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Comments by Sean_W

Go to: Simply ... should I read the bible?

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Sean_W

I first started reading seriously with the Bible. It is a good read. Al Denelsbeck is right that you will miss a lot if you're not a scholar in a relevant discipline. But that doesn't bother me much. I miss a lot when reading Herodotus Histories, but I still really enjoy reading it.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 02:17:49 UTC | #950848

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 223 by Sean_W


I think that is a very good point. I do believe that many women wear these because they feel that they have to but as I said earlier I think its presumptuous for us to assume (as I think Vrij is) that ALL the women who wear the Bjurkas are doing so because they are coerced.

I reckon they are all coerced.

But I don't think they are irrational for choosing to remain in them, or for fighting against a ban.

I know, some people must think that if they choose to remain in them they can't be coerced, right? -sigh-

I don't like that kind of talk, it rubs me the wrong way.

So I thought I'd bring up looking at some of their behavior as solutions to their problems so we might ask what the hell kind of problem is solved by remaining in a burqa, or by advocating its use as a woman, and thereby hopefully come up with some interesting answers that are closer to the actual causes of the problems facing these women, than say, they are forced to wear tents.

Unfortunately I'm not that clever, so I find myself thinking of common problems facing everyone with the caveat that these everybodys face them in an environment that is simultaneously their nursery, and their prison.

Sat, 30 Jun 2012 01:45:07 UTC | #948339

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by Sean_W

Jesus, every time we have these sorts of discussions we end up talking about what's wrong with these peoples heads -hey, maybe nothing, eh?

The women may be intelligent reasonable people behaving in rational ways.

Why would a woman leave her husband and family to live in a shelter-temporary-well, it's a whole new life really, and from scratch--because she's required to follow the customs of her upbringing?

Surely the problem(s) arise from the role assigned to women and not so much from how women behave after having acquired their role through years of training.

We could analyze some of their behavior as "solutions" to their problems. They are not contributing to their problems, they are dealing with them, and where a solution seems obvious to us we may at times be underestimating the depth of the problem.

It's another view anyway.

Tue, 26 Jun 2012 16:13:58 UTC | #948122

Go to: Why We Don't Believe in Science

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 93 by Sean_W

Why don't they just stand up for themselves?

Do Christians really think that God has a good case against them? Has the thought that they don't deserve to be prosecuted by God just not occurred to them?

Even if original sin were possible, why are are you so quick to throw in the towel? Why do you think your God would want you to get on your knees and beg before you've even tried to defend yourself?

Perhaps it's a testament to just how good you actually are that you don't have the foggiest idea of how to defend yourself. A just God could only pity you, not punish you.

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 14:33:26 UTC | #947576

Go to: Dawkins calls for 'Catholic' honesty

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 201 by Sean_W

Comment 46 by Marcus Small

Oh please.


I don't feel like a Catholic anymore. I hadn't really thought about it much before, but after all the sexual abuse and cover ups I really started to examine my beliefs. I found that I don't actually believe most of what is taught by the church. I still feel a connection with a community of believers, and I guess I always will. But I'm not going to lend support to something I don't believe in. I mean, I still believe in God, but that's not the same as calling myself a Catholic -is it?

I'm not going to support Catholicism. I just don't know what it would mean to say that I'm a Catholic despite not believing any differently than non-Catholics. Furthermore, it seems odd now when I meet people who think I'm being silly, like I should still consider calling myself a Catholic because Catholics believe lots of different things, and I shouldn't let someone tell me what I really am. Well, what are they trying to do?

As a Catholic I was supposed to believe in all sorts of things, but I don't. Even the liberal Catholics believe more than I do. I just don't believe it, and while I might have never considered abandoning the label before, in light of the abuse I feel I must jettison Catholic and what it has come to represent.


It all seems so ordinary to me I don't understand the confusion. These people exist and hopefully in large numbers, and some of them may not start to think this way until it's brought up. Who knows.

Mon, 11 Jun 2012 15:16:00 UTC | #946877

Go to: Dawkins calls for 'Catholic' honesty

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by Sean_W

The Catholic Church has clout it doesn't deserve.

