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Post 20

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 4:57pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I will try to answer your question as best I can without throwing too much blood in the water: My wife is now an ex-wife and has been for almost 12 yrs. She is still an ardent Christian and my personal beliefs in that matter is something we do not discuss. For the most part we get along without any real rancor. We also have two children together and two grandchildren so we still see each other often and there is no good reason for either of us to bring up the subject.

As far as myself I guess most Christians(Moslems and others as well)  would consider me an atheist in the regard I do not hold with some supernatural being which constantly sits in judgement of us and will
 decide at out death where we (our soul) shall spend eternity.

On the other hand I still believe that there is much we do not know about this universe of ours and I allow for the unknown rather than the unknowable. However I believe in sound logic and rational thought and these are criteria that I find it necessary to base my life on.

L W


Post 21

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 7:26pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks for the reply, L W.

Your personal position seems to be one called soft-atheism (either 'agnostic atheism' or 'atheistic agnosticism'). Relatedly, I am playing with the idea of writing an article that argues that this is the proper (ie. correct) epistemological position to take on this matter.

Ed


Post 22

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 7:52pmSanction this postReply
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Wolf,

Check this out, regarding real people experiencing angst while practicing anti-life, anti-man behavior.

Ed
[p.s. Thanks for sharing so much about your negative experience, Jenna]


Post 23

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 1:42amSanction this postReply
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Wolf,

===============
One can live a satisfying life as a villain ...
===============

I can't believe that you can believe that. This makes me want to ask you: Do you really know what it means to (truly) be a human 'being'?

Ed
[wow]


Post 24

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 7:40amSanction this postReply
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Your personal position seems to be one called soft-atheism (either 'agnostic atheism' or 'atheistic agnosticism'). Relatedly, I am playing with the idea of writing an article that argues that this is the proper (ie. correct) epistemological position to take on this matter.





I have never really put a name to it, but I would be interested in your thoughts on the matter and look forward to the article.

L W


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Post 25

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 7:59amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

We are pretty much in agreement.  Yes, you can make prevaricators uncomfortable, yes, evil succeeds when good men do nothing, but you are not legion and that is not my point.

Joe, in the Rand tradition, speaks of the mental anguish those with mixed or rotten premises experience.  Perhaps a few do, the few that are capable of conscious evil.   But, most folks easily compartmentalize what they do.  The evil they perform is not recognised, let alone examined.  Instead to avoid the pain of conscience, they 'blank out'; focusing on a glorious end result or they remind themselves of the the Mother's Day card they just sent, content with 'I've made a few mistakes, but I'm not all bad.  Nobody is perfect'.  They do not dissolve into a quavering pool of jello.  

Believing that those who evade reality suffer the torments of hell on earth is pure fantasy.  Believing that evil thoughts and deeds are punished in the here and now is no different than what the church believes when they tell us that the wicked will be punished in the hereafter. 


Post 26

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:13amSanction this postReply
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Good points, Wolf.

Ed


Post 27

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:31amSanction this postReply
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Robert- I'd gotten so used to disagreeing with you, and am pleasantly surprised and have to sanction your recent posts here. Thanks for pointing out the harsh truth that cosmic justice doesn't exist, even in the worldly sense that we would often like it to.


Post 28

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:33amSanction this postReply
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Cosmic justice = we all die at some point....

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Post 29

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:47amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

Re Villains.   Yes most are quite happy.  They are largely social darwinians who believe that any tactic is fair that brings gain; i.e. the survival of the fittest, only the strong survive, get your neighbor before he gets you.  They not only sleep well, but are right proud of their predatory behavior.


Post 30

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:49amSanction this postReply
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Aaron,

Glad we can agree on something.


Post 31

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:54amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I followed your link.  Jenna is describing ARI. ;-)


Post 32

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:55amSanction this postReply
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Yes - and a goodly number of them wind up being politicians and/or other bureaucrats...

Post 33

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:59amSanction this postReply
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Wolf,

=============
Re Villains.   Yes most are quite happy. 
=============

Now, here, we disagree. On top of that, you appear to not be in possession of a sufficient understanding of human happiness (or perhaps even of the identity of man?). I'm coming from a different place than you are, Wolf. It's an Aristotelean/Epicurian/Randian point of view. I can't believe that you have truly yet been to that place (because I couldn't, then, explain your current departure).

Would you agree that Aristotle, Epicurus, and Rand would, indeed, disagree with your quote above? If you answer yes -- and I think that you have to -- then do you have a sufficient counter-argument to that which has been proposed by these 3 philosophers? Taking your words at face value -- it seems that at least 2 fallacies are at play; considering the premises that one would have to adopt, in order to reach the conclusion that you did.

