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William, we all know you're counter-punching because the anger is left on the table.

Pithy comment and very illuminating, Brant.

Anger, conflict, contestation, dispute. Every identifiable argument a chance to sharpen rationality and mine more truth, though sometimes seeded with emotion. You have a blithe spirit that I wish I could emulate, a rage against the machine that I more and more understand, but god forbid we encourage each other to become a claque.

You generally are the trooper who engages Greg the most. Now and again I feel compelled to challenge conceptual mishmosh and mystical hoohaw and so disrupt the course of history.

At times these forum pages seethe with contempt and anger, oft directed off-site, oft-directed at Them. I like it when you bring things back to earth and hard cold reality. Your summations often have the snap and vigour of good aphorisms.

Lest I end on too sugary a note, can you please expand your remarks?

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This is such an odd mix. You presume a great deal

Being a "religious" secularist whose health paradigm is purely the physical/chemical "scientific" model... by default all you have is the government subsidized healthcare industry (now Obamacare) bureaucracy... because it was created by the very same "bureaucracy uber alles" values by which you live and die.

So it's moral justice that you should be dependent on the government/pharmaceutical/healthcare/insurance/bureaucracy, as it's the perfect match to your own values.

Greg

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William, we all know you're counter-punching because the anger is left on the table.

Pithy comment and very illuminating, Brant.

Anger, conflict, contestation, dispute. Every identifiable argument a chance to sharpen rationality and mine more truth, though sometimes seeded with emotion. You have a blithe spirit that I wish I could emulate, a rage against the machine that I more and more understand, but god forbid we encourage each other to become a claque.

You generally are the trooper who engages Greg the most. Now and again I feel compelled to challenge conceptual mishmosh and mystical hoohaw and so disrupt the course of history.

At times these forum pages seethe with contempt and anger, oft directed off-site, oft-directed at Them. I like it when you bring things back to earth and hard cold reality. Your summations often have the snap and vigour of good aphorisms.

Lest I end on too sugary a note, can you please expand your remarks?

You quoted the best part, so I'm leaving it at that.

--Brant

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Go after Greg, Adam. He cast aspersions in religious terms, I populated further aspersions to illustrate a point that reason, not religion, is a best mode for understanding.

Statements of fact about what you stated in your own words are not intended to be aspersions and are not intended as aspersions.

I am failing to communicate, I think. I don't really know what you are driving at. "Ya just can't help yourself can you?"

It is boring to restate the issue, but I will, since I am not making any headway: stripped of inessentials,

Does that make sense?

I don't know what it is you want to happen differently. It looks like you don't appreciate any funny business with 'real' religion, and practices, and are alert to sneers directed at Christian faith and piety. Taking Greg's conceptual framework of everything-I-don't-like-is-Religion, though, you are unruffled when he suggests everyone who accepts a pharmacological agent is in effect a cult member, cowed and blinded, a hive member of no individual independent mind.

This strikes me as untenable. In the present context, it sets aside human knowledge of biological processes as a byproduct of religious dogma -- a rational failure. It fails to separate 'good' science -- objective, falsifiable, warranted, logically-sound -- from 'bad' science or pseudoscience. It leaves no tools of discernment and no heuristic to help sort out concepts.

And the questions I ask myself are What does Adam want? What is his beef? How could my comments change in style or tone to better convey the points I make? Is there a lingering personal animosity or suspicion that degrades all attempts at mutual comprehension?

William:

I am pointing out that, consciously, or, unconsciously, your "anti-religious" [your words] descriptors are apparently exclusive to Christianity or Catholicism.

When I point this out, you then go into attempting to psychologize why I have a "beef," or, some other convoluted psychologically possible reason for my pointing out a fact about your post.

A...

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A new tradition. Quote-crimping and musing.

This is such an odd mix. You presume a great deal


Being a "religious" secularist whose health paradigm is purely the physical/chemical "scientific" model...


I'd put it this way: in a perfect world, all things would be perfectly this and perfectly that, a great intelligent entity presiding over all existence, a perfect karma operating with the moral clarity of fundamental physics. All seen, all known, all understood from on High.


And to clarify where a physical/chemical 'scientific' model fits in my mental schemata ... Greg, just as yours does. Exactly like yours does. Exactly to the limit of reality do we gather our intelligence.

We are in relation to a realm greater than our lifetimes and day-to-day perspectives. We face evidence of a vast universe, populated by untold stars and worlds unseen and unvisited. We are humans and we long to know, we long to know more. We are built to know more. We are born to discover and extend the bounds of human knowledge.