Encouraging people who identify as catholic but don't really believe--or support--the fundamentalist position of the church leaders to consider severing ties with the Church is a political act, and smart.

I have a problem with a handful of men who represent literally no one--no one--fighting to remove the rights of others. That is what the church tried to do in the US.

Well, if you call yourself a catholic but you don't like what they do, you don't believe what they do, then maybe you can help take away some of their clout by making it obvious that they don't represent a powerful force.

A political act -runs away shrieking- identities questioned--ahhhhhh.... [ for some reason ahhh doesn't sound like you know, running away in terror ... hmmm - AHHHH! ]

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 20:35:05 UTC | #946409

Go to: Dawkins calls for 'Catholic' honesty

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Sean_W

Comment 16 by Marcus Small

Well I hope so! It's bad enough being illiterate and finding that you need a dictionary for every other word in some post or book written by smart folks. I don't need to find out that a dictionary doesn't know what a word means either.

Illiterate dictionaries! It's a god damn conspiracy, the smarts, they're giving none of it away.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 18:21:49 UTC | #946384

Go to: Nun's sex talk raises the Vatican's ire

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Sean_W

Dr Gaillardetz says the Church's leaders fear that essential elements of Catholic identity are being challenged.

That's true. But it's equally true for other people that foolishly tied their identities to bigotry, and it is your bigotry that's being singled out and attacked.

Our respect for Catholic people should in no way lesson our condemnation of their bigotry towards gays, or women. Nor should it interfere with our efforts to relieve them of their hatred for everything non-Catholic.

the Church teaches that the respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 17:27:27 UTC | #945919

Go to: South Korea surrenders to creationist demands

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by Sean_W

Comment 53 by blitz442

No, that would be very uncharacteristic. Instead they would merely suggest that perhaps the patient is a spiritual person. There are people who lean towards the spiritual side of life. Do you think of yourself as a spiritual person?

Sure, and from the still quite of my soul I hear, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....Zoloft.....mmmmm.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 16:48:32 UTC | #945913

Go to: Nobel laureate joins anti-vaccination crowd at Autism One

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by Sean_W

Comment 40 by EvN

Yeah, I've always suspected that in general it's people with money that seek exemptions from immunizations.

(Just to get the ball rolling. I do plan on reading the rest -promise.)


Using data from the National Immunization Survey for the period from 1995 through 2001, Smith et al. compared the characteristics of children between the ages of 19 and 35 months who did not receive any vaccine (unvaccinated) with the characteristics of those who were partially vaccinated (undervaccinated).47 As compared with the undervaccinated children, the unvaccinated children were more likely to be male, to be white, to belong to households with higher income, to have a married mother with a college education, and to live with four or more children. 47 Other studies have shown that children who are unvaccinated are likely to belong to families that intentionally refuse vaccines, whereas children who are undervaccinated are likely to have missed some vaccinations because of factors related to the health care system or sociodemographic characteristics.48-51

Taken from: Vaccine Refusal, Mandatory Immunization, and the Risks of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 21:53:33 UTC | #945583

Go to: Sex: it's a good thing, evolutionarily speaking

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Sean_W

Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

I think you're mostly still right about plants, aren't you? In terms of resistance to pests and disease a good plant's clones can duplicate those traits nearly perfectly. So I think you're right in that regard if that is what you meant by vigor. I guess your primary concern as a plant then would be changes to the environment and the lack of potential new combinations to find a way out of any trouble, at which point you green up with envy at those species that can have it both ways.

Thu, 31 May 2012 22:56:20 UTC | #944866

Go to: Evolution of Birds Is Result of a Drastic Change in How Dinosaurs Developed

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Sean_W

Comment Removed by Author

Thu, 31 May 2012 15:51:47 UTC | #944767

Go to: Q&A: Sam Harris

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Sean_W

Hi fuzzylogic,

The search at this site gives: The God Debate - Sam Harris, Rick Warren

Wed, 30 May 2012 19:57:41 UTC | #944594

Go to: Jury gives "faith healing" mother prison time in son's death

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by Sean_W

Comment 37 by Elisabeth Cornwell

Thank you, I was not aware of all the work being done already to combat this problem specifically.

