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Comments by Sample

Go to: A lawsuit too far?

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Sample

I'm a member of the FFRF and I agree with silverspirit2001 and others calling for more investigation. Would the songs be tolerated by Sikhs or Jews? But that's beside the point. This is a potential 1st Amendment violation. I went to both public and private schools and it would have been down right weird to be singing religious songs in public school. I'm incredulous that the teacher is telling the whole truth but happy to be shown otherwise.


Thu, 16 Aug 2012 16:22:20 UTC | #950893

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

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Sample

Welcome. So, you've stated that you're aware of some key biblical messages. Which ones? Do you mean the ones condoning slavery, rape, ignorance and genocide?

I don't really have enough information to decide, for you, if the bible is recommended reading. Perhaps you can elaborate about your "interest in balance" position. After all, couldn't it be argued that your interlocutors would do well to become scientifically literate?


Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:44:29 UTC | #950818

Go to: Tired of arguing

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Sample

Hi Sjoerd Westenborg (ouch, hope you're on the mend),

It doesn't sound like you've depleted all of your empathy reserves, but it does sound like you're closing in on burn-out. I posted a discussion here in March upon my return from the Reason Rally called: Apathetic Atheists: A Forgotten Resource? While my subject deals with a condition you haven't arrived at yet, (apathy), plenty contributed words of wisdom that helped me recharge and carry on. One of my favorites:

Some of us are not afraid to be different, but we must not let this blind us to the problem that very significant numbers of people are unable to mature beyond teenage angst. Stephen of Wimbledon

and this:

Repetition is key. I hate that that's true. Repetition has probably contributed more towards maintaining, and to some extent rejecting, racism, sexism, and homophobia on a cultural level than reason has. Reason led to the arguments but repetition is what changes culture. Repetition is also why those ridiculous models haven't been completely expunged from our society. susanlatimer



Wed, 15 Aug 2012 11:41:05 UTC | #950815

Go to: Translating the British

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Sample

And I still hate the nationalistic jingoism of the modern Olympics, compared to the original games of classical times, which focused on individuals not nations.

I'd never heard the term Olympic Truce before (or had forgotten), but it's an interesting history lesson about this Greek sporting tradition. Evidently, a truce between countries was enacted in the ancient Olympic era to allow athletes to travel unharmed for competition.

The modern Olympics and all the peripheral industries associated with it do appear to go against the tradition of ekecheiria (truce), glorifying nationalism rather than peaceful competition but maybe I'm oversimplifying.

On the other hand, with the top five medalling countries typically mirroring the UN Security Council, I find it hard to accept that these Games are primarily focused on the individual athletes.


PS. Good poem, particularly the format which seemed to emphasize the Queen falling out of the sky.

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 15:58:19 UTC | #950680

Go to: A Baltimore Catechism for the New Atheists

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Sample

Haven't read A.C. Grayling's The Good Book, but isn't it a secular catechism of sorts? I'm sure there are some gems in there.

I very much like your clarifications Quine except for #3. I think you should concede to Oakes' definition for that one; it's spot on. Unless, you want to clarify why you don't like it?


Mon, 06 Aug 2012 19:37:15 UTC | #950455

Go to: A Baltimore Catechism for the New Atheists

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Sample

Quine, I read that article and learned nothing, except definitions for the words: parti pris, ineluctable, and apodictic. I am appreciative for that I suppose.

Seriously, the first paragraph: unsubstantiated claim; Second paragraph: misunderstood the Krauss point; Third paragraph: a build up to something, but remains unsubstantiated; Fourth paragraph: no substantiation and at best a weak argument from a single so-called authority; Fifth paragraph: either a lie or gross misunderstanding of methodological naturalism; Sixth paragraph: I actually read the book in question, is there really any substantive difference between John Haught and Ray Comfort? Perhaps Haught only grips the banana, while granted, Comfort squashes it but it's still a banana! Seventh paragraph: uses Freud and Nietzsche to prove what? That they would be wrong? Because they would be! Paragraph eight, atheists are utopia-minded Darwinists: straw man. Paragraph nine: I don't understand the "gotcha" point he is trying to make (a clump of cells can't be about anything), but then again, he does call that claim "extravagant" which makes me scratch my head further, why bother with it then?

Unfortunately, lay Catholics eat this "sophisticated theology" up and create awful "spin-off episodes" like Joanie Loves Chachi in other forums thereby futher tormenting society.


