Comments

  1. says

    I was starting to feel sorry for the catholic caller, until I realised that he wasn’t really listening.

    It was a great call though, and allowed both hosts to make some really hard hitting points.

    The anti-healthcare guy was just painful. As an English taxpayer, I listen with dumbfounded horror to people arguing against healthcare for all.
    I really hope he googles the number one reason for bankruptcy in the US.

  2. Frank G. Turner says

    I was starting to feel sorry for the catholic caller, until I realised that he wasn’t really listening.

    I come from a Catholic background myself, though admittedly I was primarily agnostic with a theist leaning and I knew there was something wrong with Xtianity as I had read the Bible. The Catholic church does do some good. After all I learned about evolution and a lot of science (Chemistry) from Jesuit priests. If the church gives you a good sense of community (it did not really do so for me) and your sense of self is built into it, it can be hard to consider the possibility that the bad is outweighing the good. I also had not known for a long time that there were others who thought like me (a lot of the people on here). Had I known that I not only might have left after the Bernard Law incident, I might have left beforehand.
    .
    I often said to myself that if they had deported Bernard Law back to the United States and forced him to face charges, that might have made it harder for me to leave. If the local churches had left the same sex marriage issue alone, rather than try to pull some obscure bullshit local case about a church being forced to engage in a same sex marriage when they were against it (it was not even a Catholic church and the circumstances were a LOT different than what would have come up with local Catholic parishes), that might have gotten my interest. If the Vatican told people that we need to accept homosexuals as our friends and that the writings of Leviticus are just plain wrong, regardless of how unpopular that might make them with conservatives, that would get my applause and approval. Morality needs to be about doing what is right, not what is popular, but you can’t make money that way. I finally realized something that Matt on the show has said so eloquently, the parishes try to get you to vote a certain way, treat women’s rights a certain way, treat gays a certain way, etc. The way I see it, that is a political organization, and that is how I see a lot of organized religion.
    .
    I would have let the caller know, one can give to the charities directly rather than through the church, which bypasses a lot of potential for corruption.

  3. gshelley says

    Seems to be another extreme Libertarian this week (though not a virtual anarchist as last week). And pretty detached from reality if he believes people in other countries with a single payer system are in any way envious of the US system. Like so many, he seems to think that “property rights” are the most important of all, and totally ignored Matt’s claim about being part of society requires paying to be in it.

  4. Zenith says

    I’m just curious to know if you guys just give the second caller the benefit of doubt, because he’s called on almost every episode lately and on many occasions you guys butt heads with his ignorance. He’s the guy who ranted for a whole episode about why he likes religion yet thinks everyone should be relaxed about it. It’s funny because the more you get him out of his shell, the more I can tell that he really does care about his beliefs and he seems to be fighting with the arguments in his head. Neat to watch really

  5. Monocle Smile says

    The Catholic caller baffled me, just like he baffled the hosts. They asked him why spreading the gospel was a good thing, and it was like he had never even thought about it or even thought of reason to think about it. It was a “this is just true and spreading this message is what you should do and no further thought is required” situation, except most people who subscribe to lines like that are being dishonest. This caller seemed to actually buy that crap. He didn’t seem to understand why the hosts’ questions were even being asked.

    The health care nut was waaaaay out of touch with reality. When he asked if Matt had any friends whom he could rely on for health care, I stopped taking him seriously. C’mon, dude, the costs of health care should be common knowledge. He also seemed to think that people have a full understanding of what’s in their best interests, and Matt’s attempt to demonstrate otherwise fell on deaf ears.

    My favorite part was when Jen asked if he just called to rant about the Affordable Care Act. Robby denied it and I thought Jen jumped the gun, but it turned out that she was spot on right off the bat.

  6. Muz says

    Allow me to apologise on behalf of the nation of Australia for our clueless libertarians.
    At least that’s what he sounded like anyway.

    I’m oft surprised how some folks – atheist folks at that – react with such horror when somebody points out that Rights are human constructions. What else could they be? They talk about ‘Inalienable’ like it’s a magic word. I don’t know how they could miss that they’re essentially appealing to the supernatural.

  7. says

    I’m always amazed/perplexed by the true blooded libertarians, but I think that people are arguing against them in the wrong way.

    There are really three fundamental problems with the libertarian position in my mind. One, the refusal to acknowledge that people do not always act rationally. Two, the insistence that money is the only measure of worth. Three, the absurdity of not recognizing the importance of collective behavior.

    And I think the real arguing point, the point that needs to be hammered home, is point three. We evolved to be collective, social creatures. That’s the niche we’ve been able to fill, and we’ve been remarkably successful at it. There’s clearly a benefit to our collective behavior, and we see this across disciplines. To suddenly abandon that notion of collective living in favor of radically private behavior is like space walking without a space suit. We evolved, and our culture evolved, to work collectively towards goals.

  8. Monocle Smile says

    @cbrgreg

    I think the reason why you see people arguing against libertarians “the wrong way” is that your counterarguments are points that should really go without saying and it could be seen as condescending to pretend as if said libertarian is unaware of them.

    Personally, I like to hammer your first point home. Libertarians pretend as if all of humanity is perfectly rational, intelligent, well-educated, mild-mannered, and prone to voluntary cooperation. In reality, most people are myopic, belligerent, selfish dickheads when left to their own devices without the structure of society.

  9. Mike Ring says

    Matt got his ass handed to him by the healthcare guy with the English (or Australian?) accent.

    It’s actually unfortunate that the hosts of the Atheist Experience and atheists in general (of which I am a militant one) seem to require that every member buy into the whole mindset or be worthy of ridicule.

    Matt was factually wrong that rights are granted by government or granted by the rest of society. That’s the whole point of “inalienable”. He may think it’s an incorrect attribution in the Constitution, but then he is no different than the subsequent caller who disagreed with the Catholic church yet didn’t want to leave it or stop supporting it.

    The right to life is an inherent right, it is not one granted by government or by society as a whole. We can disagree about which rights are inherent and which are not, but Matt has often used the “right to swing your fists ends at the tip of my nose argument” – which also very much applies to health care. FWIW, I’m generally in favor of a two tier health care system like most other nations have where a basic level of care is afforded to all at no cost, and people can pay for better care, if they choose (as in Australia, the UK, Canada, etc). But Matt and Jen betrayed their “in for a penny, in for a pound” mentality when Jen was getting irritate with the caller and said “oh, yeah, I got mine so fuck you, right?”. Sorry guys – stick to atheism topics, nobody wants to hear your viewpoints on government.

    And if you want to do the atheist movement some benefit, stop perpetrating the falsehood that an atheist should have a set of opinioons about various topics that mesh with other atheists. It is no different than pigeonholing all people from Texas as rednecks who wear cowboy hats and carry pistols and love jeebus, or pigeonholing all atheists as heathens who have no morals.

    Smarten up.

  10. toska says

    What’s with the libertarians calling in so much lately? It’s odd that they keep choosing this show as a platform to spout their nonsense. As far as I know, the ACA doesn’t actually have a position on healthcare.
    ***
    The second caller was great though. I don’t know if the conversation changed his mind at all. He got to some places where he didn’t really have a good answer, and hopefully he was rethinking his position but just didn’t want to admit it on the show. But even if he doesn’t change his mind, the conversation really demonstrated to viewers how much you have to warp your mind to continue to support the RCC. My favorite was when he said he supports RCC policies in general but couldn’t name any specific policy he liked besides building churches and spreading the gospel. And he couldn’t articulate why he thought those were good things.

  11. Monocle Smile says

    @Mike Ring

    Let’s fisk this a bit.

    Matt was factually wrong that rights are granted by government or granted by the rest of society. That’s the whole point of “inalienable”.

    I guess you just flat-out failed to understand the discussion. Right ARE granted by society. There’s no such thing as “inalienable” rights, because if there’s nothing to protect that right, what’s to stop it from being alienated? Do you even know what “inalienable” means? Rights are merely part of a social contract where we agree that certain ideals are at the top of our priority list, and this is insanely obvious. Seriously, I don’t get how you missed this.

    But Matt and Jen betrayed their “in for a penny, in for a pound” mentality when Jen was getting irritate with the caller and said “oh, yeah, I got mine so fuck you, right?”.

    Again, you’re making some crazy assumptions. The caller wasn’t advocating for your preferred system (which I also favor, though it has to be carefully monitored) and thus deserved to get knocked down. He was basically pissed off that the sick poor aren’t left to die in the streets.

    And if you want to do the atheist movement some benefit, stop perpetrating the falsehood that an atheist should have a set of opinioons about various topics that mesh with other atheists

    No one said that or even implied it, and the hosts have consistently argued to the contrary. You seem to have this auditory issue where you not only hear things different than what people actually say, but also add in a whole lot more that isn’t said at all. Stop making stupid assumptions.

  12. robertwilson says

    @Mike Ring

    About inalienable rights: I think Matt understands perfectly well what the constitution means to say. His point is, what happens if there’s no one to defend that constitution? Even if you argue that the right to anything should still remain, what good is that concept of an inalienable right if you live in a circumstance where you aren’t afforded it?

    The concept is important, but there in practice there have to be ways to enforce those rights. They don’t magically come with being born, but actually come from being born into societies that have constitutions that choose to protect those rights.

    As for your problem with the hosts’ topics, in addition to what Monocle Smile said, I’ll add that dictionary atheism would probably mean no show or ACA.

    So you figured out god doesn’t exist. Great, now what? As Matt (I think) and others have said, you have figured out the easiest part as far as you or most atheists are concerned. I for one want to work on some of the tougher questions too.

  13. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Zenith # 4
    If you mean to indicate that the Catholic caller was Christian FCP (who may be reading this rgiht now), I kind of had that suspicion myself. I don’t know if for a fact but if that is him and he is reading this he can come out and say it. It is understandable that he is going through this and we can help to support him.
    .
    I agree that he is probably wrestling with the issues in his head. Catholicism has become a lot more liberal in its approach but still tries to appeal to a very conservative crowd (hence my whole organized religion is politics suggestion). That can be confusing to someone who is more skeptical in their approach but at the same time surrounded by religion doing very positive things for them and getting re-enforced by the sense of community. On the one hand religion is doing positive things for them and possibly others but also has a lot of very negative side effects. Some individuals don’t want to weigh out the positives vs. the negatives, it is easier if a group is “all good” or “all bad” but such dichotomies are unrealistic. There are arguments in any group and we don’t further ourselves by patting one another on the back all the time. We need to voice our agreements AND our disagreements.
    .
    I have posted on this before but I once walked a Mormon thorugh “On the Origin of Species” (he had little science background) and he had a very hard time with the idea that the Bible might be partial fact and partial fiction. It had to be “all right” or “all wrong” in his head and it just does not work that way.
    .
    I left Catholicism a while ago and I recently figured out why. I talked about how I don’t want to get rid of religion but the negative effects of religion. As (I think it was Enlightenment Liberal) said, if you want to play baseball but due to negative side effects you have to remove the bats, and the gloves, and the bases, it is not really worth calling it baseball after that. I once tried to reconcile the positive effects of Catholicism because after taking away how they insist gays be treated morally and legally (as indicated by their refusal to stand up to conservative Catholics because they need the popularity), how to treat women’s rights, and a few other things, I realized that the religion I once followed was boiling down to a political organization that I did not agree with. And as I have been listening to scholars like Fitzgerald and Carrier, I was not buying the factual correctness of the Gospels or much of scripture either. It just was not Catholicism any more.
    .
    There are some good moral lessons one can learn from Xtian scripture, including the Gospels (particularly the Gospels), but one can learn them from other documents too, like the scriptures of Buddhism. Frankly the caller sounded so brainwashed into “spreading the good news” of the Gospels, that he never bothered to ask himself what the good news actually was (hence why he seemed stumped when Matt brought that up). Without the hypothetical factual correctness of the Gospels and the lack of a monopoly on morality, it just wasn’t Catholicism anymore.
    .
    Maybe the caller just does not want to admit a lot of things to himself. He has doubts but is scared of having them. I can feel his pain as I was once there myself.

  14. Frank G. Turner says

    @ toska # 10

    My favorite was when he said he supports RCC policies in general but couldn’t name any specific policy he liked besides building churches and spreading the gospel. And he couldn’t articulate why he thought those were good things.

    He has probably had those things re-enforced and drilled into his head so deeply that if he ever did ask himself “why” those might be good things he buried the skepticism deep into his psyche and never thought that he would be asked said questions, hence why he was so baffled when the questions actually came up.

    What’s with the libertarians calling in so much lately? It’s odd that they keep choosing this show as a platform to spout their nonsense. As far as I know, the ACA doesn’t actually have a position on healthcare.

    I have a lot of weird disorganized thoughts on this and would appreciate someone reading through this and seeing if they can put this in some kind of coherent order. (Narf, help me out here please).
    .
    In my experience those who think like scientists will state a hypothesis, think about what they wotuld have to observe that would support that hypothesis, think about what they might have to observe that would lead to the hypothesis being rejected, take a few things other into account (things that might work for or against that they did not think of) then try to put the idea into action without bias. Those who think like politicians think about what hypothesis they WANT to be supported and what they have to observe to support it, and if they don’t observe it then MAKE it happen. If they can’t make it happen and make money in the process (greed drives it) then they MIGHT switch to an opposing hypothesis, as long as there is money in the deal and they can make it happen or make others belief that it happened.
    .
    In either case, when one thinks like a scientist then one can drop a hypothesis and pick another based on observations, you don’t have to be correct right fromt he start. On the other hand, when one thinks like a politician, you have to be right from the start and can’t change your mind. If you are wrong once about anything, no matter how trivial and small, then you are always wrong about everything. The moment you even consider opposing evidence you have already lost because doubt of a position means taking the opposite position.
    .
    I think that libertarians think like politicians and have a lot of conservative and some liberal ideas so they don’t quite swing to one side or the other. That is a tough position to be in if you have to be “all right” or “all wrong.” They probably see atheist groups as extremist which they like, they can point to groups like atheists as “the other” so if they change thier minds on any issue they can blame someone else and come forward with the petty bullshit claim that they were never wrong (they project the “other” and someone who is wrong).
    .
    In many ways I think the Catholic caller may be struggling with the same issues.

  15. Mike Ring says

    @Monocole

    “I guess you just flat-out failed to understand the discussion. Right ARE granted by society. There’s no such thing as “inalienable” rights, because if there’s nothing to protect that right, what’s to stop it from being alienated? Do you even know what “inalienable” means? Rights are merely part of a social contract where we agree that certain ideals are at the top of our priority list, and this is insanely obvious. Seriously, I don’t get how you missed this.

    I didn’t fail to understand anything. But let me help educate you…

    There most definitely is such a thing as inalienable rights – educate yourself on what the term means if you disagree. The statement that a right that is unprotected is alienable therefore there are on inalienable rights is as intellectually honest as a dopey creationist using the colloquial definition of “theory” to claim that evolution is “just a theory”. Disagree all you like – the definition of inalienable is clear, whether you like it or not.

    Again, you’re making some crazy assumptions. The caller wasn’t advocating for your preferred system (which I also favor, though it has to be carefully monitored) and thus deserved to get knocked down. He was basically pissed off that the sick poor aren’t left to die in the streets.

    I didn’t make any assumption. You, however, are making assumptions about what the caller “basically” said based on your interpretation of what you think he meant. I don’t care about how you perceive his intent, I care what he actually said. And what he actually said was that he disagrees with the notion of being forced to participate in something he doesn’t agree with. Where I take issue with it is Jen’s “I got mine so fuck you” attitude. Firstly, she’s wrong, and secondly, it has nothing to do with atheism. She was clearly upset (as was Matt) that the caller didn’t share their political views.. but the caller was right on target. Matt’s justification that everyone having health care is good for the group therefore each individual should pay for it, and anyone who disagrees is wrong, can be used to justify many things – like car insurance, a college education at a top institution, a house, a cell phone, internet access and anything else that is beneficial. That’s a weak argument. The truth is that we make value judgments every day about what things are and aren’t appropriate to give away “free” – and someone disagreeing that health care is one of those items is not a wrong position – it is a matter of opinion. Matt and Jen clearly disagree, but that doesn’t make them right, and taking that position with the caller was wrong. But at a macro level, politics has no place in atheism – they are totally separate things.

    No one said that or even implied it, and the hosts have consistently argued to the contrary. You seem to have this auditory issue where you not only hear things different than what people actually say, but also add in a whole lot more that isn’t said at all. Stop making stupid assumptions.

    Unlike you, I don’t debate based on what I presume and “believe” people are saying, but rather on what they actually say. I watched Matt and Jen argue a political point with a caller that was clearly a matter of opinion. Matt was incorrect in his justification for it being a factual and defensible position – it’s not, it’s opinion. There are numerous cases of the hosts arguing outside the boundaries of atheism, and this is one of them. The fact that you are buying into the platform hook, line and sinker is evidence of precisely what I am talking about. In other words, as an apparent bandwagon rider yourself, you proved yourself wrong in your own rebuttal and made my point for me.

    Now do as Matt did and get angry and go for some personal attacks… and prove me right yet again.

  16. toska says

    Frank #14

    He has probably had those things re-enforced and drilled into his head so deeply that if he ever did ask himself “why” those might be good things he buried the skepticism deep into his psyche and never thought that he would be asked said questions, hence why he was so baffled when the questions actually came up.

    Totally agree. I’ve had to puzzle through a lot of those questions myself, being raised in a fundie protestant community. It sounded like the caller had never considered those questions before, so maybe he’s considering them now and will have a more reasoned out answer in the future.
    ***
    I thought Jen was on point during this call when she said (I’m paraphrasing) that he obviously considered “a few raped kids” to be worth it for all the supposed good the church does. If I was undecided about the RCC, that would have been a tipping point for me. Where do you draw the line? How many people have to be hurt by RCC policies before it’s enough? And if enabling child rapists isn’t enough, it’s hard to imagine anything would cross the line.

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Monocle Smile

    He also seemed to think that people have a full understanding of what’s in their best interests, and Matt’s attempt to demonstrate otherwise fell on deaf ears.

    Ehh… I’ll have to watch the show to respond. At first glance, that’s coming dangerously close to exactly the kind of patronizing that JS Mill’s Harm Principle expressly disallows.

    @Mike Ring
    The discussion of inalienable vs not is IMHO not very interesting. As kind of positivist, I think the entire discussion is actually meaningless. You’re not wrong, and neither are the people arguing against you. You’re all not even wrong.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

    Everyone agrees with the trivial meaning of “usable rights exist only to the extent that societies enforce them”. Obviously, I have no enforced right to life if society does not enforce that right. On that reading, it’s true, and trivial.

    The “interesting” claim is “there is this metaphysical or Platonic thing called rights, which exist, independent of whether a society enforces it”. This claim is basically moral realism, which is in not-even-wrong territory.

    Perhaps you meant that we should value a world where people have the right to life? Agreed. Perhaps you meant that we should try to create a world where people have the right to life? Agreed. Those are ought-statements, not is-statements, which avoid the problems of not-even-wrong.

    And if you want to do the atheist movement some benefit, stop perpetrating the falsehood that an atheist should have a set of opinioons about various topics that mesh with other atheists. It is no different than pigeonholing all people from Texas as rednecks who wear cowboy hats and carry pistols and love jeebus, or pigeonholing all atheists as heathens who have no morals.

    Textbook atheist ahoy!

    Bad analogy. I hold that every person should have certain beliefs, such as valuing the values of humanism. Atheists are people, and thus I hold that every atheist should have certain beliefs. I also hold that rednecks should have those beliefs too.

    This seems to be a matter of equivocation. I of course agree that the simple definition of atheist is merely one who lacks belief in gods. You’re still an atheist even if you reject the values of humanism.

    Of course, where you completely lose me is “if you want to do the atheist movement some benefit”. For example, serial killers can be atheists. How would it benefit the atheist movement to not decry serial killers? Rather, I think the proper thing is for the atheist movement to embrace, endorse, and promote the values of humanism. I also think this is the proper thing for every movement to do. This should attract more followers, and allow us to change the world for the better. Thus I think you have no clue what you are talking about.

  18. Mike Ring says

    @robertwilson,

    I disagree that understanding the obvious truth of atheism is a “first step” towards a deeper understanding of other subjects. In fact, that’s sort of my point… simply accepting that a ridiculous story from 2,000 years ago about burning bushes and parting oceans and a zombie on a cross isn’t exactly a high bar for intellectualism. Believing that making that (tiny) step confers upon someone a status of being worthy of tackling other issues is, IMO, silly and also harmful to the movement. That’s why getting into issues outside of atheism isn’t a good idea.

    In regards to the point about inalienable rights – you can take it to an even deeper level. First off, rights are not “granted” by anyone, most especially not society. I am not comfortable living in a society where the government felt my right to live or to not be raped is only allowed me through their… what.. grace? Benevolence? No, I feel there are inherent rights – I think the Constitutional view is correct. But even if one disagrees, at a deeper level… what is society? What gives society the right to decide anything? Ultimately, it all stems from power, which stems from the ability to use force to compel someone to do something. And that doesn’t come from government… after all, doesn’t the government of Syria have the right to fight their own insurgency? Not if a greater force, the USA, can compel otherwise.

    And if North Korea had a greater force, does it make it right that they could compel the USA to join their regime? Would that be inherently wrong? Or would the right to our way of live only exist because we have enough power to stop it, and if that power doesn’t exist, neither does the right?

    I’m sure some people here are very pro gun control… that goes to the heart of the topic as well. According to many, the right to bear arms is ultimately to protect the individuals rights from a tyrannical government. In that view, the founders had the foresight to realize that rights *are* inalienable, and not granted by government or society or anyone else, and that ultimately all rights come from the *individual* ability to protect one’s rights. The whole “power in the hands of the people” and “government is subservient to the people, not the other way around”.

    I’m sure there is plenty people could disagree with in this post – but the point is, it’s all totally disconnected with atheism. Mixing atheism with anything else creates just as much of a problem (or more) than religious kooks mixing religion with charitable giving, or mixing religion with morality, etc. We all realize that’s a false equivalence, just as suggesting atheism has anything to do with societal benefit, socialized health care, taxation, the Constitution, government power vs state power vs individual power or anything else.

    “atheists” are no more left leaning liberal socialist hippie heathen big-government (and whatever other blanket terms one wants to toss into the pot) than people from Texas are cowboy-hat wearing gun toting low-intellect farmers who walk around with a strand of wheat in their mouths and are hardcore evangelicals who never went to college. Let’s not try to perpetuate stereotypes.

    And while this reply is already too long – another thing that made me laugh was Matt telling the “libertarian” caller that he doesn’t get to pick and choose the line items he agrees with and if he doesn’t like it to work for change within the system. Then the very next caller he didn’t accept that the guy overall likes the church but not some aspects of it – it was an all or nothing situation in that guy’s case, yet he made exactly the opposite argument just minutes before.

    Point being – let’s stick to atheism… Matt and Jen ain’t very good at the other stuff 😀

  19. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I thought Jen was on point during this call when she said (I’m paraphrasing) that he obviously considered “a few raped kids” to be worth it for all the supposed good the church does. If I was undecided about the RCC, that would have been a tipping point for me. Where do you draw the line? How many people have to be hurt by RCC policies before it’s enough? And if enabling child rapists isn’t enough, it’s hard to imagine anything would cross the line.

    Indeed. One must have a pretty bleak picture of the world if you cannot imagine an alternative that does all of the good of the Catholic church, but without the child rape syndicate.

    I’m sorry. When it has been exposed that your organization has had in place official policy to protect child rapists in its organization for at least a century, there is only one acceptable option: Leave. I don’t care how good the organization is. You can always make another. I have not so bleak an outlook that every possible organization will protect child rapists (or have some equivalently vile property). I know we as humans can do better.

    After leaving, you should then call for the responsible people in the organization to leave, be prosecuted, and thrown in jail. Optionally, after that happens and only after that happens, it becomes acceptable to rejoin the organization. If the Catholic church was anything but a religious organization, then that’s what would have happened.

  20. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And while this reply is already too long – another thing that made me laugh was Matt telling the “libertarian” caller that he doesn’t get to pick and choose the line items he agrees with and if he doesn’t like it to work for change within the system. Then the very next caller he didn’t accept that the guy overall likes the church but not some aspects of it – it was an all or nothing situation in that guy’s case, yet he made exactly the opposite argument just minutes before.

    The implied argument was: “If you are a libertarian, equivalently if you follow the non-aggression principle, then it would be logically inconsistent to pick and choose some things to take which violate your non-aggression principle, and reject the rest.” Of course, the truly correct option is to reject the non-aggression principle.

    In the second conversation, seemingly neither party adopts the non-aggression principle, which makes your statement a non-sequitir. Matt is not bound by the non-aggression principle. He can pick and choose.

  21. Mike Ring says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    Of course, where you completely lose me is “if you want to do the atheist movement some benefit”. For example, serial killers can be atheists. How would it benefit the atheist movement to not decry serial killers? Rather, I think the proper thing is for the atheist movement to embrace, endorse, and promote the values of humanism. I also think this is the proper thing for every movement to do. This should attract more followers, and allow us to change the world for the better. Thus I think you have no clue what you are talking about.

    I didn’t think it was all that hard a concept. Let me try again…

    We pretty much all agree what atheism is. Creating a de facto larger definition that includes tenets of liberalism, libertarianism, conservitism or any other -ism is not beneficial to the atheist movement, because it alienates the people who identify with some or all of those other movements, even though they may have no tie to atheism at all – and they don’t.

    I will make the assumption that you don’t have as much of a problem with this as I do, because you identify (through your username) as a liberal. But that’s really no different – and no less intellectually honest – than the people who lobby for creationism in schools. In other words, they don’t really care if it’s a matter of opinion, because it’s THEIR opinion, and they’ll get behind anyone who promotes it.

    To put it more simply so that everyone understands… mixing atheism with anything else that it opinion-based is a bad idea, because it narrows the set of people that the atheism movement appeals to rather than broadens it. Jen’s “I got mine so fuck you” comment is evidentiary of the problem… who cares what her opinion is on social programs? What does it have to do with atheism? Why would there ever be any assumption that someone being an atheist would also be in favor of her chosen social program? Or in favor of big-government? They are unrelated and should be left so.

    That should be clear enough for everyone.

  22. Mike Ring says

    Indeed. One must have a pretty bleak picture of the world if you cannot imagine an alternative that does all of the good of the Catholic church, but without the child rape syndicate.
    I’m sorry. When it has been exposed that your organization has had in place official policy to protect child rapists in its organization for at least a century, there is only one acceptable option: Leave. I don’t care how good the organization is. You can always make another. I have not so bleak an outlook that every possible organization will protect child rapists (or have some equivalently vile property). I know we as humans can do better.
    After leaving, you should then call for the responsible people in the organization to leave, be prosecuted, and thrown in jail. Optionally, after that happens and only after that happens, it becomes acceptable to rejoin the organization. If the Catholic church was anything but a religious organization, then that’s what would have happened.

    “your organization” in reply to me… as an lifelong atheist, how is it “my” organization? It’s comical how people are apparently unable to avoid pigeonholing. Are all conservatives bible-thumping rednecks who drive jacked up pickupts with confederate flags on them? Are all liberals low-achievement college kids who don’t understand anything about life and just want a handout?

    To the greater point – the notion that if one disagrees with an aspect of an organization, they must leave – this is patently absurd. If one disagrees with the Iraq war, should one leave the USA? Thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of children had their bodies blown to bits or were maimed from our campaign there – so surely someone who disagrees with that campaign must leave the USA. Is it a binary choice? There is no choice to effect change from within? Or, more pointedly – someone who advocates change from within is wrong on an absolute scale of judgement and it’s not a matter of opinion? Nonsense. And I’m a militant atheist… but seeing Matt and Jen try to paint not just the organization but all of it’s members with the same brush was comical, especially on the heels of the prior caller.

  23. Mike Ring says

    The implied argument was: “If you are a libertarian, equivalently if you follow the non-aggression principle, then it would be logically inconsistent to pick and choose some things to take which violate your non-aggression principle, and reject the rest.” Of course, the truly correct option is to reject the non-aggression principle.
    In the second conversation, seemingly neither party adopts the non-aggression principle, which makes your statement a non-sequitir. Matt is not bound by the non-aggression principle. He can pick and choose.

    Also wrong, and yet another pigeonholing offense.

    First off, that was not the implied argument at all. Second, Libertarianism is not equivalent to non-aggression and vice versa. Reducing arguments to sets which include or exlude all, then pointing out one person who is included and therefore all are included is a weak debating tactic and (hopefully) fools nobody. There is nothing wrong with someone who feels it’s OK to pay for roads but not health care, nor is that person not a libertarian. Even if one wanted to press the point, the only achievement would be the person qualifying themselves as not-textbook libertarian, but isn’t that what you argued against above with the “textbook atheist” point, and suggested that textbook versions of ideologies don’t do very much? I’ll refrain from the “self owned” tag, but I can’t help being amused at the level of irony in this thread.

    Anyway, the more basic point is that atheism and politics are utterly different animals with very little intersection. I agree to the end of the earth that creationist kooks using government to either force their views on us all, or even to add credence to their views is wrong. But when we start talking about health care, taxes, whether someone should leave the USA or not and other such subjects – it’s clear the hosts are (way) out of their depth… and it’s better just not to go there than try to argue that matters of opinion are actually matters of fact.

    The last time someone tried to argue opinion as fact, his first name was Ray, his last name was Comfort, and he looked like a fool.

    Don’t be Ray Comfort (directed at Matt/Jen, mostly).

  24. Monocle Smile says

    Jen’s “I got mine so fuck you” comment is evidentiary of the problem… who cares what her opinion is on social programs? What does it have to do with atheism? Why would there ever be any assumption that someone being an atheist would also be in favor of her chosen social program? Or in favor of big-government? They are unrelated and should be left so

    But the Atheist Community of Austin has political stances. They don’t claim to speak for all atheists, and in fact they’re extremely clear about this. If you don’t like it, then stop watching. No one will miss you.

    Matt’s justification that everyone having health care is good for the group therefore each individual should pay for it, and anyone who disagrees is wrong, can be used to justify many things – like car insurance, a college education at a top institution, a house, a cell phone, internet access and anything else that is beneficial. That’s a weak argument

    The problem is that this is committing a category error. Health care isn’t just beneficial. It’s essential. We’re talking about something directly tied to survival and something that literally every citizen uses, will use, or needs to use, but doesn’t because they’re too poor. I hear this same stupid “hurr durr why don’t we just give everyone a big screen tv” argument over and over and over again, and this category error continues to propagate. You’re just plain wrong; health care is in a realm of its own.

    another thing that made me laugh was Matt telling the “libertarian” caller that he doesn’t get to pick and choose the line items he agrees with and if he doesn’t like it to work for change within the system. Then the very next caller he didn’t accept that the guy overall likes the church but not some aspects of it – it was an all or nothing situation in that guy’s case, yet he made exactly the opposite argument just minutes before

    The difference is that the Catholic church isn’t a participatory system. The members have no power to promote change from within. It’s a top-down authoritarian system. Also, you’re ignoring the very relevant part where it was explained that churches don’t need to open up their books, so you don’t even know what you’re supporting.

    The last time someone tried to argue opinion as fact, his first name was Ray, his last name was Comfort, and he looked like a fool.
    Don’t be Ray Comfort (directed at Matt/Jen, mostly)

    Wow. You had some interesting things to say, but this is troll behavior. You just HAD to be that guy.

  25. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Mike Ring

    is not beneficial to the atheist movement, because it alienates the people who identify with some or all of those other movements, even though they may have no tie to atheism at all – and they don’t.

    That’s a feature, not a bug.

    @Mike Ring in 22
    Talk about comically missing the point. “Your” was a figurative sense, and obviously referring to the Catholic church.

    @Mike Ring

    Second, Libertarianism is not equivalent to non-aggression and vice versa.

    Yes it is. Technically, you need to throw in property rights, and some optional degree of special pleading for police, army, and courts, but that’s basically libertarianism.

    This is an argument over definition. These are always the worst. However, I feel the need to engage on it here. This is the well-understood meaning of the term. This is the overwhelmingly common usage of the term. If it does not describe you, then you should not use it.

  26. says

    My irony meter exploded when Bobby, after trying to “take Matt to task” that he held a religiously dogmatic belief in “your brothers keeper” and completely ignoring Matt’s secular justification, asserted with righteous indignation that his “individual property rights” belief certainly isn’t religiously dogmatic.

  27. Tarzan says

    I have to admit that Matt and Jen lost the argument with Robbie. Matt -“We ARE the government” and “of COURSE the government can use force.” Isn’t this a contradiction for someone who believes in the non-aggression principal? There is a moral inconsistency that Matt doesn’t see for some reason. Unfortunately I felt like the caller was polite and consistent and Jen and Matt were name calling and making unsubstantiated assumptions about the caller. Matt asks Robbie for an example for the math where “the group benefits and the individual doesn’t?” Robbie gives the example of 9 people wanting what the 10th has… Then Matt asks “is that even fucking remotely an accurate model of a society?” Caller says it is just an example that was asked for -Matt says “no it isn’t” – What??

    Jen – “Why are we giving this guy a platform” and “is this call just a rant about healthcare?”. The guy was polite and intelligent and gave great arguments. Matt and Jen resorted to things like “shut up” and “He’s just another “Ive got mine and fuck you”” and “don’t call back”. That’s just plain rude and desperate. I love the show but it seams that when a caller passionately disagrees, the hosts stand their ground instead of ever considering what the caller is saying. The caller was right here.

    Claiming that Libertarians don’t have compassion is akin to saying Atheists have no morals. When you dig a little deeper you discover quite the opposite is true.

  28. Joseph LaLonde says

    The catholic callers voice sounded kinda familiar, he shouldn’t attempt to justify the RCC he just doesn’t have the capability to do it. Doesn’t even seem to know much about the church and what it does. Seemed like he only knew very little, any practicing or non practicing catholic would know a whole lot more what the church does.

  29. pac1261 . says

    @Mike Ring

    Creating a de facto larger definition that includes tenets of liberalism, libertarianism, conservitism or any other -ism is not beneficial to the atheist movement, because it alienates the people who identify with some or all of those other movements

    I have a few questions. Do you equate “beneficial to the atheist movement” only with maximizing the number of individuals within it? Can there be other beneficial activities? Might it possibly be beneficial to discuss worldviews that are consistent with atheism, such as skepticism or naturalism, even at the risk of annoying some who don’t, um, “identify with” those worldviews? Isn’t considering and discussing such topics an important part of the “atheist experience?”
     

