body will rot in the ground (or be burned) and be eaten by bugs and it will decay. Your mind, like everyone else, will simply stop when your brain dies. No immortal soul, that’s just an illusion provided by the brain, so you won’t be floating away as a ghost.

    These are all basic facts of life dictated by the well known and well tested facts of science. You can’t get around them by praying to an invisible sky being. Sorry to let you know these facts of life MrPete. I know that your silly beliefs in religion or gods or god might comfort you but they are just so much mental masturbation that it’s not funny. Sure enjoy them if you want but so what? They won’t save you from death and that is what religion is about for most people, having a reprieve from death. Having an invisible friend to comfort you through life is delusional. If you didn’t call it god they’d likely lock you away. They only don’t lock you up since so many of you are delusional they’d have to lock up most of the population of the world including many of themselves.

    Welcome to the real world MrPete.

    “If we could get past this, then there are some more interesting, maybe less horrifying angles worth talking about. Like the power of love, evidence for what actually works to influence our planet in good or bad ways, etc.”

    There is nothing to get past. We are not on your agenda path. I don’t care about getting past anything with you. You’re manner of thinking is stupefyingly mind numbing since you are the one who believes in invisible sky beings that will save you from death. Pathetic. Get real MrPete.

    Chemistry, biology, physics conclusively prove that dead bodies stay dead and we understand the reasons that once a living body dies with organ death, heart death, brain death, and cell death there is no coming back. It’s a simply principle really. Why do you nutters keep insisting that jesus rose from the dead when all the evidence proves that that isn’t possible in objective reality?

    You claim you take it on faith. Faith is the mind killer when it has you “believe something is true when it’s clearly false”. That is the first step in your loss of sanity and your devolving into a delusional nutter. Uttering your delusional beliefs seals your fate as a religious nut job which is why you won’t stand up like a man and admit your a god freak.

    “I’m sorry, but unless you are able to find a way to get past your irrationality, and deal with the real world, neither I nor anyone else will be able to really help you. We could give you comfort, we could empathize, we could become similarly irrational… but all of that would be based on a lie. It would be delusion.”

    What the heck are you droning on about MrPete?

    Knowing that there could be other possibilities when most people only see two choices is irrational? That’s really fucking funny MrPete, calling that irrational. I’d say it’s the height of sanity in seeing real possibilities for other choices. It doesn’t mean that others will accept those choices or choose them.

    What is irrational is attacking countries and bombing innocent people enraging their friends and family in the process making even more enemies for your country. That is what is immoral and irrational yet you seem to support it with your morals. What a fine being you are turning out to be.

    I only deal with the real world. That’s an advantage us atheists, anti-theists, scientists, objective humanists have over the god freaks. We only deal with the real world, the objective reality where in we all exist, Nature. It’s you god freaks who are outside the limits of the possible in the realm of the delusional imaginary friends who magically violate the laws of Nature with almost your every belief in them. So don’t go turning this around there bubba MrPete, it won’t work. Although in your delusional state it might work for your mind’s perception since you’re willing to believe any mush your own brain tells you. That’s the problem MrPete your beliefs in gods make you weak minded.

    Yes, I’m assuming you’re a god freak given your writings and given that you refuse to state otherwise. There are enough comments from you by now to clearly know that you might as well not hide it anymore – it is deceitful and lacks honesty sir MrPete.

    I will however state that the term “possibility thinking” could be confused by a god nutter such as yourself since to you gods are possible. Since gods defy Nature and are not possible when I speak of thinking of other choices to make in difficult situaitons I’m not talking of breaking any laws of Nature (as I’ve already mentioned). Many people won’t come up with alternative solutions so they push ahead with their perceived limited options.

    Be very clear, the kinds of other possibilities I’m talking about are solidly grounded in the actual objective reality where we live not in some fantasy land. If you think it’s fantasy that isn’t what I’m talking about and you’ve clearly misunderstood or are intentionally twisting it to further your own slimy agenda.

    Oh I apologize to the algae of the world, I don’t mean to denigrate you when I was denigrating the religious nutters. I love pond scum, well some species of you anyway taste pretty darn good. Oh, ahem… you also provide much of the oxygen on the planet so thank you pond scum.

