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Illjwamh

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Just now, The Old Hack said:

Cameron called agnostics 'atheists who are too cowardly to admit that there is no God.'

As far as I am concerned, he can shove that attitude right up his behind and then shove a cactus after it.

I've read several atheists' works, and to me, they mostly seem to be agnostics, "I'll believe it when I see proof."

This seems to be a reasonable stance, I have hopes that if there is a God, he would accommodate this, as per Thomas (twice).

Ultimately, if there is no God, we won't know it, but if there is, it will eventually be evident.

Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic who didn't believe in dog until he saw proof?

 

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2 minutes ago, Darth Fluffy said:

Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic who didn't believe in dog until he saw proof?

I thought it wasn't until he saw poop. Dog poop.

3 minutes ago, Darth Fluffy said:

I've read several atheists' works, and to me, they mostly seem to be agnostics, "I'll believe it when I see proof."

The atheistic stance that rings closest to true for me is actually from Babylon Five. Marcus Cole.

"Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."

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5 minutes ago, Illjwamh said:

Agnosticism, as it exists in the current cultural zeitgeist, irritates me. It does so because it fosters a fundamental misunderstanding of what atheism is, and perpetuates misconceptions.

People who identify as "agnostic" (here I'm generalizing for the sake of illustrating the source of my irritation) tend to say things like, "we can't know if there is a god or not, so why be an atheist?" Or something.

Atheism has nothing to do with knowledge. It's all about belief. I do not believe in the existence of deities; ergo, I am an atheist. Do I know for a fact that they do not exist? No (though I consider it so unlikely as to make little difference), but if proven wrong with convincing empirical evidence, I would accept it. Ergo, I am agnostic, since I do not claim to "know" anything.

James Cameron's quote is harsh (calling anyone cowardly is typically uncalled for), and presumptuous (he purports to "know" there is no god.) I would rephrase it to say they cannot admit they don't believe in a god. That's the part that irks me.

Plenty of theists are agnostic too. They don't claim to "know" there's a god/gods, they simply have faith. (Of course many do claim to know for certain, which is an entirely separate can of worms.)

A self-identified "agnostic" either believes or doesn't believe. Or is in a transitional stage from one to the other. It's a way of hedging one's bets, but the catch is, you can't keep it up forever. You either believe in something or you don't, and if you're having trouble deciding which it is, it might be a good idea to go back and examine what caused you to have a crisis of faith in the first place.

OK, now that makes sense.

However, there is another nuance, atheist seem to care about their atheist. I had a friend in high school who claimed to be agnostic, and he was fairly apathetic about the whole thing. Is that a thing?

Also, it's not a can of worms, it's the FSM, bless his noodly appendages.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Illjwamh said:

 

To deny that Western culture and Christianity are deeply intertwined is to ignore over 1600 years of European history, to say nothing of the post-Columbian western hemisphere.

At the same time, saying Western culture is "largely based" on Christian thought is, in my opinion, an overstatement or an oversimplification. I'm not sure which.

The roots of Western culture go back much further than the existence of Christianity. The two have greatly influenced each other, and they grew and changed together for hundreds of years, to the point that for a time they might have been considered one and the same, but to say something is "based on" something it fundamentally  predates doesn't really work.

Often though, it's just an oxymoron. I doubt that thought had much to do with the Christian right's support of Donald Trump. What values do they have in common?

Edited by Darth Fluffy
needed a trailing question.

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1 hour ago, Darth Fluffy said:

Illjwamh:
People who identify as "agnostic" (here I'm generalizing for the sake of illustrating the source of my irritation) tend to say things like, "we can't know if there is a god or not, so why be an atheist?" Or something.

I would like to present myself as evidence that this stance is not universal. I am an agnostic, I maintain that I do not know, but I want to know. So I keep searching.

1 hour ago, Darth Fluffy said:

Illjwamh:
A self-identified "agnostic" either believes or doesn't believe. Or is in a transitional stage from one to the other. It's a way of hedging one's bets, but the catch is, you can't keep it up forever.

Oh yeah? Watch me. I will keep searching till I am satisfied or I die. Admittedly the latter isn't forever, either, but I am damn well not going to settle.