    Suppose you are in agreement with an entire group of people on some issue, say gay marriage. If you find that someone in the group disagrees with you on an unrelated topic, say global warming, do you then feel “alienated” from the entire group? Or do you just think that’s a normal part of life? I, for one, have never met anyone – let alone a group – who agrees with me about everything.
     

    If there is such a thing as an “atheist movement”, is there a corresponding “theist movement?” Do you think it would be well advised to follow your principle, and to refrain from discussing any topic other than the existence of god? To put it mildly, this hasn’t happened in the past – do you think that’s likely to change soon? If they’re going to continue to talk about other stuff, why shouldn’t we? And if we can’t talk about science, philosophy, politics, or ethics, what would we talk about? The weather? The NBA draft? Oh, no, that might alienate someone.
     

    For the record, that phrase about “inalienable rights” occurs in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. And it’s followed by this sentence: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” Thomas Jefferson here makes it pretty clear that he considers rights to be possessed by individuals, and that government’s just purpose is to “secure” those rights – not to create them or grant them (since the individual already has them). Pardon the digression. I guess I’m just as guilty as Matt and Jen of straying from the One Question.
     
    It was not the hosts but the caller who brought up the issue of public health care, in the context of secular morality. It was presented not as a political but a moral issue. Given that, how do you think Matt and Jen should have avoided discussing it?

  30. SAWhowhatnow says

    @Mike Ring

    If I and all the rest of humanity decide that it is right that you should die and we then execute you, in what way did you have a right to life?

    If I and all the rest of humanity decide that it is right that you be considered property for the rest of your life, in what way would you have a right to freedom?

    If I and all the rest of humanity decide that you have no rights and we actively bar you from exercising any of them, in what sense do you have them?

    Rights are granted by society and protected by the government, that is a fact. You can use whatever dictionary definition of inalienable you want but you can’t redifine reality, no matter how hard you try or how much you stamp your feet and say that it isn’t so.

    By the by the constitution doesn’t mention anything about unalienable rights, only the Declaration of Independence does and it is not a legally binding contract upon which we base our government upon. Perhaps actually read the documents before making proclamations about them.

  31. Monocle Smile says

    @Tarzan

    Unfortunately I felt like the caller was polite and consistent and Jen and Matt were name calling and making unsubstantiated assumptions about the caller

    Were we listening to the same call? What name calling? What great arguments?

    Matt asks Robbie for an example for the math where “the group benefits and the individual doesn’t?” Robbie gives the example of 9 people wanting what the 10th has… Then Matt asks “is that even fucking remotely an accurate model of a society?” Caller says it is just an example that was asked for -Matt says “no it isn’t” – What??

    This is called “playing dumb.” Matt was clearly asking for a practical, relevant example and Robby decided to resort to something irrelevant.

    Claiming that Libertarians don’t have compassion is akin to saying Atheists have no morals. When you dig a little deeper you discover quite the opposite is true

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    Well, I think I discovered why you made that post.

  32. gshelley says

    “Claiming that Libertarians don’t have compassion is akin to saying Atheists have no morals. When you dig a little deeper you discover quite the opposite is true”
    there seem to be two types of Libertarians. The first, certainly are in the “I got mine” camp and have an essential religious obsession with “property rights” they don’t particularly care who it affects society , or who suffers for it. The second seem to be the sort that basically believe in magic and think if property rights are protected, somehow the people without the money magically become better off.

    I would have liked to see Matt clarify his point about not having inalienable rights. IIRC, he believes in objective morality, so I don’t know it is impossible that he could think that people have certain rights just by existing and that no one can legitimately take them away – A government could force people to pray or execute them, and they might have the power to do that, but not have the right to do so.
    Is it possible to say that it is immoral to kill someone just because you feel like it, but if society agrees, you have the right to do so?
    I suppose I’d also like to have know what the caller meant by inalienable rights – where do they come from, who decides what they are, are they still inalienable if they are taken away?

  33. says

    Claiming that Libertarians don’t have compassion

    LOL! While I’ll grant that Libertarians can have compassion for humanity, it is also true that having compassion isn’t a necessary requirement to be a Libertarian (and no, compassion for one’s own money, guns and weed isn’t compassion, its called “greed”). Wasn’t Bobby arguing that he doesn’t care about the health of poor people? Well, he may care in his thoughts, but he asserted that his compassion ends when comes to actually paying a small percent of his income to achieve the end of providing poor people with health care. Of course, Bobby will NEVER find himself in need of health care while poor, because of the “Bobby will never be poor” magic spell the great Randian Oracle bestowed upon him or something. By their fruits you will know them.

  34. says

    I don’t suppose we could have a moratorium on libertarianism on the show? It doesn’t really have anything to do with atheism.

    I don’t know. There are a number of relatively loud libertarian atheists (some of the “Atheist Leaders” and I run into these folks online) that I think it is part of the experience of atheists, and thus probably deserves at least some time on the show. Given that it’s been part of the show recently, maybe it is time for a break from libertarianism for a few weeks so the show doesn’t turn into “The Atheist Libertarian Debate Experience”.

  35. Robert, not Bob says

    I think people take the position of “inalienable rights” for politically practical reasons. If rights are granted by the state, then they can be taken away by the state, but if you can say rights are inherent… Kind of like how every time Muslims freak out over some perceived insult the authorities repeat the line “this has nothing to do with Islam”. If I were secretary of state, I’d say that too, and maybe save a few lives.

    Of course, in reality it hardly matters if you have rights in an abstract sense, if nobody honors them-the same way a law only matters if it’s enforced, for example the Establishment Clause in red states.

  36. says

    @Tarzan #29
    “Claiming that Libertarians don’t have compassion is akin to saying Atheists have no morals. When you dig a little deeper you discover quite the opposite is true.”

    I have to take exception to your last 2 sentences.

    Though – to be fair to you – I’d rather you justified them first.

  37. azhael says

    Jesus fucking christ, that Robbie guy was an arsehole…he thinks his rights are unalienable but his obligations are this thing that he refuses to have imposed on him by others. Fuck you Robbie…without the obligations, you get no benefits…

  38. says

    also – “Mike Ring”…

    So damn obtuse…
    You do realise that people can disagree with you while understanding your points?

    That the dictionary definitions of ‘inalienable’ and ‘atheist’ are…what they are…is not in dispute, pedantry is not a good way to go…
    Nobody is arguing with you about dictionary definitions – they’re questioning their applicability.

    Lets go with a current example – you’re captured by ISIS are are going to be be-headed on youtube – where is your inalienable right to life?

  39. Monocle Smile says

    @FCP
    Was that actually you on the show? If so, I’d like to give you a second chance, as I may have been slightly wrong about you. I didn’t get the “call in again” vibe from you.

  40. Dave B says

    The libertarian was way off when he said that the US has the most efficient healthcare system. It actually has the least efficient costing people over $8.5k per capita. Canada by comparison is at $4.5k which is still not great.

    This is the problem when you allow people to profit from others being hurt and requiring aid. You also don’t prevent illness because who wants to pay for a check up?

    I grabbed the stats from Wikipedia so take it with a grain of salt, it’s still going to be roughly accurate though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_(PPP)_per_capita

  41. lancefinney says

    @Mike Ring

    Sorry guys – stick to atheism topics, nobody wants to hear your viewpoints on government.

    Well, they’ve had two callers in two weeks who rang up specifically to talk to them about their viewpoints on government. So, you’re demonstrably wrong here.

  42. leeslonaker says

    Well, whether or not we have inalienable rights seems meaningless if our society does not enforce or protect those rights. If you can accept that as a true statement, then you can accept that rights are granted. You may argue that individuals are entitled certain rights from a moral stand point, but if those rights are not recognized and protected by their government they don’t really have them. Slavery is a good example, one of the founding principles of our government, that liberty was one of our inalienable rights, was not granted to all men for nearly a century after our country was founded. Unless you would care to submit the argument that one of those “liberties” was the right of one human being to own another. I doubt anyone here would make that argument. If you are denied a right, even if it it is one that you are entitled to, you don’t have it.

    While one the primary responsibilities of any government is the protection of individual freedoms, by necessity that responsibility must be weighed against the responsibility to provide for the common good. In a large society it is inevitable that situations will arise where the wants and needs of an individual will be in conflict with with the wants and needs of another individual. And many times situations arise where the government must infringe on an individuals rights in order to provide for the common welfare. One example is eminent domain, where someone may be forced to sell their property so that it may be used for a project that is deemed to serve the common good. How well our government serves us in that capacity is certainly debatable, but in my mind the need for government to serve in that capacity is not.
    Just because you pay taxes doesn’t mean your taxes should be used only for things that benefit you directly. It doesn’t work like that. Poverty is a problem that by necessity the government must address, for the benefit of society as a whole, same with health care. While I would agree that our government needs to do a much better job of fulfilling these responsibilities, it would be better for every one rich and poor, if the population as a whole is healthy, and hunger is non existent. The problem with poverty is not that there is not enough money, the problem of hunger is not that there is not enough food, and the problem with health care is not that we lack the means to provide for the less fortunate. We merely lack the political will to see it done.

    Finally, try not paying your taxes and see what happens with your property rights and your right to liberty. Both can be denied you if you fail to meet your obligations under the current tax code. In that regard the most cherished of our rights are in fact conditional. We do get to vote, we get to elect who will make and enforce our laws. And with that vote we can effect positive change. But we would be better served if we could look beyond our own special interest, and choose leaders who could act responsibly and with out fear of the special interest who are pouring money into elections knowing that they will receive a return on that investment that will profit their industry and wealth rather than the public good. Our biggest problem isn’t Obama Care, it’s that than we can’t seem to find a way to hang a ” NOT FOR SALE ” sign on our politicians. I’m not sure how we can do that, but a good start might be to affirm on no uncertain terms that corporations are NOT people, and have zero inalienable rights. Those belong to the people who work for them, as well to the people who own them. When the rights of the owners conflict with the rights of the employee, it is certainly with in the scope of the governments responsibility to step in and try to serve the common good.

    Our government being a secular government should endorse no gods or religion. Especially not Greed and Wealth.

    Rant complete. ( for now )

  43. corwyn says

    Matt asks Robbie for an example for the math where “the group benefits and the individual doesn’t?” Robbie gives the example of 9 people wanting what the 10th has… Then Matt asks “is that even fucking remotely an accurate model of a society?” Caller says it is just an example that was asked for

    Except that it isn’t. I agree that Matt didn’t give the best response to this, but that math shows that this is NOT a case of the group benefiting (without a lot more work). Let’s call the value of the thing X, 1 person has it, 9 don’t: Total group benefit = 1*X + 9*0 = 1X. After, Total group benefit = 1*0 + 9*(1/9X) = 1X
    The math DOES work for something like healthcare because part of each persons happiness depends on the continued existence and health of the others.

    The real irony is that once you flip the question around, EVERYONE expects other people to pay for THEIR healthcare. Virtually no one in the US expects to pay out of their own pocket for all the healthcare that might potentially need. They either have insurance, or will fail to be able to pay, in the worst case.

    Nor would anyone really WANT to live in a society where healthcare isn’t available at all to some people. Would you want to dump Ebola sufferers in the streets after they can no longer afford their treatments? Should they be going to work? Panhandling? Stealing? I didn’t think so. We are ALL better off if they receive appropriate care.

    How we are going to pay for all this is an interesting and perplexing question, particularly given advances in treatments, for which I really don’t have answer, but we apparently have to get some people past the ‘it benefits us all’ first.

  44. Monocle Smile says

    @FCP
    Okay, then can you answer my earlier musings? You didn’t seem to understand why Matt and Jen were even asking why spreading the gospel or building churches were good things. Just like your first call, you wanted to avoid all of the important, relevant, impactful stuff about the Catholic church, you just wanted to stick with “well, I love it (whatever that means), so it’s all sunshine and rainbows and you people are just being mean.”

    Do you even remotely understand the objections to your religion? Or do you just not care about all the negative effects because it happens to make you feel good?

  45. Christian FCP says

    Monocle, I’ll answer your questions. BTW how necessary is the word “remotely” in your last paragraph?

    My answer is the same I gave in my call: Because I believe that the gospel is the most important truth that people need to hear. That God loves them, and that their sins are forgiven. People need to hear about Christ and brought close to him. The sickness and disease in the church is fucked up indeed. All the more reason that me and others aren’t going to turn the church over to those people.

  46. Monocle Smile says

    @FCP

    It’s extremely necessary, given that you didn’t actually answer Matt and Jen’s queries and tap-danced in the last thread you were in.

    You didn’t actually give that answer in the call, dude. Ordinarily, I’d ask why you believe such nonsense, but not only have you already demonstrated that you don’t actually care about truth (you unwittingly admitted this in your call with Russell and Martin), but in the last thread, you told us that you didn’t actually know why you believed, but it was probably for good reasons. I don’t even know how to start addressing such a vacuous, baffling line of thought.

    The sickness and disease in the church is fucked up indeed. All the more reason that me and others aren’t going to turn the church over to those people

    You already have. And, as Matt and Jen pointed out, you continue to contribute to the problem. You tried to brag about how strongly you oppose institutionalized pedophilia, but that amounts to slacktivism and nothing more. I don’t even have to mention how you were unaware of the AIDS in Africa bit (or so ashamed of it that you tried to appear unaware). The Catholic Church is so deep in its own shit that the only possible moral course of action for a Catholic is to take real action to topple the papacy. Or leave the church. That’s honestly how I feel about the matter.

  47. Christian FCP says

    Also, not unaware of the situation in Africa or trying to appear that way. It was just a tough question. Props to the show.

  48. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 47
    I thought that might be the case. You did not have to hide it. Also I had suspected that you were Catholic form the previous thread and you never answered me. It seems like I got my answer. I wonder if you have been educating yourself in the agnostic atheism system since last time. It sees like you have not (I could be wrong).
    .
    Maybe you have been getting the idea that atheism and agnosticism as a movement is not a top down system where there are authorities and that we all have to agree with those authorities and each other? We are arguing pretty intently in here over issues so we obviously don’t all agree on certain things (political issues being a big one). Mike Ring (who is actually just adamah from the other boards) certainly makes that apparent.
    .
    I hope that you realized that you don’t have to rush to make a comparison or an answer like you did with O’Hare (which is a pretty weak argument to begin with) or that Popper was “throwing” people “under the bus” with his arguments (which he really wasn’t and it makes no difference). Maybe you have been getting the idea that agnosticism and atheism does not model itself after Catholicism or Xtianity? We don’t have authorities that speak for us. Though my own viewpoint does seem very similar to that of AronRa a lot of the time, but if he said something I disagreed with I would say so. Ideas thrive on their own merit, not who said them. It is a different idea with a different model, a different way of thinking. We don’t all agree on evolution, the big bang, liberal vs conservative politics, even life after death. Many an atheist does believe in the soul and life after death despite not knowing if there is a god.
    .
    You think that spreading the Gospels is a good thing, but you fail to comprehend WHY that might be. Have you read them? If we could get a time machine and go back and observe what was going on in the middle east at the time and the evidence demonstrably showed that the events described in those books never occurred, would that change your mind? Would the stories still be valuable and if so, why? What do they teach? Many a Buddhist that I know is just as deeply moral and kind and compassionate as those who claim to be Catholic and Xtian, some even more so. So it is not like the Gospels have a monopoly on morality.
    .
    Think long and hard about those questions. I asked myself those same questions over many years as a Catholic. And my breaking with Catholicism was more than just my disagreement with Bernard Law and the pedophilia issue, though that was a major contributor and a large part of what caused me to stop giving money to the church directly. (Give directly to charities, not through Catholicism, to avoid that).
    .
    And if you think building churches is such a great idea, in many areas of Europe where people left Xtianity, many of those churches have become coffee shops and art galleries. So you ought to think about why you thought that was such a great idea too.
    .
    If you want to be better prepared for the next calling, ask yourself why you are making the statement that you are making and expect to be asked why and have an answer. And expect to have an answer why you stated the answer why, and an answer why you made that statement of why, and an answer why you made that statement, etc.

  49. Christian FCP says

    Frank. I realize that it is not a top down system. I was just using that as a rhetorical device. Also, I said “the gospel” not “the gospels”. And yes, I have read the new testament several times. Those must be some pretty cool coffee shops. As far as being prepared, I liked how the call went. It sounded real. I mean, shit, Matt D. does this for a living and controls the discussion pretty well.

  50. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 49

    Because I believe that the gospel is the most important truth that people need to hear. That God loves them, and that their sins are forgiven. People need to hear about Christ and brought close to him.

    Something that you need to think about that I have and that I think others in here have, but not necessarily using those same words.
    .
    The word “truth” does not always indicate factual correctness in an empirically demonstrable state. I think that the phrase, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is true but is not necessarily factually correct in a way that can be measured. That does not mean that it is supernatural, just not the type of thing that can be measured empirically.
    .
    Would it matter to you if it could be demonstrated factually that the events in the Gospels did not occur as described? If we could take a time machine and actually go back and secretly record what was going on 2000 years ago and it was demonstrated that the events never occurred, would that have meaning to you?
    .
    And what does it mean that god loves you and that your sins are forgiven? Could you reconcile that in your ego if there was a possibility that god did not exist? (It sounds like you have been struggling with that, I know that i did for a long time). You might want to listen intently to some past episode of “The Thinking Atheist.” And not just a few recent episodes. Listen for hours upon hours to all of the past episodes of that show, you can find them on youtube, and AronRa and this show and Dogma Debate. And don’t try to reconcile why they are wrong, think about why they might be right. That’s what total immersion is about, submersing yourself in someone else’s model, not yours. It sounds like you have not been doing that.

  51. says

    @ FCP # 54

    Also, I said “the gospel” not “the gospels”. And yes, I have read the new testament several times.

    Ok, so hopefully your realize that there is more than one gospel and that there are some inherent contradictions within them. There are also some other gospels (biologies on the life of Jesus) that never made their way into the regular Bible but are commonly featured in things like the New Jerusalem translation and discussed by other theologians. And some of them contradict information found in the standard four gospels. As many people ask Matt, “have your read the Bible” and he commonly responds, “Yes, have you read anything else?”
    .
    Your call primarily focused on the pedophilia issues within the church. Those are not the only issues going on (as you seem to now be aware of the AIDS issues in Africa). Those are not the only reasons why people stay or not with Catholicism. If you read above there are a lot of other issues that went into my stating. A big one was that I DID start to read outside the Bible for verifiable evidence regarding Jesus. (The authors Carrier and Fitzgerald come into play, I started reading William lane Craig too and realized how full of shit he is). I also started reading The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible. I mention that on some previous boards here as I was asking about sources and I mentioned that I had already started reading that. I weighed a number of issues and when I finally realized that i felt that the good that the church was doing did not outweigh the harm that it was causing, and that I don’t really believe that Jesus was the person written about in the gospels (I think he did exist, just not that he is the person that is described), that decided it for me. No matter how good the church made me feel (which it stopped doing some time ago, I don;t feel bad, it just does not make me feel good), the good did not outweigh the bad.
    .
    I still celebrate Xmas as I think it is a lot of fun.

  52. Christian FCP says

    I already did resolve that with my ego. I was an atheist for years and was fine with it. I came back into the church slowly with the negative aspects in the forefront of my mind. I pop into an atheistic mode in my mind regularly, it is only reasonable to. I have submerged myself in other mind sets often. Thats why I’m a liberal. Also why I have been around the block on beliefs and philosophies etc. If you proved to me that the gospels were bunk, I would clearly have to rethink some things. What it means that God loves you is that this universe is a home, not just a place that you have been thrown into. (though it often seems that way). As Schiller says in the Ode to Joy : “Above the starry canopy a loving father must dwell” (ever wonder why Beethoven chose this for his magnum opus?) Sins forgiven means exactly that. It means you can accept and love what you are. All of you.

  53. says

    @FCP # 56
    Correction, your call did not focus on the pedophilia issues, that is what Matt and Jenn largely asked you about. I broaden the question, but the pedophilia issue is a big one and I don’t take that issue lightly.

  54. says

    @FCP # 57

    I already did resolve that with my ego. I was an atheist for years and was fine with it. I came back into the church slowly with the negative aspects in the forefront of my mind.

    .
    Well that provides some good evidence as to why many of us listening believe that you are struggling with these issues. It does not sound like you really resolved it though. It is good to know but the fact that you are not prepared to answer the questions of “why” you feel the way that you do indicates that you are not doing some serious skepticism. You need to think of the answers to those questions BEFORE you give them as answers and be prepared to answer the question of why.
    .

    I pop into an atheistic mode in my mind regularly, it is only reasonable to

    .
    So you are basically an agnostic theist? That is what I was for a long time, even as a believer. And even as an atheist I am an agnostic atheist (one might say that I am an agnostic that leans a little more to the atheist side who once leaned more to the theist side). What you are going through is actually pretty normal. And as far as immersing ourselves in religion as you mentioned in your call on the previous show, most of us did. Matt certainly did if you listen to some of the past shows intently.
    .

    What it means that God loves you is that this universe is a home, not just a place that you have been thrown into

    .
    Why can’t the universe be a home and be a place that you are thrown into (I don’t see that as a negative thing) and why can’t we just love ourselves, why do we have to imagine that a sentient being is above us to do that? (See what I mean about asking yourself “why” you gave that answer and being prepared to be asked the question of “why” you gave that answer?).

    .
    Sins forgiven means exactly that. It means you can accept and love what you are. All of you.

    Ok well some of us do that WITHOUT a belief in god, and the way that god is believed in by others PREVENTS us from doing that.
    .

    Also why I have been around the block on beliefs and philosophies etc. If you proved to me that the gospels were bunk, I would clearly have to rethink some things.

    .
    You really might want to start listening to Carrier and Fitzgerald then. They will make you re-think some things. They are not authorities on atheism or agnosticism, a lot of what they say is not new to individuals in the free thinking community, they just articulate it very well. They demonstrate a lot of reasons why why might come to the conclusion that the gospels were bunk.

  55. says

    @ FCP

    And some of them contradict information found in the standard four gospels.

    What am I saying? The 4 standard gospels contradict each other in many places.
    .
    You are also aware that the gospels where not written by the authors for whom they are named right? (Carrier and Fitzgerald are not the only theological scholars who shed doubt on the historicity of the gospels).

  56. Christian FCP says

    I wouldn’t say that I am an agnostic. Its more like when you see an optical illusion for just a second before your eyes get focused. And as I have said several times about why I believe, I believe that it is a complex issue that would have to go largely to psychology (for you as well as me). I also try to avoid personal reasons as the are hard (or impossible) to communicate. I believe that the truth of the gospel is necessary for us to fully participate in the mystery of life. God loves us, wants us to be here. Our full development goes far beyond the tree shrew model into something we can barely have awareness of. Our destiny as humans is embedded in the fabric of reality itself.

  57. Monocle Smile says

    If you proved to me that the gospels were bunk, I would clearly have to rethink some things

    Since you don’t even understand why you believe any of the bible, how would it be possible to disprove any of it to you? If you can’t even be convinced that truth is important, what’s the point?

    What it means that God loves you is that this universe is a home, not just a place that you have been thrown into

    This is false and displays extreme hubris. This frame of mind is dangerous and hinders progress at every turn. I mean, this kind of thinking is exactly what perpetuates climate change denial, and we had politicians READ BIBLE VERSES DURING A SESSION OF CONGRESS because of this idea.

    Sins forgiven means exactly that. It means you can accept and love what you are. All of you

    It is both laughable and dishonest for someone who identifies as Catholic to portray the concept of sin in this manner. There’s a shitload of baggage that comes with “forgiveness,” and it’s not forgiveness at all. Dude, you don’t even seem to understand the teachings of your own church.

    Also, for the record…the AIDS question isn’t tough. It’s very, very easy. One of the dangers of your religion is that it has convinced you otherwise. It has you pondering a trade-off between an invented religious principle and the welfare of millions of people as if any deliberation were necessary.

  58. toska says

    @FCP
    I am wondering, if institutionalized protection for child rapists is not enough for you to leave the RCC, is there a line they can cross that would make them sufficiently harmful so you would want to leave? If so, what kind of actions or policies would cross that line? Why does protection of child rapists NOT cross that line (in addition to the abuses in the Magdalene Laundry or the policies that further the spread of HIV in Africa)? In your position, I think the fact that the church spends millions of dollars on settlements for victims of rape and other abuses would be enough for me to not want to give them more money. If you are giving them money, chances are some of it has gone to those legal battles and settlements. You could instead give your money to a charity where you know it will be helping people.

  59. Monocle Smile says

    Its more like when you see an optical illusion for just a second before your eyes get focused

    That makes zero sense.

    I also try to avoid personal reasons as the are hard (or impossible) to communicate

    Uh, this should be a red flag, but of course, you don’t care about truth and thus you ignore it.

    I believe that the truth of the gospel is necessary for us to fully participate in the mystery of life. God loves us, wants us to be here. Our full development goes far beyond the tree shrew model into something we can barely have awareness of. Our destiny as humans is embedded in the fabric of reality itself

    I can’t even address this. You’re devolving into Insane Troll Logic.
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/InsaneTrollLogic
    Seriously, “tree shrew model?” “Destiny?” You seem to have an affinity for LSD; are you currently tripping?

  60. Christian FCP says

    Toska. The worse the element that appeared in the church, the more I would want to fight over it. Like a family. However the situation with the money is well put. I think that peoples increasing dissatisfaction with this will lead to changes.
    Monocle, I disagree. The church has to grapple with these questions from the position of influence, not from the cheap seats.

  61. says

    @ FCP # 63

    I believe that the truth of the gospel is necessary for us to fully participate in the mystery of life.

    .
    Whether the gospels are bunk is not about whether they are “true,” i.e.: whether they have moral and emotional meaning. I am asking about whether they are “factually correct,” as in if one could get a time machine and go back 2000 years and secretly film the middle east without them know ing, would one observe the events in the gospels occurring detail for detail as described? (Or at least close to what was described despite apparent contradictions).
    .
    Carrier and Fitzgerald (Friedmann is good too) talk a lot about that.
    .

    Our full development goes far beyond the tree shrew model into something we can barely have awareness of. Our destiny as humans is embedded in the fabric of reality itself.

    .
    Do you have hard proof of this as in physical evidence? And why does a sentient being have to be present for this to be so?

  62. Monocle Smile says

    I disagree. The church has to grapple with these questions from the position of influence, not from the cheap seats

    Uh…what?
    I don’t give a shit if you’re a mountain hermit or the goddamn Pope himself. The question “which is more important…a pointless religious stance on contraception that has no reason to even be considered, or the welfare of millions of Africans?” should be extraordinarily easy. It’s like you don’t fundamentally understand what’s being weighed. Or do you really care that little about human lives?

    Monocle… be nice

    I’m being so much nicer to you than I want to be. I’m making every effort not to insult your intelligence, so I’m coming up with other explanations for why you post batshit crazy nonsense, whether it’s drug influence or misunderstandings.

  63. toska says

    FCP #67

    The worse the element that appeared in the church, the more I would want to fight over it. Like a family.

    So, if your family member was a serial child rapist, and your other family members were covering it up and allowing that person to rape more children, you would still stay with the family? And give them money which they may choose to pay off their victims? Just as long as you criticize them for it at Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve taken a serious moral stand against them?
    ***
    But thanks for the answer. It sounds like “there is no line they can cross to make me leave” is accurate in your case.

  64. Christian FCP says

    Frank, no. I don’t have proof. Also, I wasn’t so much saying that there had to be a supreme being for this. I was just sayin.

  65. Christian FCP says

    Toska. “But thanks for the answer. It sounds like “there is no line they can cross to make me leave” is accurate in your case.” Pretty much. The church belongs to the body of christ, eventually we will be rid of this sickness. Is also how I feel about this country, the USA doing messed up shit would not make me leave.
    It’s MY country.

  66. says

    @ FCP
    Monocle is not a very nice person and while I disagree with that for the large part, sometimes you have to hurt people’s feelings to get them to think rationally. Many put emotional reasoning before that which is physically demonstrable.

    I think that peoples increasing dissatisfaction with this will lead to changes.

    .
    My dissatisfaction would be satiated by Bernard Law being forced to come back to the US (among other Bishops) and brought up on legal charges, among other things. The Pope demanding that Catholics appreciate and love homosexuals and support the legal recognition of marriage even if we do not support it religiously and that if conservative Catholics don;t like it they are free to leave would be another step. And the Pope recently claiming that mafia members are not real Catholics who have left Catholic faith should have been accompanied by excommunication.
    .
    The church would not make money the way it does though if it did those things because the church needs to remain popular. Of course, despite this many churches in Europe went bankrupt due to lack of members and lack of them giving money specifically because of issues like the pedophilia, which is why many of those churches became art galleries and coffee shops. If enough people like yourself left the church due to issues like this and the church refused to change its stance on pedophilia then that is exactly what would happen.
    .
    And I am sorry but a few people being dissatisfied and people like Galileo being apologized to hundreds of years later is not humility. Ongoing repeated day after day apologies begging for forgiveness from the people who you wronged RIGHT NOW and admitting that one is wrong, wrong, R-O-N-G wrong (so wrong it can’t even be spelled right) IN ADDITION TO the money given in settlements is what is needed. Going around to groups of people that you may have wronged over the years (like what is done in a 12 step program) is what is needed where the church is the person getting the 12 step treatment.
    .
    When you want forgiveness, you have to hurt for having done wrong and feel bad and guilty about it, really bad and really guilty in such a way as you STOP trying to find reasons why you were right outside of hypothetical considerations. Accepting the pain for having done wrong and acknowledging fault to others is a big part of acknowledging fault and taking responsibility for ones actions and it has to apply to the highest of authorities and the biggest of organizations.

  67. Christian FCP says

    Frank. “And I am sorry but a few people being dissatisfied and people like Galileo being apologized to hundreds of years later is not humility. Ongoing repeated day after day apologies begging for forgiveness from the people who you wronged RIGHT NOW and admitting that one is wrong, wrong, R-O-N-G wrong (so wrong it can’t even be spelled right) IN ADDITION TO the money given in settlements is what is needed. Going around to groups of people that you may have wronged over the years (like what is done in a 12 step program) is what is needed where the church is the person getting the 12 step treatment.
    .
    When you want forgiveness, you have to hurt for having done wrong and feel bad and guilty about it, really bad and really guilty in such a way as you STOP trying to find reasons why you were right outside of hypothetical considerations. Accepting the pain for having done wrong and acknowledging fault to others is a big part of acknowledging fault and taking responsibility for ones actions and it has to apply to the highest of authorities and the biggest of organizations.” Sounds pretty good to me

  68. Monocle Smile says

    @Frank

    I’m actually a pretty nice guy. C’mon, be fair…FCP managed to draw your ire in our last discussion with him.

    My goal is to make people who believe nonsense uncomfortable. Comfortable people don’t question themselves. Uncomfortable people sometimes stubbornly lash out on the surface, but underneath they’re off balance and start second-guessing their stance.

    It’s truly unfortunate, but sometimes I have to give the Reason You Suck speech because other methods of making people uncomfortable just aren’t working. In FCP’s case, my attempts to ask tough questions in Socratic method were brushed off. He responded, but didn’t answer.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheReasonYouSuckSpeech

  69. Monocle Smile says

    @Frank, 75

    *slow clap*

    @FCP

    Sounds pretty good to me

    …you DO realize that Catholicism teaches pretty much the opposite of Frank’s exposition, right? Didn’t think so.

  70. toska says

    FCP

    The church belongs to the body of christ, eventually we will be rid of this sickness.

    When has the church ever been “rid of this sickness?” There has not been a time when the church did not victimize and abuse people.
    ***
    Also, per my #72, this is also accurate for you?

    So, if your family member was a serial child rapist, and your other family members were covering it up and allowing that person to rape more children, you would still stay with the family? And give them money which they may choose to pay off their victims? Just as long as you criticize them for it at Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve taken a serious moral stand against them?

    You would consider this a moral way to deal with horrible family members?

  71. says

    @FCP # 77

    “But thanks for the answer. It sounds like “there is no line they can cross to make me leave” is accurate in your case.” Pretty much. The church belongs to the body of christ, eventually we will be rid of this sickness. Is also how I feel about this country, the USA doing messed up shit would not make me leave.

    Then what is the point of you determining if the gospels were bunk by reading Carrier or Fitzgerald or any other theological scholar? The church belongs to the body of Christ, even if christ did not exist? We will be rid of the sickness, even if there is no cure? Hell its like we have been talking to WLC who would believe in christ through the holy spirit despite any factual debunking.
    .
    I would not leave the USA either, it provides me with a job and has an economy and does a LOT of other things that I agree with despite doing some things I disagree with. i was going to write (before realizing who he was) to adam that leaving the church vs. leaving the country was a false equivocation. Leaving the church vs. leaving the USA were not the same thing to me though. I weighed more than that. And yes, the gospels were pretty much debunked to me, or at least enough doubt shed upon them that I came to the conclusion that Jesus is not the person written about within them. Would that matter to you though? Aren’t you basically saying that you would believe in him even if you had demonstrable proof that he didn’t exist? (Creationists do this when it comes to evolution BTW, they continue to believe that scripture is literal despite demonstrable evidence that many scripts of the Old Testament are not).
    .
    Maybe not, maybe that is just a straw man of your argument, but that sure as hell is what it sounds like.

  72. toska says

    FCP #81
    Ah, but you would give them money to bail themselves out of jail.
    ***
    But back in reality, how are you able, in your position in the RCC, to take any action to change their policies or stop them from hurting more people? The only power you have in the church is your money and your membership, and you are still showing your support with those. You can support the church all you want, but people who actually care about the victims of the church (past, present, and future), will continue to be disgusted by your support. You aren’t doing anything to stop the RCC from hurting children and AIDS victims, and you’re delusional if you think otherwise.