Mon, 06 Aug 2012 17:07:37 UTC | #950441

Go to: Religious Olympics

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by Sample

Moving the goalpost.


Sun, 29 Jul 2012 01:30:12 UTC | #950260

Go to: Why Jehovah's Witnesses won't mourn the Aurora victims

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Sample

If I don't recuse myself from this discussion I'll say things like, "I'm harboring skepticism that the words auditorium, theocratically and vigilante escaped this person's larynx unless an unforeseen, blunt injury to his abdomen produced, amidst a hard of hearing assembly, a generously translated belch.

Yes, I need to recuse myself.


Fri, 27 Jul 2012 19:59:18 UTC | #950182

Go to: Religious Olympics

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 58 by Sample

Skeleton: trimming the fat from your IRS audit


Fri, 27 Jul 2012 10:54:20 UTC | #950153

Go to: Scapegoat for Catholic evils?

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Sample

I commented about this story on a Catholic site focusing on the following:

However, his [Church] attorney later fired back at the court calling the sentence of six years, "grossly imbalanced."

So let me get this straight. One priestly conviction, thousands upon thousands of children harmed and it's the sentencing that's accused of being grossly imbalanced? Dante was prescient placing clergy and certain lawyers in the same circle of hell.



Wed, 25 Jul 2012 11:44:51 UTC | #950037

Go to: Religious Olympics

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by Sample

Egg and Spoon race, the divine version.

  1. Human ovum
  2. Orthodox communion spoon

You know the rest.


Wed, 25 Jul 2012 11:33:20 UTC | #950034

Go to: Religious Olympics

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Sample

Closing ceremony ideas anyone? QuestioningKat

Chalices shall be raised, a fountain of Kool-Aid will flow...


Tue, 24 Jul 2012 07:07:48 UTC | #949970

Go to: Religious Olympics

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Sample

Great Spirit Olympics:

  1. Wigwam sweat-a-thon
  2. Dances with wolves
  3. No Olympians left after #2


Mon, 23 Jul 2012 22:59:25 UTC | #949934

Go to: Religious Olympics

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Sample

Communion wafer competitive eating.


Mon, 23 Jul 2012 22:44:38 UTC | #949932

Go to: 2012 Project Reason Video Contest

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Sample


Make a short video that in some way communicates the importance of critical thinking.

What I like best about the Genesis video is the long build up and then the switcharoo. As a former believer, I think the front end of the video will be eaten up by the religious who could mistake the authorative dialogue as evidence for God's masterful creative abilities. And then blam! It's shown that God didn't say any of that, indeed what is written is the exact opposite.

The final sentence about public policy is good for a number of reasons. However, for me, it seems an instant problem arises for the believer and they must make a decision: choose faith or think critically. I don't think the other videos offer that perspective quite as well, if at all.


Thu, 19 Jul 2012 13:17:08 UTC | #949568

Go to: 2012 Project Reason Video Contest

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Sample

Tough choices.

I originally liked Perfect Faith but I now think it's audience is only the choir; in fact it could be seen as an endorsement of a "true believer's" power.

I'm throwing in for Genesis Creation Visualized-Scientifically. I think it's best in keeping with the goals of the project: it teaches.


Thu, 19 Jul 2012 05:07:48 UTC | #949552

Go to: Refuting supernatural

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Sample

Supernaturalism is a bit like a vehicle without a replicator. A bright red sleigh without packages (of information).


Thu, 12 Jul 2012 14:14:31 UTC | #948966

Go to: Leafy Sea Dragon Fish

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Sample

Great idea for a discussion, enthusiasm well received today. Thanks.


Wed, 11 Jul 2012 19:03:13 UTC | #948915

Go to: Why do we find mountains beautiful?

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Sample

@ comment 13 by Pete H,

I enjoyed reading that, thanks.


Wed, 11 Jul 2012 08:48:58 UTC | #948890

Go to: Religious Doctor Denies Medicine for HIV Positive Gay Man

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Sample

Devil's advocate.

What's the difference between what this doctor did (that title was earned btw, it can't be stripped away, though a license to practice can) and when a doctor refuses to accept federal funds thereby being able to refuse anyone who can't pay at time of services?

In other words, in the US, a physician can either choose to accept Medicare consignment (meaning they agree to accept whatever the US Government will reimburse for a procedure [usually a relatively paltry sum]) or forgo it altogether and deny seeing any demographic of clientele they want.