Also, it is not because I am hedging my bets. Faith is not a bollocking bet, Pascal's Wager notwithstanding. I place my faith in a structure or idea if I feel it is worth believing in, not for my personal profit or salvation. If this be damnation, I shall make the most of it.

1 hour ago, Darth Fluffy said:

However, there is another nuance, atheist seem to care about their atheist. I had a friend in high school who claimed to be agnostic, and he was fairly apathetic about the whole thing. Is that a thing?

It depends. I have met atheists who genuinely cared about convincing others but also atheists who just wanted to score points and look down their noses at nonbelievers. So much like a lot of theists, really.

I maintain that there is a significant difference between agnosticism and apathy. People who are apathetic resemble agnostics closely enough to pass for them on a superficial examination, yes. But they ultimately fail because actually doubting requires you to examine and reexamine your own beliefs. The apathetic person will never ever bother with either.

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8 hours ago, The Old Hack said:

I would like to present myself as evidence that this stance is not universal. I am an agnostic, I maintain that I do not know, but I want to know. So I keep searching.

 

I would posit that it is impossible to know. However, the fact that you are still looking communicates to me that somewhere in your heart you want to believe.

I obviously do not share your life experience, but based on my own, that's my take.

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Just now, Illjwamh said:

I would posit that it is impossible to know. However, the fact that you are still looking communicates to me that somewhere in your heart you want to believe.

You may well be right. That may be the only reason I have still not surrendered to the pull of atheism.

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18 hours ago, Illjwamh said:

I would posit that it is impossible to know. However, the fact that you are still looking communicates to me that somewhere in your heart you want to believe.

I obviously do not share your life experience, but based on my own, that's my take.

If you are right, and there is no God, you are right, we will become incapable of knowing anything.

If the basic outline of Judeo-Christian belief in an afterlife is right, you will eventually know. The common consensus is that at that point it is too late to do anything about. I believe that may not be the case.

I wonder though, anything "soul" about us is a transient thing, an neural net running on the meatware. When the meatbot falls apart, the "soul" expression of the neural net obviously goes away. If there is an afterlife, it must be something like being pulled off tape and loaded onto new hardware.

Edited by Darth Fluffy
of --> off

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On December 18 in History:
 
218 BCE - The first engagement of the Second Punic War results in a crushing Roman defeat by Hannibal Barca at the Battle of the Trebia. Don't worry, lads; we'll get him next time.
 
1271 - Kublai Khan renames his empire (and dynasty) the Great Yuan, and claims the Mandate of Heaven to rule China. "Well shit, guys, this all checks out. Nothing we can do; I guess he's the emperor now."
 
1655 - "Yeah, we know we ordered all the Jews out 365 years ago, but as far as we know there's no law on the books saying they can't come back." ~English dignitaries at the Whitehall Conference. Huzzah for technicalities!
 
1833 - First performance of the Imperial Russian anthem, God Save the Tsar! "Oh my, how original!" ~Everyone in Britain
 
1878 - Ioseb Besarionis dzе Jughashvili is born in the city of Gori in Georgia. Boy, that's a mouthful. I hope if he ever makes it into the history books, he comes up with a name that's easier to remember and say.
 
1916 - The Battle of Verdun finally ends in a French victory after 303 days and roughly 800,000 casualties (combined from both sides). "Nice one!" ~Pyhrrus
 
1966 - Another moon of Saturn, called Epimetheus, is discovered by an astronomer named Richard Walker. In hindsight, we should have known it was there all along.
 
2001 - Billie Eilish is born. Watch out for this one. She's gonna be a bad guy, I bet.
 
2006 - The first parliamentary elections are held in the United Arab Emirates. The Federal National Council consists of 40 members. 20 are chosen by the rulers of the seven emirates, and the other 20 are elected by an electoral college of about 6,700 electors chosen by the rulers of the seven emirates. That seems fair.
 
2019 - Donald Trump becomes only the third president in U.S. History to be impeached. But forget about those other two; this impeachment is tremendous. The best impeachment anyone's ever seen in the history of our country.

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4 hours ago, Illjwamh said:
On December 18 in History:
 
2019 - Donald Trump becomes only the third president in U.S. History to be impeached. But forget about those other two; this impeachment is tremendous. The best impeachment anyone's ever seen in the history of our country.