  73. says

    @ FCP # 81
    Ah but you can’t turn them into the police because the church is the one in power and has a lot of money and capacity to insulate themselves from the law (and has done so). The only thing that you have the power to do that might actually affect change is to stop giving them money and walk away, quit. I tried what you did for years and all I got was apologetics about people like Bernard Law, among others. I also got continuing hatred about homosexuals and women’s right. What you are basically doing from inside is nothing at all (or too little to be noticed).
    .
    @ MS # 78
    Thank you for the applause, and just to demonstrate that you were right about

    …you DO realize that Catholicism teaches pretty much the opposite of Frank’s exposition, right? Didn’t think so.

    to FCP I will do the exposition again but replace some key words and see if FCP gets it.
    .
    And I am sorry but a few people being dissatisfied within the Catholic church and people like Galileo being apologized to by the Catholic church hundreds of years later is not humility. Ongoing repeated day after day apologies by the Catholic church begging for forgiveness from the people, victims of pedophilia who the Catholic Church wronged RIGHT NOW and admitting that the Catholic church wrong, wrong, R-O-N-G wrong (so wrong it can’t even be spelled right) IN ADDITION TO the money given in settlements by the Catholic Church is what is needed. The Catholic Church Going around to groups of people, victims of pedophilia that the Catholic Church wronged over the years (like what is done in a 12 step program) is what is needed where the church is the person getting the 12 step treatment.
    .
    When The Catholic Church wants forgiveness, the Catholic Church has to hurt for having done wrong and feel bad and guilty about it, really bad and really guilty in such a way as the Catholic Church STOP trying to find reasons why the Catholic Church was right outside of hypothetical considerations. Accepting the pain for having done wrong and acknowledging fault to others is a big part of acknowledging fault and taking responsibility for the Catholic Church’s actions and it has to apply to the highest of authorities and the biggest of organizations, LIKE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!!!!
    .
    That means no apologetics, none.
    .
    Does that make sense?
    .
    @ MS
    Also,

    I’m actually a pretty nice guy. C’mon, be fair…FCP managed to draw your ire in our last discussion with him.

    Yeah he insulted science like a creationist despite not being one. Sometimes I think he mentally still is one despite not agreeing with them. He still uses their model sometimes. I can understand insult and emotion as a rhetorical device to those who cannot be rational first and emotional second, but I think you retort to aggression a bit too quickly. I will acknowledge that I am human and I can be angered too though.

  74. says

    @ FCP # 82
    Well you had best to read Carrier and Fitzgerald’s books and several others, in detail. You might discover a LOT about what theologians say about who actually wrote those gospels. “Who worte the Bible” is a good book as well that one can find on Amazon. Listen to AronRa too on youtube. he does not have a book (yet) but even in his stuff on creationism and many of his other talks he discusses how many of what is mentioned in the bible sounds like plagarizations of earlier writings, including much of the gospels. And you can fact check all of them.

  75. toska says

    Frank #84

    When The Catholic Church wants forgiveness, the Catholic Church has to hurt for having done wrong and feel bad and guilty about it, really bad and really guilty in such a way as the Catholic Church STOP trying to find reasons why the Catholic Church was right outside of hypothetical considerations. Accepting the pain for having done wrong and acknowledging fault to others is a big part of acknowledging fault and taking responsibility for the Catholic Church’s actions and it has to apply to the highest of authorities and the biggest of organizations, LIKE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!!!!

    Yes, and I’d be willing to bet that the Catholic Church will not do any of those things until it’s suffering from lack of money and/or members. Too bad there are so many people who think they can just make a few comments about child rape once a week while tithing and think that they have some sort of moral high ground.

  76. Artemis says

    I think that toska and Frank G. Turner miss a couple of very important point about what it is to be a Catholic and its implications. Although I am not a believer any more, I will step in to help clarify the issue.

    These are 2 of the standard teachings of the faith:

    1. There is nothing more important than your immortal soul. The whole purpose of your life here on earth is to go to heaven. This goal is many orders of magnitude more significant than anything else. Nothing else is even remotely as important. You should never risk your immortal soul for anything. If you could either save the lives of millions of people or save your immortal soul, the right thing to do, of course, is to save your immortal soul.

    2. Only members of the RCC can go to heaven.

    So, you see, it is perfectly logical. There is no reason, no way, anybody that believes the two points above will ever leave the RCC. The pope himself could be executing people on live TV 24/7, and they still wouldn’t leave. Makes perfect sense.

    This is part of what makes Christianity in general and the RCC in particular so scary to me.

  77. toska says

    Artemis
    Although I was never a member of the Catholic Church, I was aware of those two points. I see the logic behind it, but I don’t see how anyone can morally justify it. FCP called in to the show because he was offended that the hosts consider continued support of the RCC to be immoral, but he hasn’t shown how supporting the church is moral.
    ***
    And yeah, that’s why religion scares me also. I can’t imagine how people can consider scripture more important than actual people who are hurt by churches and their teachings. That’s initially why I left.

  78. says

    I have a problem with religion, and the catholic church particularly, which is demonstrated by a conversation I had with a colleague the other day.

    She is in her early 20’s, has recently completed a university course, found a job paying a good wage before she’d even taken her final exam, has a boyfriend in the military, is living at home with her mother and younger siblings – though she is currently in the process of buying a new-build house as she was able to save a considerable amount of money while studying and working weekends at the local hospital…

    She is quite vaguely catholic – it doesn’t generally come up, she doesn’t go to church, neither do her family, except for major holidays – but when the subject of heaven came up the other day she firmly stated that this world we inhabit is a living hell and if she thought that we didn’t go somewhere better when we died that she didn’t know how she’d get by…

    How can somebody, who is living in the best of possible times – and doing damn well, be so broken that they can believe that?

  79. toska says

    Simon,
    Christianity also preaches that all people are born sinful, even evil, so I guess if your view of humanity is that bleak, you’d think the world was a pretty grotesque place. It’s a very misanthropic view of things though.

  80. Christian FCP says

    Artemis “2. Only members of the RCC can go to heaven.” Um…. No. Maybe Frank can clarify this one for you.
    Frank, adding THE CATHOLIC CHURCH to those statements doesn’t make me agree with them less.
    Again, it’s my church, like my country, my family etc. You guys say that the influence I have as a catholic is insignificant, as if my leaving would be this earth shattering event. The church has sick elements in it, but it is also doing the greatest good. The arrogance and hubris that comes from knowing this has contributed to these elements becoming what they have. The unchecked power and the corruption which goes hand in hand with it are also important contributors. Sexuality is a blind spot for obvious reasons. This sums up the problem.

  81. Monocle Smile says

    Again, it’s my church, like my country, my family etc

    You don’t get that none of us agree with your absolute loyalty. We’d all leave any of those things if we thought they were sufficiently poisoned.

    The church has sick elements in it, but it is also doing the greatest good. The arrogance and hubris that comes from knowing this has contributed to these elements becoming what they have

    Oh, my aching ass. The Catholic Church has always been horrible, oppressive, and greedy. And it’s not because they have some “divine knowledge.” It’s because they don’t know anything and are covering their asses to stay in power. To paraphrase Matt: The Catholic church is a bunch of fat, lazy do-nothings who have been living on the public dole for centuries. It is an absolutely unnecessary institution that does far, FAR more harm than good and always has.

    You continue to prove exactly why we object so strongly to religion. You’re so gullible that you’ve been convinced that some fictitious afterlife is somehow worth any amount of human suffering and death. Even if this “afterlife” was somehow not imaginary, I still couldn’t agree with this. This is exactly why you and your kind must be stopped.

  82. toska says

    FCP

    You guys say that the influence I have as a catholic is insignificant, as if my leaving would be this earth shattering event.

    It would mean something about you and your morality. But no, it wouldn’t be earth shattering for the church unless a very large amount of catholics left. That is what needs to happen before they change. It’s just like a political party; they’ll alter their views if they think it will give them more money/votes/influence. Right now you are one of the many people effectively telling the RCC, “Yeah, do whatever you want. We’ll still give you money.”

  83. Artemis says

    Artemis “2. Only members of the RCC can go to heaven.” Um…. No. Maybe Frank can clarify this one for you.

    So then what is the problem Christian? You can leave and still achieve heaven, which is the most important goal after all. And you can put together a new church that brings the message of the gospel to all people everywhere, without the “sick elements”.

    Despite these sick elements, you continue to give them money and help recruit new members. The most you will do about it is discuss the issues and complain, within the church. If everybody behaves like that, the RCC will not have any substantial consequences for their bad behavior. What incentive do they have to change?

    Your country is different because you can vote. You can elect politicians that implement policies you can agree with. You can even run for office yourself. You have a way to influence the direction your country is going. How are you going to influence the RCC if you continue giving them money and help them recruit?

  84. Christian FCP says

    Monocle. “You don’t get that none of us agree with your absolute loyalty.” Um, I think
    I grok that bro. It’s pretty clear! Artemis, I’m not in the church to go to heaven. The church is like food or another essential, the idea that I am going to stop receiving the sacrament and worshiping there is pretty far fetched. Though I have heard of priests leading parishes away, that would be different. I could be influenced by a good priest, but would still probably never leave the church. Nope. I can’t claim that I am having any big influence, but I am still determined to find more ways to. If these criminals want to leave, that would be awesome, but I’m not. That would be letting them win.

  85. toska says

    FCP,

    If these criminals want to leave, that would be awesome, but I’m not. That would be letting them win.

    You are letting them win by giving them money to cover their legal expenses.

  86. Christian FCP says

    The legal system is our way of determining guilt or innocence. I don’t have problem with the church covering their legal expenses, they cover all the necessities of the priests.

  87. toska says

    Well, your money is going to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Settlements_and_bankruptcies_in_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases
    That’s billions of dollars in the US alone.
    ***
    You can spend your money to support whatever evil organization you want. Just don’t complain when people call you out for being a supporter of a child rape enabling organization. Frankly, it’s disgusting that you care so much more about participating in some rituals (and other churches have rituals too, by the way) than you care about children who are being raped while their abusers are protected. And yes, your money and support help legitimize the RCC, which helps give it the power to continue self righteously claim the high moral ground as children are raped behind closed doors. Me? I’ll give me money to organizations that help rape victims instead.

  88. Monocle Smile says

    @FCP

    This was already explained to you, but the church is good at avoiding prosecution and continuing its crimes because of their wealth, including the money you contribute.

    Do you ever listen to anything people say? For instance, you say you “get” that we don’t share your sycophantic loyalty, but then imply it when trying to explain why you’ll never leave the church…as if trying to use family or country as analogies mean the same thing to us as they do to you. They don’t.

    I’m not in the church to go to heaven. The church is like food or another essential, the idea that I am going to stop receiving the sacrament and worshiping there is pretty far fetched

    If it were anything other than religion, this would be labeled properly as “Stockholm Syndrome.”

  89. toska says

    Monocle Smile:

    This was already explained to you, but the church is good at avoiding prosecution and continuing its crimes because of their wealth, including the money you contribute.

    Yes, all of those billions they are paying are going to settlements. That means they are paying off victims to AVOID court. They are not being judged on their guilt or innocence in a court of law. It takes a willfully ignorant person to believe that their money is going to any kind of justice.
    And Christian FCP, this makes me very sad that you are the one informing other catholics about this issue to try to change it. You don’t even pay attention or understand what is going on and how the RCC uses their power and money to cheat the justice system and allow more children to be raped. It really doesn’t seem like you take it that seriously. How many raping priests have been named and defrocked and jailed?

  90. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 91

    Artemis “2. Only members of the RCC can go to heaven.” Um…. No. Maybe Frank can clarify this one for you.

    Actually he is right Christian, that was once taught in the Catholic church. They are more lax about it now and will try to play down that teaching, but if you were to really press a priest on that and not let up until you got an honest answer, you would hear that. If you don’t, it is a lie or withholding information, which can be just as bad.
    .

    Frank, adding THE CATHOLIC CHURCH to those statements doesn’t make me agree with them less.

    The point is, that Catholic church is NOT doing those things, but telling others to do so. It is hypocritical and they are not practicing what they preach. They are essentially getting away with it by paying people off. In a way, they are still selling indulgences, their own. And to do so to spread the gospels and build churches is no great moral achievement. The gospels are a lie or at least not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And those churches don’t do a whole lot.
    .

    You guys say that the influence I have as a catholic is insignificant, as if my leaving would be this earth shattering event.

    I stopped giving them money before I left, for concern that unless they opened their books for public viewing, that any of my contribution could go to them paying billions to not have to go to court for child rape. That’s why I gave directly to the charities (and I would not give to a “Catholic Charity” either). I did start to look into scripture though. And it was after I started coming on here so many months ago that I started listening to lecture on youtube and reading books that showed that the gospels were basically bunk. I already knew that there was not scientific evidence for the soul and conciousness. And I used to have views regarding the universe having a sentience of its own (pantheism essentially). I still believe that a god is possible, but I finally broke down and acknowledged that there is no real evidence for it and in a court of law, the default position is not guilty.
    .
    I realized that as a single person walking away would not do much, I did it more for me than for them. However, tons of people in Europe HAD walked away, hence why some of those churches became art galleries and coffee shops. If enough people do that, like you FCP, the church will have to change its position if it wants to keep members. As it stands it has plenty of conservatives who are willing to overlook the child rape as long as the Catholic church pushes hatred of homosexuals who will give the Catholic church money. The way we see it FCP, you approve of both and are willing to be an apologist for them (and don’t pretend like the Catholic church does not promote hatred of gays). Thats why you say that you agree with my little rant, but you really don’t. You are willing to make excuses and be just as hypocritical because you claim that they are doing more good then harm. On a deeper level, I think you know that they are not which is why you call and struggle so much.
    .
    I did realize though, if the Catholic church was really a place of a religious moral high ground, loss of numbers, paying off legal authorities to allow for child rape, and pandering to conservatives to promote restriction of women’s reproductive rights and hatred of gays would not be there concern. They would be more than willing to loose money and go bankrupt in the name of what was right if they took the moral high ground. They don’t because they are not really a religion of moral high ground, they just do a good job of making it look that way to people like you FCP. They are really just a political organization with some good well educated people within them. I am not saying what I learned from those individual is not valuable, but I don’t approve of their actions and behavior, so I left.
    .
    Take your time reading Carrier and Fitzgerald though, but don’t give them a tithing. Not enough goes to charities (which should basically be all of it) and too much goes to paying of debts due to child rape. If even one penny of what is collected is used to pay off child rape, then you basically agree with and approve of it. Think about that every time you call the show, you approve of child rape. You may leave yet when you realize that the gospels are bunk.

  91. says

    @ MS # 99

    If it were anything other than religion, this would be labeled properly as “Stockholm Syndrome.”

    No it is still Stockholm Syndrome, even within religion. I would not even be surprised if FCP here was one of the raped kids.
    .
    @ FCP

    I don’t have problem with the church covering their legal expenses, they cover all the necessities of the priests.

    Which basically means that you approve of them paying to keep child raping priests out of jail rather than facing the charges. So as long as you give money to the church, you indirectly approve of child rape. Which is exactly what Matt and Jenn accused you of on the show. You can’t disapprove of child rape and still give money to the Catholic Church. I figured that out BEFORE I left. You can still be a believer and stop giving money to the church though, and if anyone asks you why you stopped you give that exact answer, I did.

  92. Christian FCP says

    Toska. I’m happy if any of my money is going to the victims. Isn’t that what is implied here? Also, I haven’t complained about anything. Also, they are not merely “rituals”. The extent that I inform other catholics of these issues is by throwing them in their faces in the harshest way. There are definitely people who have heard about aspects of this scandal from me for the first time.

  93. Christian FCP says

    The Church has taught salvation for other religions for a looong time now Frank. Anyway, the obvious implication was that that is the situation now.Which it definitely, clearly, unambiguously isn’t.

  94. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Artemis

    1. There is nothing more important than your immortal soul. The whole purpose of your life here on earth is to go to heaven. This goal is many orders of magnitude more significant than anything else. Nothing else is even remotely as important. You should never risk your immortal soul for anything. If you could either save the lives of millions of people or save your immortal soul, the right thing to do, of course, is to save your immortal soul.

    Aka be a selfish prick. Aka the moral teaching is that if one has to choose between 1- sucking up to god and helping people on Earth rape children, and 2- not helping people rape children, then Catholic answer is #1.

    So, you see, it is perfectly logical. There is no reason, no way, anybody that believes the two points above will ever leave the RCC. The pope himself could be executing people on live TV 24/7, and they still wouldn’t leave. Makes perfect sense.

    Only if people are nakedly self-serving at the cost of their fellow human being. Fight back! If the Roman Catholic god exists, we should destroy it, like the heroes of Stargate SG-1. Nuke god! The answer is to be moral, and to reject and rebel against the evil Catholic church and evil (imaginary) Catholic god.

    @Christian FCP
    So, your position is that you would sell out your fellow human beings, aid in their rape, just so you can be rewarded in the afterlife? If you answer yes, then you are a miserable excuse of a human being.

    This is not a question if they’re your family. This is a question of whether you materially support them, and wheter you publicly advocate for their imprisonment. If members of my own family turned out to be unrepentant repeated child rapists, they would stil be my family, but I would do my best to ensure that they stay in prison for a long, long time. When asked publicly if I was a member of that family, I would say yes, but I think they should go to prison, and no one should provide material support to them.

    I grok that bro. It’s pretty clear! Artemis, I’m not in the church to go to heaven. The church is like food or another essential, the idea that I am going to stop receiving the sacrament and worshiping there is pretty far fetched.

    Is it necessary to support an organization with a systematic child rape policy to eat? Last I checked, there are other ways to get food. Plenty of people live without your “religious good”, and plenty of other people get it without supporting an organization that systematically rapes children.

  95. toska says

    FCP,
    You are paying for them to avoid justice for child rape and for aiding child rape. No one is facing punishment for these crimes. That is the whole problem. And you don’t seem to understand that at all, which is why it’s so disheartening that you are the “informed” one spreading the news to other catholics.

  96. Christian FCP says

    Frank. Was not referring to the payoffs. However, you make a good case for using the cessation of donations as an effective protest. With my big mouth, I could make that effective indeed.

  97. Christian FCP says

    Enlightenment Liberal. Not going to mass to get into heaven. And yes, I absolutely am in favor of their imprisonment. Good luck with nuking God. But if you can nuke him, he probably was an immposter anyway.

  98. says

    This is like the second time in three weeks a great deal of non-religious-centric discussion was monopolized by a libertarian nutjob. Not that I’m complaining (it’s okay to talk about other things considering all the religious arguments have pretty much been exhausted), but what gives? Where are these people coming from? Did AXP get traction on some Sovereign Citizen forums or something?

  99. Christian FCP says

    I almost always give to the black bag. It is the other donation and is for St. Vincent de Paul society and other poverty outreach. Having been privy to church finances thru relatives and friends I am confident of where it is going.

  100. toska says

    FCP,
    No one is giving to the “fund to avoid justice for child rape,” but they’ve managed to find billions of dollars to do just that. Billions. The money is coming from church members, and I’m sure most of them think it’s going to charitable causes. But no, I’m sure that money all comes from other unsuspecting tithers, not you.

  101. Christian FCP says

    Toska. Well, the Vatican has billions anyway. But to the extent that it is coming from parishes It’s coming out of the standard weekly donation. That is what most people give to anyway.

  102. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 104

    The Church has taught salvation for other religions for a looong time now Frank. Anyway, the obvious implication was that that is the situation now.Which it definitely, clearly, unambiguously isn’t.

    I don’t know about his obvious implication. My obvious implication is that individuals would try to hide it rather than coming right out and admitting it openly. I got that when I tried to ask as a Catholic, people trying to hide things rather than full disclosure. Incomplete disclosure may not be a lie, but it is dishonest and I agree with George Carlin, there should be a commandment that says “thou shalt not be dishonest” to cover a broad base. I don;t think that was desired by religious leaders who were interested in the politics of power and knew that dishonesty was and is part of that.
    .

    Frank. Was not referring to the payoffs. However, you make a good case for using the cessation of donations as an effective protest. With my big mouth, I could make that effective indeed.

    There are plenty of secular organizations that do charitable work whom it is easy to give to. You could give to one of them instead of the black bag that you mentioned. If there is absolutely no affiliation with the Catholic Church whatsoever, then there is no risk of the funneling of money for that kind of corruption, at least not to child rape funds.
    .
    And FYI, other Catholics could hear about these scandals from you and have them thrown in their faces if you were an atheist, even if you were one that still went to church and hid what you really were. Listen to some of the previous shows and listen to the archives of other affiliated shows like The Thinking Atheist and Dogma Debate and you will hear about LOTS of those, individuals who realized that they were agnostics and atheists who still went through the motions for their family but who in practice did nothing to support the church, even discouraging others from attending. That may be what you become after realizing that the gospels are basically bunk (maybe not in full, but there is a LOT of doubt about them).
    .
    Give it time bro, you may be on your way.

  103. toska says

    The settlements seem to be coming out of the pocket of the dioceses, not the Vatican. Seriously, actually read up on the issue. You have almost no idea what is going on.

  104. Christian FCP says

    Frank. I have typically donated time and energy to social functions as well as bringing food etc.(I’m not exactly loaded). However, I am anything but going thru the motions. I went thru the family thing long ago when I took great pride in saying that I didn’t believe like them. It was actually pretty low stress. People in my family tend to do what the hell they want. But I will continue to examine the ongoing evolving discussion. I went thru agnosticism and into atheism via Carl Sagan and Bertrand Russell. I still respect the force of many of those arguments. If I were to cross back over, I expect it would need to be something different than what I have seen around in more recent years.

  105. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Good luck with nuking God.

    You say you can’t nuke god? That’s what a goa’uld or a follower of a goa’uld would say.

    But if you can nuke him, he probably was an immposter anyway.

    So, let’s try to nuke it to be sure, and in the meantime tell it to piss off. … For some reason, I don’t think you would agree.

    You were also unclear in your position, so I ask: The proper application of the analogy is thus: Do not support and enable your family to commit heinous crimes. Do not condone their behavior in the public space. Rather, the proper thing to do is imprisonment them, and to condemn their behavior.

    When someone asks if you are religious or a catholic, do you answer “Yes I am a Catholic”? Because that is implicitly condoning their behavior. You are responsible for supporting and enabling their behavior.

  106. toska says

    FCP,
    I hope someday you get to meet a victim of the church’s child rape enabling policies, and then try to explain to them why you still give support and money to the church after hearing about cases like theirs because “the church is your family” and you really like the sacraments, and besides some of the victims get money in the settlements the church uses to buy off justice. These are real people who have been horribly abused. Maybe if you have to say all of your excuses while you look one of them in the eye, you’ll see how flippant you are about child rape.

  107. Christian FCP says

    Lots of good points coming from you guys this time around. I have probably gotten more out of this discussion than any of my various previous interactions with the non-believing community.

  108. Christian FCP says

    “When someone asks if you are religious or a catholic, do you answer “Yes I am a Catholic”? Because that is implicitly condoning their behavior. You are responsible for supporting and enabling their behavior.” Nope, That’s a leap.

  109. Monocle Smile says

    Nope, That’s a leap.

    No. FCP. It isn’t a leap. You brag about how loudly you oppose child rape, and yet here on the blog you’ve consistently acted dismissive, as if it pales in comparison to some imaginary “good” done by the Catholic Church. It’s the same borderline sociopathic response you had to the AIDS question, which you avoided like the plague.

    It’s just like toska said. You really have no idea what’s going on. Sure, you hear about it, but the child rape and the countless AIDS deaths just don’t seem real to you.

  110. toska says

    FCP,
    Please read about some of the cases. In my area, a Catholic mission was used by priests to rape at least dozens (though the total amount of victims is unknown) of Native American children. Here is a link to get you started: http://missoulian.com/news/local/judge-lawsuit-alleging-abuse-at-st-ignatius-catholic-school-can/article_eeead160-b92d-11e3-a6b5-0019bb2963f4.html
    What probably happened in this case is that priests who were caught raping children in other areas were moved here because the church knew quite well that the Native Americans would have less resources to get justice, so they would be less likely to face consequences. So it went on for decades. The victim of this mission that I talked to is not a supporter of the RCC. In fact, he said he’d like to see that mission burnt to the ground. Tell people like him how much more the sacraments mean to you than their pain.

  111. Frank G. Turner says

    FCP
    You never really became an atheist or agnostic. Your model for the world and how it works did not change. You were and still are thinking like someone who was indoctrinated and effectively brainwashed. If you were not you would easily have asked yourself WHY you thought it was a good idea to spread the gospels. You don’t really think like a skeptic. If you were you would have looked more deeply into the child rape cases to get the facts straight before making some of the arguments that you did.
    .
    You are more skeptical than most, but you really don’t think all that deeply at times man. At least you are struggling though and doing some looking into things. A willingness to read Carrier is a nice place to be in for now. You may not be able to justify your past, just live with having made wrong decisions and moving on. I was once where you were though.

  112. corwyn says

    @FCP

    Because I believe that the gospel is the most important truth that people need to hear. That God loves them, and that their sins are forgiven. People need to hear about Christ and brought close to him.

    That is a reason for supporting SOME christian church. It is NOT a reason for supporting the Roman Catholic Church. You are paying money to promote pedophiliac priests when you could achieve your stated goal without doing so. That moves you to DIRECTLY promoting those actions. You are now seen to be MORE culpable than before you started talking.

  113. Christian FCP says

    Frank. “You never really became an atheist or agnostic.” Only by the dictionary definitions of the words. This is where we lose the ability to communicate, when we can’t agree on the meanings of the words.

  114. Christian FCP says

    Simon Firth. I did not respond to your previous statement about your friend because it seemed so specific to her and did not sound like it applied to me.

  115. Monocle Smile says

    @FCP

    So…you’re just going to go ahead and ignore everything toska, Frank, and I have said and just carry on business as usual?

    I can’t for the life of me understand your thought processes.

  116. Christian FCP says

    Is that what I’m doing, Monocle? Ignoring you guys? Is that what this is called? Gimme a break.

  117. Robert, not Bob says

    Christian FCP @125: Yeah, it does look like the “you were never really a Christian” line. You should understand, “I used to be an atheist” is #2 evangelical preacher lie that we hear all the time (#1 is “I was a drug addict”). Unfortunately it makes people suspicious.

  118. Christian FCP says

    Robert. I am from Austin. I’ve been to several tapings of TAE and went on one of the bat cruises. When I was a kid I used to make light of church DURING church(and I have no shame or guilt about that, I mean, how could you not?). I used to go up to the west campus at UT and give the preachers hell. I broke Cliff Knechtle down so bad one day that he started yelling and made a point of apologizing to me the next day. When I was a teenager, my father lost it on me and handed me a crucifix and told me “If there is no God, break this in half and throw it in the toilette! I dare you!” When I went to oblige him he jerked it away and it fell and broke. “look what you did!” he shouted(LOL). I understand not believing in tribal superstitions about supernatural beings. I understand being skeptical of personal experiences when people have been shown to be capable of honestly believing in every possible absurd thing and experiencing every possible absurdity. I’m just sitting here breathing air like you. But, to be honest, I’m a believer. People can be suspicious all they want, but the only way to really carry on a conversation is to take people at their word. It doesn’t mean that you believe them, but you use what they say as the pretext for the ongoing discussion. That’s what Matt D. does most of the time. Otherwise the discussion just spins off into no mans land.

  119. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 130
    Do you remember how you said that you came back to the Catholic Church with the negative ideas, such as child rape, at the forefront of your mind? The thing is, as someone who may have gone through an atheistic phase, your thought processes don’t seem to have really changed. You are still applying the same models that are taught in Catholic Churches. You claim that you were using the top down authority as a rhetorical device, but it sounded pretty genuine to us and it sounded pretty genuine on the show.
    .
    It also sounded pretty genuine on the show when you talked about the good idea of “spreading the gospels” and never once really considered asking yourself WHY that would be a good idea. A good skeptic realizes that people are going to ask questions like this and that you need to ask yourself before others do. Yes you can’t think of everything and you sometimes have to say “I don’t know” but when you do then you keep the fact that you did not know in the front of your mind and you try to search deeper to find an answer. You DON’T try to come up with a quick answer (the O’Hare issue in the previous board) or make something up. You look for evidence, physical evidence for an answer. AND you don’t make the conclusion of how you want the question answered BEFORE you look at the evidence as it will bias what evidence you are willing to look at (steele on one of the previous boards does that and he has a very limited understanding of science as he seems to think science works that way and it doesn’t). YOu also consider ALL of the evidence BEFORE you make a conclusion, so there is no, “This is what I believe right now.”
    .
    The fact that you did not look into or have doubts about the factual correctness of the gospels before now indicates that you are still not in a skeptical mind set. Even if you went through an atheist phase it sounds like you were still not in a skeptical mind set.
    .
    When I first read the Bible, not only the old testament but also the new, I already had serious doubts about its factual correctness. Even as a believer I was VERY opened to the possibility that the gospels and many other parts of the Bible were bunk. Hence why I realized that I was basically an “agnostic theist” (someone who acknowledges that they do not know if there is a god but in the absence of evidence defaults to a belief that there is one, just to clarify on some definitions here). It sounds like you were not only not opened to that, but that you never even considered it until listening to TAE. Many people started realizing there doubts about their religious background BEFORE they started watching TAE as they already had a skeptical mind set. YOu sound like you are learning to have a skeptical mind set because you started listening to TAE.
    .
    I don’t want to invoke the NO True Scotsman fallacy with no true atheist, but in response to Robert not Bob on 131, do realize that a lot of evangelical preachers who claim to have been atheists probably never learned to think skeptically. That is what I am getting at with you, you don’t seem to naturally think skeptically. You should be thinking long and hard about whether those gospels are really factually correct or not and maybe you should not hold a position of them being true before you read Carrier and Fitzgerald. A good mindset that would demonstrate a healthy skepticism would be adopting the viewpoint that you “don’t know” if the gospels are factually correct and that even if you are accepting a default position of them being factual, that you are open to them not being factual. Hence why you are listening to / reading Carrier. By maintaining a healthy “I don’t know” position you won’t ignore evidence that demonstrates that the gospels may be false when you read Carrier or Fitzgerald.
    .
    If you can’t adopt that “I don’t know” position (even if you default to one side or the other) then you will ignore information that leads to an uncomfortable conclusion and won’t follow the evidence where it leads. ON an unconcious level you will only read that which you find comfortable, you will quote mine and ignore information that leads to a conclusion that you don’t like. Healthy skeptics don’t ignore facts that lead to conclusions that they don’t like, they consider ALL information.
    .
    Does that all make sense?

  120. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 132

    I understand being skeptical of personal experiences when people have been shown to be capable of honestly believing in every possible absurd thing and experiencing every possible absurdity

    You say that you understand skepticism, but you don’t behave like you do. If you behaved like you did understand skepticism, it would not have surprised you to be asked why you believe that spreading the gospels is a good idea. YOur actions speak louder than your words.

  121. Christian FCP says

    Yes, Frank. It makes sense. ” you talked about the good idea of “spreading the gospels” and never once really considered asking yourself WHY that would be a good idea.” Frank, Frank, Frank, Frank. Yea. I never once considered it. Never. Ever. How perceptive of you. You say: “You say that you understand skepticism, but you don’t behave like you do.” I think it would be more accurate to say “You say that you understand skepticism, but you don’t behave like I would expect someone to if they did understand it” A dash of humility Frank. Just a sprinkle.

  122. Monocle Smile says

    @FCP

    A child-rape-enabling Catholic is the last person to be lecturing others about humility. And before you pull out the “well, I shout a lot about it,” you should probably google Captain Renault. Or just watch Casablanca. Loud words mean jack shit.

    Frank’s right. You say you believe, but you can’t even answer questions about why you believe. You get whiny, defensive, and spin off into tangents about psychology. You know what a skeptic does? A skeptic thinks “maybe the reason I can’t answer why I believe X is because I HAVE NO REASON to believe X.” That’s the logical conclusion.

  123. Christian FCP says

    Frank. You amaze me. Do you honestly think that I don’t expect someone like Matt D. to question the spreading of the gospel? This has nothing to do with skepticism. Even an extremely un-skeptical type of person would expect an atheist to question a message about a son-of-god dying as a surrogate sacrifice. I wonder how your mind works. If I took my time to answer, it doesn’t mean I was surprised. But if I was surprised, it was most likely that I was not anticipating the turns we were taking.

  124. Christian FCP says

    Ok Monocle, we get it. As you have said “I have to insult people to get their attention”. And anyone who has paid attention to these discussions knows that I said “I don’t know why I believe” in order to give precedence to sociological and psychological explanations for why people believe. Nice try. You are running out of material and repeating yourself.

  125. NorskVind says

    @135: What a strange response to a sincere question. Frank wasn’t insulting you, he was trying to understand why you sounded like you had never considered that spreading the gospel is a good thing when on your call on the show. Every time someone has asked this question you have deflected it instead of answering it.

  126. Frank G. Turner says

    @FCP # 138
    The reason he is repeating himself is because you are not getting the point. As a teacher I know that one has to repeat oneself, sometimes to put ideas in context. That is actually pretty normal.
    .
    # 135
    Yes you have that down pretty well, you don’t behave like I would expect someone to behave if they understood skepticism. Maybe you do, I can acknowledge the possibility that you do and that I am misreading you. YOu have done it repeatedly though (as indicated by the last message board)so even if you do I have an awful lot of factual information that indicates a strong possibility that you don’t. For all intents and purposes, that means that you don’t at least for now. Fell free to do some things that would convince me that you do, I am opened to that. You seem to imply that you never asked yourself why spreading the gospels was a good idea and you act surprised when asked that question. I made a conclusion, that conclusion is tentative and can change.
    .
    Have you considered it? Is that why you are reading Carrier? I considered the strong possibility that the gospels were bunk the first time I read them and I considered both the possibility that discussing and spreading them was good and why it was bad. What about you? Take your time answering I really want to know.
    .
    # 137
    Talk about missing the point. NO I most certainly expect Matt D. To question why the spreading of the gospels is a good idea. I might also expect him to come up with ideas why it is and ideas why it isn’t and give me what he would have to observe to support the idea that spreading them was good and what he has observed to support the idea that spreading them was bad. And I might even expect him to give a few examples when he actually witnessed some of those observations actually happening. If you listen to that it sort of sounds like the scientific method, which IS linked very strongly to skepticism and DOES have to do with it.
    .
    The point i was making is that whatt appears to have happened FCP is that you never challenged or questioned YOURSELF about why spreading the gospels was a good idea and why it would not be. If you are going to profess belief in something I would expect you to have asked YOURSELF why you believe that way if you were a healthy skeptic. And it does not sound like you currently are skeptical about that idea either. Why do you thinking spreading the gospels is good and why do you think spreading them might be bad, what would you have to observe to coime to either conclusion? WHat have you observed that supports either viewpoint?