It is a fantastic, moving, wonderful and awe-inspiring cosmos and for the moment we are the only ones who manipulate its secrets, alone in our abstractions from evidence -- the universe at largest scale, and the universe at smallest scale, within our bodies, cells and atoms. The manifold interrelations and processes are fabulously complex, but because they are knowable, and because knowledge is a ratchet to more comprehensive knowledge, we have achieved a sort of mastery of our environment.

We humans have the rational capacity to expand our knowledge on all fronts, I see. This invokes an awe in me -- for a spell-binding moment. Human evolution and the recent fiercely-accelerated explosion of technologies for human betterment, all our progress and path is striking, magnificent to me. As for you, I assume the same. What hath Man wrought?

At the pinnacle for me, guiding us forward, ever forward in time, human reason, human ability to interrogate and manipulate reality.

At the pinnacle for you, something ineffable and extra, okay. For you and me science and reason as best path to gnosis, for you also a personal mystic apprehension. In every other aspect, exactly the same kind of being, a human being. An individual. A waking, seeking, questing individual, unique and self-involved and self-governed.


That is marvelous to me, individuality. It seems it would be the same for you.


Splitters 2, Lumpers 2.

Edited by william.scherk

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Greg, just as yours does. Exactly like yours does.

Not even close, William. Yours substitutes bureaucracy in place of moral law.

Greg

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I believe that to slap the 'religion' label on some organized body of knowledge or discipline of inquiry is not entirely rational. To erase any boundary conditions between a 'science' and a 'religion' is not particularly useful, beyond identifying a tribal affiliation. If 'science-based' medicine is a religion, then why not alternative/complementary medicine, climatology, esthetics, cosmology, radiative physics, and the ARI? What isn't a religion, once you get the broad brush out?

Does that make sense?

William:

I am pointing out that, consciously, or, unconsciously, your "anti-religious" [your words] descriptors are apparently exclusive to Christianity or Catholicism.

Sure, the quote in context was "In a way, in some senses, OL is a haven for the 'anti-religious' side of me. I don't expect to get attacked for not making cognitive room for what I consider nonsense."

Of course, you are not attacking, just noting a fact or two that you adduce.

For the sake of argument, let's say you are right, that I have only ever targeted Christians/Catholics for anti-religious commentary on OL. If we accept that as true and factual, then what? (set aside the pearl-clutching rabbit-hole)

I grew up without religious instruction in the home, just at the tail end of the days of mandated daily Bible readings and prayer in elementary school. It didn't take. I did not go to church. I formed no faith in gods or spiritual masters.

I find devout religious behaviour to be quite bizarre and disgusting at the worst of times. The otherwise 'ordinary' orthodox man who brought a knife to the Gay Pride Parade ... had several markers of devotion which I find ridiculous, from his hairdo to his kippah. The ultra-orthodox I have lived among in Montreal were bizarrely separate from, yet enmeshed with other people without Jewish markings.

I find the whole turban thing to be sad, spurious, beyond ugly at the extremes: looking at say, Nasrullah or the Iranian mullahs, the white/black turban signifies authority. That disgusts me, as do any special robes and distinctions that the great 'authorities' are prone to wrap themselves in. The symbolism of the Shia devotees who draw their own blood to 'celebrate' a thousand year old martyrdom of some other large-hat wearer is demented, to my eyes. Giving respect to the Shia headgear as signifier of holiness is repugnant to me.

The Sunni muslim clerical class is just as reliant upon headgear and robes to mark themselves off from ordinary folk, and just as repellent to me in its symbology. Even the otherwise peaceable Druze and Samaritans have crazy-to-me practices and devotions, such as they are known. Special hats and special set-asides, special in-group breeding and exclusions.

I find the variety of ladies religious getup and headgear to be mostly sad. Those who wear hijab are easily discerned into national groups: the Turkish hijab is different from the Syrian hijab which is different from the Malaysian hijab, which is different from the north-African hijab: none of the costumes seem ordained by gods to me, but impositions by men upon women -- they seem to me to bear a burden not of their own choosing, albeit consciously.

Who else? Well, I could go on. Sikhism, Buddhism, all sorts of ridiculous getup and pretense. The holy orders most reminiscent of a termite farm, a martial tradition versus a 'peaceful' tradition just waiting to war on the other, as in Rakhine province or Sri Lanka.