Wed, 30 May 2012 17:04:31 UTC | #944550

Go to: Jury gives "faith healing" mother prison time in son's death

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Sean_W

I have mixed views on prosecuting the parents, as it seems that the truly guilty are those preachers who teach this sort of neglect as being proof of one's faith.

Elisabeth, I think the parents have to be prosecuted. I also think sentencing should include the option of taking part in a research program. Treatment should remain optional. I say that because I can easily imagine the state going for treatment and allowing research to ride on its back, but I would rather treatment remain secondary and optional.

We may even learn through such a program just how culpable her church and others like them really are.

Wed, 30 May 2012 14:06:26 UTC | #944500

Go to: Jury gives "faith healing" mother prison time in son's death

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Sean_W

Reason? Really? Let's suppose the reasonable thing to do is to let your child die, don't the prospect of it make you hanker for some good ole unreasonableness? Seems as good a time as any to commit one of the sins you know you have to anyway. Right?

How do you live with any of your sins after that?


2 1/2 years is absurd, and it doesn't help to know how badly other parents and families are treated for far less crimes. Religious privilege, it even makes murder seem only just so bad, because we have to consider...

Wed, 30 May 2012 03:35:43 UTC | #944378

Go to: So what's the goal with theism?

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 171 by Sean_W


You really don't need to try to provide evidence--for me anyway--as I don't entertain the possibility of Christianity because it is obviously not true. Men claiming to be god or anything other than men always turn out to be just men. Dead men stay dead, no man dead for three days has ever come back to life. There is nothing good about accepting a scapegoat's sacrifice for your misdeeds.

Mon, 28 May 2012 16:05:57 UTC | #943992

Go to: Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 123 by Sean_W


I was answering this:

We should be careful about defining objectivity in terms of independence of minds, as opposed to truth. All facts about minds are true, but lack "objectivity" under the proposed definition.

Under the proposed definition minds may also be the subjective experience of others. I wanted to assert that minds are not subject to the proposed definition, and I thought I left myself open to argue over that point.

Mon, 28 May 2012 14:07:59 UTC | #943976

Go to: Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 115 by Sean_W

That's interesting Jos. Do you really think that the question of objectivity and subjectivity as I've used them here with morality relate equally well to my own mind? If so then whose subjective experience might my mind belong to? Or what even? I believe some philosophers came to that very problem and decided that we belong to the subjective experience of god. But I'm comfortable, even if only grudgingly at times, with the assumption of my own existence and that I know it better than all the things whose existence I try to determine. My existence is not in question.

---I say, knowing better...

Sun, 27 May 2012 23:59:30 UTC | #943881

Go to: Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 100 by Sean_W


Existing independently of minds. How does your god escape the subjectivity of morality? How does morality escape minds because your god exist?


It has occurred to me that some people might interpret my last post to mean that we weren't having a conversation here. Really I just meant that some were speaking to something other than Carson directly, therefore their posts should be interpreted in that light rather than as a dialogue which is how Carson had described it in his blog.

Sat, 26 May 2012 16:18:43 UTC | #943665

Go to: Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 98 by Sean_W


This has not been a conversation until now. I'm glad you decided to make it one. I hope that you will stay to make your case against all comers, except of course those of us who will lose our cool. (I might.)

Welcome, how does your god make morality objective? Feel free to define your god and your use of objectivity if you think either may require some special usage that I and others may be unaware of.

Sat, 26 May 2012 15:16:58 UTC | #943659

Go to: Debate: Can Atheists and Believers work together for the common good?

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by Sean_W

Troy's Horse,

I don't think the issues I and a few others raised are nonsense. Stating the obvious that people should work together really misses the point, and I -like you- think it's silly to say, "of course people should work together".

Wed, 23 May 2012 18:24:51 UTC | #943155

Go to: The Moral Necessity of a Godless Existence

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by Sean_W

Well T. stillson, if you wanted to discover the origin of life, how would you go about it?