  127. Robert, not Bob says

    Christian, I don’t say you weren’t an atheist. How should I know that? I was only trying to explain why atheists might doubt it. I try to avoid reading the minds of strangers (without evidence: Kirk Cameron lies).

  128. corwyn says

    @ Frank 133:

    Does that all make sense?

    No.

    Hence why I realized that I was basically an “agnostic theist” (someone who acknowledges that they do not know if there is a god but in the absence of evidence defaults to a belief that there is one, just to clarify on some definitions here).

    That isn’t the definition of ‘agnostic theist’, that is the definition of ‘delusional person’. We actually know what the null hypothesis should be for any question of existence. And that is non-existence. We apply this to all other subjects. Here is proof of that: Proposition A: X exists. Proposition B: Y exists. Proposition C: Z exists. One of X,Y,Z is some God, One of X,Y,Z is pixies. Which propositions do you believe? If you think you need more information, you are agreeing that the default for any proposition of existence, can NOT be belief.

    [An agnostic theist is either, depending on definitions, someone who beleives in a god, but doesn’t know there is one; or believes in a god, but doesn’t think a god is knowable. The latter being the older definition]

    YOu also consider ALL of the evidence BEFORE you make a conclusion, so there is no, “This is what I believe right now.”

    Quite incorrect. There is ONLY “This is what I believe right now” (And here is the evidence that got me there). Bayes rule provides the epistemology which allows beliefs to be updated when encountering new evidence. It also shows that no conclusion can every be 100% (or 0%), and that there is never going to be a time when one has all the evidence. Bayes rule also encompasses every other valid epistemology.

  129. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwynn # 142

    [An agnostic theist is either, depending on definitions, someone who beleives in a god, but doesn’t know there is one; or believes in a god, but doesn’t think a god is knowable. The latter being the older definition]

    Yes I concur, pardon my poor wording, I stand corrected.
    .
    As for,

    Quite incorrect. There is ONLY “This is what I believe right now” (And here is the evidence that got me there).

    I was speaking in the context that FCP was speaking, not in general. In general I do agree with you but in the context that FCP is speaking that does not appear to be the case. He has acquired Carrier’s book and seems to be vaguely aware that there is evidence that the gospels may be doubtable. He seems to have this idea that his default position should be that he believes they are factually correct even though he is aware of information that may shed doubt upon their historicity. Hence it is a matter of, “it is what I believe right now even though I know there is more information that I have not yet reviewed. The purpose of the post was to get FCP here to read Carrier without such a great bias as he ignores any information that he is uncomfortable with because it demonstrates that the gospels are false rather than giving them serious consideration, much like a creationist ignores obvious transitional fossils. I want him to follow the information where it leads and not the other way around.
    .
    That is why I have been trying to get him to demonstrate skepticism by engaging in a method sort of like the scientific method where he states a hypothesis and considers what information might suport it and what might lead to its opposition, particularly with regard to the gospels. He does not seem to know how to accept a hypothesis tenatively.

  130. Christian FCP says

    Robert. Was speaking to you and Frank at the same time.
    Frank. I recognize a unique change in myself in regards to the gospel. This change is fundamental and is it eclipses all other effects in myself in importance. This is what is referred to poetically as “the light”. This is what I was on my way to discovering when I first began my journey of thinking and discovery. This is what makes the difference that I am concerned about. Everything else is window dressing. With all due respect to Godel, Newton, and current ideas of truth… it just doesn’t amount to much. The proper domain of humans is humanity. What is referred to poetically as “the heart” is the significant domaine. Logic, cosmology, physics etc. are of little importance. You are the one who ought to be more skeptical. Skeptical of your need to get that assurance and comfort that you feel from “two plus two equals four” mind play. I know that it makes you feel secure, but it is kindergarten compared to what your higher destiny is as a spiritual being. Yea, yea, yea I know: science cures diseases. (seems mainly good for building weapons). I have seen the gospel have this same effect on others. I recognize it clearly now for what it is. This is the original and ongoing seed for what will redeem humanity. What else could it be? Power of suggestion, third rate historically inaccurate religious texts with fanatical followers, lucky accidents of history, hucksters taking advantage of peoples worst inclinations to be controlled by their fears and desires? Sounds reasonable, but not like the truth.

  131. Monocle Smile says

    @FCP

    And now I have to remove myself from this discussion, because there are no words to adequately describe the complete and total contempt I have for everything in that fucking crazy-ass passage you just posted. If I were to be open and honest, I would get banned from this forum.

  132. Christian FCP says

    Bullshit, Monocle. We both know you got nuthin. Eslin you’d say it. You’re gasin friend.

  133. NorskVind says

    And this is why I consider you some guy who is just trolling everyone and doing a really good job of it. You seem to take delight in confusing these people with word salad and then insulting them either explicitly or in a much more passive aggressive style when they can’t understand it due to being incomprehensible garbage. It’s really unfortunate, because just about everyone here really does want to understand and you just want to be annoying.

  134. Christian FCP says

    Monocle. “And now I have to remove myself from this discussion, because there are no words to adequately describe… If I were to be open and honest, I would get banned from this forum” Banned? For honestly saying what there are no words for? That would be nothing. How can you get banned for nothing? Who’s lecturing who on logic? Monocle, you are an angry jackass.

  135. Christian FCP says

    Yea, Norsk. I started the insults. Sorry bro, but it is all there for everyone to read.

  136. Christian FCP says

    If by trolling you mean being provoking emotional responses… I can hardly argue with that. But it doesn’t take much on here. Disagreeing seems to be sufficient all by itself.

  137. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 144
    In other words you are another intellectually dishonest William Lane Craig who refuses to accept falsifiability. You have to be right just like the Catholic Church and WLC has to be right and you can’t be opened to the possibility of being wrong, particularly when it comes ot the gospels. That is not skepticism. I am opened to the possibility of there being something supernatural that goes beyond my observation (yeah see, skepticism, I am opened to observations that could prove that the Xtian god was real). When I observed info that showed that the gospels were false, I accepted it for all intents and purposes, regardless of how uncomfortable it made me feel, because it is honest. You agree with falsifiability, as long as you don’t have to apply it to the gospels. As I said, I don’t think you ever were an atheist or a skeptic and instead of accepting that as a possibility you project that fault unto.
    .
    Let me give you a hint here FCP, creationists are to evolution, people who refuse to believe the facts presented right before their eyes that what they believe is false, as you are to the gospels, someone who would still believe that Jesus was the person written about in the gospels even if we had a time machine and went back and could show you that it never happened. I don’t know if it happened but I have my doubts and believing that it would does not help me psychologically the way it does to you. Intellectual honesty helps me, and it does not really comfort me. I don’t accept that 2 + 2 = 4 because it comforts me, I accept it because I am intellectually honest and that is improtant to me. That obviously is not important to you or you would have answered the question in a straightforward, direct way.
    .
    What I was essentially asking was, if the gospels were proven to be false, would you accept that proof? All it required was a yes or no answer. I could have accepted some word salad that essentially said yes. What I got was word salad that essentially said no. The way you tap dance around the answer rather than give it directly suggests that you know that the answer holds no weight / merit and that you are uncomfortable with it. Hence why you call the show trying to convert the shows hosts the way that you do. It is not so uncomfortable when other people believe it too huh?
    .
    I would like to believe what you believe, that some supernatural sky daddy will make things right in the afterlife, give us all justice where we did not get it in life. I resolved that I am not going to get that and if I do, all the better. It is just wishful thinking.

  138. Frank G. Turner says

    OH and FYI,

    What else could it be? Power of suggestion, third rate historically inaccurate religious texts with fanatical followers, lucky accidents of history, hucksters taking advantage of peoples worst inclinations to be controlled by their fears and desires? Sounds reasonable, but not like the truth.

    Actually I would take out the lucky accidents of history, they sound more like they were intentionally planted that way. ON all the rest, yeah it does sound like it is reasonable and it might be factually correct. I am not syaing that one cannot derive moral meaning from it or learn form it, but I would have to be shown hard evidence of it actually occuring to believe it factually occurred. And THAT is reasonable given that the claims are pretty outlandish. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. SOrry but they DON’T sound like they could have occurred regardless of how much you want them to emotionally. If you want to delude yourself into thinking that they did because it comforts you, go ahead (I think that you struggle because on a deeper level you know it is a delusion). It did not comfort me.
    .
    By the way I don’t think it will do you any good to read Carrier or Fitzgerald. You won’t buy it due to your bias and you will just skim over what doesn’t lead to the conclusion that you want to hear.

  139. Frank G. Turner says

    “if the gospels were proven to be false, would you accept that proof?” Yes

    Ok, it is not what 144 sounded like. And I will call you on that, read Carrier and see if you really accept what he has to say. You can doubt what he has to say, but you ought to give it some serious consideration man.
    .
    I would be willing to bet that you don’t in the long run, that you become an apologist against Carrier because you don’t like what he has to say.

  140. Christian FCP says

    No, I will not become an apologist against Carrier, I don’t find that sort of thing worthwhile. I like dialogue, not monologue. I’ve seen Carrier speak in person and I like him. He can duke it out with Bart Ehrman or whoever. The conversation is for scholars and experts of that period. But I have already started his book and I like it, if only because he has a new approach which is refreshing.

  141. Frank G. Turner says

    @FCP
    I am not talking about the message, I am talking about the books themselves. There are more than one. See, I can agree that the message and some of the teachings might be moral and have meaning WITHOUT them having to be factually correct. I just don’t think that they have a monopoly on moral teaching. As a matter of fact, I think in many ways Buddhists did a better job of teaching morality and compassion than Xtian doctrine. And there can be meaning and compassion WITHOUT a belief in anything supernatural.
    .
    To quote Richard Dawkins, “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful, without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

  142. corwyn says

    @ 157:

    Let me translate:

    GOSPEL not GOSPELS. The message, the gospel message.

    “I don’t want to be held to the actual words used in either the four gospels included in, the bible, nor the actual words used in any of the dozens of other gospels. I know those are contradictory, so I only want to defend the ‘message’ I have in my own personal brain, about the gospels, that I am therefore free to change the moment anyone tries to prove it wrong.”

  143. corwyn says

    @144:

    Monocle is essentially correct (if impolitic). There is nothing in that word salad that should convince anyone. If you are interested in the truth, be it scientific truth or spiritual truth, the ONLY way to judge is by accuracy of predictions. So let’s hear a prediction.

    Here’s mine: you will try to weasel out of making a prediction.

  144. corwyn says

    @160:

    The message is that God loves the world and sent his son to be incarnated as a man.

    Which requires reading a god’s mind. The guy who works in mysterious ways, and is incomprehensible to us? How do you know he didn’t just want to punish his son for not doing the dishes? How could you possibly know anything about a god’s emotions from reading the gospels? Given the most charitable reading possible, they are the words of Jesus and his followers, not Yahweh.

  145. Christian FCP says

    corwyn. “I don’t want to be held to the actual words used in either the four gospels included in, the bible, nor the actual words used in any of the dozens of other gospels. I know those are contradictory, so I only want to defend the ‘message’ I have in my own personal brain, about the gospels, that I am therefore free to change the moment anyone tries to prove it wrong.” Yes corwyn, my positions have been chosen for ease of defense. That’s why I am on an atheist blog as a believer in a supernatural bronze age deity and a member of a church in the middle of a peadophile scandal. Aren’t I slippery? You figured it out. You must be really bright. No, friend. Just emphasizing the difference between small parts of the bible and whole books and sections. Although the gospel message probably predates the gospels! (for obvious reasons).

  146. toska says

    FCP,
    When Monocle Smile said that you were ignoring us earlier, it is because we all wrote comments regarding child rape in the catholic church last night, and you came back on today and moved on to another topic with no reply. Thus, our last responses to you were ignored. I’d suggest again that you read the link I left at #123. You can say “I’ll read it later” or “I don’t care enough about this issue to read an article” (which is what I think your lack of response actually meant) or you can read it and try to defend your excuses in the face of victims’ stories about their abuse. But not leaving any response at all is a bit rude.

  147. Christian FCP says

    Rude? You’re kidding, right? Ok, I read it. About St. Ignatius and the native americans? Messed up. Like I said, you guys have made lots of points on this issue that are not lost on me. Defend what excuses?

  148. Robert, not Bob says

    “God will soften your heart before it is all said and done.” Hope he softens the cholesterol. That’d be a miracle worth hoping for. All jokes aside (and I think it’s long past time for that metaphor, that originally wasn’t a metaphor, to die), did you just make a wish for Jesus to telepathically override Corwyn’s free will? That’s admitting you don’t have a good argument! 😀

  149. Artemis says

    FCP,

    I also would like to see your response to what corwyn said in 125:

    @FCP

    Because I believe that the gospel is the most important truth that people need to hear. That God loves them, and that their sins are forgiven. People need to hear about Christ and brought close to him.

    That is a reason for supporting SOME christian church. It is NOT a reason for supporting the Roman Catholic Church. You are paying money to promote pedophiliac priests when you could achieve your stated goal without doing so. That moves you to DIRECTLY promoting those actions. You are now seen to be MORE culpable than before you started talking.

    Why are you still supporting the RCC, specifically? There are other churches that have the sacraments. There are other churches that have missions and are actively trying to spread the good news all over the world. Why support the RCC?

    Part of your donations is used to establish Catholic missions in other parts of the world, mostly developing countries. Which means that your money is being used to give an organization with a long history of abusing children access to more children. And in many of these countries the legal system is weak, which leaves these children even more vulnerable.

    You have said that for you the RCC is like a family. If I had some child molesters in my family, one thing I wouldn’t do would be to give them money so they can travel to the developing world.

  150. toska says

    FCP,
    You continue to support the Catholic Church because you like the sacraments and you think spreading the gospel is the most important thing that needs to be spread. Those are your excuses for supporting the church. I don’t see how you can possible see those as more important than the fact that your church enables rape and YOU support them to do it. Yeah, your church spread the gospel to those Native American kids. And then they raped them and beat them over and over. But it’s all worth it to you, right? Cuz the word was spread. Hallelujah! I guess at this point, I’m done talking to you as well. Rape enablers like you who think your religion is so much more important than abused human beings are disgusting.

  151. Christian FCP says

    The only places where there are ANY native americans are where the RCC was. Where protestants landed the natives were wiped out. A little history for you. Where were you guys then? Or better, where are you now? I’m sure you would be happy to get cut up and thrown in a ditch like the priests, nuns, and bishops in central and south america. Since the RCC is the largest social services organization outside of China I think it is good that they exist. You still support the USA with your taxes NO MATTER WHAT they do. So your moralizing is not all that convincing. And no, not just any church will do. The unbroken chain back to the early christians, rome, the vatican, etc. Where were you guys when John Paul and Reagan teamed up to kick the shit out of the Soviet Union? Oh yea, on the wrong side of history? Where were you when the church was inventing science? Oh yea! you guys didn’t exist. Cheap shots from cheap seats. The church is the heart of the west. This scandal will lead to reforms and the church will be stronger than ever. Which is good, because people need it more than ever.

  152. Robert, not Bob says

    Nice rant, Christian. 😉 The Catholics didn’t invent science, the Muslims did-building on the roots of mainly Greek philosophy (and then threw it away). The reasons science was able to take root in Western Europe are obviously not known for certain, but to credit an organization that fought it for centuries would be silly.

    Nobody is saying that Catholics can’t do good things (because they’re, you know, human). Nobody is even saying the church as an organization can’t do good things either. That’s black and white thinking.

  153. toska says

    As it’s already been explained to you more than once, taxes are not voluntary. Church membership and tithing is. Feel free to dismiss criticism as simply “moralizing,” but not voluntarily giving financial and nominal support to child abusers is the very least amount of effort one can expect from a decent person. But that bar is just too high for you. You really should ashamed.

  154. Frank G. Turner says

    # FCP # 161

    The message is that God loves the world and sent his son to be incarnated as a man.

    I could break that down into a couple of different parts, one being the part that is analogous to the pond being beautiful and the other being that there are fairies at the bottom of it. For the most part though, that is the fairy tale that can’t be proven with logic. And if we throw out logic like you and WLC do in your word salad-y, aimless rant from 144 just to claim that there is hard evidence that this is true (which there is not) then we have to accept all sorts of other religious claims from every other contradictory god / gods / goddess(es) all over the world. Sorry but I can’t do that.
    ,
    I appreciate the teachings of tolerance and compassion and kindness that Jesus gave in those books (I think others do a better job by today’s standards, but given the time that was pretty good), if he even existed at all. I don’t have to believe anything supernatural about him to appreciate that. Numerous other agnostics and atheists do too. It is fine that you accept that on faith, as long as you admit it. And because you accept that on faith you don’t have physical proof and no amount of ranting and philosophizing and WLC style word salad about it will give you that hard evidence. You accept a delusion without evidence, a supernatural thing that you have hypnotized yourself into thinking that we don;t think exists. It might exist, we are opened to that. Your rant in # 144 was a set of fallacies though, an appeal to emotion and special pleading, trying to apply a rule to everything else but not claims made by Xtianity. That won’t work as hard physical evidence. You can delude yourself into believing that you do have evidence if it comforts you, which is fine but it is still intellectually dishonest.
    .
    And my reason for stating that and accepting that in myself is not for comfort, it is because I have to be honest with myself. If there really is a god then that god should know this and understand why that is important. For me honesty is really important, I would think the same for a lot of people on here. You need that fantasy, that’s fine. Don’t try to claim that it is not a fantasy to us. That fantasy actually hurts us and PREVENTS us from serving our fellow man with kindness and compassion. I think that on a deep level that you know that but don’t want to believe it. You could engage in love and compassion and kindness and function on a good level without that fantasy, and you know this because you have seen others on TAE do just that.
    .
    Yes the world is a beautiful place, and it is pretty amazing that human beings would be so inclined towards compassion and love that they would develop legends about a man who taught compassion and kindness and tolerance and how they would think so highly of someone like that and it is very possible that a real person existed upon whom those legends are based. Did he perform miracles? Probably not. Was he the son of god? Well given that a god is not highly likely, probably not. Is there anything supernatural about him? Given that supernatural things probably don’t exist (which is the basic definition of “supernatural”), probably not. Do all of these things need to be true to appreciate what can be learned from those legends? Most certainly not.
    .
    Stop trying to get us to believe in something that you can’t prove or trying to claim to us that you can prove it with evidence when you can’t. Your reasoning is emotional and illogical. That does not make you a bad person, but if you insist that you are better off than us because you do believe it as some of # 144 indicated, then you are an arrogant prick who is taking away from some of what makes us us. We are wired in such a way as if we believed what you do, we would be worse off. And I honestly believe that you could do without that belief and that you won’t let it go because it got buried too deep into your psyche by indoctrination. Just like Ken Hamm got too marinated in creationism you got too marinated in the gospels (all of them). That is fine, we can let you be you, but let us be us.
    .
    Just stop giving money to the RCC please. Give to a secular charity directly.

  155. says

    @ Robert not Bob # 173

    The Catholics didn’t invent science,

    Yeah I got taught science by Jesuits in my undergrad years and even I know that Catholics did not invent science. That tells me that this guy here is more heavily indoctrinated into fallacies than he realizes at times. Interesting how that struggle goes on in his mind. Somehow he knows this but fights it internally. At least he is making the effort to understand on some level.

  156. says

    @FCP with reference to 175
    Pardon, I reference # 144 when it should be # 145
    Az azhael says, it sounds like meaningless horseshit. It sounds liek a rant of fallacies and special pleading and emotional pleading because you want to believe that you have hard proof of the gospel message as you put it, which you don’t. You can believe that you do though just like I said in # 175.

  157. corwyn says

    @166: FCP

    corwyn. A prediction? God will soften your heart before it is all said and done.

    This is what you call a prediction? Sometime before the end of the Universe, my heart will score lower on a Rockwell hardness scale, and everyone will be able to identify the causal agent as the god portrayed in the bible? Is that what you are claiming? How do you plan to correct for the fact that my heart will biodegrade in at most a few centuries?

    Next question, how was this prediction predicated on the gospel you claim exists and is true?

    Here is how a proper prediction is done:
    Mathew 17:20 says: “And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” [NASB]
    Mount Washington is near me and fairly prominent. It’s current location is: 44.270464, -71.303444
    I can predict that if the Gospels are true, You, who have faith, or know people that do, can move Mount Washington, as is claimed possible in the Gospel of Mathew, by at least 500 feet before next week. If you can’t, that is evidence that the Gospel is false. Given that it is extremely unlikely that Mount Washington will move, under any other hypothesis, this is STRONG evidence (for or against) the truth of the gospel.

  158. Christian FCP says

    Robert. I disagree. As did Einstein and does Hawking who both say “largely” from Galileo. Then Ockham, Descartes… well Bacon was protestant. University system etc.
    Toska. This may come as news to you, but there is a thing called civil disobedience. Actually taxes ARE voluntary (you are dead wrong on that one) I don’t know if Richard Carrier has written anything on this but I will check.
    corwyn. “I can predict that if the Gospels are true, You, who have faith, or know people that do, can move Mount Washington, as is claimed possible in the Gospel of Mathew, by at least 500 feet before next week. If you can’t, that is evidence that the Gospel is false. Given that it is extremely unlikely that Mount Washington will move, under any other hypothesis, this is STRONG evidence (for or against) the truth of the gospel.” WOW wow wow wow . It’s true what they say about you guys. I see the problem now. Clearly.
    Frank. Your long post deserves a long answer but am out the door now. I actually have work today!!

  159. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwynn # 179

    Sometime before the end of the Universe, my heart will score lower on a Rockwell hardness scale, and everyone will be able to identify the causal agent as the god portrayed in the bible?

    No, you see it is a reference to the Calcium Carbonate concentration of fluids within the aortic cavity decreaseing by a mean concentration greater than 0.5 g/ml, or at least above whatever the minimum mean detectable concentration for your particular calculated set of aortic fluids. Of course those levels are fluctuating constantly so god must be responsible for the ongoing softening and hardening of said fluid. Or perhaps this is a reference to blood viscosity.
    .
    Oh and Mount Washington is in constant motion as it is part of the earth which is in constant motion. Relative to the sun it will move more than 500 feet in the next 0.34 seconds, approximately. I am guessing that you mean relative to the rest of the planet hence why the indicated longitude and latitude. (I still don’t think it matters as FCP here does not do this kind of thing for a living).

  160. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 181
    I am starting to give less of a damn about your ansers so you have no need. As far as “the problem with you guys” we see the problem with you dude. I was once like you man. I doubt that corwynn much cares.
    .
    At least you are more open minded than most Xtians and more willing to learn, but you are still not willing ot experience the pain of insecurity and uncertainty. You don’t think like a scientist when it comes to your religious beliefs and I doubt that you will, your mind probably is not wired for it. You can’t prove the existence of your god or the factual correctness of the gospels with anything other than something demonstrable, unifrom, and repeatable. If you have an emotional need to believe in something that can’t be proven then ok, we don’t.

  161. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP
    OH and what they (I am assuming that you mean the Catholic Church) say about us, i.e. atheists and agnostics, is designed to brainwash gullible emotionally needy people like yourself into following blindly and not giving your deepest of beliefs serious consideration to their factual correctness. What we are is honest and the church does not want you to admit, realize, or even consider that. If we had a time mnachine and could show you that the events of the gospels did or did not happen, the church would go to the ends of the earth to prevent us from taking you back in time and shwoing it to you.

  162. corwyn says

    @180 FCP:

    I see the problem now.

    But can’t be bothered to write it? Or it was just too embarrassing to your ego?

    Do you or do you not believe that Matthew 17:20 is true?
    If Matthew 17:20 is not true, why do you think any of the rest of it is?
    If Matthew17:20 IS true, why is my prediction incorrect?

  163. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwynn # 184
    I suspect that he will come back with something to the effect of Matthew 17:20 being metaphoric instead of literal. Of course the question then becomes, which parts are metaphoric and which parts are literal? And can’t the entirety of the gospels, and even the gospel message itself (as FCP states it) be considered a metaphor?
    .
    It won’t matter though. We’ve all heard this crap before from believers and FCP goes through this wonderful Kubler Ross style denial. I suspect that is what he was going through when he claimed to have become an atheist, grieving the loss of something he was so indoctrinated to believe in and eventually went back from the anger and bargaining and back into denial. It is exactly what the tap dance of # 145 sounds like. Word salad-y WLC style denial. An attempt to not admit the possibility of being wrong through eloquent wording. Heck his calls to the show sound like that. Maybe that is why we all hear him wrestling with these ideas in his mind when he talks on the show.

  164. Artemis says

    @Christian FCP, #172

    So what is important to you is not the sacraments or the spreading of the gospel after all. It is “The unbroken chain back to the early christians, rome, the vatican, etc.” We are making progress, at least in figuring out why you support the RCC. Do you think that the below is an accurate summary of your position?

    * “The unbroken chain back to the early christians, rome, the vatican, etc.” is so important to me that, in order to be part of that chain, I am willing to help child molesters evade the law and give them access to more children.

  165. corwyn says

    @172 FCP:

    And no, not just any church will do. The unbroken chain back to the early christians, rome, the vatican, etc.

    You mean you support the Eastern Orthodox Church?

  166. Robert, not Bob says

    @Christian, #180

    That’s like crediting the Bourbons for the germ theory of disease because Pasteur was French. Can you not distinguish between people who happen to live in catholic-dominated areas and the beliefs and policies of the church itself? Science could never have developed, despite the universities, if the church had had the control it has so clearly always tried for: we have it despite the church, not because of it.

  167. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’m just repeating myself now. Wish that Christian would respond to my points.

    Toska. This may come as news to you, but there is a thing called civil disobedience. Actually taxes ARE voluntary (you are dead wrong on that one) I don’t know if Richard Carrier has written anything on this but I will check.

    Taxes are voluntary in the sense that all rape is voluntary (e.g. it’s not voluntary). You are not voluntarily raped when someone uses force to rape you. You are not voluntarily raped when someone does not use force but merely threatens to use force against you. If you do not pay your taxes for long enough, (and if you are crafty at avoiding paying taxes), eventually a man will come to your house with a gun to ensure that you do. Taxes are taken at the threat of violence, which is often morally indistinguishable from actual violence. Whereas, the Catholic church does not send armed people to the houses of those who do not pay them money.

    Perhaps you meant to say that the Catholic god will equivalently use force on you after you die if you do not give money to the Catholic church. First, again do you really want to use that as a defense? That means you are saying that the Catholic god is demanding that you give money to an organization which systematically rapes children and protects the child rapists. Second, there is no such thing as the Catholic god, and thus there is no one threatening violence on you if you do not pay money to the Catholic church.

    PS: Christianity did not invent science. It did not foster science. It was not responsible for science.
    http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2006/11/science-and-medieval-christianity.html

  168. says

    Ishkur @#110: Lots of neo-feudalists whining on Twitter that Matt is some kind of vile betrayer because he’s an atheist who doesn’t support their fatally-flawed ideas. Lots of complaints that he “supports TEH GUMMINT FOERCE” because he doesn’t think the answer to everything is “gummint’s fault, gummint bad”.

    As for why they keep popping up? Find any 80s movie with a scene involving ninjas fighting a guy in jeans and a t-shirt. Observe the ninjas. Now imagine them all screaming about “non-agression principles” as they attack. There’s your explanation.

  169. Frank G. Turner says

    I am wondering why we are even bothering with FCP. He seems to want to live in a fantasy. Why not let him? It would not be the first time I met a neurotic Catholic. Heck I know one who is a creationist and I tell the story about the woman who was terrified to learn from the hebrew scholar priest that Job is fiction.

  170. Natalie says

    Robbie has an Australian accent. No wonder he moved to America… We have socialised health care here and we do fine. Apparently he wants to ignore his homeland in favour of his idiot libertarian ideology.

  171. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Regarding the opening bit in the show from Jen, specifically the email:

    Uhh, if Obama commits a serious crime, like raping a child, and he is not impeached, then the Democrats in the congress are complicit and accomplices (morally speaking). Republican congressmen too. If Democrats in power move to protect Obama from being thrown in jail, then they are complicit. Finally – and here’s the key – if Obama commits a serious crime, and is protected by the majority of high ranking democrats, then a mere regular schmoe who identifies as a Democrat implicitly supports the actions of the party, including the crime, and becomes an accomplice IMAO (morally speaking).

    The problem is not that Catholic priests have raped children. There are child rapists, and invariably organizations are going to have them. What matters is how the organization reacts. The problem is that the former Catholic pope issued an official order that if you help police catch priests who rape children, then you will be sent to hell – literally. That’s what excommunication means in Catholic-speak. The problem is that people in the Catholic church regularly and systematically pursued this policy of protecting child rapists and allowing them to rape again, and again, and again. The problem is that the rapists are still in place and not rotting in prison. The biggest problem is that the people covering for the rapists are still in power in the organization and not rotting in prison.

    I will not be satisfied until the entire hierarchy of the Catholic church are taken to trial for their crimes, and upon probable conviction, put in prison for a long time. Until that time, it is not morally acceptable to causally identify yourself as a Catholic because that normalizes the vile behavior of the Catholic church.

  172. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I also fundamentally disagree with Matt and Jen when they say that it would be theoretically sufficient on its own for a Catholic to merely speak out against the practice of raping children. Matt specifically said that this hypothetical Catholic wants the church to continue to do its good works. No no no. No amount of good works that the church does can possibly make up for systematically raping children and protecting those who do. In practical terms, this is a zero sum game. At that moment, once the practice of systematic rape and systematic protection of rape is made public, you give absolutely zero support to the church, money or otherwise, until all of the people responsible have been removed and criminally charged by real governments. If a Catholic speaks out against, but still gives money? Completely unacceptable and outrageously immoral. There are other charities out there which don’t have a systematic policy of raping children and protecting the rapists.

    I want to equate NAMBLA and the Catholic church, because they share a lot of the same policies regarding children. That’s what Catholics are doing.

  173. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To the libertarian caller:

    Your fundamental problem is that your understanding of utilitarianism is a caricature of the real thing. Your example “9 people take all of the stuff of 1 guy is better for the society” is the prime example. That reasoning is ridiculous, and I don’t know a single person who advocates such a ridiculous and naive position. (However, a superficially similar position I do advocate – see below.)

    Matt addressed this already. Matt used the term “veil of ignorance”. He could have done a better job explaining it IMHO. Allow me to do so here. The veil of ignorance is a well-known term from John Rawls. In short, it’s the principle that you should judge a society from the perspective of a person who is going to be born into a random position in that society. For most reasonable people, that means we should place extra emphasis on helping the poor, because from the position behind the veil of ignorance, one does not know whether they will be born into upper class or lower class.

    In other words, it’s all about how we measure and calculate the well-being of the group. It’s about how we aggregate individual well-being into group well-being. No one – and I mean literally no one – advocates such a naive aggregation method that you propose, except as a straw man. Rather, every utilitarian adopts something much more like Rawls’s method of aggregation – the veil of ignorance can be viewed as narrowing acceptable aggregation functions. If you were behind the veil of ignorance, you don’t know if you will be born into the 10% of the population who will have all of their stuff taken, and thus for a hypothetical person choosing which society to be born into, with a random birth location, the prudent and safe approach is to pick a society where that doesn’t happen.

    You mentioned Sam Harris. Sam Harris also mentions this frequently. Sam Harris rightly notes that this is often not a zero-sum game. Almost always, the best public policy to help me is also the public policy to help my neighbor. The idea that you would support a policy where you take everything from that 1 guy and distribute it to everyone else is ridiculous, 1- because they could turn it on you easily enough, and 2- because that’s outrageously immoral.

    IIRC, John Stuart Mill, my hero, is considered by many the founder of utilitiarianism. You should read some of him, rather than make up strawmans. I suggest On Liberty. It’s freely and legally available online.

    In short, Mill rightly advocates that in matters that concern only an individual, that individual should have absolute freedom to make up his own mind. He may not be compelled to action or inaction merely for his own benefit. “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” Of course, you can discuss it with them, argue with them, and try to persuade them.

    Also of course, people can be sanctioned for doing harm to others, and reasonable regulations can be put in place to prevent probable future harm.

    The part where you disagree perhaps is Mill’s last assertion that people can also be rightfully compelled to provide for the common good, such as paying taxes, providing testimony in court, etc.

    And of course, Mill rightly notes for this whole system to work out, you have to put a higher bar on compelling someone to particular action for the betterment of others compared to compelling someone to action or inaction to prevent harm to others. Without that higher bar, we would be real slaves to the calculations of what is best for my neighbors, and there is no freedom in that.

    Rather, we make the cold calculation that by imposing just a little bit of slavery in the form of taxation (it’s barely fair to call it slavery at all), we can make everyone far better off. Yes we make you a little subservient to the group, but only in that way can we have all of the cool things that taxation brings, like universal health care. The alternative, anarchy, is far, far worse, and so yes we do violate the non-aggression principle, and we do compel you (and everyone else) to action with unprovoked violence for the good of everyone else – including you. Anarchy isn’t good for you. Trust me.

    PS: I do advocate for strong progressive taxation, and strong progressive death taxes. You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You do not have an absolute right to property. Property rights are a fiction that we create as a tool to guarantee your happiness and the happiness of others. When property rights start conflicting with genuine happiness and well-being of others, then we need to start abridging those property rights, such as with progressive income taxes and progressive death taxes. Again, property rights are a means, not an ends.

    No one has the right to be filthy rich. Everyone has the right to a reasonable standard of material wealth. Capitalism is the best tool by far we have to get that, and I accept as an inevitable consequence that we need to allow some wealth disparities to allow capitalism to function.