    As for you religious nutters who won’t admit that they are deluded stop trying to put words or thoughts into my mouth that I didn’t utter and stop trying to twist the words that I did utter. You will fail. Science and rational though and critical thinking and good natured hard hitting objective reality is on my side backing me up. The bottom line is my backup, if you think that I’m talking about something that isn’t real I’m not, it’s just that you’ve misunderstood the concepts. Get over it. You believe in an invisible sky friend so it’s clear that almost anything that comes out of your mind is polluted by that deep delusion, at least everything needs to be vetted against the laws of Nature that we’ve discovered with science.

    So enjoy your date with your non-existent invisible sky friend MrPete. He’s/she’s/it’s going to stand you up waiting for rescue upon your death… but have no worries about that either… you won’t know about it since your brain will be dead and you’ll no longer exist except as a corpse waiting to be embalmed.

    God. Get over it already.

    If you need help with god delusion deprogramming seek out an expert, that’s not my profession although I have helped some people out of their living god delusional hell or avoid going into it in the first place.

  70. pwl said

    “I’m sorry to be the one to inform you that, like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, Jesus and God are just a myth and they don’t exist except in your imagination. Now enjoy the warm milk and cookies you put out for Santa (no point wasting them) and go back to bed and dream about what you’ll do in the real world with the remaining days and years of your life in existence before you cease to exist upon your death. Then act upon those dreams as long as they don’t harm anyone.” – wise mom

  71. MrPete said

    “If something isn’t possible in objective reality then it’s just wishful thinking to think it’s going to happen.”
    GOOD! I vehemently agree with this. SO… why are you unable to apply what you just said to a simple moral dilemma?!!

    “I don’t need to “claim” anything about thinking up new options, it’s a simple fact of life.”
    I love it! I could poke fun and ask if this is how you solved math problems in college. But hey. I understand that MUCH of the time there are other options. MUCH of the time, people haven’t taken the time to think things through. MUCH of the time, things get messed up because the world is full of incompetent people. (I like Douglas Adams’ take: lawyers and hairdressers.)

    “Hypothetical moral situations are are irrelevant to real life morals.”
    Fine. As I said, deal with the mom whose family is about to die, or the doctor who is about to lose either newborn baby or mother. Those are real. Same general kind of situation. Someone is going to die. And someone else is responsible for choosing either who will die or how, through no fault of their own.
    If you can’t handle those real-world situations involving 100% certainty of death, then fine, we can make it still easier for you. A surgeon and a patient. The patient will be dead in 96 hours from horrific cancer. There’s a medical procedure with 1% chance of completely saving her life, 99 percent chance of her never recovering (and losing even those last few days of life.) Is the doctor evil who operates and she dies, but good who operates and she lives? I have experienced both scenarios in the real world.

    pwl, you are apparently unable to get past the idea that good people with good intentions sometimes have no choice about accepting responsibility for great pain, even harm, even death. That is at the root of your rant above.
    The simple fact is: on the one hand you rant about santa, tooth fairies, jesus, and delusional imaginary friends. And you complain about them being responsible for the pain in the world.
    On the other hand, you keep claiming you know “possibilities” and “other options” and similar delusional imaginary ways to escape real world painful situations. You’re no better than they are. And your delusion, in the real world, leads to inaction in the face of horror, and ineffective action when action is taken.

    You are just as delusional as those you are ranting about. The only difference is this:
    – both you and they want to see “good” happen.
    – In your world, you imagine that bad doesn’t need to ever happen, and you don’t know how to handle the reality of it happening.
    – In their world, they *know* that bad sometimes happens, and (if they are smart) they cope with it.

    Reminds me of a friend who noted (WARNING: this really is a JOKE!) that
    Microsoft is Christian: they know their OS has faults. When it fails there are error messages and tech support to help you resolve the problem. [My comment: but boy is it BAD tech support!]
    Apple is Buddhist: they believe there’s no such thing as a fault in their OS. When it fails, users are in a world of hurt because they assumed such a thing could not happen.

    To keep this interesting, I will finish with another real world challenge that goes to the heart of your posting’s claim.

    Based on this:
    “Many of the sentences in the bible…are in fact designed to be rules that the congregation – aka cult members – can use to…identify those who are not members of the cult and to whom they can treat differently, often harshly differently with torture, murder, rape, death and nasty killing methods….Actually what it is giving is a practical and effective rule for keeping members of a cult…in the cult…makes it ok to murder your own family members if they try to extract you out”

    I propose the following as a testable scientific experiment.