What's left? Lots and lots of crazy-to-me extrusions and costumes and devotion. Way too many to list from the bogus 'spirit-catchers' and ecumenical native drummers, to the magical eagle feather to the Kaaba and the weird collective rituals of Mecca. The Orange Order, the Wiccan whoopee, the retrofitted Druids, the Ahmediyya, the Syriacs, the magical Zaidis and the Parsees and the New Age charlatans and channelers and shamans.

_____________________________

Now, Adam, that said, keep in mind that the issue I raised is still what is important to me: whatever the religion or dogma or catechism/holy book ... these are in my mind separable from those things tagged with 'religion' wrongly. It is best to separate that which is religion from that which is not. Although we may find 'cultic' attributes to secular bodies of opinion and training (hello, Ayn Rand Cult?), it is in our best interests as rational inquirers to not let analogies become analysis for us.

Above, my 'target' was Greg's hilarious/sad approach to things he doesn't like: apply the brush of 'religion.' Medicine is a religion, etc.

There are limits to argument by analogy. If there is a 'religion' or 'cult' that believes there is a strong case made for man-made climate change, it may be useful to separate those who are indeed cultish and adrift, bowing to tribal forces and tides, unable to achieve or exhibit independent cognition. Slavishly accepting the 'holy axioms and uttering the sectarian shibboleths. Becoming an adept at 'scientism' ... accepting the opinions of 'authorities' without independent reasoning.

And so on. I think we all know people who may behave as do cult-members -- adopting self-sealing beliefs, decrying opponents as evildoers, plotters, enemies of The Light, amoral, without independent minds, self-exiled to an island of belief and faith. Minds rotted out with nonsensical notions held to be truth.

I think it is important work to try to figure out where 'cultism' or 'religious-ish dogma' rules the thinking of folks, especially in context of difficult, protracted public debates about the world. If I thought that every person who is a skeptic of the climate change 'dogma' was in turn a cultish drone, or a sectarian agenda-pusher, I hobble my own understanding.

When I point this out, you then go into attempting to psychologize why I have a "beef," or, some other convoluted psychologically possible reason for my pointing out a fact about your post.

Part of the confusion is you are inserting yourself in discussion between Greg and I and ignoring my actual argument, thesis and supporting observations. Using a broad-brush Religion tag to designate things to be corrupt or degenerate is what led to my reaction. Dealing with Catholic/Christian sensitivities or sensibilities is not really important to me here: there are no poor Catholics or Christians complaining.

If they pop up their heads and take me to task, I think I am prepared.

And now we can return to our regular programming. Thanks for taking the time to read and consider my remarks, in context, in full.

Edited by william.scherk

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Above, my 'target' was Greg's hilarious/sad approach to things he doesn't like: apply the brush of 'religion.' Medicine is a religion, etc.

More specifically... bureaucracy is the god of secularists... of which government controlled healthcare is just one temple of worship. You bend the knee at its altar and chant mantras in your mother tongue... bureaucratize. This is a common trait shared with secular leftists who also revel in its wasteful complexity just as you do.

Bureaucracies only hold appeal to failures who produce nothing useful because they are the only unaccountable non competitive monopolistic institutions irresponsible enough to employ them. Since they exist only by feeding parasitically on other people's money, there's no fiscal responsibility so unproductive failures can burrow into their folds for their own feelings of security.

Greg

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Here are two positions for religion that I take very seriously. There are others, but these two are fundamental in my book.

If a religion preaches that you must kill others for whatever reason, it either needs to modify or it is evil.

If a religion teaches that--in practice--charity means taking money by force from one person and giving it to another (through government), I can't take that religion seriously. In fact, any religion (or group within a religion) that teaches it must control the government does not get my respect.

If a religion teaches that murder is wrong, even murder in the name of God, and it teaches that charity comes from the heart and should only be practiced by free choice, I will respect it.

I don't care too much about the rest. I don't have to agree with any of it and can still have wonderful relationships with that religion's followers. I know their preachers are encouraging them to be good people and I will not have to worry about them wanting to cut my throat or confiscate my property in the name of God.

I always tell the Jehovah's Witness folks when they come knocking on my door Saturday morning that I am not interested, but I respect their effort. I know that rejection hurts and they must get a lot of it. Then I tell them to go with God. I always get a smile from them as they move on.

I do not believe in their version of God (or any organized religion version I have come across), but I like being nice to them.