    PPS: This is my litmus test to libertarians. Imagine we had a public policy which we had overwhelming scientific confidence would work. This public policy would end all hunger in the United States, but it would require a 1% income tax to do it. Further, the foolproof analysis shows that 90% of that tax money would go to waste, either corruption, mismanagement, or to lazy bums who could work but wouldn’t. (Of course, this is not a remotely realistic description of reality. It’s probably closer to 0.1% or less tax rate, and 1% of the money going to lazy bums.) Even with that massive tax rate, and even with that massive percentage of waste, I assert that we should do it, and I further assert that it would be morally obligatory to do it. Given these material facts about the United States, if you disagree, if you would rather let innocent people go hungry just to ensure that those lazy bums don’t mooch, then you are a miserable excuse of a human being, and I want nothing more to do with you.

  174. corwyn says

    @191 Frank:

    I am wondering why we are even bothering with FCP. He seems to want to live in a fantasy. Why not let him?

    Because he is here. There could well be people reading this who agree with FCP, by making sure that the our responses are also here, we ensure that they have the best chance of determining the best update to their confidence in those propositions.

  175. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwynn # 195
    Quite right, I just get a bit frustrated with people like him. He reminds me of WLC a bit in how he will make ridiculous claims that he just feels are right but has no evidence for and when called upon it retreats back into an arguement that is at best deistic until he can try another bullshit claim. I say this as FCP seems to come in periodically and then reatreat away when his arguments are beaten up. Which tells me that he does not really like the idea of having to think like a scientist in not wanting his arguments ot be peer reviewed.
    .
    It is kind of funny that he thinks Catholicism and Xtiantiy invented science when they are so adamant about NOT having arguments, particularly one’s found in scripture, to be subject to peer review. Which is why it is not surprising to me when I listen to and read Carrier that even other theological scholars make mistakes that if fact checked are debunked. I would say that even if Xtians invented science (which they didn’t) that Xtians most certainly did not learn to apply the principles to that which they hold most sacred. So it matters not who invented something, but who uses it correctly.
    .
    I often say the same about beer. Many individuals incorrectly claim that it was invented in Germany. Yet there are ancient documents that indicate beer being brewed in Egypt over a thousand years BCE. Of course Germans sure do know how to make beer well!

  176. Frank G. Turner says

    I heard this on The Thinking Atheist and I transcribed it. Its hilarious:

    Hang on a minute, because I don’t believe that a 600 year old man built a battleship sized wooden boat by hand and then collected at least 2 of every of the millions of species on earth, including the habitat specific, dietary dependent, and symbiotic ones and then without electricity, refrigeration, plumbing, or air conditioning was able to house, feed, water, dispose the waste of, and provide veterinary care for all of them, without losing a single one, thus making an entire species extinct in the process, while the boat floated around during a worldwide flood to the height of Mount Everest for several months, an event that went completely unnoticed by the Egyptians, Chinese, Australian Aborigines and every other co-existent society at the time. And that I don’t believe that somehow plant life on Earth survived the crushing pressure, darkness, and salinity of 8 kilometers of water overhead before the water magically receded, and the animal species on the ark managed to disembark and traverse the planet to their current locations from the deserts of the Middle East, which according to some included dinosaurs. And because I don’t believe this, I am the strange one?

  177. Klebbster says

    I know I am late to the conversation, but I have to get my opinion out there. It is, after all, the most important opinion of all.

    Mike Ring, you are a fucking idiot.

    You have no inherent right to anything, inalienable or otherwise. No one does. If any of the 7 billion people on the planet want any of your property or your life, and they have the ability to take it from you, it is theirs. Society is the construct that we have created in order to mitigate this depressing fact. Get the fuck over it.

  178. phil says

    @194 EL
    Almost always, the best public policy to help me is also the public policy to help my neighbor.

    Snap

    I think the debate about health care is a bit muddled. Health care is often quite expensive so some of us take insurance against it. Insurance works by spreading the cost amongst those that subscribe to the insurance scheme. Whether run by government or the private sector it is a method of socialising the cost, amongst taxpayers for government run schemes and amongst subscribers in private schemes. IMO it seems the only honest libertarian approach to health care is to have no insurance at all.

    My reason for writing is that Robby (I think) said that “socialised” medicine was more expensive. A report released recently in Oz found the opposite. In particular it found that approximately 95 cents in the dollar contributed to the government insurance scheme (Medicare) was actually spent on health care, whereas only about 85 cents in the dollar contributed to private schemes was spent on actual health care. The private schemes are, on average, THREE TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE than our government run scheme.

    This is not so surprising when one considers that private health insurers want to (need to) show a profit. But why should such a huge amount of money be diverted from a service as important as health care, just for someone’s profit? Wouldn’t the socially responsible thing be to spend it on health care, to make it cheaper for everyone, especially government which has to pay for the uninsured? It’s not like the wealth would be removed from the economy, we would just spend it on something else, while making the burden of health care lighter.

    The notion that government is always less efficient and more expensive is a fallacy. Always government expenditure should be carefully monitored to ensure the proper use of public money, and that scrutiny costs extra. It doesn’t mean that the private sector will do it cheaper.

  179. corwyn says

    @196 Frank:

    It is kind of funny that he thinks Catholicism and Xtiantiy invented science

    Especially when they are STILL doing it wrong. Witness the recent pronouncement from Pope Francis declaring that Evolution and the Big Bang are fact. That is an argument from authority fallacy. People should not believe that because the pope says it, but rather because the evidence indicates it.

    p.s. Only one ‘N’ in Corwyn, thanks.

  180. corwyn says

    @198 Phil:

    This is not so surprising when one considers that private health insurers want to (need to) show a profit.

    Forget profit; most health insurance is unnecessary. It is a waste of perfectly good mathematicians, who could be analyzing actual diseases, instead of just how much to increase premiums because of them.

  181. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwyn # 200
    Pardon the extra ‘n.’ My fingers get a bit carried away sometimes.
    .
    Yeah they make the argument from authority fallacy but like many who can’t seem to operate without said fallacy because they put their emotions before observable fact without an authority figure giving them permission to believe that they won’t do it. I often wonder if it comes from some instinctive drive to follow an alpha male leader built into our psyche by evolution (still used in some of our primate cousins’ social behavior just to a much larger degree than us).
    .
    I think in FCP’s case there is almost an instinctive knee jerk drive to follow said fallacy. Hence why he made the claim about atheists and our supposed authority figures like Hawkins and the like. FCP claims that it was a rhetorical device but his behavior suggest otherwise. Matt D made a comment in one of the shows once about this, how many religious types thought that all atheists and agnostics believed exactly as Hawkins and Hitchens told us on faith marching in lock step like an army of Crusaders. I would not be surprised if many an individual who eventually rejected their religion did something like that at first with an atheist group (I have actually read stories about a few who have).
    .
    Oh and in response to # 201, some of those mathematicians (actuaries) make a FORTUNE doing that. I often wish I had gotten my undergrad in that area.

  182. Christian FCP says

    “though I foresee a rising challenge among qualified experts against the assumption of historicity [of Jesus]… that remains only a hypothesis that has yet to survive proper peer review”. Carrier – On the Historicity of Jesus. Sorry gang

  183. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    “though I foresee a rising challenge among qualified experts against the assumption of historicity [of Jesus]… that remains only a hypothesis that has yet to survive proper peer review”. Carrier – On the Historicity of Jesus. Sorry gang

    Uh, what? Has anyone here claimed that “Jesus did not exist” was the consensus position of historians? No. Rather, the consensus position of (sane, secular) historians is that there was this nobody wandering preacher named Jesus who had no superpowers.

    I think Carrier’s argument is convincing, but it doesn’t matter either way in this debate between atheists and Christians because either way there was no superman Jesus.

  184. corwyn says

    @203:

    though I foresee a rising challenge among qualified experts against the assumption of historicity [of Jesus]… that remains only a hypothesis that has yet to survive proper peer review”. Carrier

    Out of date information (he wrote this in 2009). Carrier’s own work on Mythicism has now survived peer review (2014). Sorry dude.

  185. Christian FCP says

    Sorry for out of date comment. Just trying to keep the conversation going. Would like to address some of the previous comments. Maybe tomorrow.

  186. Frank G. Turner says

    @ FCP # 203
    This is exactly what I was concerned about with you, only reading what you want to see and taking it out of context.
    .
    Carrier is being honest, he states a hypothesis based upon some information that he has. He acknowledges that he may not have enough evidence to support the hypothesis (i.e.: he does not have proof but rather a hypothesis that fits some facts he has observed so far). And obviously he has found more since then as corwyn pointed out.
    .
    And as EL points out, yes even atheists with a good knowledge of theology don’t disagree that Jesus probably existed. That was a common name (FYI, it is “Joshua” in Greek) so many people like that may have existed, some even before the one that is supposedly the son of Joseph and Mary). I believe there is an individual by that name who in theological texts was contemporary with King Solomon
    .
    A real person CAN be the inspiration for a fictional story. Michael Jordan exists but that does not mean that he played basketball with aliens and Warner Brothers cartoon characters. Just because a person existed does not mean that every story written about them is accurate. What is being challenged here as highly unlikely due to lack of evidence and extraordinary claims is the factually correct accuracy of the Gospels. Heck that can’t all even be factually correct as they contradict each other in several places. Two seem like 1st and second drafts by the same author, one sounds like a rough copy of those other two, and the last one sounds like fan fiction.
    .
    Oh and even if numerous places and people are demonstrated to exist as inspiration for a story, that does not mean that it is completely accurate. Part of peer review is taking something apart piece by piece and determining if each piece is factually accurate. All of the places in the Harry Potter novels could exist (several do, I have been to King’s Cross Station). Hogwarts castle could even hypothetically exist (the castle shown in the movies actually does). That doesn’t mean that people can actually do magic. Even if Jesus existed and this could be confirmed by time machine observation and could perform miracles, that still does not prove that he was the son of god (though it would lend credibility to the stories about him).

  187. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And as EL points out, yes even atheists with a good knowledge of theology don’t disagree that Jesus probably existed. That was a common name (FYI, it is “Joshua” in Greek) so many people like that may have existed, some even before the one that is supposedly the son of Joseph and Mary). I believe there is an individual by that name who in theological texts was contemporary with King Solomon

    Actually, I did say that I find Carrier’s argument to be convincing that there was no historical Earthly Jesus. I also said that I recognize that this is currently a fringe theory, and that the consensus of real historical experts is that there was a historical Earthly Jesus. Finally, I said that this argument does not matter, because either way there was no superman Jesus.

  188. Frank G. Turner says

    @ EL # 207
    Whatever the case (and I pretty much agree with you in principle) the concept I was getting at is that you do a point by point deconstruction of writings and confirm things within said deconstruction. Jesus could very well have existed, and yet NOT be the person described in the gospels outside of who he may have been born from and raised by. Maybe he did have apostles that followed him, maybe there was a last supper, maybe he even calmed people and made them believe that they were healthy which helped them to heal themselves, and maybe he even performed what we would call miracles.
    .
    Perhaps he was an alien from another planet that simply had more advanced medical technology. Any number of things are possible, but confirming his existence would not equate to confirming that the gospels are accurate, which FCP does not seem to get without being told.

  189. Matt Gerrans says

    Who makes the mp3s in the archives? Those are great for listening later on a player. Is there some reason the after show isn’t included on those?

  190. NorskVind says

    @209 As someone who usually listens to this stuff via podcast, I would also like an answer to this question.

  191. StonedRanger says

    @Christian #180

    So that’s it? You’re going to leave us hanging? You came back at #203 with something totally off topic to your last response. Are you going to give frank a response? You have had days to think of a reply. I for one a dying to hear it.

  192. Chan Kobun, the Ghost-Who-Waddles says

    Thirding the question about why the aftershow isn’t in the audio version (see #209 and #210).

  193. NorskVind says

    Seems like a waste of time to me StonedRanger. He hasn’t ever seemed interested in dialogue with any of us, just making arguments that he can throw away the moment he meets resistance.

  194. Frank G. Turner says

    @NorskVind # 213
    I kind of suspect that he is perpetually on the fence. A part of him wants certain things to be true and is emotionally driven but at the same time realizes that there is something wrong. He wants to take the red pill but just can’t seem to swallow it (metaphorically speaking).
    .
    Not surprisingly, FCP goes through the same cycles of arguments that Matt D. has mentioned on previous shows. And I sometimes wonder if he does not go through the Kubler Ross cycle several times, spending a lot of time in the denial stage but not covering up his ears quite so tight as many do.
    .
    Likening this to the Analogy of the Cave (which is what the Matrix was really about, and it works better here), FCP here has experienced the pain of looking at the fire and seeing where the shadows come from and may have accepted it to some degree. The difficulty is that it is not painful for him to look back at the shadows on the wall and be comforted by them. As long as the illusion is comforting to him, it is appealing. So perhaps it is not so much that he won’t swallow the red pill, but that he goes back and takes the blue pill again when he gets a headache from reality.

  195. NorskVind says

    I see those things as well Frank. The problem is that when he finds someone else who doesn’t find the illusion comforting and when he argues that the shadows are all that is important and has to defend those statements, he avoids the issue entirely. That’s what I keep coming away with from any conversations had with him. I’ve said it earlier in this thread that it’s really hard to believe that he is sincere in what he is talking about because of that very behavior. For instance, every time you would mention the multiple gospels in his own holy book, he would correct you and say gospel but never expand on what he meant by that. It’s a diversionary tactic to draw you away from the issue you were discussing before he replied to you and he never goes back to the original points made in your post. It reeks of someone being disingenuous.

  196. Frank G. Turner says

    @ NorskVind # 219
    I do think that a large part of him is dishonest with himself. While he may not be metaphorically covering his ears and yelling “la la la I can’t hear you,” on some mental level that may be going on. Mixed messages are a part of that. As far as the Gospels he did expand upon it a bit and I pointed out that what he expanded upon is the fairy tale.
    .
    Even growing up reading the gospels myself I thought that they reeked of insincerity. While the message of compassion and kindness and gentle nature got through to me, I also saw that there were ridiculous rules and traditions being held up for no good reason. Some people are like Pavlov’s dogs who can’t dissassociate the bell ringing from the taste of steak. FCP here may not be able to detach the message of compassion and kindness (which I find is better communicated through Buddhism scripture myself) from a literal believe in the factual correctness of the gospels (to the best of one’s ability as there are contradictions within them, lest Jesus and his apostles be in multiple places at the same time).
    .
    FCP wants to gain knowledge but does not want to do so at the expense of disbelieving something that he has convinced himself on some deep level is a part of who he is as a person IMHO. What we see him doing here is trying to learn as much as he can without having a factually correct belief in the gospels debunked. It is why I don’t really see the point in him reaing Carrier or Fitzgerald, but he is making the effort so I guess one can only hope. In a way, he wants to see reality outside the cave but not give up the shadows on the wall. That disingeniousness is probably sub-concious though and he may not realize that he is doing it. Many going through denial in the Kubler Ross cycle don’t realize that they are doing so.
    .
    If he really wants out of the cave, he will come out. I don’t know though as it may never feel painful for him to look back.

  197. Ulrira2k says

    I don’t agree with your reactions to the catholic caller and I think he’s kind of right with his analogy.
    (Let me make very clear though that I left the catholic church some years ago and in no way want to sugarcoat child abuse)

    His analogy is: You might have some crap in your family. And while it’s true that you can try to change that and that you can also leave the family if it’s too much crap, there’s a third option:
    There might me some crap that you can’t change but which is not enough to leave! Your father might be a non-aggressive drunk: You hate it, you would want nothing more than him to change that but you’ve tried and it’s just not enough to leave him.
    I guess he’s talking about stuff like that, not “your father is constantly abusing you physically and you just tolerate it”.

    Or to put it differently: The bonds we have with our family are obviously a lot stronger than the ones we have with other people and we are willing to tolerate more crap till it’s too much.

    And it’s the same for his religion: His bonds to his church are just stronger than the ones to his local football club or whatever. This doesn’t mean he would tolerate everything but it does mean he will tolerate more crap than in the football club before he decides to leave…

    I think he just failed to accurately convey what he really meant with that analogy.

    Long story short: I can understand why a member of the catholic church would hate this chapter of his church and STILL stay…

  198. KsDevil says

    A lot of people do not understand how insurance works. Some people focus on the social or moral associations of insurance. In reality, it’s a game of numbers. Insurance is about spreading liability across a larger number in order to mitigate impacted costs to the group. It benefits the individual in the group by reducing cost impacts to the individual. The healthy insured cover the costs to the unhealthy insured. And if society institutes systems to encourage health (preventative health), the healthy insured will see lower individual costs.

  199. says

    I only just became aware of this forum. My apologies for not responding sooner. I was surprised to see I have become the whipping boy for advocates of socialized healthcare and that any opposition to the welfare state pigeonholes me as a libertarian. I most definitely am not a libertarian and quite frankly have little interest in the healthcare issue. Had I known this to be so inflammatory I would have argued against public parks instead of publicly funded healthcare.

    The reason I called the show in the first place was to posit Matt’s Christian moral worldview. While he rejected, quite rightly, the relevancy of an idea’s origin, he did
    confirm my original assertion that he is an advocate of the “sermon on the mount/brothers keeper” moral viewpoint.

    Today it is called the entitlement or welfare state and whether it is justified by a Rawlsian theory of Social Justice or by Mill’s utilitarian theory of the good, it all commits the same fallacy. That is, it holds the well-being of the group as the standard of moral value. Things that benefit the group are good and things that harm the group are bad. It would appear that this is the consensus of most of the commentary on this thread as well.

    I submit that a proper moral code, that is, a code to guide our choices of values and actions, does not start with the question-how do we treat others, but rather, examines the requirements of man’s survival as man, not men.
    This is necessitated by the fact that we are individuated volitional beings with no inherent knowledge of the good. We must discover what is good by asking the fundamental question, what does man require in order to survive and flourish as man? What should he value?

    The reason we value in the first place is in order to go on living and that requires that we be the primary beneficiary of our actions.

    A moral code is required even if you live on a deserted island. In such a circumstance, you would still have to discover that rationality stands as the base of all virtue as reason is man’s only means of achieving values and sustaining his life. Honesty, integrity, productiveness and other such virtues are all aspects of how you use your rational faculty.

    To not be able to use that faculty, that is to be forced or compelled to act in such a way that opposes your reason, is immoral, as it threatens man’s very means of survival.

    The model code being defended by Matt and Jen and most contributors to this thread is such a code, as it assumes that the good is good because it benefits others, regardless of the individual, and to the contrary, usually in violation of an individual’s right to his life, liberty, property and happiness.

    My thanks and kudos to Mike Ring who seems to be the lone voice in defense of inalienable rights. It is shameful that this concept is so misunderstood, but I guess this explains the collective mentality and approach to morality that I am objecting to.

    The concept of inalienable rights is a moral issue. The defense of these rights is a political issue.

    The concept of inalienable rights stems from John Locke’s natural rights of man and serves to illustrate want man requires in order to live. The declaration of independence codified these rights into a political statement of independence which served as the basis to free man from men. Something that seems to escape Matt, Jen, and most of the posters on this thread.

    The protection of inalienable rights is a different matter and is properly the only purpose of any legitimate government.

    The Lefts mythical “social contract” and corresponding subordination of the individual to the well-being of group to pay for everything from healthcare, housing, food, transportation and other values created by individuals, is an abhorrent moral crime and one that can only be justified by a moral viewpoint that originates with Christianity and still lives within the hearts of those who believe that we are all born with a leash around our necks, and an obligation to serve those less fortunate than ourselves. It has no basis in a reason but rather takes delight in espousing emotions as the basis for moral formulation. Empathy and compassion top the list as the emotional substitutes for reason that collective moralists like Matt and Jen use in formulating moral principles. This is the only way to enshrine the group over the individual and has always provided the basis to violate the individual liberty that our founders fought so hard to enact.

  200. Monocle Smile says

    @Robbie

    I submit that a proper moral code, that is, a code to guide our choices of values and actions, does not start with the question-how do we treat others, but rather, examines the requirements of man’s survival as man, not men

    Oh, fuck. You’re an Ayn Rand fanboi. You DO realize this makes you a sociopath, right? While you might cram your head too far up your own ass to pay attention to the crowd, most people aren’t totally devoid of empathy and care only about the self. You’re a literal Straw Vulcan with a dash of narcissism. I don’t see any need to dissect any more of your frightening and laughably myopic hogwash.

    What happens when your luck runs sour and you find yourself sucking on the teat of society in order to keep your head above water?

    That’s what I thought. Of course, that’s something that only happens to “other people,” right?

  201. greenjelly01 says

    Arguing with lebertarian ass holes like Robby is just painful. Just ask the question why is “life” a right but “healthcare” is not? If the government can take your money to police murderers, why can’t the government take your money to provide healthcare? You cannot draw a line arbitrarily at murder. And if we have a debate about where the line has to be drawn, gee we just invented democracy!! And the country reached a point where the line included healthcare. Don’t sit and whine about it.

  202. frankgturner says

    @ MS # 224
    I had a rather lengthy response to him regarding how he is asking us to treat something that is an art and a matter of opinion due to large numbers of variables and correlative information at best as though it were knowable with the smae mathematical certainty as measurements made int he hard sciences, namely how social medicine would be unsuccessful in the USA (in his opinion). Of course we get enough of that from religious people who think that we can know god logically and should treat scripture as hard evidence becauase it feels good emotionally. Not surprising that like WLC uses philosophical arguments to plea for the existence of god or how special pleading is used to claim that spiritual experiences which are unreapetable should be considered evidence.
    .
    @ Robbie
    The difficulty here is that political situations are not maintained in restricted environments in which causality can be determined via limitation of influencing variables. I largely don’t think socialized medicine will work int he USA either but I am still opened to it as a possibility given that we might be able to control for the reasons why it didn’t work other places. Then again maybe not but I won’t respect the idea that one can claim the same kind of predictive certainty of a system like that working or not working when we don’t have an isolated enfironment to test it upon.
    .
    Something that I WOULD respect that Mike Ring (who is adamah on other boards) or you doing would be to describe why you THINK it would not work, consider some possibilities under which is MIGHT work, and couch your responses due to the recognition that it is not an isolated system with controlled variables. Political science isn’t a science except in the softest sense of the word. Politics and economic systems are an art and are subject to opinion and interpretation. So don’t come in here using philosophical arguments for your claims.

  203. Monocle Smile says

    @frankgturner

    The reasons Robbie gave for why socialized healthcare is a bad thing were either wrong or irrelevant, to boot. He claimed that socialized healthcare destroys the quality, which is demonstrably false if you look at average treatment level rather than merely the highest tier of quality, and he also said that the leaders of other countries come here for health care, so theirs must suck.

    Well, Robbie, that’s because we live in a country where it’s unbelievably easy to get access to top-tier health care merely by tossing money around. That’s why they come here. Health care in this country is fantastic for the 1%. This fact doesn’t mean a thing in the context of this discussion. Furthermore, you seem to pretend that health insurance is a fix-all for some reason. I’m an engineer for a several billion-dollar technology corporation, and if I got hurt badly enough or contracted cancer, I’d be bankrupt in a matter of months. I’m almost afraid to ask what Robbie suggests I do, because most Randians would tell me to just “die with dignity,” or some horseshit.

  204. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Ulrira2k
    If that hypothetical person enabled his father’s abuse of other people, such as by not reporting him to the police, then that’s wrong. It’s especially wrong if he paid off the police to ensure that his father would notbe prosecuted for his abuse. That’s exactly what the Catholic church is doing. That’s exactly what a hypothetical Catholic does every time they call themselves a Catholic, and especially when they give money to the church.

    @Robbie
    I am for making the world into a better place. I am for making the world into a place where every individual is better off. Currently, the best way to create that world where every individual is better off is to preemptively impose by force certain duties on other members of society, such as taxes, in order to fund certain programs, like free food for those who need it.

    Like most libertarians, you are being ambiguous between two positions. Do you mean to argue that your public policies are better at making a population where everyone is individually better under the metrics of happiness, safety, freedom, material wealth, self determination, etc.? Or do you hold that happiness, safety, freedom, material wealth, self determination, etc., are subordinate to the value of being free from certain minor imposed duties such as taxation for universal guarantee of food?

    In other words, what is worse? 1- About 5% of the population regularly going hungry (which IIRC represents the accurate number of Americans who go hungry today)? Or 2- a hypothetical 0.1% progressive income tax which would fund a program to ensure that no one in the country went hungry?

    Or do you reject the assertions of material fact that about 5% of the American population regularly goes hungry, and that we could stop that with a 0.1% progressive income tax?

  205. Robbie says

    Like I said, I’m new to this thread and as such, not used to being called names for participating in a philosophical discussion. “frankgturner” objects to the very idea of using philosophical arguments for making claims. Removing philosophy from the picture leaves only emotions to justify claims and of course, that’s all frank has. “Monocle Smile” goes the extra mile to pepper his responses with some ugly name calling and Randian smears, while “greenjelly01” just comes right out and calls me an asshole. Charming.

    I’ll take the high road (just this once) and answer your concerns politely. “If the government can take your money to police murderers, why can’t the government take your money to provide healthcare?” The reason is because a legitimate government’s proper function is to protect our rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”. Stopping murderers and thieves from stealing your life and property should be blatantly obvious. Taxes for police, military and the court system are just and necessary to protect Rights. Providing affordable healthcare?…hmmm…not so much, and especially so, because to provide this “right” the government has to take money from those who have made it and redistribute it to those who haven’t. This is not an arbitrary line…paying taxes for the protection of rights is proper. Being forced to pay for other people’s healthcare doesn’t protect my rights or anyone else’s. To the contrary, it violates my rights, just as having to pay for someone else’s food, phone or whatever goodies enough people think they can vote for. Of course, Monocle Smile hates this because he thinks we should all have the right to suck on “the teat of society in order to keep your head above water”.

    “Greenjelly01” doesn’t know how right he is when he calls the debate over what we should pay for – democracy. It is. That was the political system of ancient Athens where the majority voted for everything, even the right to make people you disagree with drink poison ala Socrates. I’m sure you’d be happy if you could all vote such a fate for me, but luckily, we don’t live in a democracy. Rather, we live (still, sort of) in a Constitutional Republic where we democratically elect our leaders, not our rights.

    When you eviscerate the concept of rights like Matt does, reducing them to mere privileges, then it makes sense to talk about how to best dispense them to others, but to properly grasp the concept of Rights is to understand that Rights don’t grant you anything from your neighbors other than the negative obligation on each of us to let others live free, whether or not their “luck runs sour”.

  206. frankgturner says

    @MS # 227
    I know that he gave some ideas about why he thinks socialized medicine was a bad thing and why they were bad or irrelevant. What I was pointing out was that unlike Mike Ring (who is really adam), Robbie could try presenting his ideas like a scientific paper. Present your hypothesis, indicate why you came to this hypothesis (a background observation), indicate what observations would support the hypothesis, and indicate what observations might lead to the hypothesis being rejected or altered. Much like adam, Robbie only presents one side and gives no indication of having even thought of the other viewpoint or what hypothetical observations would support another viewpoint, regardless of whether he agrees with it or not. The idea was to indicate some kind of falsifiability. That seems to be his issue with Matt and Jenn and much like WLC, Robbie was providing philosophical arguments rather than actual observed evidence. If he wanted to he could have researched countries that engaged in social medicine and how it turned out for them and maybe looked into ones where it did work out just fine for them. Then obviously if he thought it was a bad idea, point out how the USA is more akin to the former than the latter and maybe point out some ways in which if we were like the latter it might work even if he does not think we can be that way. EnlightenmentLiberal gives a good indication in # 228 of thinking of questions whose hypothetical answers indicated by hypothetical observations could support or reject how a socialized system might work or not.
    .
    Adam refused to couch his terms or indicate any possibility of having thought of what observations might lead to an opposing hypothesis. You are guilty of that too at times MS. I have only called you out on it once or twice though as you seemed to indicate in later posts that you had actually thought about alternate hypotheses (though would sometimes do so in a rather insulting way).
    .
    I, and probably Matt and Jenn too, would give Robbie’s ideas more consideration and they would be a lot more useful and productive if he didn’t present his ideas like a politician. Robbie presented one side of the argument and goes out of his way to act completely confident and dismissive of any opposing viewpoints. Thats not debating or productive, it is just preaching. Of course because it is about a political issue instead of a religious one he probably thinks that behaving that way is ok. Well frankly I still things it sucks and it just goes to show how organized religion is in many ways, no more than politics.

  207. frankgturner says

    @ Robbie

    “frankgturner” objects to the very idea of using philosophical arguments for making claims. Removing philosophy from the picture leaves only emotions to justify claims and of course, that’s all frank has.

    No, you could actually use some observations of something working or not working in practice, Yes one can argue that this is using the philosophy of the scientific method. That relies on observation of fact. What I was taking issue with was the use of purely philosophical arguments, i.e.: thought experiments, without doing any research on observations of ideas in practice.

  208. frankgturner says

    Hehe, you know when he said,

    Being forced to pay for other people’s healthcare doesn’t protect my rights or anyone else’s.

    I actually thought of a situation where it WOULD protect your rights and in many ways it IS something that we currently do in the USA. Maybe not to the wide range of paying for ALL of another person’s healthcare, but a small amount of it. And what is fucked up is that some people are against this too. I am sure that Robbie did not even consider how this is protecting his rights even though he IS being forced to pay for it and it IS protecting his rights. You did not even consider this did you given that it IS actually something observable that IS going on in practice, right now in the USA.

  209. Monocle Smile says

    @Frank

    Robbie doesn’t present his case scientifically because on the numbers front, he’s already lost…and probably understands this on some level. It’s the same reason most ID proponents (well, those with actual brain cells) don’t cite scientific papers. They can’t. I just draw this conclusion faster than you, I guess.

    @Robbie

    So…healthcare doesn’t protect life or pursuit of happiness? And “Promote the general Welfare” isn’t in the Preamble? You seem to have a VERY unusual (read: fucked up) notion of what constitutes a “legitimate government,” because the Constitution itself indicates that its job goes beyond merely “protecting rights.” Furthermore, it’s already been discussed that this “inalienable” concept is rather laughable. Whether you declare a right to be inalienable or not is pretty irrelevant; all that matters is what society can protect.

    I also notice that you didn’t answer my question and you flatly refused to address EnlightementLiberal.

  210. frankgturner says

    @ MS # 234

    Robbie doesn’t present his case scientifically because on the numbers front, he’s already lost…and probably understands this on some level. It’s the same reason most ID proponents (well, those with actual brain cells) don’t cite scientific papers. They can’t. I just draw this conclusion faster than you, I guess.

    The thought had crossed my mind. I do suspect it even though I don’t conclude it. I find it interesting that he would automatically leap to the conclusion that if you can’t support it philosophically that all you have is emotion and would not even think that one could actually demonstrate something working or not working in practice. I myself am not a big fan of social healthcare given how I have seen it not work in some other countries but I also recognize that ours is different from and subject to other variables then those countries. If I were going to make an argument against it I might site other countries where that practice did not work and indicate what similarities their were between our country and theirs as a proposal for why social medicine might not work.
    .
    I would propose that the reason he does not site his case in a scientific manner has less to do with loosing on the numbers front and more to do with someone who thinks like a politician, which is not so different from thinking like a preacher. I propose that it has less to do with winning the argument (though it might) and more to do with being unwilling to alter one’s model of thought. One might think that because it is a political issue and not a religious one that this somehow validates presenting one’s case that way. I suppose in the right forum it might, but on here we think a bit differently. I pointed out that in many ways adam (Mike Ring) still thought religiously / politically despite being a reformed Jehovah’s Witness.

  211. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    So…healthcare doesn’t protect life or pursuit of happiness? And “Promote the general Welfare” isn’t in the Preamble?

    To be fair, you’re probably wrong on this point. As far as I can tell from some quick research, that point was meant to be narrowly construed in the context of taxation. Specifically, it was meant as a limit on the power of the federal government to tax, and it was not a grant of wide legislative power. The powers granted to the federal congress are very limited in scope, and clearly enumerated.

    Of course, I also think it’s a little silly. I never understood the passion of states’ rights defenders. I mean, they’re technically right, and so we should uphold the law until we change it, but the zeal that it’s defended confuses me.

    PS: Of course, most of this was overturned in effect with the passing of the new deal. Nowadays, there’s very little actual limit on the powers of the federal congress. For example, health care law, drug control law, and more. IMHOObamacare isn’t constitutional under the original intent of the limited powers of congress, but neither is like 90% of other federal law.

  212. Narf says

    I never understood the passion of states’ rights defenders. I mean, they’re technically right, and so we should uphold the law until we change it, but the zeal that it’s defended confuses me.

    They lost on racial discrimination and segregation, at the federal level. They lost on abortion, at the federal level. They’re losing on gay rights, at the federal level.

    States’ rights isn’t this grand ideal that is a virtue in their eyes because of some actual reason. It’s just a tool … for tools. As the country progresses, the bigots see the fact, and they realize that a more homogeneous society doesn’t favor their backwards ways.

    They can have well over half of the country, by unit of landmass, support their bigotry, if they can break the country into chunks. It’s just a ploy to retain strongholds of bigotry, just as it was back in the days of slavery.

  213. Robbie says

    Sorry to get all philosophical again Monocle, but what unites you, frank, and our (un)EnlightenedLiberal, is Pragmatism- the theory that whatever works is good or right. Under this theory, if I’m able to demonstrate that enslaving a small portion of the population could improve “your” moral metrics-“happiness, safety, freedom, material wealth, self determination” for the majority of Americans, then you’re for it, yes?

    EnlightenmentLiberal thinks you can obfuscate this principle by marginalizing the percentages…suggesting that it only takes a 0.1% tax to end hunger in America. What about the rest of the World or is your morality constrained by geography and borders? He calls it “minor imposed duties … for universal guarantee of food”. But once you concede the principle, that we should all be made to pay, according to our ability, for those who are hungry, that is, according to their need, then you open the door to equivalent claims for those who are sick, poor, homeless, and have no job, no cell phone, no clothes, and no….. To achieve this, you must necessarily confiscate property from those who have it in order to give it to those who don’t. It’s that simple, and history is replete with the horrors and injustice of every variant from benign socialism through communism and full blown fascism. What these all share in common is the call for the subordination of the individual to the interests of the group, volk, or fuhrer, much as the previous moral systems called for subordination of the individual to a god or a king.