    Background:
    – Different religious/antireligious/etc worldviews are very different in their view of insiders and outsiders
    – These views sometimes result in either favorable or harsh treatment of others
    – The result of populations following these views should be visible in tangible metrics.

    Hypothesis:
    – These views are so different that their outcomes should be statistically significant even at a general level of observation, such as national data.

    Experiment:
    – Categorize the nations of the world by majority religious/antireligious belief systems
    – Collect a variety of data relating to human quality of life, freedom, wealth/poverty, etc etc.
    – Analyze the nations by these criteria. Past and present to the extent possible.

    Sound reasonable, pwl?
    Do you think this is a reasonable experiment?
    What do you think it will show?

  72. pwl said

    “If something isn’t possible in objective reality then it’s just wishful thinking to think it’s going to happen.”
    “GOOD! I vehemently agree with this. SO… why are you unable to apply what you just said to a simple moral dilemma?!!”

    Oh, so you don’t believe in god then? Until you clarify that you’re just being deceitful in this conversation.

    I’ve already told you why I’m not interested in hypothetical situations. Read my posts again. I’ve been quite clear about it.

    “I don’t need to “claim” anything about thinking up new options, it’s a simple fact of life.”
    “I love it! I could poke fun and ask if this is how you solved math problems in college. But hey. I understand that MUCH of the time there are other options. MUCH of the time, people haven’t taken the time to think things through. MUCH of the time, things get messed up because the world is full of incompetent people.”

    You really are messed up likely beyond all hope of regaining your sanity out of the delusions of god you have.

    MrPete believes in god and thus is a highly raving lunatic as evidenced by his postings here. You might be functional in society (although I don’t know that for a fact) but you’re deeply in need of professional deprogramming help. You’re one messed up puppy or is it geezer?

    “Hypothetical moral situations are are irrelevant to real life morals.”
    “Fine.”

    Then why do you keep pestering me about them? I’ve already answered those questions and told you where I stand. Real life is interesting, fake made up hypothetical situations that can be changed at whim by either party in the discussion to their own advantage matter naught. I’m not interested in a moral circle jerk with you MrPete. You’re not my type.

    I can handle anything that life throws at me that doesn’t kill me. Blithering idiots like you, while a bit annoying, are just not interesting or worthy of much attention. I’ve only been engaging in discussion with you to uncover some of your dementia.

    “pwl, you are apparently unable to get past the idea that good people with good intentions sometimes have no choice about accepting responsibility for great pain, even harm, even death. That is at the root of your rant above.”

    Nonsense you have the power to choose and the power to come up with another option and choose that instead. You’re just providing excuses to permit yourself to commit great crimes in the name of the greater good. It makes you just as evil as any well known evil doer, such as GWB.

    “The simple fact is: on the one hand you rant about santa, tooth fairies, jesus, and delusional imaginary friends. And you complain about them being responsible for the pain in the world.”

    What? Your brain is totally confused MrPete. People use jesus stories and god concepts and their other delusional “faith” friends to justify killing others in the world so yes those notions are responsible in a sense for many hundreds of millions of deaths in the world. A whacked notion like god makes you think that you can commit any evil (oh pardon me you think it’s a justified act of good) in the world and that you’ll be magically forgiven and absolved of your crimes against humanity. God is just an excuse for mass murder.

    Santa not so much since most people get over the fact that their parents lied to them about santa.

    It’s just strange that they (and you) can’t get over the fact that god is fake, a delusion created by your minds. They don’t even get the parallel between santa and god and the tooth fairy and other such fairy tales.

    “On the other hand, you keep claiming you know “possibilities” and “other options” and similar delusional imaginary ways to escape real world painful situations. You’re no better than they are. And your delusion, in the real world, leads to inaction in the face of horror, and ineffective action when action is taken.”

    What? You’re a twisted idiot MrPete. I don’t “know” any possibilities or other options, they are for you to think of instead of limiting your choices to a narrow few. It is a way of thinking outside your box. It is you who needs an education in critical thinking skills. It is you who need to either get it or just accept that you’re limited in your manner of thinking and a dufus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_outside_the_box . Dufus MrPete. Sheesh.

    I never said that there were ways to “escape” real world painful situations, that is your own pathetic delusion. You’ve mind read too much into what I’ve written and in your usual manner twisted my words to do your dirty deeds. You logic is worse than pathetic, it’s clear now that you have dastardly agenda.

