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Thread: My problems with religion

  1. #61
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Whoops, sorry North Star

    I was talking over you. We were parallel posting.
    Some people call me Maurice
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  2. #62
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post

    Similarly my action doesn't prevent what has already happened, but rather creates an alternate or parallel universe in which it never happened. And this new universe, just one of an infinite number of universes, is the one that El Sancho has just jumped to. And of course the one he will probably die on the gallows in because nobody there will believe his cockamamie story about why he needed to kill baby Hitler.
    Uh oh! I smell trouble! I remember endless arguments between YesNo and the departed (from this site) Morpheus Sandman (which I never read) about the "multiverse" theory of time. Morpheus was on your side of the argument.

  3. #63
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Hey, man. I'm just saying - the truth is the truth is the truth and you can't really have an opinion about the truth - know what I'm saying?

    Also you can't really argue with pseudoscience, eh?

    So here's a question: If El Sancho, like Mighty Mouse, is a superhero who can right horrible wrongs with his superpower, which is time travel, why then did he choose as his point-of-departure a nursery instead of popping in 9 months earlier and c*ck-blocking Hitler's baby-daddy, or just 3 months earlier and driving Hitler's baby-mama down a really bumpy Bavarian road and shaking loose that genetic mutation from her womb?

    The answer is, and I never thought I'd say something like this, but there's just more satisfaction involved in choking a baby than in the other two. Could it be, contrary to what a Rabbi or Priest would say, that the most effective weapon against pure evil is a more pure form of evil?
    Some people call me Maurice
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  4. #64
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    To each his own, although I've never desired to burn witches, however many times they may have fornicated with Satan. Nor would I kill a baby, even if I knew what his future would bring. Hatred begets hatred; evil begets evil.

  5. #65
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    While I agree with with you in principle, Ecurb, I am also a pragmatic man and believe there are exceptions to every rule, Adolph Hitler being one of them. Gandhi's peaceful resistance worked with the British, but I doubt it would've worked with the Nazis.

    As for witches, I'm a little cynical about that situation as well. Were those people that gullible? I doubt it. The legal system back then was such that if you had a beef with your neighbor and wanted to make an accusation, you had to do it publicly - except if you suspected your neighbor of being a witch, in which case you could accuse anonymously lest the accused put the evil eye on you. So, talk about a spineless way of putting the kibosh on your competition, eh?
    Some people call me Maurice
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  6. #66
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    If you're interested in witches, I recommend Oxford historian H.R. Trevor-Roper's book on the European Witch Craze. Between about 1520 and 1650, Trevor-Roper claims that half a million Europeans were executed as witches (other historians think the number was lower, but all admit it was hundreds of thousands). Debate rages as to what caused the craze -- the religious and political upheavals of the Reformation were doubtless involved, and Catholics and Protestants killed about the same number of "witches". One thing that fueled the craze was torture -- when asked to name names by witch hunters (or by Stalinists), many complied under torture. Then those they accused were tortured, and named others.

    Persecution and execution of witches is not a uniquely Christian practice, however. It is found in cultures around the world, and another hyphenated Oxford man (E.E, Evans-Pritchard) wrote a very good book about witchcraft beliefs among the Azande (in Africa).

    The Inquisition (which peaked in Catholic Spain slightly earlier) involved torturing and executing people for heresy, which we no longer deem a crime. Witch trials (which were generally held in civil courts rather than ecclesiastical ones) involved torturing and executing people for what would have been real crimes, had they actually occurred. In one case, people were "guilty" of something benign, in the other, they were "not guilty" of something wicked. Many, many times more people were executed for witchcraft than for heresy. One reason that Salem witch trials are so notorious is that by 1690 the witch craze had run its course, and the Salem executions were relatively unusual by that time.

  7. #67
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Star View Post
    You all should watch this TED Talk about homosexuality, how epigenetic markers from the mother affect the child's sexual orientation - and of the reasons why it happens, and why it appears in so many animals. I can't say I've ever seen any evidence of treating sexual minorities poorly advancing anything positive.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Khn_z9FPmU



    That the probabilities for each of the possible outcomes are not evenly distributed doesn't in anyway imply that the photons make a choice. You might as well be saying that a coin bent slightly makes a choice since it has a statistically significant tendency to land on one particular side. If the concept of choice was defined so that uneven odds = choice, the whole concept would be meaningless.

    Before a human or some other living creature decides on a course of action, they have 'choice potential' and after they have made a choice they have 'choice action'. Humans have consciousness, and a huge amount of information in the form of past experiences, what they've learned from school, Internet, TV, friends or whatever, and what they've observed. It's not possible to remove all these sources of information from our lives, but if we are selective about them, their influence will be more stable and predictable, and so our choices. In the end, I think this 'free will' is just the result of having so much different information that there are infinite ways to interpret it - imagine a dice with an infinite number of sides to land on - a ball. I am reminded of Dijkstra saying that "whether machines can think is about as relevant as the question of whether submarines can swim" - Free will doesn't really exist if we look close enough, just as there is no solid matter since we see a whole lot of emptiness in a diamond with a tunneling electron microscope. That doesn't mean that the concept of free will, solid matter, or of swimming, is useless, though.
    Sorry I missed your post.

    For choice at the quantum level, both the non-uniform results and the inability to find a deterministic explanation for that non-uniformity leads to the idea of choice. In the case of the bent coin there is just the non-uniformly random observations. There is no guarantee one can't account for that by referencing the bent property of the coin.

    The TED talk you mentioned sounds interesting. It would be evidence against a social construction of homosexuality.

  8. #68
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Witch hunting and burning reminds me of the the adage to always beware of the power of a mob.

    A couple of years ago I walked through an exhibit on methods and instruments of torture in a museum in San Diego. Although it was fascinating on one level, I remember walking out of the building into the bright So-Cal sunlight and feeling a little sick to my stomach. I also remember being a little concerned that there were a number of biker-looking dudes in the museum who appeared to be taking notes.

    I'm going to put Hugh Trevor-Roper on my list. Next time I'm in a good bookstore I'll see what I can turn up. Tips like that, Ecurb, are one of the reasons I visit this website. Thanks. I think I might like his style. This from his wiki page:

    Trevor-Roper was famous for his lucid and acerbic writing style. In reviews and essays he could be pitilessly sarcastic, and devastating in his mockery
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

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