    EnlightenmentLiberal writes- I am for making the world into a better place.
    (me too, but not at the price of requiring force or government coercion to get it done)
    I am for making the world into a place where every individual is better off
    (me too, and I would place heavy emphasis on EVERY individual but again, not at the price of requiring force or government coercion to get it done).
    Currently, the best way to create that world where every individual is better off is to preemptively impose by force certain duties on other members of society, such as taxes, in order to fund certain programs, like free food for those who need it.
    (WRONG!- EVERY individual cannot be better off under the threat of force. I know many of you don’t like to think of taxation as force or coercion, but for most Americans who pay income tax (which is tragically a tiny minority of the population), every penny they earn for every day they work, from January 1st through (roughly) May 20th, is confiscated by the government to PROVIDE” the general Welfare”. Not PROMOTE it as the preamble suggests, but to just give it, at the expense of others.

    Frankgturner echoes his early disdain for philosophy, which is to say, principled thinking, which is the only means we have of knowing anything. His only concern is whether you can “demonstrate something working or not working in practice.” If I can demonstrate that slavery works, for the majority of us, as they used to believe in the South, then that would be the pragmatic approach to take. Morality aside, he wants me to analyze the cost benefit ratio of such proposals before ruling them out.

    Most atheists I know are drawn to atheism because they care about what is right, regardless of any feeling. They care about the truth. Our truth is, that we need a moral code to guide our lives because we don’t have innate knowledge of the good. We are volitional beings that rely on using our Reason to live. To live we must think and to think we must be free. Force is the only thing that can undercut freedom. The freedom to think implies the freedom to act and benefit from such action. Our lives require us to create the values necessary to sustain our lives. A moral code that purports to sustain the lives of some at the expense of others, is an immoral code as it violates the ONLY moral metric that a legitimate government should defend- freedom! Not freedom from hunger or sickness, but freedom from the coercion of others.

  214. Narf says

    @Robbie

    Sorry to get all philosophical again Monocle, but what unites you, frank, and our (un)EnlightenedLiberal, is Pragmatism- the theory that whatever works is good or right. Under this theory, if I’m able to demonstrate that enslaving a small portion of the population could improve “your” moral metrics-“happiness, safety, freedom, material wealth, self determination” for the majority of Americans, then you’re for it, yes?

    This is one of the things that you guys often don’t get. It’s not about us as individuals. It’s about society. It’s about balancing what’s best for those at the top of the economic ladder with what’s best for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. It’s about hybridizing the two.

    I’m nowhere near the bottom of the economic ladder, so my looking out for them is in no way selfish. I’m trying to improve the society itself for the benefit of the most people in that society, without having too much of an impact on the small percentage, either. Your comparison of our position to slavery is a disgusting slander that doesn’t come even close to being analogous with our position.

    You’re projecting your selfishness onto us. Stop doing that shit.

  215. Narf says

    Your last paragraph is freaking silly, by the way. What you’re proposing sounds like the creation of dogma. I find situational ethics to serve far better than any rigid code you would like to construct. All things should be considered based upon the doing of good and the minimizing of harm. What you’re doing is trying to create a new religion without the deity.

  216. Monocle Smile says

    @Robbie

    Yes, we understand that you are a “Principles over Pragmatism” advocate in the most extreme sense of the phrase. This is why communication is pretty much pointless; you care about these imaginary “principles” as if they’re indeed dogma and don’t give a shit about actual reality. I care about other people, which is a concept that makes your head explode, so I don’t see how further discussion would be useful.

    @Narf

    This blog needs a “like” button. Nailed it.

  217. robertwilson says

    In addition to being a “Principles over Pragmatism” caricature himself, Robbie seems to have a caricatured understanding of the pragmatic view, as evidence by always going to something like “if I could prove slavery was beneficial you’d be ok with it”. No, I wouldn’t be, neither would many of the posters here I’m pretty sure.

    It’s possible to combine principles with pragmatism for better results and not end up lost in a disconnect that prevents you from properly engaging with most people.

  218. frankgturner says

    # robertwilson # 244
    Actually I think a big issue here is a false equivocation fallacy, most likely due to a caricature of a view of socialized medicine. It sounds like Robbie’s view of socialized medicine is that ANY socialized medicine practices at all are completely and totally immoral and the equal to slavery. Hence why he would go to the extreme of equivocating socialized medicine, even in small portions, with slavery.
    .
    If he did his homework and look at some pragmatic ideas he might have realized that we are ALREADY engaging in some socialized medicine practices in the USA now (I mention this in # 233). And it is not a new thing, we have been doing it for some time, possibly before he or I or ANY of us were born. I would just flat out tell him what it is but I am not going to do his homework for him. He should have looked into it himself BEFORE going off on a principles above practices tirade. You don;t have to resort to principles above practice EVEN if you disagree with something in principle. I have even seen people do a cost vs. benefit analysis of slavery to show that it was not beneficial but actually hurt the economy when compared to alternatives. I mean regardless if it did or not I would still be against it due to principles, but I could STILL see how it would be useful to look at it pragmatically as well.
    .
    Generally speaking I am not in favor of socialized medicine in an absolute sense, and I have both pragmatic as well as principled (philosophical) reasons for such a view. I recognized that things like the Affordable Care Act was not an absolute socialized medicine system, despite popular right wing opinion that it is. I don’t agree with all elements of it, but I don’t see it as the equivalent of slavery. And I don’t think that it is immoral to TRY certain aspects of it on the grounds that in some ways, certain aspects of social medicine are almost the equivalent of things like the use of public money for protection services. I have a great analogy for an aspect of public medicine being like the use of public money to pay for fire department services.
    .
    I think the reason why Robbie here resorts to trying this principles over pragmatism argument and trying to equivocate even the most miniscule aspects of social medicine with slavery on moral grounds is due to an emotional investment in his argument, a “need to be right.” I am not a huge advocate of public medicine, but I am opened to looking into practical reasons why it might or might not be beneficial regardless. I disagree with slavery in principle but I still see the value of looking into practical reasons why it is not beneficial.

  219. Narf says

    @Frank

    I have even seen people do a cost vs. benefit analysis of slavery to show that it was not beneficial but actually hurt the economy when compared to alternatives.

    For that matter, you could view slavery as the ultimate form of trickle-down economics. The last I checked, most of us oppose that sort of thing, since it doesn’t do what the proponents on Fox News claim it does.

    The Laffer Curve is a thing, but the relative levels of taxation at which it takes effect are so far above the levels of taxation in the US that it’s stupid to bring it up. You won’t increase total revenues when the taxation percentage is already down in the 30’s.

    Saying that you stimulate the economy by cutting taxes on the rich is even more laughable. You stimulate the economy by cutting taxes on people down at the bottom, since they’ll immediately go out and spend it on frivolous things like food and clothing, boosting the revenue and hiring of companies that hire low-wage workers, instead of the wealthy companies which will just sit on the money if there isn’t demand for their products.

  220. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie

    Sorry to get all philosophical again Monocle, but what unites you, frank, and our (un)EnlightenedLiberal, is Pragmatism- the theory that whatever works is good or right. Under this theory, if I’m able to demonstrate that enslaving a small portion of the population could improve “your” moral metrics-“happiness, safety, freedom, material wealth, self determination” for the majority of Americans, then you’re for it, yes?

    I invite you to read what I wrote on this topic already. See here:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2014/11/03/open-thread-for-aetv-890-matt-and-jen/#comment-426646

    Put in another way, obviously the states we want to achieve are Pareto efficient.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_efficiency
    However, there are many states that are pareto efficient which are incomparable under the metric of pareto efficiency. Your slavery example is pareto efficient in the sense that in that hypothetical society, I cannot make someone better off without making someone worse off.

    However, we humanists and utilitarians do not defend mere pareto efficiency as the standard. Nor do we defend some naive “sum up the well-being linearly” standard. Very often, we defend a standard like that of the Veil Of Ignorance of Rawls.

    Again, I think John Stuart Smith, arguably the proto-utilitarian, defended a very similar approach in his book On Liberty. Mill distinguishes between duties and harms, and reasonably says the standard for using violence to enforce duties must be much more strict than the standard to use violence to prevent harm. Your slavery example does not stand up under this standard. Thus, when you bring up that slavery example, you either show gross ignorance by never even having read On Liberty (or frankly any utilitarian philosopher), or you are being grossly dishonest.

  221. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie
    Multipost to get around the link limit.

    Also, thank you for answering at least one of my question. You hold so strongly to the principles of libertarianism that you would rather 5% of Americans go hungry than fund a program like food stamps. That makes you a miserable human being.

    To achieve this, you must necessarily confiscate property from those who have it in order to give it to those who don’t.

    Yep. It’s exactly that simple. All you need is progressive income taxes and progressive death taxes (e.g. estate taxes).

    I know many of you don’t like to think of taxation as force or coercion, but for most Americans who pay income tax (which is tragically a tiny minority of the population), every penny they earn for every day they work, from January 1st through (roughly) May 20th, is confiscated by the government to PROVIDE” the general Welfare”. Not PROMOTE it as the preamble suggests, but to just give it, at the expense of others.

    Of course. You’re entirely right here, and many liberals and socialists are often very silly when they deny the obvious. I’m one of the first to argue your point quite strongly. Just a few weeks back, I got into a big tirade on the blog against Matt and Tracie for denying this basic fact. See here:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2014/10/21/open-thread-for-aetv-888-matt-tracie-take-callers/#comment-388739

    It’s that simple, and history is replete with the horrors and injustice of every variant from benign socialism through communism and full blown fascism.

    Yep. Just like various modern European countries which rate highest on the usual metrics of societal well-being. We can also go back in history to the founding fathers of the United States. Those damn radical socialists. Just look at the early United States and see the horrors that they unleashed. Even Adam Smith, that dirty commie bastard, was responsible for atrocities.

    Oh wait.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/lexington/2010/10/estate_tax_and_founding_fathers
    Quoting The Economist:

    If there was one thing the Revolutionary generation agreed on — and those guys who dress up like them at Tea Party conventions most definitely do not — it was the incompatibility of democracy and inherited wealth.

    With Thomas Jefferson taking the lead in the Virginia legislature in 1777, every Revolutionary state government abolished the laws of primogeniture and entail that had served to perpetuate the concentration of inherited property. Jefferson cited Adam Smith, the hero of free market capitalists everywhere, as the source of his conviction that (as Smith wrote, and Jefferson closely echoed in his own words), “A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural.” Smith said: “There is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death.”

    Property rights is created by the social contract. I flat-out reject the labour theory of property espoused by John Locke. You can see my take apart Locke in the first link of this post.

    Further, if you cordon off a plot of land and claim it as yours, then you are doing violence to me. Specifically, by cordoning it off, it trespasses on my free right to use nature as I need and want. The cordon comes with the implied threat that you will use violence against me if I use the land which you unjustly claimed.

    Do you justify the use of violence contra the non-aggression principle to defend the social contract fiction of property rights?

    We are volitional beings that rely on using our Reason to live. To live we must think and to think we must be free. Force is the only thing that can undercut freedom. The freedom to think implies the freedom to act and benefit from such action. Our lives require us to create the values necessary to sustain our lives. A moral code that purports to sustain the lives of some at the expense of others, is an immoral code as it violates the ONLY moral metric that a legitimate government should defend- freedom! Not freedom from hunger or sickness, but freedom from the coercion of others.

    Freedom is overrated. I’d rather have food than absolute freedom.

  222. Robbie says

    And by “have” food, you mean force people to give you food.

    I side with Patrick Henry on this one “Give me liberty or give me death”.

  223. Narf says

    @247 – EL
    Yeah, the veil of ignorance is a very important component of making a good society. They had a prolonged discussion about that on an episode of Non Prophets Radio. It was mostly Jeff responding to a listener e-mail. Damned if I can remember which episode, except that it was one of the first dozen or so after they started back up regularly. It’s the same one in which they spoke about pareto efficiency, I believe, or at least it was within an episode or two of that.

    @249 – Robbie
    Yup, there you go with the dogma and catchphrases.

    Give me a society that is the most beneficial to the most people, without persecuting the others. It works better and gives us a better standard of living, hopefully walking a line between allowing economic tyranny by the wealthy and allowing a tyranny of the majority. And no, making someone pay a little more of the huge amount of money that they were able to accumulate, thanks in large part to the society in which they reside, is not economic tyranny.

    You’re aware that hybrid societies work the best and make people the happiest, right? That’s the case with a hybridization of traits along the slider of almost every metric.

  224. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie
    As evidenced by my quote, Patrick Henry and the rest of the people responsible for founding this nation would call you batshit insane, or whatever colorful phrases they had at that time.

    You are a spoiled, selfish brat. “I got mine, and screw you” is the perfect description for libertarians like you.

  225. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS: You didn’t answer: Would you initiate violence contra the non-aggression principle to defend your property rights – itself a fiction of the social contract?

  226. Narf says

    Sadly, I’m in North Carolina. It’s a bit of a haul. I’m all for long-distance road-trips on my bike, but 2,800 miles is a bit much.

    I keep meaning to get out to the west coast a bit more, again, but it’s been difficult lately. My girlfriend and I keep idly talking about moving to Portland, OR or the Seattle area, but I don’t know if we’ll ever do that.

  227. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie
    (Sorry for so many posts)

    But really, if you tried that line on Patrick Henry, he would call you a fool. A 0.1% income tax to help out your fellow man, taken by legally and fairly elected representatives? It’s a complete farce to equate what Patrick Henry said – in context – to what you said in this context.

    Further, to actually equate it with actual slavery with no caveat is outrageous. There is a huge moral difference between being a slave for a few minute each year to end hunger in the nation which might later benefit you, vs being an actual slave – you know, 24-7 from birth to death, with zero chance of personal benefit from the public policy.

  228. Monocle Smile says

    @EL

    I’m currently in Connecticut, but I should be hearing back about a job in Los Angeles soon. If that happens, I’ll definitely be in the Bay area from time to time, and I’d very much like to meet you in person.

  229. Robbie says

    EnlightenedLiberal….what’s with all the name calling? We hold a legitimate difference of opinion, and quite well defended on your part, but that makes me a miserable human being and a spoiled selfish brat? You even have Patrick Henry calling me a fool and batshit insane. I’ve read a lot of Henry and he doesn’t seem like a name caller to me. And what was his context? Was he decrying slavery or was he opposing Britain’s rule over their liberty and taxation without representation?

    Let’s not get our panties in a wad over the word slavery. There are degrees and my first use of the word was to accentuate the futility of running a cost benefit analysis , as I was asked to, for something so outrageously offensive. My second use, of the word “enslavement” was followed by the, still unchallenged, context that some of us work from Jan 1st through May 20th to pay for the bloated cost of government. It’s not just “a few minutes each year to end hunger” or just “making someone pay a little more of the huge amount of money they were able to accumulate”. I noticed the word “earned’ suspiciously absent, but my larger point is, that this is no small amount as you keep alluding to. This is 40% to 50% of many people’s time, effort, innovation, ingenuity, hard work and productivity, being taken from everyday people and redistributed in ways that have no basis in “rights”, but rather, entitlements.

    And as to your question, by now you should know my answer …. I am a staunch advocate for private property and property rights, as these are the existential corollary of the right to life and liberty. This also means I am against the notion of estate and death taxes. As an aside, I’m also not a fan of your favorite, progressive income taxes, but am for taxation, shared equally and fairly…that is, in accordance with consumption, not production. We properly rely on government to enforce our contracts and transactions with one another, so it is just for us to pay a tax on every such contract and transaction. That said, I’m not for the initiation of force to defend property rights, but see the removal of trespassers as the retaliation of force, which would be proper to a legitimate government.

  230. Monocle Smile says

    This shit just keeps getting better.

    We hold a legitimate difference of opinion, and quite well defended on your part, but that makes me a miserable human being and a spoiled selfish brat?

    I love this…reducing alarming differences in how we value each other to a “difference of opinion.” You’d make an excellent politician that I’d never vote for.

    And what was his context? Was he decrying slavery or was he opposing Britain’s rule over their liberty and taxation without representation?

    Well, Mr. Principles without Pragmatism, you would be the first one to claim that context doesn’t matter when it comes to slogan-like utterances, so your bitching is rather ironic.

    Let’s not get our panties in a wad over the word slavery

    Predictable. YOU brought up slavery because it’s inflammatory, and now you want to back off after you got your ass handed to you. Shitting in the punch bowl and then whining about the smell is tacky. When we all plainly see you do it, it’s obnoxious and insulting.

    It’s not just “a few minutes each year to end hunger” or just “making someone pay a little more of the huge amount of money they were able to accumulate”. I noticed the word “earned’ suspiciously absent, but my larger point is, that this is no small amount as you keep alluding to. This is 40% to 50% of many people’s time, effort, innovation, ingenuity, hard work and productivity

    More irony. You bitched at EL for “[obfuscating] this principle by marginalizing the percentages,” and now you want to argue the other way. For the record, most people’s productivity is a direct result of the society in which we live. In fact, you appear to take most of society’s perks that you yourself enjoy for granted.

    That said, I’m not for the initiation of force to defend property rights, but see the removal of trespassers as the retaliation of force

    So you didn’t read a damn thing EL actually said on this topic. Your version of establishing property rights is an act of violence unto itself

  231. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie
    Monocle handles a lot of it well. Let me add a few other things.

    We hold a legitimate difference of opinion,

    [Invoking the nuclear option:] That’s like saying that Nazis and Jews hold a legitimate difference of opinion.

    And what was his context? Was he decrying slavery or was he opposing Britain’s rule over their liberty and taxation without representation?

    Basically, yes. A major trigger of the American war of independence was taxation without representation, not mere taxation for things you don’t like.

    Don’t go quoting Patrick Henry and invoking him by name, and the founding fathers of this country, and pretend that they agree with you. Almost universally they were radical socialists by your definition. They would detest your ideas as vile and opposed to the very possibility of a free state. They wrote as much quite clearly.

    I am a staunch advocate for private property and property rights, as these are the existential corollary of the right to life and liberty.

    Says who? Says you? I disagree.

    I think it patently obvious that the right to food is a corollary of the right to life, liberty, and happiness. I also think it patently obvious that from the right of life, liberty, and happiness, you cannot derive a right to hoard material wealth when you have more than plenty, when your neighbor has none. In fact, I would say that those two are starkly opposed.

    That said, I’m not for the initiation of force to defend property rights, but see the removal of trespassers as the retaliation of force,

    I’m sorry. You don’t have a metaphysical connection to your land or house. There is no magic indicator that says “This land is mine, and this house is mine”. It’s a fiction created by society.

    If I take a walk on a piece of land which you claim as your own, and if you use violence to force me off that particular piece of land, then you are the one initiating violence. You have to contort the meanings of “initiate” and “violence” beyond the pale for anything you say to be coherent. I am not doing violence to you to walk on some piece of nature. You are doing violence to me by roping it off, and shooting me when I walk on some piece of nature.

    Presumably you have a house or apartment. For the sake of argument: I now claim that the dwelling in which you currently reside is my property. If you fail to vacate my dwelling in 24 hours, then I say that you are initiating violence against me, and so I have the right to shoot you to get you off my property. What do you say to that? How do you determine whose dwelling it is? This should be interesting. Keep in mind that I’m about 8% Cherokee. Assuming you are not descended from Native Americans, I think it likely that under the system you propose, especially with inheritance rights, I’ll probably have a stronger claim to my dwelling than you under your imagination of property rights.

  232. frankgturner says

    @ Monocle Smile # 261

    I love this…reducing alarming differences in how we value each other to a “difference of opinion.” You’d make an excellent politician that I’d never vote for.

    Predictable. YOU brought up slavery because it’s inflammatory, and now you want to back off after you got your ass handed to you. Shitting in the punch bowl and then whining about the smell is tacky. When we all plainly see you do it, it’s obnoxious and insulting….
    More irony. You bitched at EL for “[obfuscating] this principle by marginalizing the percentages,” and now you want to argue the other way.

    You know mentally I compared this guy to William lane Craig but arguing a political point instead of the existence of god, but doing so like a politician or preacher either way. Essentially trying to set up an un-falsifiable position, arguing for the existence of the Xtian God one second then backing off to deism when hard evidence is pushed in his face.
    .
    Same tactic here except it is an un-falsifiable position regarding socialized medical care, argues for social medicine being akin to slavery and then retreating when evidence that it isn’t even as established by the founding fathers whom he holds so dear.
    .
    Not surprisingly, when WLC was asked about evolution in back in 2012 he made an open ended argument that sounded pretty appealing to creationists (who are among his fans/constituents) and demonstrated that he had no knowledge of the past 15 years of research on evolution as he did not do his homework. He basically just argued principles. What does Robbie here do when I point out that we already DO engage in a small form of social medicine in the US right now and have been since before he was born? Oh no, far be it from him to actually look it up.
    .
    FYI Robbie, I actually agree with you that it sucks to pay for the bloated cost of government. A big part of that comes from greedy politicians salaries and I have seen some cost benefit analyses of them (which you think are so futile) that show that they consume more and produce less than the vast majority of much poorer Americans. Yet many of them fight to have lower taxes for themselves (the rich) despite the hoarding of their own money. If they were taxed in accordance with what they consume of public money they would not nearly be as rich as they are. And when the founding fathers started this country that WAS common. You could make more money being a farmer than you could a politician and many would go back to that after having served.
    .
    You are being tricked into being a slave. Almost half of YOUR money and Americas personal is spent by politicians who then convince you that they need to be taxed less on their personal income (which is ALSO paid by you). You don’t want to acknowledge that because your big ego gets in the way. Instead of trying to be like them and set up an un-falsifiable position why don’t you think of how you might be wrong. Try doing that. The best debaters know their opponents argument so well that they could practically make the argument for their opponent. Argue why socialized medicine is a good thing. Look up some actual cases of socialized medicine. I mean if I was arguing against slavery I would at least look up some different ways that it was practiced. And even if I thought a cost benefit analysis was futile I would still do it in order to gain a bit of insight.
    .
    Is it so fucking hard for you to think less like a politician preacher and more like a scientist? Oh and you don’t have to think of things in direct practical terms. You can set up your hypothesis and discuss what you would hypothetically have to observe to gain support for the hypothesis and what you hypothetically could observe against it. That is basically arguing from principles if you have never actually observed either case. You still have to set up a falsifiable position though instead of trying to bend the rules so that your position stands without question. That’s what Xtians do with regard to their religion, try to claim that it is foolish to challenge or question or doubt so that they never have to be wrong. You are doing the same thing but with a political position, the effect is still the same though, and it is an intellectually dishonest tactic. You don’t get to claim that it is justified because it is political instead of religious.

  233. Robbie says

    Ok…I seem to be going about this all wrong.

    I thought staying on point and defending my positions with real reasons was a far more preferable approach than just wielding insults and berating you for your worthless left-winged hackneyed drivel. You animals just can’t keep your filthy stinking hands out of my pocket or anyone else’s. Drowning in your own veil of ignorance you expect me to argue why socialized medicine is good? You can’t even do it!

    I’m really expected to play your little look it up game regarding Medicare and Medicaid? Yes, we already have socialized medicine for the poor and the elderly, and that’s the health care bankrupts so many, because the have’s have to pay for the have not’s. Or everyone would be dying in the streets, right? Just like before the 50’s when we didn’t have these programs. And just like before we fed over 40% of the population with food stamps, there was mass starvation in the streets.

    The welfare programs you champion, which barely date back 60 years, institutionalize poverty which pieces of shit like you require to keep the voting rolls full of all the dependents you create with your institutionalized theft. And your happy, even proud, to say your stealing it…all in the name of your distorted and reprehensible view of morality, where anyone can be sacrificed to anyone based on the size of their sores. And no doubt, the three of you sound like your sores are open and festering with all hate so typical of socialist scumbags.

    Our differences are simple…you think “rights” are rights to my stuff and everyone else’s, and I say that “rights” are rights to action, NOT things.

    As for slavery…I’m not back off anything… I just explained the context in which it was raised. As to property rights, our 8% Cherokee (I’m not sure what kind of idiot breaks down %’s like that, but I’m sure it’s to increase the handouts you think you’re entitled) thinks he’s entitled to trespass on my land because I’m not metaphysically attached to it. I guess you could take my car and cell phone and anything you like under your system, that’s not attached to my person. That’s because you’re consistent in your approach to thinking you have a claim to everyone’s stuff. Well come try it asshole. I live in Texas and we don’t suffer fools and thieves lightly.

  234. Narf says

    @264

    I thought staying on point and defending my positions with real reasons …

    If you had actually defended yourself with more than conservative dogma and political slogans from slaveholders, the conversation would have gone a lot differently. You haven’t given us a single reason to accept your ideology about the supremacy of personal liberty over making a functional society that benefits the most people.

    I tried to reason with you, and you never addressed anything I said. So, you can deal with EL’s name-calling, which is apparently what you prefer. You’ve earned his abuse, at this point, in my opinion.

  235. Monocle Smile says

    Resorting to vanilla-flavored trolling so quickly, Robbie?

    There’s really nothing quite like revisionist history. I’m not even going to try to identify the fallacies you committed just in that post, because it’s probably all of them.

  236. NorskVind says

    @Robbie
    So you’re against public healthcare, public welfare programs, and apparently parks too for whatever reason. I don’t see why you are against them but I don’t think that I ever will. What is your version of an acceptable solution to this problem? Let people starve who can’t afford food? Let people die of treatable illnesses or injuries because they can’t afford to pay for health services? Depend on the kindness of strangers to help those people? I don’t consider those acceptable personally, but you may have some idea that I hadn’t thought of. I’d really like to hear your opinion on this.

  237. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The welfare programs you champion, which barely date back 60 years, institutionalize poverty

    You heard it here first folks. Food stamps make more poor and hungry people.

    As for slavery…I’m not back off anything… I just explained the context in which it was raised. As to property rights, our 8% Cherokee (I’m not sure what kind of idiot breaks down %’s like that, but I’m sure it’s to increase the handouts you think you’re entitled) thinks he’s entitled to trespass on my land because I’m not metaphysically attached to it. I guess you could take my car and cell phone and anything you like under your system, that’s not attached to my person. That’s because you’re consistent in your approach to thinking you have a claim to everyone’s stuff. Well come try it asshole. I live in Texas and we don’t suffer fools and thieves lightly.

    You’re the thief. Your ancestors took my ancestor’s shit, and now you’re an accomplice by refusing to return stolen property. I want it back. If you believe in absolute inheritance rights e.g. no estate taxes, then you are forced to agree. Give me back my shit.

  238. Monocle Smile says

    @Norsk

    I mentioned this in my first post, but in Robbie’s call, Matt told him that he was unemployed for a while with no health insurance. Robbie told him that he should rely on friends to help him out during that time. I don’t think Robbie actually understands how much health care costs. It’s an even more extreme version of the argument that all welfare programs should be canceled because churches and soup kitchens can adequately service all of the people currently using them. There are people who actually believe that, I shit you not.

  239. Robbie says

    That’s because you can’t. You have even less to offer than that idiot Narf. I’ve been ignoring your ignorant crap because you have nothing but insults and commentary to your posts. The two of you will enjoy meeting up. You both sound like a real match for each other. Next time though, how about you discuss your hookups on grinder where that shit belongs.

  240. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Still waiting for you to justify your possession of stolen goods, land, etc. I want it back.

  241. Narf says

    Robbie, the fact that you’re now going homophobic on us with the Grinder crap just makes you look like more of an asshole than you already did. Seriously, what are you trying to accomplish here? If anything, you’re just driving us further away from your position.

  242. Narf says

    And no, I don’t really expect an answer from you, but you should ask yourself that question. What are you trying to accomplish, and do you think that you’re likely to accomplish it by continuing to troll this comment section?

  243. frankgturner says

    I thought staying on point and defending my positions with real reasons

    Actually no, you didn’t give real reasons that involved pragmatism or anything observable, you gave principles. You admitted this yourself. You even continue to do it in the follow up.
    .

    I’m really expected to play your little look it up game regarding Medicare and Medicaid? Yes, we already have socialized medicine for the poor and the elderly, and that’s the health care bankrupts so many, because the have’s have to pay for the have not’s.

    Wouldn’t doing a cost benefit analysis of Medicare and Medicaid (which you finally looked up) be advantageous here? There are actually aspects of Medicare and Medicaid that I don’t agree with as the cost benefit analysis shows a loss and I have not been convinced that certain aspects of them are beneficial. I would not throw the whole thing away just because portions of it are not working if other portions are. That’s part of thinking scientifically. To paraphrase Isaac Assimov that is part of the issue with how many people think, if something is not absolutely right on all levels many tend to think that it is absolutely wrong in every way shape and form. That type of black and white thinking and not breaking things down is not what led to scientific discovery, if anything it impeded it.
    .
    You’ve been convinced emotionally that anything and everything having to do with left winged thinking is wrong even when certain parts might be demonstrably helpful to you. You might be pretty pissed if Medicare and Medicaid were shut down completely without an analysis of what parts are benefitting you.
    .
    Believe me I am not very fond of the fact that the government has its hands in our pockets so deep ether and takes so much out of our salaries. I’d like my taxes and the taxes of many an individual to be lower than to pay for the bloated waste that government does. The difficulty is that what motivates politicians to be politicians is greed and desire for money and property. I’ve got news for you Robbie, unless you are at the very top of the economic ladder all of the cutting of social programs in the world won’t net you personally one penny of extra income, it will only go to the rich and greedy politicians. They steal candy from babies and do Robin Hood in reverse, steal from the poor and give to the rich. They have more than they need and won’t spend one penny or their own personal income to help anyone else unless they get some financial benefit from it. Are you one of the have’s trying to prevent yourself from being bankrupted by having to pay for the have nots?
    .
    That is why I am not particularly supportive of liberals either, I just see conservatives stealing from the poor and giving to the rich more directly. I see those social programs as doing at least some good for me and those around me despite the fact that a lot gets wasted. It is basically the lesser of two evils. Nice to see you looked them up at least a little but it isn’t just welfare and medicare and medicaid.

  244. frankgturner says

    @Narf
    You know a part of me has actually thought that it would be interesting if we moved a bunch of extreme financial right wingers to a state of their own and moved out all of anyone who was liberal from that state and let them set up their own country just to see what happens. Be interesting to see what a bunch of people who complain about the have and have nots would do as they could set up their own state where everyone was divided up like that. People could keep all of their own property and taxes just the way that they wanted. No social programs needed, police or medicine or fire depts., etc. You just have to use your own money to pay for pricate security if you want it.
    .
    I don’t think Robby would be too happy as he’d probably be one of the have nots. He thinks that he would be one of the haves but even if he was he’d be surrounded by poverty and would be paying a fortune to protect himself. Who knows though, maybe it would work and we could learn something from it. Maybe it would work in part and we could analyze which part of it worked and which didn’t.
    .
    I wind up myself not being a big fan of social medicine based on what I saw going on in England. Of course that is actually using some observations of things actually having happened to support what I am saying.

  245. frankgturner says

    @MS # 270
    As far as how much health care costs, I think that there is some idea in there. I mean there is some discussion Robby has about health care bankrupting the haves by having to pay for the have nots. He could give some examples of this rather than just making that claim though. Maybe this happened to someone in his family? I have yet to hear about a multi millionaire politician going dirt poor because they had to personally pay for the health care of someone who had absolutely nothing.
    .
    Of course I have made several comments about thinking like a politician / preacher rather than a scientist and looking for some sort of physical evidence. Many a politician / preacher makes assertions without evidence with nice strong emotional confidence and when someone like us asks for hard evidence gets pissed off. So maybe instead of claiming how Medicare and Medicaid bankrupt so many (none of whom are the big greedy politicians it seems) he could give some examples of that?
    .
    I doubt it though, like I said, he thinks like a politician. He may be an atheist but he still thinks like those who practice religious dogma.

  246. Robbie says

    Narf…I see I hit nerve, and I was hoping to drive you away from the thread, not my position. I don’t believe you have the depth of intelligence to understand my positon. Now go play somewhere else.

    Monocle…when Matt lamented his unemployed status, with no health care, why couldn’t he purchase it himself? If I was in his kind of shape I’d never not have health insurance. The difference is, I’d pay the $150 a month myself, rather than ask “society” to do it for me.

    EL…Come on…I can’t take the credit for being the first to suggest that welfare institutionalizes poverty and tragically that is no more evident than in the African American community. As to ownership rights…does the same apply to my car? Do I own it? If so, why? If not, come and get it…it’s sitting on your land 

    Frank…I agree, I am arguing in principles, and not apologizing for it. I explained why I reject the pragmatist approach to cost benefit analyses for programs that outright violate rights from the start. I used slavery as an example, not in the physical sense, but in the economic sense but that went right past you. Why do you keep ignoring the difference between the legitimate need for police (to protect everyone’s rights) and the illegitimate “need” to pay for someone else’s healthcare (a violation of rights for those forced to pay)?

    NorskVind…My solution is freedom and the abundance it produces. A separation between the State and economics for the same reason that I’m sure you are for a separation of State and religion. Force is antithetical to thinking and free markets. Nobody was dying in the streets before the institutionalization of welfare in America. Now there is a bum on every corner asking for a handout, but at these people more noble than the bums on this thread who want the force of government to coerce others to “give” them their handouts. Mostly however, I see rights as rights to action, not things. Your empathy for others, which I share, does not change my view of rights. You ask “what” should be done for the poor and needy automatically assuming that something “should” be done, not by yourself, but by coercing others to do it. There is nothing to stop you doing whatever you want to do. As atheists, we battle religionists, not so much because of what they believe, but because they want to force us to think their way. I have no problem with anyone believing want they want to believe, as long as you don’t try to force me to believe it. The same is true for my work and my property. I have no problem with you doing what you want with yours, but I do have a problem with you forcing me to do what you want to do with it. For a fuller explanation read or watch Collectivized Ethics, by Ayn Rand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OvL1_89QDs

  247. Narf says

    Narf…I see I hit nerve, and I was hoping to drive you away from the thread, not my position. I don’t believe you have the depth of intelligence to understand my positon. Now go play somewhere else.

    Heh heh heh. Right, continued trolling it is. You didn’t hit a nerve. I’m just bewildered about what you expect to gain by adding homophobic bigotry to everything before that.

    You know that pretty much all atheists are fine with gay people, right? My only reaction to being accused of being gay is, “No, I’m attracted to women only, but if I was attracted to men, I would have sex with them. It’s no big deal.”