Wed, 23 May 2012 17:59:27 UTC | #943147

Go to: The Moral Necessity of a Godless Existence

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Sean_W

Comment 36 by JHJEFFERY

...and he said it without even a trace of recognition that something might be amiss - amazing.


edit: I'm sorry, it appears that a little further down--I stopped at she's in heaven now--you do question why God would handle the situation that way. That's a trace.

Wed, 23 May 2012 16:29:03 UTC | #943122

Go to: Dolan: White House is “strangling” Catholic church

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by Sean_W

We're under no obligation to make the US a more hospitable place for Catholicism.

Wed, 23 May 2012 15:21:54 UTC | #943110

Go to: Debate: Can Atheists and Believers work together for the common good?

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 48 by Sean_W

Comment 47 by Red Dog

The question is whether or not you do so under the Interfaith banner?

I don't think it is very useful to continue to focus on the extreme case of someone who doesn't want to work with theists under any circumstances--they must be rare breeds indeed--rather than those who want to raise the point that it might best to not work with theists under certain circumstances.

We can work together without the Interfaith tag.

Tue, 22 May 2012 17:10:54 UTC | #942870

Go to: Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Sean_W

Because the real reason is just too damn difficult.

Tue, 22 May 2012 15:09:53 UTC | #942843

Go to: Debate: Can Atheists and Believers work together for the common good?

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Sean_W

First, where our goals are the same we are working together. That does not mean that we necessarily work under the same banner. I think that is important, and apparently so do theists who have aptly chosen the title Interfaith and invited the faithless to join them.

Second, on those areas where we disagree there is no possibility of working together, explicitly or otherwise. An obvious point, but still something I think that needed to be said.

So, if we work together already where we agree and we needn't do so under the banner of Interfaith, then when focusing on whether or not joining Interfaith efforts is a good thing, we ought perhaps to allow ourselves to be concerned at least a little with our own image. Or at least, having our bases covered, not be guilted into merging with causes managed under banners we detest for "greater goods" which we ourselves already serve.

The more meaningful discussion to be had from this question seems to me to be around whether or not it is best for atheists to disappear under the banner of Interfaith, and if that is what truly happens when atheists choose to work for or with Interfaith organizations.

Mon, 21 May 2012 22:06:41 UTC | #942686

Go to: Debate: Can Atheists and Believers work together for the common good?

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Sean_W

Comment Removed by Author

Mon, 21 May 2012 16:47:48 UTC | #942626

Go to: Stone-Throwing Chimp Thinks Ahead

Sean_W's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Sean_W


I haven't read this, just the abstract, but it sounds like what you would be looking for: Tactical Deception in Primates.

I saw their research cited in The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands. Here is a relevant passage from pages 69-70 of that book.

A troop of baboons is travelling along a narrow trail. One baboon, female S, spots a nearly obscured clump of Loranthus - a vine that is highly prized by the baboon palate - in one of the trees. Without looking at the others, S sits down at the side of the trail and begins intently self-grooming. The others pass her by and, when they are out of sight, she leaps up into the tree and eats the vine. This is the baboon equivalent of pretending you have to tie your shoelace when you have, in fact, spotted a twenty-pound note lying on the ground.

Here is the abstract from the paper cited above:


Tactical deception occurs when an individual is able to use an “honest” act from his normal repertoire in a different context to mislead familiar individuals. Although primates have a reputation for social skill, most primate groups are so intimate that any deception is likely to be subtle and infrequent. Published records are sparse and often anecdotal. We have solicited new records from many primatologists and searched for repeating patterns. This has revealed several different forms of deceptive tactic, which we classify in terms of the function they perform. For each class, we sketch the features of another individual's state of mind that an individual acting with deceptive intent must be able to represent, thus acting as a “natural psychologist.” Our analysis will sharpen attention to apparent taxonomic differences. Before these findings can be generalized, however, behavioral scientists must agree on some fundamental methodological and theoretical questions in the study of the evolution of social cognition.

Tue, 15 May 2012 14:32:33 UTC | #941604