    “You are just as delusional as those you are ranting about. The only difference is this:
    – both you and they want to see “good” happen.
    – In your world, you imagine that bad doesn’t need to ever happen, and you don’t know how to handle the reality of it happening.
    – In their world, they *know* that bad sometimes happens, and (if they are smart) they cope with it.”

    What? How do you make up your shit MrPete? Wow, it’s epic in it’s creative ingenuity. Too bad it has nothing to do with me or what I’m meaning or with objective reality for that matter.

    I don’t know where you live MrPete, some fantasy world with your hypothetical god I guess, but I live in the real world.

    In THE REAL WORLD where we actually exist bad shit happens all the time. Just turn on the TV and you’ll see war, death, murder, lies, politicians justifying all kinds of acts of violence against their fellow man all presented as if it’s the only thing to do, the right thing to do. It’s quite sad state of affairs really.

    Cheney justifying horrific acts of torture as if they were a good thing all to defend himself from war crime charges that are being brought against him, Bush and all the other evil vile men and women who acted upon their orders to commit mass murder across the globe in the noble name of America. How sickening.

    How repugnant that they contribute to making the situation in the world worse rather than working to improve lives across the globe. By supporting them you are also guilty of being complicit in their crimes.

    So it’s time to bring this now pointless discussion to a close.

  73. MrPete said

    “I don’t ‘know’ any possibilities or other options, they are for you to think of instead of limiting your choices to a narrow few.”

    Ahhh! I see. Now you finally admit that you don’t know any other options. You simply expect others to discover them while you sit back and complain. Which means you have zero credibility in your complaints.

    Sure, both you and I are horrified about evil vile men and women committing mass murder.

    pwl, yet what basis do you have to complain one iota about others’ failure to find a better solution, when in a variety of very simple cases, you are unwilling to accept that there is no better solution? And thus, by refusing to accept reality, you have no credibility to tear down the good that is being attempted, since you have no better alternative to propose.

    See, that’s the challenge. You’re an armchair quarterback, complaining about how terrorists are handled. Yet you have no ability to prove you can do better. No nation on this planet has found a provably good long-term solution. Of course, we could argue all day about which solution is better. But that would simply be arguing. No proof.

    Hint: if you really want to see evil vile hatred decrease and peace and love increase, you will take the time to look at the data rather than continue to listen to whatever political rants you like to listen to. There’s plenty of data available.

    I’ve done the analysis. I’ve learned what actually helps improve things in the long run. And it is NOT your philosophy. Your philosophy leads to welfare-state dependency, people unable and unwilling to help themselves or others. Why should they, when taking a risk might produce failure which gets their hands slapped. Your philosophy also leads to a corrupt elite who think they can manage everyones’ lives scientifically to produce some kind of “optimal good.” When all it ultimately becomes is a cover for greed. Why? Because as a man much older and wiser than me once said, “an educated scoundrel is still a scoundrel.”
    Instead, I’ve invested much of my life in making it better for people. No, not by doing vile hateful no-good-very-bad things.
    Like so many others, I use my skills and resources to help improve the lot of people all over the world. I’ve helped point out some of the key arenas much in need of help, and have helped influence people to do something about the problems. And I don’t fall apart when I discover that some jerk has taken things into his own hands and ruined a bunch of peoples’ lives rather than save them. Most of the time, people like that can be redeemed over time. Good thing: all of us screw up somewhere along the way. All of us need a bit of (or a lot of) a break.

    Forgiveness is a hard thing. But it is another important bit of what makes the world a better place. Some of those books you despise so much contain a lot of real-world wisdom about forgiveness. Yet for me, it’s the real world examples that hit the hardest. Like the friend in another country who invited me for breakfast. Halfway through, another guy came over and sat next to me at the table. As we were introduced, I discovered I was sitting next to a murderer, a paid killer who had “offed” a lot of people. And had never even been tried let alone convicted of his crimes. I was shocked to say the least. My friend wasn’t worried about it at all: “why should he go to jail? He is 100% sorry for what he did, his life is transformed, he has personally apologized to the families of everyone he harmed, and is spending the rest of his life doing what he can to make things better for them!” Wow. That really got me thinking!

    pwl, you claim Bush was not “working to improve lives across the globe.” You don’t know that. And in fact, you cannot prove that. I am not a military person, but I happened to be in the middle east just before the war started. People were begging me to tell others about the horror of their situation, begging me to do what I could to ensure that someone would actually come and rescue them from Saddam. That anything, including mass death, would be better than the horrors they and their families were experiencing. I saw it, heard it, first hand.
    pwl, you insult and desecrate them, and many many others, by claiming the war was not intended to improve their lives. Sure, not everyone did right. That’s the real world. And those who did wrong are being brought to justice, as well as our rapidly-failing system of justice can accomplish it. (We have just elected a government that has proven to have close to zero respect for integrity. Most likely, you don’t need to worry for long about the USA as a world power. It is rapidly losing whatever special heart it ever had.)