    And that’s rich, you trying to dismiss me. You’re the interloper here. I’ve been here for years. You’ve just about succeeded in making me ignore you, but if the others continue to engage, for some masochistic reason, I might pay attention to what they say and add something, from time to time.

  248. Monocle Smile says

    I’ll let the other addressees answer their targeted blurbs.

    Robbie, do you have any goddamn idea how much heath care costs? Especially with no income? Matt has a pre-existing condition, you dipshit.

    Okay, fine, I’ll answer some of the stuff addressed to Norsk.

    Nobody was dying in the streets before the institutionalization of welfare in America

    Oh, my aching ass. How dishonest can you get? Do I really need to post links swatting down this despicable “Leave it to Beaver” nonsense?

    For a fuller explanation read or watch Collectivized Ethics, by Ayn Rand

    WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK
    You crammed a ten-foot pole up your own ass when I first accused you of being an Ayn Rand fanboi, and I was right the whole time! You motherfucker. I think I see the problem…you are a shitstain, pure and simple. This goes far beyond your political stances.

  249. Narf says

    Nobody was dying in the streets before the institutionalization of welfare in America

    Oh, my aching ass. How dishonest can you get? Do I really need to post links swatting down this despicable “Leave it to Beaver” nonsense?

    I particularly noted that one, myself, but I was sticking to the stuff addressed to me. I love this particular trope of the Ayn Rand bots, acting as if poverty didn’t exist before the 60’s. I just rarely see them say something so stupid, so nakedly.

    And yeah, you called it. Ayn Rand all the way. What an asshole.

  250. frankgturner says

    @Robbie
    And you are the one suggesting things of going past people hmm? Let’s see if this get’s through to you.
    .
    One of the things that you are forced to pay for in terms of social programs is the fire department. They protect safety, not quite the same way that police do. If you refused to pay for that and did not get fire service, yeah when your house goes to burn down they could refuse to put it out for you and let you fend for yourself, but the fire endangers other people too. So you are part of the social contract that involves protecting people’s safety.
    .
    Now let’s say that part of a social medicine program involved treatment for, well I don’t know, disease, like Ebola maybe? And you refused to pay for everyone else’s medical care or even your own. Yes we could let someone suffer from Ebola in your neighborhood and maybe quarantine them off so they don’t get to close to you, but isn’t being in your area endanger you EVEN IF you paid for personal medical care and got vaccinated against it? Isn’t that sort of like being in the vicinity of a fire.
    .
    So now do you see why I think that SOMETIMES a legitimate need for SAFETY is part of what healthcare is about? Or do you feel that a need for safety in that regard (i.e.: protection from disease) is not legitimate? THAT is what I was initially hoping that you would find when it came to looking up forms of socialized medicine. School vaccinations (among other things) which protect us from disease are, at least in part, a portion of socialized medicine. I did not want to just give it to you as I thought you would be capable of looking that up and finding it for yourself. Unfortunately due to confirmation bias and a desire to see only what forms of social medical care were detrimental to society you totally missed it.
    .
    Now yes I think it is unfair for you to have to pay for medical treatment of a person with cancer who got it because they refused to stop smoking. As a former smoker myself I would feel that was unfair too (it was hard to but I have stopped for many years now). In that regard I think you have a point that it would be unfair for you to have to pay for someone’s medical care. In that regard I can see a difference. The reason why I looked that up long ago and figured that out is that I also developed a hypothesis that having to pay for the medical care of others was detrimental and the hypothetical example I came up with had to do with smoking (what I just mentioned).
    .
    Thinking like a scientist I tried to think of what I would have to observe that would support the idea of social medical care being beneficial even though I did not think that such things would be possible. Sure enough, by doing some research I found out that vaccinations ARE part of socialized medical care practiced not only by us but also done in other countries. And the idea that just like I have a right to protection and safety from police as I do from fire and sure enough, a certain degree of protection from disease too. So I had BOTH a principle and a pragmatic concept to support that idea. The principle of being safe from disease came AFTER I saw a practical application of a right to safety in the form of vaccination.
    .
    Or would you like to argue that you don’t have a right to safety from disease? Would you like your next door neighbor to develop Rubella and endanger your life because you refused to pay for their kids to get vaccinated? Oh and yes, Medicare does cover immunizations and vaccinations.

  251. frankgturner says

    @Narf # 281
    Actually I just about cracked up laughing when he made the claim about bums not coming up to you and asking for a handout. My recently deceased 97 year old grandfather who fought in WWII after the depression would have gotten very upset that someone claimed he was full of shit when he complained about bums approaching him for money in the 1920s and 1930s. And the stories he told about how desperate people were for a drink, hehe. There is nothing like learning history from a person who actually “lived it.” I mean yes my grandfather probably exaggerated and told some whoppers, but it was based on something solid.
    .
    I once heard a conservative talk about “going back” to a time when things were better and families were stronger. And all I could think, particularly with regard to the 1950s was, sure where racism was more prominent (you should read some of the protests that conservative types launched against interracial marriage if you think same sex shit it bad). Frankly it sounded so neurotic and unrealistic that I could not imagine a person would develop any sort of principles from anything that really occurred.
    .
    That is one of my big issues with arguing from principles. Yes principles are important but how they apply is a lot more critical and says a lot more about what their effect will be. That is why it is often said, “actions speak louder than words.” I find it no surprise that Robbie does not seem to get that.

  252. toska says

    welfare institutionalizes poverty and tragically that is no more evident than in the African American community.

    Ah yes, African Americans are often impoverished because they get food stamps. Not because of racism or lack of access to education by virtue of where they live and what families they are born into. Right.

  253. frankgturner says

    @Monocle Smile # 280
    Yeah with that whole “No one was dying before the institutionalization of welfare in America,” I just about laughed my butt off. I was thinking, uhm, so when did this institutionalization of poverty happen, before the great depression? After the civil war? Federal social programs have been going on since this country was founded based on the “English poor laws.” some of those had been in place since when this country was founded or shortly thereafter. So doesn’t that mean welfare has been institutionalized since this country began?
    .
    I would sure like to hear when Robbie thinks welfare was institutionalized and what he bases that thought upon.

  254. Narf says

    Actually I just about cracked up laughing when he made the claim about bums not coming up to you and asking for a handout. My recently deceased 97 year old grandfather who fought in WWII after the depression …

    Yeah, my grandfather was in the army core of engineers, in the Pacific theater of WWII. Those guys were freaking nuts. Dude saw some stuff.

    I used to love listening to his stories.

  255. frankgturner says

    @ toska # 284
    Right exactly which is why minorities like African Americans can’t become Doctor’s that lead research in neuroscientifc research, oh wait no.
    .
    Which is why African Americans can’t dvelop institutions for Botany and Agriculture that revolutionize farming, oh wait.
    .
    Which is why African Americans can’t go on to become leaders in the Civil Rights movement, oh wait right.
    .
    Which is why there are no Black politicians who can never aspire to become Presid….well you see where I am going with this.

  256. Narf says

    I would sure like to hear when Robbie thinks welfare was institutionalized and what he bases that thought upon.

    I guess things were better back in Victorian times, when they just threw debtors into prison.

  257. toska says

    Frank,
    I’m not sure if you misunderstood me or not. I wasn’t saying that African Americans can’t become successful. I was saying that they face obstacles that white people often do not, and I was laughing at Robbie’s assertion that receiving food stamps is one of those obstacles, rather than racism or the higher likelihood that they are born into impoverished areas with less access to education.

  258. Narf says

    @287
    It’s about averages, though. things are getting better, but they still aren’t there yet. Give it another generation or two, and we might be completely desegregated. Down here in the southeast, you can still see a lot of issues. There are a few towns that only took down the official Klan-affiliation notices on the “Welcome to …” signs about a generation ago.

  259. corwyn says

    Now yes I think it is unfair for you to have to pay for medical treatment of a person with cancer who got it because they refused to stop smoking.

    One could easily make the argument that the reduction in smoking in the US, and thus the reduction in what we would otherwise have been paying for healthcare (due to second hand smoke etc), is the result of people paying for others healthcare. It creates a social pressure for people to be more healthy. Note: this applies to either publicly funded healthcare, or pooled group insurance funded healthcare.

  260. frankgturner says

    @corwyn # 291
    That is a tough argument to make given that personal costs of medical care are also going to increase in the long run when one smokes heavily and would do so even if their was no social medical care. However, you demonstrate my point about considering one’s hypothesis and thinking of what one would have to observe that would show support for the hypothesis and what one would have to observe to show that the hypothesis may be false. Just to show another principle that I considered in terms of obervation of something pragmatic, taxes on tobacco, a consumable product, have also gone up highly so drop in smoking could be from higher costs of the product. Most likely what you would have demonstrated there is a correlation as compared to a causation (which I am not sure Robby understands based on the side conversation that toska and I are having).
    .
    @toska # 289
    No I understood. What I was doing was reacting sarcastically to the unstated argument that African Americans must have so many obstacles like “food stamps” as Robby suggested that there must be no way whatsoever for them to overcome said obstacles. Obviously despite lack of access to education (which some conservatives like in Texas wanted to take away from EVERYONE who could not afford it just last year under Rick Perry) and racism and impoverished living, a good many HAVE succeeded despite this. Some mgiht even say that the success was a result of said struggles. Sometimes more obstacles means that a person works harder, though this does not justify said obstacles if that was not the intent of the obstacles.
    .
    @Narf # 288 and @ toska
    I have a feeling that I know what Robby is referencing and if he thinks that there was not heavy poverty before that or that said poverty did not heavily influence African Americans he really does not know his history. It is all part of the, know your opponent better than they know themself principle. I ultimately wanted him to figure out that whole “right to personal safety” piece I mentioned in # 282 that references vaccinations but it was just flying right past him. He bothered to look up medicare and medicaid though which is where I originally found that out.

    #286
    My grandfather was a gunner in the Navy on a ship that became a museum about 6-7 years ago in the Washington D.C. harbor. We asked if he wanted to visit it for the past few years before he passed away and he definitely did not. His most interesting story was being debreifed after having returned from a mission not far from Nagasaki.
    .
    @ Narf # 290, actually this is for everyone. Enlightenment Liberal particularly.
    You’ve never seen a picture of me have you? I won’t go into percents as I am “officially” white, but I have had people figue it out by looking at me (it is more due to my features than the shade of my skin). I used to get weird looks from people when with my wife who is “officially” black but if you look at her features you can tell with regards to her too. Oh you would have to share some of the returns with her Enlightenment Liberal as she has a higher percentage of Lumbi DNA than you do Cherokee DNA.
    .
    There is a youtube video though that gives me confidence that the times are changing when it comes to racism. Look up, “Kids React to Controversial Cheerios Commercial” to know what I am talking about.

  261. frankgturner says

    @ Monocle Smile # 280 and Enlightenment Liberal # 262
    Frankly I think we should have expected Ayn Rand to be brought up given that EL had already Godwinned in # 262. I wonder if there is a rule about Ayn Rand that Godwin or some other attorney or anthropologist or philsopher or psychologist or politician etc. has come up with.

  262. Narf says

    @ Narf # 290, actually this is for everyone. Enlightenment Liberal particularly.
    You’ve never seen a picture of me have you? I won’t go into percents as I am “officially” white, but I have had people figue it out by looking at me (it is more due to my features than the shade of my skin). I used to get weird looks from people when with my wife who is “officially” black but if you look at her features you can tell with regards to her too.

    Heh, nice. Haven’t seen a picture, no. That reminds me of this George Carlin bit, for some reason:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttUvsrcxKmI

    Sadly, the closest I can claim to anything even vaguely “ethnic” is the 25% Sicilian blood (the grandfather who was in WWII). I’m not as uber-white as most of the Scotch-Irish around here, since a lot of my ancestry is more Slavic (some Czechoslovakian, actually, so I’m even linguistically Slavic), but it’s so muddled that you couldn’t actually figure out any real identity from it, even if I was inclined to try. The best you could get is vaguely Germanic for the most part, perhaps, with a tiny bit of Irish and Swedish thrown in from one of my grandmothers.

  263. frankgturner says

    @Narf # 294
    For starters, if you have South European blood, particularly Italian islands an the Iberian Peninsula (Sicily, , Sardegna, Malta, etc) or Spanish, you probably are not “Uber-White” given the extent of rule of the Moors. Some good genetics tests could probably reveal ow much of Negroloid, Caucasoid, or Mongoloid decent you are. So you are not pure Caucasoid.. is anyone any more? I read an article some years ago about NFL players who are considered “black” and DNA tests run on them to find that they had an AVERAGE of 30% Caucasoid DNA. We’re mutts mostly, good thing too as for the most part it keeps us healthy. Pureblood humans are not like well bred dogs or cats (my wife and I have a Turtleshell Maincoon). Mutts are what is healthy among humans, for the most part.
    .
    What I was getting at is that Robby here was making an argument about what is an obstacle to African Americans, probably not realizing that he has been talking to people that are of negroloid decent. Maybe not culturallly “African American,” which has a LOT more to do with racism in this country as far as I am concerned, but possibly of that biological decent. I have heard many an individual say that they don’t think of Colin Powell as a “black man” and I would not have been surprised to hear that argument from Robby based on the way he has been talking, but I don’t know for sure.

  264. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie

    Come on Robbie. It shouldn’t be that hard to defend your position with something other than “I’ll shoot you”. Let me put it like this. Suppose aliens were observing Earth from orbit, and they heard our dispute about the property. How would the aliens determine who was in the right? How would aliens determine who was the proper owner of the property?

    Let’s suppose you argue that it’s yours because it was given to you by your parents. Does that mean all I have to do is illegally kill you, and give it to my kids? Or would you be rather upset by this outcome, and argue that me killing you would make the property belong to your kids, not mine? In which case, when did the land you are on stop properly belonging to the native Americans and start belonging to your ancestors?

    This should be a trivial exercise. Come on.

  265. Narf says

    For starters, if you have South European blood, particularly Italian islands an the Iberian Peninsula (Sicily, , Sardegna, Malta, etc) or Spanish, you probably are not “Uber-White” given the extent of rule of the Moors.

    Certainly, there are whiter. I’m not so white that I have to chase away the local Klansmen when they’re out on their monthly membership drives. At most, I get them maybe once a year … twice at the most.

    Some good genetics tests could probably reveal ow much of Negroloid, Caucasoid, or Mongoloid decent you are. So you are not pure Caucasoid.. is anyone any more?

    I did a 23andme test. My girlfriend got them as Christmas presents, last year. Here’s my breakdown:

    99.9% European
    Northern European
    10.1% British & Irish
    3.3% French & German
    0.8% Scandinavian
    0.1% Finnish
    25.3% Broadly Northern European

    Southern European
    9.1% Balkan
    7.0% Italian
    1.4% Iberian
    21.3% Broadly Southern European
    5.4% Eastern European
    16.3% Broadly European

    0.1% East Asian & Native American
    East Asian
    < 0.1% Broadly East Asian
    < 0.1% Broadly East Asian & Native American

    It's pretty damned white in that breakdown … whiter since I don't go outside much during the day in the summer, although I tan fairly well, when I do.

  266. Robbie says

    Narf…. What’s with you douche bag? Can’t you see there is a real conversation going on here. Why the fuck would anyone care about your genetic lineage? If you go back and read all of Narf’s posts in this thread you’ll see he has nothing to offer. You think you have some kind of veteran status on this website?

    Monocle… Looks like I’ve broken some unwritten rule by referencing Rand. I acknowledged your Randian’s smears in my very first post. I wasn’t impressed then and I’m even less impressed now. Do you have anything of substance regarding any particular idea or is it just one giant ad hominem attack you worthless fucking idiot.

  267. frankgturner says

    @ # 297
    OK Narf, European is not necessarily synonymous with “white.” To a fairly large degree Northern European and broadly European are, if what we are calling white is basically “Caucosoid.” Some Northern and Western Asian peoples are basically genetically Caucasoid, but that is pretty much it.
    .
    Everyone is a breakdown of 3 biological human origins, Caucasoid, Negroid (mainly African but some peoples of parts of Europe and a LOT of people in the Middle East contain a large portion of this DNA), and Mongoloid (Middle to East Asian). Saying East Asian and Native American is redundant.
    .
    Many descendants of the peoples of Southern Europe may have a pretty significant portion of Negroid DNA, particularly Italians and Iberians. So that combination of Balkan, Iberian, Italian and Broadly South European may contain a good amount of Negroid DNA. I guess 23andme doesn’t break it down by Mongoloid, Negroid, and Caucasoid. They may have not had enough customers of primarily Monogoloid and Negroid backgrounds to analyze what portion of your South European descent is Negroid. They do seem to know that the Native Americans were descendants of an early settlement of nomadic Northern and Eastern Asians (despite the redundancy).
    .
    So being 99.9% European does not mean that you are 99.9% “white.” That is a common mistake though that a lot of people make.

  268. Robbie says

    Frank…. I’m all for vaccinations and fire departments as being part of a legitimate government function to protect rights. The first is to protect individuals from the spread of disease as people should be protected from one another giving them diseases and the second protects property which I’ve already argued is an extension of the right to life. You might try and identify both of these services as part of your socialist state but in fact they would be necessary services in a free society that protected individual rights. Do you have any other examples?

  269. frankgturner says

    Robbie, I am having that conversation white him and you can ignore it if you want to. From where I am standing you are the one being the douche bag. You don’t get to dictate to us what we converse about or what is important. I find what he has said to be of substance.
    .
    The fact that you would even have the arrogance to make said claim tells me that you are no longer worth talking to. Where do you get off telling people what is important to talk about and what isn’t?

  270. frankgturner says

    I have other examples Robbie but I don’t care to continue the conversation with you. You are an impolite, rude, obnoxious, asshole and I don’t much care for your company. You have nothing of substance to add as far as I am concerned and even if you did you act with such disrespect that I am not sure if I should care.

  271. Monocle Smile says

    Robbie, your “acknowledgement” seemed to be you taking offense at my (apparently proper) labeling of you as a Randroid.

    Do I really have to explain why Ayn Rand is a joke, just like all of her arguments? This isn’t just some ad hominem; I put Randian ideals in the same camp as geocentrism. I can explain why you’re wrong, but so much material exists already that it’s just a waste of time. Politicians today like to wave her name around to appeal to the largely selfish, ignorant, belligerent voter base, but in my mind (because I define myself largely by how what I do affects mankind), there’s little practical difference between Randian ethics and nihilism.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/06/23/chris_kluwe_heres_whats_wrong_with_ayn_rand_libertarians/

    Chris Kluwe was a punter. He’s a decent writer, but it’s not hard to spot the obvious problems with Randian “ethics.”

  272. frankgturner says

    @Monocle Smile #304
    That is an interesting take on Rand in the link. That put into words what I felt when reading Rand. It also puts into words the kind of person that Robbie here is and who adamah was too. A remorseless prick who can never be “wrong,” or sorry, or ever admit mistake or fault. Funny how this is what religious people do and then someone who is not religious acts that way and thinks it is ok because it isn’t motivated by religion.
    .
    I can see why you all had issues with him and eventually ignored him too. I am sorry that I got adamah going again when I did. I mean he did have something meaningful to say despite being an asshole and Robbie here might have something meaningful to say but it just is not worth it given the way he behaves.
    .
    You know I think i get it, I used to act that way and I got pretty fucking lonely and people did not want to be around me. I mean I can’t fit the model that people want me to perfectly but I can at least show remorse. I tried to show it but I realize how insincere I actually was at the time.
    .
    I recognize the tactics too, WLC is basically Ayn Rand as a Xtian theologian, whcih is basically no different from being a politician. It is not about what is factually correct to them but what they can get people to believe is factually correct. I should have dropped this the moment I realized that Robbie here, like WLC does not know the difference between causation and correlation. That is one thing adamah had going for him.

  273. Narf says

    @299 – frankgturner
    I’ll have to check the other various tools on the site. My girlfriend has done more with the 23andme stuff than I have.

    If you’re trying to tease apart the components of the Caucasoid and Negroid genes, that could be interesting at least. I didn’t register the “Broadly Southern European” category on that breakdown and only paid attention to the three specific categories above that: Balkan, Italian, and Iberian.

    That was pretty stupid, since the “Broadly Southern European” chunk is bigger than the previous three combined. When I glanced at it earlier, my thoughts were something like, okay, maybe 2% negroid, with only 17.5% from those regions. But, adding in the other 21.3%, I might be able to get up to a meaningful percentage.

    I think I can disregard the 16.3% Broadly European, though. I imagine that’s all Caucasoid.

  274. frankgturner says

    I think I can disregard the 16.3% Broadly European, though. I imagine that’s all Caucasoid.

    Not necessarily but a lot less likely to be influenced by Negroloid heritage than that of Southern Europeans but more likely than that of Northern Europeans. Teasing out the different sub groups of the main 3 categories is difficult. You can pay some attention to the main primers, but the more you have to tease out the more expensive it gets. It is why only 13 main primers are used for positive criminal identification, it is much cheaper.
    .
    Of course this means nothing in terms of what one is culturally vs. one’s biological ethnicity. The big issue with racism I have noticed has more to do with culture.

  275. Narf says

    Of course this means nothing in terms of what one is culturally vs. one’s biological ethnicity. The big issue with racism I have noticed has more to do with culture.

    Heh, yeah, I’m from the Chicago area. Most people around there are so mixed at this point that trying to take anything cultural from your European ancestry seems like a bit of a farce. Now, they’re big on the cultural FOOD of their European ancestry, sure, but that’s about it.

  276. NorskVind says

    @Robbie

    I am completely astounded that you would say with a presumably straight face that people weren’t starving before the institutionalizing of welfare services. Other than that, you didn’t really provide any sort of solution to the problems of poverty and lack of healthcare. I don’t need to read Ayn Rand to know that her ideas were purely based in selfishness. That’s not how a society works. It might be great for a king or a despot, but not for a society. That is precisely why those programs exist. If we did it your way, which according to your reply to me is the Ayn Rand way, people with no money would be forced into starving on the streets and depending on the kindness of strangers. If it were an Randtopia, they would simply die in the streets because that kindness would not exist. If nobody forced these people to pay taxes to pay for things like food stamps and now healthcare, they simply wouldn’t eat or get the things they need to survive.

    However, because our society does enforce these rules people who couldn’t afford to purchase transportation can take a bus or subway for a considerably lower fee than filling up a gas tank, can put food on their table, and now can afford to see a doctor if they get sick. They can be productive members of society. What it boils down to is that we treat these people like people instead of something less than human. If that means that I have to take money from your pocket and my pocket to ensure that happens, then yeah I’m totally cool with forcing you at gunpoint to feed a starving family.

  277. Robbie says

    If you admittedly haven’t Rand then how could you know what her ideas are? You’ve just absorbed the bromide “selfishness”and formed your conclusion from there. You were honest enough to admit that you would force me at gunpoint to feed a starving family, much like any conventional burglar who breaks into a house to steal property to feed their families. But I guess EL owns all the houses so no one has a right to anything anymore. EL, you never answered the question about my car?

  278. Monocle Smile says

    Robbie, Robbie, Robbie. First you reference EL without answering his question, then you accuse him of making a claim he never made. He’s not actually claiming anything there. He’s using your own line of argumentation against you. That’s why he asked the question in the first place.

    Normally I’d ask you what you’d do if you found yourself without money or food and saddled with a family, but I know you’ll just refuse to answer because you seem to be laboring under the delusion that such things only happen to the “less than superior.”

    You’re worse than Ayn Rand.
    You’re Khan.

  279. Robbie says

    Sorry Monocle, I thought I answered EL with my reference to the car. As for your answer, I know what I wouldn’t do and that is, I wouldn’t hold anyone at gunpoint to feed me or anyone else. By what right do you think I or anyone should be able to?

  280. Monocle Smile says

    Robbie, your reference to the car didn’t answer EL’s question at all. You don’t seem to understand his question.

    You didn’t answer mine, either, so maybe you just have a problem with honesty. I specifically asked what you would do for a reason. It’s getting difficult to determine whether you’re being dishonest or being a numbskull.

  281. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie
    I addressed your non-answer quite specifically.

    Come on Robbie. It shouldn’t be that hard to defend your position with something other than “I’ll shoot you”. Let me put it like this. Suppose aliens were observing Earth from orbit, and they heard our dispute about the property. How would the aliens determine who was in the right? How would aliens determine who was the proper owner of the property?

    You implied that you would shoot me if I tried to take your car. That’s a non-answer. That doesn’t answer how aliens would determine whose car it is. It just determines that you would shoot me. How would aliens go about determining if the car is yours or mine?

  282. corwyn says

    Everyone is a breakdown of 3 biological human origins,

    I don’t believe that is the current scholarship. I couldn’t find the article, but as I remember it depends on how finely you make the distinction. At the coarsest level which still contains two races, there are Aboriginal Australians and Everybody Else. It isn’t until you get fine enough for 17 different groups that you get something that could be called a ‘white’ group.

  283. NorskVind says

    @310

    She literally has a book named The Virtue of Selfishness. Its not me latching onto this bromide, its a direct correlation between the two topics. You still haven’t given any alternatives to the current programs other than vague “freedom.” That’s not an answer, its a buzz word.

  284. corwyn says

    I wouldn’t hold anyone at gunpoint to feed me or anyone else.

    and

    Well come try it asshole. I live in Texas and we don’t suffer fools and thieves lightly.

    Seem in direct conflict. In the first Robbie he won’t shoot someone to feed himself, and in the second implies that he will shoot someone to feed himself (or at least drive to the store). I am sure he will claim that those are different things, because in one he “owns” the thing, and has personal property rights. However this conflicts with his idea that rights are about actions not things. I am sure he wouldn’t argue that he owns things because he is willing to shoot people to keep them.

    So a question for everyone, are property rights more like Robbie’s first quote or his second. Is it just a matter of having a bigger gun? (even if that gun is in the hands of some government official) Or is there some objective way to assess ‘ownership’. Who owns air? Who owns water? Who owns sunlight? Since food is basically just air, water, and sunlight, is it possible to own food?

    While we all sometimes rely on the idea of provenance, no one really is willing to take it all the way back, nor can they explain where it originates, so I am not accepting arguments based on that without explaining those issues first.

  285. frankgturner says

    @corwyn # 316
    The context of my distinction comes from the 13 primers primarily used for criminal studies and parental determination. There are many more primers than those 13. I am fully well aware that the research is more extensive than this and that a solid conclusion has not really been made. What I was getting at is that being European does not necessarily mean that all of your DNA is Caucasian in origin which is a common mistake. Heck for the longest time people in the Russian and other Soviet states were thought to be purely Caucasian in origin and a significant amount of primers in their DNA that show Asian (more generally Monogoloid) origin. Frankly it should have been obvious enough from the languages that there was significant influence form Asian cultures, but influence form a culture does not mean influence from that culture’s biology.
    .
    As I said before, racism was more about culture than anything else. Color of skin was just an easy way to identify individuals as belonging to a particular social culture group, a mental shortcut for individuals who did not want to put more thought in it. And if you watch a recent video from Seth Andrews that was presented at Apostacon, Xtian relgious groups figured that out too, which is why they copycat pop culture.
    .
    #318
    Now I don’t want to sound bigoted regarding Robbie’s idea here, but frankly I don’t need to. He demonstrates the characteristics of being like religious fundamentalists without being one. I can base my judgements of him on his behavior instead of his affiliations. Remove the word “creationist” in any atheist description of Xtians and replace it with the word “libertarian” and replace the word “Bible” with “the writings of Ayn Rand” (a number of her books will do) and that describes Robbie to a tee.
    .
    What we have here is an Ayn Rand apologist who instead of thinking that the Bible is the inerrant word of god, a supreme being whose every word is the basis of factual correctness, the writings of Ayn Rand are the inerrant word of a supreme authority. I am not saying that Ayn Rand may not have a few intelligent and useful things to add to the conversation, and I am not saying that some of the social services in countries have not been abused. The principle need to be taken on an idea by idea basis. Ideas stand on their own merit. I never claimed that vaccinations are part of a socialists state, but they are social services and they are part of social medicine. Robbie does not want them to be because that does not fit his narrative, so he tries to redefine what those things are when presented with the idea that there may be a principle of social medicine that is actually useful and profitable. That does not mean the whole thing is profitable or useful or based on good principles, but that doesn’t mean it is all bad either.
    .
    As he does not have the mental capacity to comprehend causality vs. correlation I doubt that he has the competency to understand that he would violate his own moral code. He can’t follow the evidence to the conclusion because like a cretaionist he follows biblical literalism because it feels good and makes sense to them, he already has a conclusion, actually several conclusions all designed around Randian libertarianism because is feels good and makes sense to him. He will either claim that his not following his own moral code is “the same but different” when challenged and like an apologist do mental jumping jacks and make unfounded claims and assertions to make the evidence fit his conclusion, ignore it because it does not fit his narrative, or if really pressed metaphorically stick his fingers in his ears and go “la la la I can’t hear you” and have an emotional meltdown that would not result in any changes for self improvement. I would think that it will likely be a combination fo the 1st two leaning towards the first as some things that I have read on this personality type (I have even seen a few reference Ayn Rand) talk about an individual, who wil lie, exagerrate, or do anything it takes to prove they are right.” (http://www.audreymarlene-lifecoach.com/the-need-to-be-right.html). Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
    .
    Like many an apologist if he is ever wrong once about anything, no matter how insignificant or trivial, then he surmises that he is always wrong about everything and has no value as a human being. Unlike many an African American who despite obstacles in society that help them to succeed, his own mental “need to be right” impairs him from growing. The fear of being wrong means loosing credibility or control (although it sounds like he has very little control over his life to start with).
    .
    It is pretty sad really to see someone like this, particularly one who may have let go of the need for there to be a god but can’t let go of the same closed minded mentality that so impairs many of the religious close minded.

  286. Robbie says

    Property rights are like both quote as they both protect the individual against coercion from others. In the first, you’re protected from me coercing you, holding a gun to your head, and in the second I’m protected from you coercing me, coming to take what’s mine. Corwyn equivocates between actions and things, but properly, rights are the freedom of action to keep your things without your neighbor taking your things, or a bunch of your neighbors voting to take your things.

    So what’s mine? Or rather, how do I prove what’s mine is mine? We have a very complex set of statutes to answer these questions, but in short, if it’s land you have a deed, if it’s a thing you have a receipt. Land ownership was codified in the Homestead Acts which still continued as the means to distribute land up through 1986.

    How do we demonstrate ownership to EL’s aliens? If they come in peace, we explain property rights to them as a corollary of the right to your own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If they come with the idea that our things are theirs because they seeded the earth , like L. Ron Hubbard says, then we might have a problem. Like the Indians, they don’t own anything by being here first. To own anything rightfully is to first establish a system of rights and the rule of law. If they are unwilling to obey the rule of law and our earthly means of proving ownership, we shoot them. (like we did the Indians)

    Norsk…I did answer you here… “You ask “what” should be done for the poor and needy automatically assuming that something “should” be done, not by yourself, but by coercing others to do it. There is nothing to stop you doing whatever you want to do. As atheists, we battle religionists, not so much because of what they believe, but because they want to force us to think their way. I have no problem with anyone believing want they want to believe, as long as you don’t try to force me to believe it. The same is true for my work and my property. I have no problem with you doing what you want with yours, but I do have a problem with you forcing me to do what you want to do with it.”

    You want me to offer you alternatives to the current programs? By what right? If you want to do something, do it…under the concept of individual rights, no one will force you not to. But don’t expect to force me or anyone else to provide you with alternatives. Nature does not guarantee economic stability to anyone and neither can your idea to force millions of people to do so. Every communist and fascist regime is a testament to this fact. I see human beings as ends in themselves, while you see human beings as the means to your ends, as human fodder for your ”programs”. Again I ask, by what right?

    And when we run out of money to take from these millions to pay for your programs, where will we turn? Why of course I’m sure most posters to this thread will set up a city like Terminus with Gareth as your leader. For those who understand the reference, this is morality and system you espouse. God help us.

  287. Monocle Smile says

    To own anything rightfully is to first establish a system of rights and the rule of law. If they are unwilling to obey the rule of law and our earthly means of proving ownership, we shoot them. (like we did the Indians)

    You ARE Khan! This would be hilarious if it weren’t so utterly disturbing, you racist piece of trash.

    I see human beings as ends in themselves, while you see human beings as the means to your ends, as human fodder for your ”programs”

    Remember what Narf said about projection? This is more of it. Stop acting as if we’re as selfish and sociopathic as you happen to be.

  288. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t mean to be snarky. I really want to know what you think. Thus far, that’s only the first baby step towards an answer.

    So what’s mine? Or rather, how do I prove what’s mine is mine? We have a very complex set of statutes to answer these questions, but in short, if it’s land you have a deed, if it’s a thing you have a receipt. Land ownership was codified in the Homestead Acts which still continued as the means to distribute land up through 1986.

    So, all I have to do is forge a land ownership title in the county office, and then it’s mine? Doesn’t this also mean that property rights are only the result of the social contract? I thought you believed in property rights apart from the social contract. How would those aliens tell if that car was yours without referring to the social contract such as deeds and titles in county courthouses?

    Also, you say it’s stealing if I take your land by force, but it’s not stealing when Europeans take the land of native Americans by force ala the Homestead act?

    Like the Indians, they don’t own anything by being here first. To own anything rightfully is to first establish a system of rights and the rule of law. If they are unwilling to obey the rule of law and our earthly means of proving ownership, we shoot them. (like we did the Indians)

    I suggest you look into the actual history. Many of the native American people had completely different cultures, styles of government, etc. It wasn’t just groups of wandering nomads. Only your ignorance and racism makes you think something so simplistic and wrong.

    Further, for example the Cherokee adopted many of the cultural practices of the incoming Europeans, including claiming ownership of land in a regulated way. It didn’t help them much. People like you still shot them and took their land.

    Also, do you really mean it when you say that the proper answer to meeting savages is to shoot them and take their land? Really? You understand that all I need to do to make fun of you is honestly repeat that as your position.