Michael

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These type of folk stopped coming to my address several years ago. Must be because my house was the last stop for many of them. As I have an acre, there's room for a lot more.

The Fed Ex driver was a mistake. I had to finish his route.

--Brant

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Here are two positions for religion that I take very seriously. There are others, but these two are fundamental in my book.

If a religion preaches that you must kill others for whatever reason, it either needs to modify or it is evil.

If a religion teaches that--in practice--charity means taking money by force from one person and giving it to another (through government), I can't take that religion seriously. In fact, any religion (or group within a religion) that teaches it must control the government does not get my respect.

If a religion teaches that murder is wrong, even murder in the name of God, and it teaches that charity comes from the heart and should only be practiced by free choice, I will respect it.

I don't care too much about the rest. I don't have to agree with any of it and can still have wonderful relationships with that religion's followers. I know their preachers are encouraging them to be good people and I will not have to worry about them wanting to cut my throat or confiscate my property in the name of God.

I always tell the Jehovah's Witness folks when they come knocking on my door Saturday morning that I am not interested, but I respect their effort. I know that rejection hurts and they must get a lot of it. Then I tell them to go with God. I always get a smile from them as they move on.

I do not believe in their version of God (or any organized religion version I have come across), but I like being nice to them.

Michael

Michael, the validity of your position rests in the fact it that it is behavioral. I take a similar approach in that I regard a person's actions as always possessing a higher priority than their core story could ever have.

I simply don't care why a person does what's right... only that they do it.

So when the Jeho's come to my door they're always welcome. We talk about our shared love of goodness.

Greg

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So when the Jeho's come to my door they're always welcome. We talk about our shared love of goodness.

Greg

That might be better than my defensive perimeter, barbed wire and pill boxes.

--Brant

flamethrowers are too problematic--I can't tell the cops I was shooting at a deer

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So when the Jeho's come to my door they're always welcome. We talk about our shared love of goodness.

Greg

That might be better than my defensive perimeter, barbed wire and pill boxes.

--Brant

flamethrowers are too problematic--I can't tell the cops I was shooting at a deer

Crossbows from a 3D printer are very, very effective, for a number of intruders.

So nice and quiet.

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So when the Jeho's come to my door they're always welcome. We talk about our shared love of goodness.

Greg

That might be better than my defensive perimeter, barbed wire and pill boxes.

--Brant

flamethrowers are too problematic--I can't tell the cops I was shooting at a deer

Yeah... I saw you trying to wire horns onto their heads.

Greg

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. . .

One counterexample falsifies a generalization. . . .

Ba'al Chatzaf

Though mortal, we had some eternal verities. Many days and much light more, to you. Happy Birthday, Bob!

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. . .

One counterexample falsifies a generalization. . . .

Ba'al Chatzaf

Though mortal, we had some eternal verities. Many days and much light more, to you. Happy Birthday, Bob!

Well thank you kindly, Stephen. My next ambition in life besides surviving another year is to live long enough to hold a great grandchild in my aging arms..

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Right behind you Bob, you have taught me quite a bit here on OL - Many more birthdays and great grandchildren!!!!

happy-birthday-to-you-smiley-emoticon.gi

cheers.gif

opening-birthday-gift-smiley-emoticon.gi

grandpa-and-child-smiley-emoticon.gif

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Bob! What's the hold up? My niece's daughter has two boys now, that makes me a Great Grand Uncle, I guess. And I'm only 67! My sister is a couple years older. Just kidding. May you live in happiness to see your Great-Great-grandchildren. I think the world is going to make a turn for the better. We'll find the deepest part of the hole and start climbing out. The climbing out part is where life is the most rewarding, so much to look forward to for your progeny. I've learned much from you. Thank you.

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Bob! What's the hold up? My niece's daughter has two boys now, that makes me a Great Grand Uncle, I guess. And I'm only 67! My sister is a couple years older. Just kidding. May you live in happiness to see your Great-Great-grandchildren. I think the world is going to make a turn for the better. We'll find the deepest part of the hole and start climbing out. The climbing out part is where life is the most rewarding, so much to look forward to for your progeny. I've learned much from you. Thank you.

My children waited until their thirties to go upstream to spawn.

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Ah.. My sister started early (she has a GED). She eventually left her Marine Corp husband (multiple tours in Vietnam, made it to Gunny, then warrant officer, a fine man). She then got a programming degree and was a programmer for 35 years until retirement.

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