    That’s my bottom line about the war and atrocities and such. In our system, justice actually means something. We have laws, and traditionally our laws are enforced, even against the president.
    In too many other nations, laws are applied unevenly if at all. And those in power can avoid being held accountable.
    It’s when the laws of the US are not upheld that the whole world ought to be very very concerned. Like right now. Our new government is completely out of control. And people both here and around the world are coming to harm as a result.
    pwl, yes some religions are a real problem. But not all. Just as some governments are a real problem, but not all. Some scientists are a problem, but not all.
    The common thread to “problem” groups is not religion. Nor is it fantasy/delusion. You’ll find good and evil across the board in those groups.

    My one-word answer for what is needed: humility.

  74. pwl said

    MrPete, I never said that I know other options, I said as the record clearly shows that there are always other possible options – you might not like them but they are there. There is a huge difference. It’s up to you to figure out your other options in any given situation not me. It’s your life after all not mine! Dah!

    As for the rest of your ramblings whatever dude, get a life. You have no idea about my philosophy… I’ve not addressed much if any of it here other than that what is important is objective reality not fantasy delusions of god(s).

  75. pwl said

    Oh, dropping bombs on people isn’t a way to improve their lives. So, yeah, we do know that Bush wasn’t working to improve peoples lives across the globe by the very fact that he gave orders that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Simple objective fact which I guess you’ve missed by not watching the news for the past eight years. Bush might have been interested in people in the USA but he wasn’t interested in protecting the people he killed with his bombs and his soldiers otherwise he’d not have killed them! Dah.

  76. MrPete said

    pwl, there are a few things on which I suppose we will have to agree to disagree.

    First,
    I agree fully that intentional harm to innocents is a Bad Thing. [we can discuss who is innocent some other time]
    I also agree fully that dropping a bomb on person X does not improve person X’s life. Obvious.

    HOWEVER,
    I claim dropping a bomb on evil-no-good-very-bad person X can be a way to improve the lives of millions of others.
    I claim evil-no-good-very-bad people who are brought to justice are responsible for their own pain, their own death. Their blood is on their own head, as some might say. Yes, someone else delivers the punishment, but it’s their own fault/responsibility. (Lightweight example: fail a test, I flunk, I don’t succeed in life. That’s my bad, not the teacher who gave me the bad grade that caused me so much pain.)
    I claim placing innocents in harm’s way, whether explicitly (e.g. holding hostages) or implicitly (e.g. shooting from the windows of innocent’s homes) is an evil-no-good-very-bad-thing (and BTW is against international law), and the blood of those innocents is on the head NOT of those who drop bombs against the evildoers, but on the head of the evildoers themselves.

    You disagree with that? You’re welcome to your opinion.
    Your “simple facts” aren’t so simple. By your logic, nobody should be held responsible for their evil actions, and when they place innocents in harms way to avoid being held accountable, they should therefore get away with it.

    This is why international laws about war exist. There’s an underlying morality that says innocents should not be dragged into war. And those who cause innocents to be in the battlefield are the ones responsible for the lifes of the innocents. Not the other combatants.
    The same morality is found throughout society. Last week a person threw herself in front of a speeding train to commit suicide. Nobody would even think of arresting the train engineer; she was innocent.

    PS: just to keep the record straight, it is you the admin who brings up Bush, not me. I avoided such topics thinking you would call them OT for this thread. But since you bring it up, I’m happy to discuss it. And in reality it *does* relate to the thread.

  77. MrPete said

    “I said as the record clearly shows that there are always other possible options – you might not like them but they are there.”

    You make this claim. I’ve given you several real-world situations. Show me “the record” that clearly shows there are always other possible options. I’m calling you out on this because you make this claim with zero evidence. It is a fantasy.