  289. frankgturner says

    @Monocle Smile #321
    Where is he even getting this crap about human beings being a means to an end? Damn I predicted this even better than I thought. He fits so well into that type described by the article it is scary.
    .
    And yeah establish a system of rights and rule of law, impose that on a group of people who don’t understand them or agree to them, then punish them for not following a system that they don’t understand and did not agree to. Really considerate and humanist thinker don’t you think?
    .
    This is funny, he is stereotypically everything like a Xtian creationist without being religious. I mean I don’t want to be bigoted but he fits the model so well! Historical revisionism without the religion to motivate it!
    .
    He really should have studied the American Indians better, like some of them actually understood that ownership of land to Europeans meant being able to dictate who occupies it. (I mean some did, particularly down in South America, but a lot didn’t).

  290. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @MS
    He’s not Khan. Khan wasn’t a racist asshat who would kill people just for being savages. Khan was rather more enlightened about such things.

    http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-genghis-khan

    4. Some of his most trusted generals were former enemies.
    The Great Khan had a keen eye for talent, and he usually promoted his officers on skill and experience rather than class, ancestry or even past allegiances. One famous example of this belief in meritocracy came during a 1201 battle against the rival Taijut tribe, when Genghis was nearly killed after his horse was shot out from under him with an arrow. When he later addressed the Taijut prisoners and demanded to know who was responsible, one soldier bravely stood up and admitted to being the shooter. Stirred by the archer’s boldness, Genghis made him an officer in his army and later nicknamed him “Jebe,” or “arrow,” in honor of their first meeting on the battlefield. Along with the famed general Subutai, Jebe would go on to become one of the Mongols’ greatest field commanders during their conquests in Asia and Europe.

    You don’t conquer so much of the world by being a racist genocidal idiot.

    Here, I think a comparison to Hitler even pales in comparison. It would make Hitler look too bad. Hitler at least argued that Jews damaged society in some way, whereas Robbie is now arguing that we should just shoot people for being in a “backward” culture. That’s an evil beyond that of Nazi Germany.

  291. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    Not Genghis Khan. Khan Noonien Singh. He wasn’t “racist,” per se, but was hellbent on wiping out any life forms deemed “less than superior” based on rather arbitrary criteria.

  292. frankgturner says

    @EL #322 and MS in general.
    Read the link to the article I posted. Robby fits in so well it is hilarious. Heck forward the link to the shows hosts if you know them and they have to deal with him again. (Frankly this whole blog would give them insight).
    .
    And regarding the American Indians…while Robby here was not indoctrinated into the religious beliefs, his descriptions of US history sound an awful lot like the revisionist Texas history that AronRa talks about and he is from Texas. Is it possible that one indoctrination worked but the other didn’t?
    .
    And Robby ended a post with “God help us.” That does not sound like an atheist to me. I am thinking that we are being taken for a ride by a conservative creationist right wing extremist just leaving out religion in an attempt to sucker people in. That would explain trying to get people to buy this bullshit from Ayn Rand instead of the bible.

  293. Robbie says

    Wow. That’s a lot of posts. They all seem to address my character and not my arguments. Rand also is being attacked with purely ad hominem arguments. How come John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington all get a pass from your vicious commentary regarding the establishment of individual rights? Rand was not the first to identify these rights and promote a political system that freed man from man.

    The only remarks that weren’t barbs laced with your own ugly psychological projections were some ill conceived notions that the Indians enjoyed and respected property rights, and some nonsense about contracts being part of the “social contract”, as opposed to objective Law.

    Surely, at least one of you, has the intelligence to address the issue on the table. That is, are human beings ends in themselves or are some them (the productive ones) the means to the ends of achieving social welfare programs? Are we our brothers keeper? If so, and I believe you all agree this is so, by what right do you claim a mortgage over the lives and property of others? Is there a metaphysical fact that obligates one human being to another in any capacity other than to leave them free from force?

  294. Narf says

    This is the sort of point at which I can’t help but wonder if people like Robbie are really serious. After the social-welfare-created-poverty argument and the argument that the genocide of the native American population was perfectly justified … I just can’t get my head wrapped around his sort of thinking.

    I’m sure that he’s for real, though. I know people in person who will even admit that their anarcho-capitalist ideology won’t end in results that they would like, with the population as it is … allowing the Dominionists to grab control of large parts of the US and turn us into a theocracy, allowing the young-earth creationists to increase their influence on the school system, allowing unlimited monopolies and mass corruption by the rich …

    But they’re sure that they can educate the public to act in their own best interests and only support good, ethical companies … and everything can be made better by removing government. There’s this massive disconnect between the ideology and reality, and I don’t get how the Libertarian mindset can’t see it.

  295. Monocle Smile says

    There’s no such thing as “objective Law,” you moron.

    are human beings ends in themselves or are some them (the productive ones) the means to the ends of achieving social welfare programs?

    Better question: can you establish a more laughable false dichotomy? Also, this “our brother’s keeper” stuff isn’t actually a Christian value, it’s a humanist value (and existed long before humanism), but it comes as no surprise that you’re once again woefully uninformed.

    Is there a metaphysical fact that obligates one human being to another

    If you need to have it explained to you that human beings, as a species, are better off in every measurable aspect when we operate in groups as opposed to shark-like isolation, then you are completely lost. I have absolutely no clue how people like Ayn Rand could ever reach the opposite conclusion. We’re obligated to each other because we’re all better off that way. Fuck, you must be the most myopic person I’ve ever encountered.

  296. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie

    Is there a metaphysical fact that obligates one human being to another in any capacity other than to leave them free from force?

    The word you are looking for is “obliges”.

    First, I think you are talking about moral realism or moral platonicism. I am a kind of positivist, and what are you saying is incoherent. Are you talking about an observable or discoverable fact our shared reality? How did you discover it? Could you please describe for me two hypothetical universes, one where it exists, and one where it does not, and please describe the observable testable differences. Otherwise I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    I don’t claim that “we should make the world into a better place” is somehow true in the same sense that gravity is true. It’s not a fact. It’s a value. Further, it’s my presuppositional value that we should make the world into a better place, to improve happiness, safety, freedom, self determination, material wealth, and the other values of humanism.

    Obviously thus, if it can be shown that imposing minor duties on people for the betterment of other people will make the world a much better place, then I am for those minor duties.

    As explained before, I say that private property rights are a fiction of the social contract, and any defense of private property rights is an initiation of force contra the non-aggression principle. There is no metaphysical connection between me and my car. It is my car because of the current rules of the current social contract of the society I am in. This allows us to use the courts and law to distinguish between my absurd claims of ownership and your rightful claims of ownership.

    Those rules are partially based on the moral philosophy of John Locke, who held that claiming unclaimed pieces of nature is allowed as long as there is enough unclaimed stuff for everyone. Well, today there unclaimed land, which means that when you and I fence off pieces of land, we are initiating violence against our neighbors contra the non-aggression principle.

    Like many of the founders of this country, the United States, we hold that you have no more moral right to your parents land than I do. Really. We hold that it is contrary to the principles of a free republic which is to raise all of its citizens. The resulting accumulation and concentration of wealth results in power disparities which threaten the stability of the free state.

    However, we also recognize the great utility of some private property rights, especially predictable stable property rights. Those are prerequisite to having the specialization of labor, which is the basis of capitalism, which allows for much greater production of wealth, which benefits everyone. However, we can have a sufficient guarantee of private ownership of capital to foster the specialization of labor without an absolute protection of private ownership of capital.

    Also, owning a small amount of stuff, like my toothbrush, is rather important to happiness. However, owning a dozen jumbo jets? Not so much.

    Consequently, I don’t honestly advocate for returning any land to native Americans. What is done is done, and the living native Americans have no more right to any piece of land than an Englishman in England whose family hasn’t left England for centuries. It belonged to their ancestors who are now dead, and I don’t believe in this ridiculous idea of absolute inheritance rights.

    Of course, your position IMHO poses a problem for you. You have to invent some reason why native Americans don’t have title to the land, which necessarily involves historical revisionism, racism, and in your case apparent justification of genocide and crimes against humanity. Nice going there. You do get points for at least answering my questions, but I think I would have a higher opinion of you if you dodged rather than stating that it’s the right thing to do to kill savages and take their stuff just because they’re savages.

  297. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Is there a metaphysical fact that obligates one human being to another in any capacity other than to leave them free from force?

    And again, I cannot help but think of this in terms of:
    >You should take a few minutes or hours every year to ensure your neighbor doesn’t go hungry.
    >I got mine, screw you!

  298. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Speaking of which.

    Let’s talk Iroquois, a certain nation of native Americans.

    It is true that the Iroquois had very little technology or higher learning. Does that make them savages? I think not.

    It is true that the Iroquois were a highly sexist and sexually segregated culture. Any worse than England? I am dubious.

    It is true that the Iroquois had a written constitution which created a federation of 5, and later 6, neighboring tribes, exactly like the various states of America later formed The United States. There was a system of checks and balances, of veto power. Arguably, it might be the oldest existing democratic form of government.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Law_of_Peace

    In fact, Benjamin Franklin was quite impressed by the Iroquois. Franklin published proceedings of the Iroquois, and was one of the few who did. Franklin even used the Iroquois as an example of what the Americans should do, and used them to chide the Americans:
    http://www.upenn.edu/gazette/0107/gaz09.html

    Arguing for a union of the colonies, [Franklin] mused:

    It would be a very strange Thing, if six Nations of Ignorant Savages should be capable of forming a Scheme for such an Union, and be able to execute it in such a Manner, as that it has subsisted Ages, and appears indissoluble; and yet that a like Union should be impracticable for ten or a Dozen English Colonies, to whom it is more necessary, and must be more advantageous; and who cannot be supposed to want an equal Understanding of their Interests.

    Here, he doesn’t actually believe them to be ignorant savages, but uses that as a form of argument to make fun of the Americans for thinking themselves so highly advanced, but they are unable to do what is in their own best interest, and yet these purported “ignorant savages” are miles ahead in terms of principles of enlightened self interest.

    Robbie, you ignorant genocidal ass.

  299. frankgturner says

    @Narf # 329
    Probably for the same reason that creationists can’t get their heads around evolution even with the facts shoved right in their face. That have to be right. Reference the link to the article that i posted.
    .
    I have an online friend, a female, British woman who is a little younger than me, very lovely. She is a very good hearted person (metaphorically speaking) giving and charitable, loving and kind towards others (based on what I have seen at least). She is empathic to others and sees how helping others makes her feel good too. (As a matter of fact sometimes I cant talk to her for a while as she stays very busy doing her own job plus charities plus raising a kid with her hubby, but we get to chat from time to time). When she does a favor to another and asks for nothing in return it gives her a warm glow and without asking others to be nice to her in return, they often are. Now don’t get me wrong she tries not to overextend herself as she got pretty duped by her now ex husband for that (among others things based on what she has told me), but being taken advantage of by one person socially didn’t set her against everyone.
    .
    She is a believer but one whose faith is a more personal or quiet one. She has many agnostic and atheist friends or other quiet believers but does not feel that it is right to force her beliefs on others. She has faith for herself, and she has said to me that faith often enhances her ability to forgive others and do kind acts for them and accept their kindness. I asked her how she would feel if after she died or near the end of her life she found evidence that there was no god (if she was comfortable with asking). She said that she would be ok with it, she would have left a legacy of assisting others and love and compassion towards them which itself is a worthwhile venture. So her desire to help others is not predicated by her faith, but her faith does enhance it.
    .
    She is what I find to be positive about religion for some, but I realized that she would be a humanist even if she were secular, she just isn’t secular. I have met some people like that and I don’t mind them as religious people as they remove many of the negative aspects of religion (from what I can see) that i don’t like.
    .
    What we as agnostics and atheists seem to have a lot of issues with when it comes to religious types is those that don’t want to say “thank you” to their fellow human beings for assistance or feel that they need to help anyone else or do anything for their fellows in return. What we have is believers who are NOT humanistic. Many don’t feel empathy or joy from helping another person, they only feel good if they get something tangible or a service in return for it. They believe in a god which they might say gets them something in return for aiding others, like eternal life or bliss, but would not the joy of helping others (within reason) right now be something to get in return? It is pretty easy to see people like this who are assholes particularly when they are challenged on the morality of what they are doing for others.
    .
    My online friend (I will call her Dale for future reference even though it is a pseudonym) has humanism with faith, but she could be humanistic without faith. The highly limited humanism of the second person I describe is defined as humanistic only in that what they do to serve their fellow man if it will be rewarded by their magic sky daddy, which is pretty limiting. I think it was Ken Hovind who said something in an interview that if he found evidence of no god he would go out and do atrocities to other people like killing and torturing other people. And I am like, wait you have nor morality WITHOUT your magic sky daddy at all and can’t think of a single reason why not to go out and kill people OTHER than that?
    .
    So basically you are looking at many people trying to justify their actions because they derive no joy from their lives and a god gives them a promise of joy from a miserable life. Well when that god is the only thing from which you derive joy then you would be pretty scared of not having that god as your would have nothing upon which to base your justification for continuing on?
    .
    I actually doubt that Ken Hovind is THAT much of a moron a he has other reasons for not killing and torturing people, like not wanting to get arrested because he recognizes that their ARE laws like that. Although I would not put it past Hovind to try to get laws against killing certain people removed if he could. We certainly see it in states like Texas where executions are done in large portions. (This is not to say that all executions are not justified in cases of defense of a person who will only endanger the lives of others, but I think it has gone overboard in some places and Texas is a good example).
    .
    I think what we have here with Robby is what many a believer like Ken Hovind would be without their god. Robby’s only real reason to not go out and kill people that he thinks deserve to die (maybe because they are savages) is because he does not want to be arrested. That would explain the idea that he would be ok with killing Native Americans if he were back in that time, he could get away with it. The point is though, unlike Dale who is a humanist and would continue to be so without her god, Robby is a selfish and condescending individual who would likely STILL be that way if he were a believer (and I am not convinced completely that he isn’t).
    .
    If you need to feel that you are justified in your actions, that you need to be “right” in what you are doing legally and factually without it reflecting on the legacy that you leave or how you influence others, well it would result in behavior like what we are seeing.

  300. Robbie says

    Frank… I thought you and Narf tapped out, and that you boys were busy comparing your racial status to see which of you is more mongoloid than the other, but it seems you and the other two stooges are back for a little name-calling. You called me a selfish and condescending asshole, Monocle says I’m a myopic woefully uninformed moron, and EL calls me an ignorant genocidal ass

    Again, I’m not used to such name-calling and verbal abuse and I’m not sure what purpose it serves here, but I will say this about you three miserable cunts- you all seem to spew the same typical socialist crap without any justification as to why spiritual freedom should be protected but material freedom, not.

    The only coherent thing out of the lot if you is the idea that working in groups better for ALL concerned than being an isolated shark. I completely agree, but what nobody seems to have an argument for is why some people are forced to do things for other people in the group. I maintain that force should be barred and that groups work better, and morally, if they cooperate with each other in the group, peacefully, voluntarily, without coercion.

    Narf’s friend, Dale, seems to get it. She has a kind heart and respects others enough to not want to force her spiritual beliefs on them. I hope she is consistent in that regard and doesn’t want to force her material or economic beliefs on them either. If spiritual freedom is a value why isn’t economic freedom? Why the dualism?

    As Monocle loves Rand so much, I’ll close with this quote regarding objective law-

    “If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules.

    This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.

    A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws.”

  301. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    EL calls me an ignorant genocidal ass

    Again, I’m not used to such name-calling and verbal abuse and I’m not sure what purpose it serves here,

    It’s not namecalling. It’s an accurate, honest description. You did say that it’s the right thing to do to kill savages and take their shit just because they’re savages. You are ridiculously arrogant, self-centered, genocidal … Words fail to express how evil you are.

  302. Monocle Smile says

    The bitching about “verbal abuse” while ignoring everything we say (and being oblivious to the fact that avoiding questions and points is one of the sources of said “abuse) is painfully obnoxious.

    I maintain that force should be barred and that groups work better, and morally, if they cooperate with each other in the group, peacefully, voluntarily, without coercion

    Because, you know, that happens anywhere in reality. Dude, Atlas Shrugged was a fantasy, not a biography. In this country, people are largely selfish, ignorant assholes who don’t want to lift a finger to help anyone else. But still, we’re all better off contributing to the collective in some ways; lots of people are merely too shortsighted to see this. EL can probably better address the folly of pretending as if everyone’s perfect and conflict can somehow be permanently purged.

    If spiritual freedom is a value why isn’t economic freedom?

    Because your thoughts are part of you. Your Beats by Dre headphones are not part of you. This is easy, easy shit to understand.

    Robbie, you won’t understand this (EL, Narf, and Frank will), but…you’ve turned into the libertarian version of steele.

  303. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Do you want it to be explained why it’s wrong to kill millions of innocent people and take their stuff just because they have a different form of government and different culture? That is the textbook definition of genocidal maniac. We hung Nazis in The Hague for that.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_trials

  304. Narf says

    @335
    Robbie, I told you several comments back that it wasn’t worth talking to you anymore. You’re an immoral monster.

    I wasn’t talking to you in that last comment either, and your responses are neither required nor particularly valued, at this point. I’m talking to the other grownups here.

  305. Banned says

    Looks like I pissed off the wrong people. That was quick. I’ve heard Russell has a thing for anyone who quotes Rand. It was fun while it lasted. I guess I’ll go back to earning a living and you guys can go back to thinking of inventive ways to steal it from me.

  306. corwyn says

    every penny they earn for every day they work, from January 1st through (roughly) May 20th, is confiscated by the government to PROVIDE” the general WARfare”.

    Fixed that for you.

  307. corwyn says

    I maintain that force should be barred and that groups work better, and morally, if they cooperate with each other in the group, peacefully, voluntarily, without coercion

    I agree with Robbie in part on this, A group which is peaceful, and cooperates voluntarily without coercion, is better. I do question the meaning of ‘force should be barred’; ‘barred’ how exactly*? I am not nearly as pessimistic about this as others here seem to be. Most people are good to their neighbors, Frank gives a fine example.

    If spiritual freedom is a value why isn’t economic freedom?

    If for no other reason than we still have not solved the Tragedy of the Commons. Once you have an economic solution to that problem can we talk about pure economic freedom.

    * – Force can be *foregone*, voluntarily, without coercion, but I don’t think that is what he meant.

  308. frankgturner says

    @ Monocle Smile # 337

    Robbie, you won’t understand this (EL, Narf, and Frank will), but…you’ve turned into the libertarian version of steele.

    I figured that out a while ago, but I repeat it nonetheless. Robbie struck me as someone who thinks that if he comes to a different conclusion that a Dominionist Theocracy, then the method does not matter. Of course his ideal government would be morally reprehensible as Dominionists would still be in charge under his ideal libertarian government, they just would not have religious motivation. Even if that somehow wound up being ideal (which I seriously doubt that it would) it would be a case of the end justifying the means. Funny how Robbie is against ideas that he thinks impede on people’s right yet he was more than willing to impede upon the rights of a culture that he though was barbarian. It would have been really nive for him to be a member of the oppressed “barbarian” culture to see how that feels from the other side.

  309. Monocle Smile says

    @Banned Robbie

    I can virtually guarantee that most of us posting here are far, far more productive members of society than you will ever be. You won’t be missed.

  310. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Banned
    I’m a somewhat rich motherfucker who makes 100,000 USD plus per year. I give to charity, and I give to government via taxes. In no plausible way could it be said that I benefit from the institutionalized theft. Yet I still strongly advocate for it.

    @corwyn

    If for no other reason than we still have not solved the Tragedy of the Commons. Once you have an economic solution to that problem can we talk about pure economic freedom.

    Still not good enough IMHO. I would then ask you my favorite litmus question: What’s worse, millions of starving Americans? Or a very very small progressive income tax to fund food stamps? The tragedy of the commons is a big part, but there are some libertarian answers to that. The tragedy of hungry people is in no way AFAIK a tragedy of the commons, and libertarianism here clearly says that any income tax is worse than millions of hungry people, which is obscene. I see no solution here but to act against the founding principles of libertarianism (absolute private property rights and absolute non-aggression principle [with exclusion for property rights]).

  311. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS: Don Baker, are you listening? Has Don done a show yet on the failure of Christianity in promoting libertarianism? Recently, I was arguing with someone about it, and they cited the bible and how Jesus was all about charity, where charity is voluntary giving, and said that if we had a Christian culture, then charity would be enough, and charity is contagious, etc. The fucker also cited “thou shall not steal” just like the fucker in this thread. I think this is a rather plausible and straightforward reading of the text of the bible. It seems that Christianity does lead directly towards libertarianism. Fuck!

  312. Monocle Smile says

    Robbie doesn’t seem to understand why he was banned. Or anything else. And clearly has penis envy.

  313. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Robbie
    No, you are being accused of genocide because you advocated and condoned genocide:
    Quoting Robbie:

    Like the Indians, they don’t own anything by being here first. To own anything rightfully is to first establish a system of rights and the rule of law. If they are unwilling to obey the rule of law and our earthly means of proving ownership, we shoot them. (like we did the Indians)

  314. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Even a moron like you should be able to discern that this post does not call for the elimination of an entire race,

    Yes it does. That’s exactly what it does. It calls for the complete elimination of any culture whose values differ in particular ways from yours, and whose government differs in particular ways from yours, by shooting the people in that culture. Again:
    Emphasis added:

    Like the Indians, they don’t own anything by being here first. To own anything rightfully is to first establish a system of rights and the rule of law. If they are unwilling to obey the rule of law and our earthly means of proving ownership, we shoot them. (like we did the Indians)

  315. Colin says

    I actually think that Robby(?) had some points. Not on healthcare though or that rights are inalienable, which is what made the hosts angry.

    If a person is a member of a group, and the group decides things based on the groups best interest, since the individual is a member of that group, that decision automatically benefits the individual. I doubt that is always the case. It’s imo also naive to think in reality the government system is equally altruistic to it’s members by any stretch. It can be closer to the objection they had with the callers position on healthcare> A system to better ensure the I got mine, fuck everyone else state. The hosts confirm this by saying there are bad people out there and they will take your shit, which is why we need government. But I think that very acknowledgement is telling. For some reason the governement is never considered to be the bad men in the equation. Seemed to imply that since the individual can possibly reap some benefits from the government it is justified in any action it might take against an individual. And since you can leave your home and go somewhere else (where?) it can not be tyranical and it’s always assumed to be doing good for the majority.

    Perhaps, sometimes, revolutions and wars are part of forward progress. Throwing the baby out with the bath water might not want to be dismissed out of hand.

  316. corwyn says

    @EL

    Still not good enough IMHO.

    Of course not. That is just the point at which the conversation can be intelligibly had.

    The tragedy of the commons is a big part, but there are some libertarian answers to that.

    Such as? I have had the discussion with some very knowledgeable libertarians, and they said it was a work in progress.

  317. Monocle Smile says

    For some reason the governement is never considered to be the bad men in the equation. Seemed to imply that since the individual can possibly reap some benefits from the government it is justified in any action it might take against an individual

    Both of those sentences are incorrect.

    The first part was actually acknowledged a couple of times. The difference is that we ARE the government and we select our representatives. If we fail to elect people who don’t have our best interests at heart, that’s partially our own damn fault. Granted, the system has gotten pretty out of hand with money discrepancies, but the voters still determine the outcome. I really hate having to defend a system that’s being fractured by corporate greed, but the concept is solid.

    The second part is an insane reading of the hosts’ position. Nowhere did they advocate that kind of an absolute, and it’s extremely dishonest to imply that they did. You even go a step further in your next sentence and get even more out of line…I’m sure the hosts hate having to make statements like the ones they did, but the criticisms from the caller were extra stupid. There was a call a while ago where Russell got a bit frustrated because the caller pretty much forced him to defend right-wing economics. In other words, there’s plenty of criticisms out there without making up stupid, unfounded ones.

    Perhaps, sometimes, revolutions and wars are part of forward progress. Throwing the baby out with the bath water might not want to be dismissed out of hand

    And you’re fucking nuts if you think that toppling the government South American-style is in any way approaching necessary in this country. The comment of Matt’s you reference was contextual. Robbie basically argued that socialized healthcare (or welfare in general) shouldn’t be instituted because some people happen to be lazy. Fuck that. It’s an irrelevant and almost entirely untrue criticism.

  318. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @corwyn

    Such as? I have had the discussion with some very knowledgeable libertarians, and they said it was a work in progress.

    I merely meant that I have heard hypothetical solutions to the problem of the tragedy of the commons which are IMHO consistent with libertarian ideals. Such as, some sort of trust or joint ownership of the commons (e.g. a government, but no matter), seeking redress with private lawsuits, etc. Libertarians here at least recognize the value of maintaining the commons and want there to be a solution. Here, they at least resemble decent human beings IMHO.

    However, providing food for everyone is not a matter of the commons, and IMHO the ideals of libertarianism oppose any coordinated effort by taxes to ensure no one goes hungry in our country of supreme plenty. This is the best example I have found of a clear-cut case of the extreme barbarism and inhumanity of libertarianism.

  319. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Monocle Smile

    The first part was actually acknowledged a couple of times. The difference is that we ARE the government and we select our representatives. If we fail to elect people who don’t have our best interests at heart, that’s partially our own damn fault. Granted, the system has gotten pretty out of hand with money discrepancies, but the voters still determine the outcome. I really hate having to defend a system that’s being fractured by corporate greed, but the concept is solid.

    Meh… IMHO the truth is in the middle. We are not the government. We elect the government. The government is structured in the way it is because we recognize that power corrupts, and we want to limit and control that power and corruption. It is not our own fault if we fail to elect someone who has our best interests at heart – we designed the government expressly for that situation in mind.

    The second part is an insane reading of the hosts’ position. Nowhere did they advocate that kind of an absolute, and it’s extremely dishonest to imply that they did. You even go a step further in your next sentence and get even more out of line…I’m sure the hosts hate having to make statements like the ones they did, but the criticisms from the caller were extra stupid. There was a call a while ago where Russell got a bit frustrated because the caller pretty much forced him to defend right-wing economics. In other words, there’s plenty of criticisms out there without making up stupid, unfounded ones.

    Indeed. It’s like he never read my posts talking about Mill, and the different standards for using violence 1- to prevent harm and 2- to compel duties.

    Speaking of which. You said you live in Detroit. I will be in Michigan for the holidays to visit Family. I grew up in Farmington and Royal Oak. My family lives around Royal Oak now. You can reach me at my spam email of johnsmith1048578@gmail.com .

  320. Narf says

    @354 – Colin

    I actually think that Robby(?) had some points. Not on healthcare though or that rights are inalienable, which is what made the hosts angry.

    Well, sure. There are some benefits to the libertarian side of things. I believe I said, very early on, that a hybrid system is better, in almost every dynamic of a society. If you go to the opposite extreme and completely abandon personal liberty in favor of the social collective, that leads to a lot of horrifying things as well.

    Where Robby went horribly wrong and rightfully earned the abuse we were heaping upon him was in his caricature of our position as supporting just that:the extreme opposite of his position. My only position, from the very beginning of the whole stupid affair, was that being dogmatically absolute in the construction of a society, as Robby was being, is horrible and will almost certainly lead to a society that none of us will like very much. The way to construct a good, healthy society is to examine the various systems and pick and chose elements of each, gaining the benefits of each and hopefully minimizing the negatives.

    And then Robby decided that we should wipe out the native Americans again.

  321. Colin says

    <blockquote cite = " If we fail to elect people who don’t have our best interests at heart, that’s partially our own damn fault. Granted, the system has gotten pretty out of hand with money discrepancies, but the voters still determine the outcome. I really hate having to defend a system that’s being fractured by corporate greed, but the concept is solid."

    Voting occuring or not isn't relevent. All that matters is that an individual is part of a group and any representation is not infallible.

    What I want to drvie at is the notion that the government is justified doing something to any individual because it is thought of being a totally volantary institution. I'd argue that is not always true in both respects. And saying you can just leave if you don't like it is a bit silly. Well I suppose you can 'leave' by jumping off a bridge, but I am sure that is not what Matt meant.

    In regards to US affairs, even if you leave they still try extract money from you in the form of income tax and fbar even if you have perminately left the country 25 years ago. So it's not a simple case of just leaving.

    If you don’t like it, you can leave. That does need to be addressed and it wasn’t.

    Granted he did also say, under a different pretext, that you can work within the system and change things from there. Which could be viable under certain conditions.

    I mostly agree. I have less faith when it comes to people though, and haven’t yet ruled out revolution in the US, bloody or not.

  322. Narf says

    @354 (again)

    For some reason the governement is never considered to be the bad men in the equation. Seemed to imply that since the individual can possibly reap some benefits from the government it is justified in any action it might take against an individual. And since you can leave your home and go somewhere else (where?) it can not be tyranical and it’s always assumed to be doing good for the majority.
    Perhaps, sometimes, revolutions and wars are part of forward progress. Throwing the baby out with the bath water might not want to be dismissed out of hand.

    The thing is, in a representative government, we should be the government. We should be able to bring the government to account for any abuses. Of course a huge part of the problem, here in the US, is apathy and ignorance in the voting population. A good government requires an engaged, educated populace. How the hell can we get one of those over here?

    For that matter, do you think you could stir up enough interest for your proposed revolution? 😀 Good luck with that. I think we’re kind of fucked, in the long term, if we can’t turn something around fairly soon.

  323. Narf says

    @360 – Colin

    In regards to US affairs, even if you leave they still try extract money from you in the form of income tax and fbar even if you have perminately left the country 25 years ago. So it’s not a simple case of just leaving.

    What if you disavow your citizenship? Does that get them to leave you the hell alone? I don’t have any experience in this area, obviously, so I honestly don’t know. If you’re throwing away your ability to come back when you wish, I don’t see what sort of claim they could make to your income, once you’re no longer operating within the bounds of nor are a member of the country.

  324. Colin says

    Yeah. You can do it several ways. 1 is to pay the government $450 to renounce your citizenship. I’m sure that would get you off the books for most practical purposes. I remember recently reading about Bobby Fischer trying to renounce his citizenship after they voided his passport.

  325. Narf says

    @364 – Colin

    I remember recently reading about Bobby Fischer trying to renounce his citizenship after they voided his passport.

    Heh heh heh heh heh. That sounds sort of like:

    Well fine! I didn’t want to come into your stupid country, anyway! I’m gonna go start my own country! With blackjack! And hookers!

  326. Monocle Smile says

    @Colin

    What I want to drvie at is the notion that the government is justified doing something to any individual because it is thought of being a totally volantary institution. I’d argue that is not always true in both respects

    Okay, this is completely reasonable. I agree. And if “you can leave” were a response to that specific line of thought, I would agree that it would be silly. But IIRC, that response was directed at a significantly different line of thought; it was basically the implication that we’re trapped here by force and pretty much being held hostage by a government that isn’t made of citizens, but is instead some alien agent.

  327. Colin says

    The government could be aliens or citizens, does it matter though. Saying the government being composed of citizens, I persume this true in most places, doesn’t mean anything to me. I haven’t been a citizen of the countries I have lived in for decades. And haven’t the ability to vote in them either. I am still subject to law there.

    Anything that sounds remotely like the government is made of citizens, you happen to be a citizen too, therefore group is in your best interest. Or persumably most of the time. Is not any reason for why the government might go about being in the best interest or benefit of the majority of the people in the group. As far as I can reason it, the only way a group does benefit the most individuals is through actual intent to do exactly that and carrying it out, not because of any particular composition of the governing body, so representive government is not required as far as I can see.

    Ok so Matt states that a group who makes decisions that best benefits the group, benefits the individuals. I’m like yeah great, why is that even the default position though, and when is that going to map to reality. Governments around the world today and throughout history generally franchise a smaller set of groups or persons over the group as a whole. Some don’t even pretend otherwise.

  328. Cousin Ricky says

    Sorry I’m late to the conversation. Between my ISP’s incompetence and my confusion with the flood of Axp videos as Martin tries to catch up, I was late seeing this episode.

    Matt suggested that the other Matt (let’s call him Matt RC) start a new church with all of the tenets of Catholicism, but without the pedophilia cover-up. I am a former Catholic, and here’s the thing about devout Catholics that I don’t think Matt D. understands: one of the most basic tenets of Catholicism is that the church has to be that very Roman Catholic institution. In order for Matt RC’s new church to be valid in his mind, the new leader must be the Roman Catholic pope, sitting in the chair of St. Peter, sanctioned by the very church he’s breaking away from.

    It may not seem obvious nowadays, because the RCC no longer kills heretics and, unlike some Christian cults, does not claim that one must be a member of that sect in order to be saved. However, it is still very much the Catholic mindset that the hierarchical institution itself is the very essence of Catholicism. Even if Matt RC makes an identical copy of the RCC, it would have no validity.

    This mindset is seen in their attitude towards ecumenism. For most Christians, ecumenism means unity of all Christian churches. For Catholics, ecumenism means everybody converts to Roman Catholicism.

    The conscientious Catholic is trapped. He must either attempt to reform the RCC from within, or he must give up a core part of his identity as a Christian.

  329. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Cousin Rickey
    I understand that, which is why I usually follow up with: Do you believe that your god wants you to contribute money to an organization which systematically protects child rapists? Do you believe that your god wants you to not take the people responsible for this, remove them from power in the church, and throw them in jail? What kind of a god do you believe in anyway?

  330. says

    I think the Catholic caller was pretty typical of most Catholics I know. I used to be Catholic myself, and the thing is that their allegiance isn’t with Jesus or God (even though they would say they are allied with them), but to the Church itself. They feel that the Church is the vehicle by which they have their relationship with their god, and by following the Catholic doctrine and mass procedures and Sacramental progression like some kind of recipe or magical spell, they wil reach Heaven. So of course even when the Church does heinous things, they still follow the Church, as if it’s some kind of inevitable juggernaut, and give lip services to the principles behind it, saying that they believe these things, but stil adhering to Church doctrine as if principles are a side note to the doctrine, and the doctrine is what is correct in any instance.

    No wonder they love the image of a shepherd and a flock of sheep, because they will always follow that shepherd, even if some kids need to get raped in the process. They won’t think about it at all, just follow the shpeherd. Bahh.

  331. Narf says

    … but stil adhering to Church doctrine as if principles are a side note to the doctrine, and the doctrine is what is correct in any instance.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they actually adhere to church doctrine. 😀 Most of the Catholics around me were the biggest bunch of hypocrites I’ve ever met. I think they figure that if enough of the people around them are at a similar level of adherence, they’ll pass on the curve.