I missed that they wrapped this up yesterday. The hearings have been tedious. It will be a footnote in history; the Senate is not going to kick him out of office. I just hope he's alienated enough folks for the next election to have a better outcome. (This may ultimately garner sympathy for him.) Most unfortunately, I don't see a democratic candidate with enough charisma to take him on.

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On 12/18/2019 at 3:56 AM, Darth Fluffy said:

I had a friend in high school who claimed to be agnostic, and he was fairly apathetic about the whole thing. Is that a thing?

"I'm an apathetic agnostic - I don't know and I don't care."

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3 hours ago, Darth Fluffy said:

I missed that they wrapped this up yesterday. The hearings have been tedious. It will be a footnote in history; the Senate is not going to kick him out of office. I just hope he's alienated enough folks for the next election to have a better outcome. (This may ultimately garner sympathy for him.) Most unfortunately, I don't see a democratic candidate with enough charisma to take him on.

There's also the fact that the American public has watched these impeachment proceedings and Trump has slowly but fairly steadily become more popular throughout. Basically, the majority of the people don't believe the accusations are both true and substantive, and are losing what faith they had in the accusers.

 

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21 minutes ago, Don Edwards said:

There's also the fact that the American public has watched these impeachment proceedings and Trump has slowly but fairly steadily become more popular throughout. Basically, the majority of the people don't believe the accusations are both true and substantive, and are losing what faith they had in the accusers.

 

This is objectively not true. All polls - including Fox News polls - show a (slowly) increasing majority of Americans think he should be impeached, with even 50% now saying "impeached AND removed". The latest Fox poll was as high as 54% (for impeachment; the story I saw did not include figures for impeachment and removal, though there has consistently been only a 1-4% difference between the two questions across all polls).

 

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3 hours ago, Illjwamh said:

The latest Fox poll was as high as 54% (for impeachment; the story I saw did not include figures for impeachment and removal, though there has consistently been only a 1-4% difference between the two questions across all polls).

54% for impeachment and 50% for both impeachment and removal, if it is the one I saw quoted.

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2 hours ago, Illjwamh said:

This is objectively not true. All polls - including Fox News polls - show a (slowly) increasing majority of Americans think he should be impeached, with even 50% now saying "impeached AND removed".

Out of a dozen polls, only three of them say that impeachment+removal has more support than opposition - and none of them say 51% of the public support removing him. (If a poll says 51%, it's over half - 50%, it could be over or under half. That's before allowing for the margin of error.)

Three more are tied.

The other six have the larger share opposing impeachment and removal - and three of them show 51% opposed.

Of course, that doesn't show whether support for impeachment is rising or declining. This polling agency does. As of mid-November, it was declining - and its mid-November results are in line with the dozen polls above from early December. Another pollster - one of the dozen in the above list - announced the same result yesterday: support for impeachment is in decline - and has been in decline since the beginning of October.

(I know a number of people who have said they want the impeachment effort to continue because it will result in the Democrats losing a lot of of House seats in the election next year. I don't know how popular that view is, or what effect it has on any of the poll results...)

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16 minutes ago, Don Edwards said:

The other six have the larger share opposing impeachment and removal - and three of them show 51% opposed.

It is really comforting to know that it is only almost half of the entire population of the US that wants the president impeached and removed. That is surely a sign of confidence.

Right?

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4 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

There's also the fact that the American public has watched these impeachment proceedings and Trump has slowly but fairly steadily become more popular throughout. Basically, the majority of the people don't believe the accusations are both true and substantive, and are losing what faith they had in the accusers.

You may be right about that. I believe the accusations are both true and substantive, not just because I don't like Trump as the President. It would fit with how he has operated for decades, relying on intimidation tactics to get his way. Among my demographic, I'm an outlier, but among young voters, I'd fit right in.

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4 hours ago, Illjwamh said:

This is objectively not true. All polls - including Fox News polls - show a (slowly) increasing majority of Americans think he should be impeached, with even 50% now saying "impeached AND removed". The latest Fox poll was as high as 54% (for impeachment; the story I saw did not include figures for impeachment and removal, though there has consistently been only a 1-4% difference between the two questions across all polls).

 

 

1 hour ago, The Old Hack said:

54% for impeachment and 50% for both impeachment and removal, if it is the one I saw quoted.