    Otherwise, in all such moral dilemma situations, we’d find at least *some* people in history making this supposed other-option choice. But it never happens.
    – When bandits come to wipe out a town, everyone does die. The children whose moms provided a painless, merciful death are just as dead either way.
    – When baby or mother is about to die in childbirth, it does happen. And doctors make the choice, and typically end the life of the baby (with advice from loved ones, hopefully!) [In earlier times, they’d more often end the life of the mother: they knew it was far more likely they could save the baby than the mother!]
    – When patient is about to die of disease, doctors choose to try to save their life but sometimes fail.
    Three real-world scenarios, three situations where someone DOES dies. There’s no other “option.” And an innocent person has caused the death.
    In one of these cases, other evil no-good-very-bad people are actually responsible (see my previous comment for more on that.)
    In two of these cases, nature is responsible.

    Is it really necessary to get so angry at those who *cause* “harm”, even if they are innocent?
    I’d rather go after those *responsible* for harm.

    Sometimes there’s no difference. But sometimes the difference is huge.

  78. MrPete said

    BTW, I’m not saying Bush is 100% innocent. There is plenty there to be upset about.

    However, Bush got a lot of things 100% correct as well, things he may never get credit for.

    One other related comment: obviously you are a pacifist. I respect that. Some of the greatest people in history were pretty extreme pacifists. In many ways, I am too. (Just not as extreme.)
    However, you’re trying to apply pacifist logic (which deals with what we do about evil aggression) to every situation in life, even those where it it is innocents who are causing harm. That’s a fallacy; aggression/pacifism is not the issue there.

  79. pwl said

    “I claim dropping a bomb on evil-no-good-very-bad person X can be a way to improve the lives of millions of others.”

    That makes you a mass murderer.

    It’s exactly the same justification that YOUR countries enemies use to justify acts of terror against you. The methods might be different since they are David with basically stones and you are Goliath with jet bombers and nukes.

    The cycle continues with your line of thinking. Always will until people like you, the State Based Terrorist Supporters, change your political views to ones that find such acts unacceptable under any circumstances.

    Until then YOU are a source of great evil in the world in an objective and measurable way.

    But we might be running out of time for people like you to realize this. That is why I’m being BLUNT with you.

    Unfortunately technology and intelligence are the great leveler that David can use against Goliath. Asymmetric warfare where box cutters bring down buildings and vials of liquid or power can destroy huge areas and suitcases or vans can obliterate and devastate cities in an instant… where ten can cause mass mayhem with little more than a few guns and grenades and a plan.

    There are many crimes that YOUR country gets away with each day. YOU must stop them from occurring otherwise you are complicit in those crimes.

    Smugly saying that you’re working for the greater good is just an excuse for pernicious evil. At the root of this, no doubt, are christian and other religious morals used to justify mass murders from the dark ages of humanity.

    The greater good is but a moral tool to justify murder on mass scales. There are always other options.

    Torture is a War Crime in International Law. All the current humming and hawing the USA government is going through at this point is a form of negotiating who within the USA government is going to be charged with these War Crimes. However, its like that it’ll be one or more of the leaders who authorized or pass on the orders to carry out torture: Bush, Cheney, Rice, et. al..

    Much of International Law is in many ways simply codified State Based Terrorism. It’s written by Countries (State Based Terrorists) lawyers for the perpetuation of their State power and continued existence.

    MrPete, you assume too much. Do yourself a favor and learn to stop being a “mind reader”, you’re not one and never will be one so stop doing that – for your own sake. The alternative is to ask questions. Turn your assumption into a question that doesn’t presuppose the answer if you possibly can.

    I never said that I’m a pacifist. I’m not. I study martial arts for SELF defense.

    What I am is a human being who is sick and tired of politicians, leaders, religious nuts, and people I meet in the general public spouting their political philosophies that justify mass murder and death in the name of the greater good. It’s still mass murder and death. It’s still a set of actions that perpetuation the cycle rather than break it. Killing all of your enemies won’t stop the cycle either as more of them will be generated in the process. But then society is into BIG MAC and fast food and letting others think for them so the Permanent War to Protect the Greater Good is an expedient way to get back to the TV show.

    The point is that a person’s philosophy – especially when disconnected in a god delusion – can lead them to commit horrifying acts of harm even when they can’t see it as such. It’s up to YOU to find other ways of being in the world that eliminate the harm that you cause others.

    The greater the power to do harm the greater the responsibility to not do so.

  80. pwl said

    Thanks to those who have commented. This thread is now closed and this discussion is now completed.

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