Ed


Post 34

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 10:31amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

Your personal position seems to be one called soft-atheism (either 'agnostic atheism' or 'atheistic agnosticism'). Relatedly, I am playing with the idea of writing an article that argues that this is the proper (ie. correct) epistemological position to take on this matter.

It will be interesting to see the response if you publish it here.  RORers fear Aristotle's prime mover.  It is an interesting contrast to the woman who said " that religious abstractions are the product of manís mind, not of supernatural revelation", and who when asked about god/religion in interviews always took the Enlightment point of view speaking respectfully of the quest for spirituality while excoriating the superstition surrounding the issue.


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Post 35

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 10:48amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

You are describing happiness in an existential sense.  I do not disagree that the happiness Rand describes and prescribes is a value which goes to the very essence of being.  But she also notes in her journal that most people are not too bright.  The point is that only a very few, very bright people reach that kind of understanding.

Happiness for most is going to Disney World; it is a momentary, physical, migration from one sensation to another.  Even Epicurus made a distinction between ataraxia and aponia. I am saying, further, that ataraxia is impossible for most and that they chose aponia not consciously, but because that is all they have the capacity to perceive.


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Post 36

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 11:45amSanction this postReply
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Robert, I'm not sure what angst-ridden people you're talking about.

The way I see it, lying leads to these epistemological consequences. If you try to maintain the lie, and keep the truth hidden, you either have to work at it very hard, or you have to believe the lie. The article points out the same is true for beliefs in the arbitrary. Those who think they can keep their faith separate from their reason are either doing all the hard work to keep them entirely separate, which is an error-prone project at best, or they're mixing them all up.

Of course there are also people who just don't bother keeping the truth hidden. That sounds like the people you're talking about. Those that lie and get caught all the time, but just don't care. They don't feel guilty or stressed because they aren't afraid of consequences.

I've met all three. I've met people who struggled to maintain their lies, stressing out completely and wasting a huge amount of time and energy. I've met people who simply believed their own lives. And I've met people who just lied all the time without worry or care. None of these people could be described as happy.

I can't be sure, but you seem to think that a liar who doesn't feel guilt is somehow happy. Your post 35 describes what you mean by happy, and it's one which I disagree. They might find some fleeting pleasure in their actions, but the actual consequences to their lives are quite negative. I've known people who lie and cheat and steal, and they certainly can't be described as happy in the wider sense. A lack of guilt does not make someone happy.

Of course, there are always conditions where justice is thoroughly perverted and these kind of people get away with far more without incurring the negative costs. I still wouldn't view them as happy, but certainly they have a better opportunity to live an irrational life without paying for it.



Post 37

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 10:16pmSanction this postReply
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Wolf,

==============
It will be interesting to see the response if you publish it here.  RORers fear Aristotle's prime mover. 
==============

In spite of just stating that I could smell the fear of the evil, I don't get the fear-connotation -- as it relates to public debates like these. When EVERYONE can see what and how you say things, do you really think that those motivated by fear will want to show their jugular veins to the world?? I don't get the connotation (except as some kind of psychological projection and transference).

I know this, those motivated primarily by fear will ascribe this motivation to others en masse. I don't see you, Wolf, as motivated (AT LEAST not primarily) by fear though.

If the only way that someone can disagree with you -- is by being a 'coward' -- then loneliness is on the horizon.

Nothing personal, just reporting.

Ed


Post 38

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 10:24pmSanction this postReply
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Wolf,

============
The point is that only a very few, very bright people reach that kind of understanding.
============

What's the context, though? What's the standard by which you are measuring? Check this out ...

The murder rate in England in the 1200's was more than 20 per year per 100,000. Want to know what it is now? Less than 1 per year per 100,000. Want to explain the vast part of this disparity? Humans 'being' better. Everyone's human, but not everyone is a human 'being.' But here's the kicker ...

More and more of us are, through time (we're evolving as a population into better beings).

So don't give me pessimistic crap about everyday folks. Everyday folks are better people than the toothless old hag of the 1200s -- calling out from the crowd for her daughter-in-law to be burned as a witch.

Humans are probably 99% unrealized potential, Wolf. Most of them just need proper education, that's all.

Ed


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Post 39

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 5:44amSanction this postReply
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There are those who have no compulsion about the means necessary to accomplish their goals, but their are many who who will look at their lives and not like what they see or see things which need improvement(in their estimation) and push forward in this endeavor even when fear is present and paradigms formed many years in the past come up with a "you dare not go here" feeling attached to them. The biggest obstacle for most seems to be where to start and having a systematic approach to help them on their way.

It may indeed not be legions, but as Confucius was reported to say "The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step" and this is a understanding that people of religion seem to comprehend with little problem when attempting to spread their ideas.

L W

(Edited by Mr. L W Hall on 4/26, 12:22pm)


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