Impeached is just a slap on the wrist. For Trump, given his intransigence, it's barely that. All those people are just wrong.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:

It is really comforting to know that it is only almost half of the entire population of the US that wants the president impeached and removed. That is surely a sign of confidence.

Right?

Considering the fairly substantial number who apparently think he should be impeached and removed from office without regard to whether he's done anything wrong...

For example, this - from May 2017:

Quote

Of those who want Congress to move toward impeachment, a 54-percent majority of those believe Trump “has proven he is unfit to serve and should be removed from office, regardless of whether he committed an impeachable offense or not.” Only 43 percent of those seeking impeachment believe Trump has committed an offense that meets the high constitutional standards for removal.

In other words, 57% of those then favoring impeachment were saying "we don't think he's done anything impeachable, but we don't care - impeach him anyway."

Since 43% of voters, according to the same source, then favored impeachment proceedings, that would be about 25% of voters.

Presumably there would have  been some fraction who thought he had done something impeachable AND would want to toss him out just on general principles even if he was found innocent of actual wrongdoing. I won't guess how large that fraction was.

A four-year-and-counting media blitz, replete with exaggerated claims, claims later proven false, claims later proven to have been known false when they were publicized as true, misleading headlines and layouts, and other deceptive practices, has convinced only about another quarter of the voters to support impeachment. And if it hasn't badly damaged the media's reputation, it's only because said reputation was already badly damaged.

Under these conditions, I'd say Trump's reputation is holding up surprisingly well.

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I know that there are at least some Christians present, either former or currently practicing, and I thought this might be of interest to them.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/december-web-only/trump-should-be-removed-from-office.html

Meanwhile, I need to go have a heaping helping of crow. I have been condemning Evangelicals wholesale for a while now and was recently reminded that this was a bad thing. This article drives the point home quite hard.

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13 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:

I know that there are at least some Christians present, either former or currently practicing, and I thought this might be of interest to them.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/december-web-only/trump-should-be-removed-from-office.html

Meanwhile, I need to go have a heaping helping of crow. I have been condemning Evangelicals wholesale for a while now and was recently reminded that this was a bad thing. This article drives the point home quite hard.

Interesting article; they are right about needing to applying the same standard.

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Oddly enough...

Quote

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents.

... the unambiguous facts include that the coerced foreign leader had no clue he was being coerced. Trump did not say anything - to anyone - to indicate that any aid to Ukraine was or would be conditioned on a criminal investigation. In fact no aid to Ukraine WAS conditioned on a criminal investigation. The aid in question was temporarily held back in processing for unrelated reasons consistent with long-standing US law and policy, but was released from that hold quickly enough that the Ukraine President was not aware of any delay - without any pledge from the Ukraine President to do anything substantive about the requested criminal investigation, and before that investigation was re-started.

Yes, re-started. Ukraine began that investigation in response to a request from Latvia, in February 2016. It was shut down a month or so later after then-Vice President Joe Biden - according to the words coming from his own mouth - demanded that it be shut down and the prosecutor leading it be fired, and threatened to hold up US foreign aid if that didn't happen. And he says he did it for his son's benefit - where his duty and responsibility as a high official in the executive branch of the US government was to fight corruption, not protect it.

Note: if we're going to continue this, it really ought to move over to the politics thread...

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52 minutes ago, Don Edwards said:

Note: if we're going to continue this, it really ought to move over to the politics thread...

Yes please, and thank you.
 

On December 19 in History:
 
966 - Death of Sancho I, King of León. Dang, I didn't even know the band was around back then.
 
1154 - Henry II of England is crowned. Now at last, we can have peace.
 
1777 - The Continental Army under George Washington establishes winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Good a place as any.
 
1983 - The original FIFA World Cup trophy is stolen from the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. What do you do with that? I mean, you can't exactly display it on your coffee table.
 
1995 - The U.S. federal government officially recognizes the existence of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, who I can assure you were there all along.
 
1998 - U.S. President Bill Clinton is impeached. According to Republicans in congress, this is a very grave and serious matter, and he must be held accountable for his actions, for no one is above the law.
 
2012 - Park Geun-hye is the first woman elected president of South Korea. I bet she'll go on to do great things.

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