Obviously most oncologists, pulmonologists, urologists, will take the Govt. offer because most of their patients are senior citizens. They play the odds that if they see tons of elderly patients, they can offset the paltry reimbursements (additionally, altruism and a genuine love for their field, shouldn't be dismissed in this equation).

So, back to the topic. For many years my home town did not have a permanent dermatologist. When the MD came up from Seattle, he required cash payments at time of service. He would not bill Medicare (and didn't have to because he legally refused to accept assignment from the Govt.). Consequently, elderly (with Medicare insurance) were turned away, despite their need for care.

So, this religious nut of a doctor discriminates against a certain class of people. What's the difference between him and a doctor who refuses to see a patient because of their ability to pay? The difference is, the latter is ubiquitous and doesn't make headlines. Should it?


Tue, 03 Jul 2012 06:21:21 UTC | #948483

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 144 by Sample


Doctoring done correctly makes flawed human beings reluctant gods. No other profession has been endowed over the centuries by society with what is known as Aesculapian authority. It is the power to order a king or pope to swallow something that tastes like manure while also having the presence of authority to milk facts out of drunkards where others fail.

Politicians don't have this power, quacks of course spend every waking moment trying to get it, and proper doctors tremble before having to wield it.

This is a difficult canvas that cannot, in my opinion, be painted in one or two colors.


Wed, 27 Jun 2012 22:32:46 UTC | #948234

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 141 by Sample

Ignorant Amos,

I'm as appalled as the next rationalist if I think of a scenario whereby a doctor invokes a mythical authority resulting in patient harm.

However, I absolutely don't want a doctor providing a healing service for me because he or she is forced to.


Wed, 27 Jun 2012 21:25:50 UTC | #948226

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 137 by Sample

I don't mean to sound picky, but the so-called scenario of forcing a doctor to do something needs to be clarified. Nobody is, nor should they be in a secular democracy, forcing a doctor to do anything (as if there is a gun pointed at her).

It's the consequences, if any, of the actions or inactions that needs the discussion.


Wed, 27 Jun 2012 17:41:55 UTC | #948215

Go to: Apathetic Atheists: A Forgotten Resource?

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 347 by Sample


Thank you for the contribution to this discussion, sorry I didn't see it earlier. You hit the nail on the head mentioning Harris and Hitchens. Both give alarming reasons why it's difficult to defend being an apathetic atheist in the 21st century.

2012 has shaped up to be a banner year for many of the bullet points in the RDF mission statement.



Sun, 24 Jun 2012 02:30:44 UTC | #947986

Go to: Three Developments in British Education

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by Sample

Comment 46 by LaurieB

I used italics up in comment 40 and now all posts after that are stuck in italics. How can I/we shut it off?

If you used html rather than the toolbar italic button in the comment area and didn't close your html ie, [/i] then subsequent posts will be in italics. For instance, if I only wanted my last sentence to be italicized, I wouldn't use the closed /i. Unfortunately, in this format, it would carry on to all following posts.

I did this before btw and got a note from the Mods that it took them a long time to figure out which prior post used the html. I now just click on the I button rather than use html in case I forget again. In other words, wayward html doesn't just fix itself.

If it's not that, then I don' t know what it is. I'm just glad it wasn't me this time. :-j


Tue, 19 Jun 2012 04:29:38 UTC | #947831

Go to: The Dawkins Challenge

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 80 by Sample

There is a severe lack of any of the religious believers that tend to pitch up on this site from time to time that are willing to get there hands dirty defending this pish, stuff and nonsense. Maybe they're all not as daft as first perceived. Ignorant Amos

True. I'd like to present them with a dilemma: Imagine a Catholic nun caught in a disaster zone of some sort. There is limited space on the evacuation helicopter. Consequently, the emergency personnel order the nun to leave one of her loved ones behind. Here's the dilemma: should the nun choose the consecrated wine or her illegitimate daughter?

Sophie's chalice?


Sat, 16 Jun 2012 14:37:24 UTC | #947704

Go to: Belief In God Plummets Among Youth (CHART)

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Sample

@comment 17, strangebrew: bingo.


Thu, 14 Jun 2012 12:07:03 UTC | #947388

Go to: The Dawkins Challenge

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 47 by Sample

People of faith view existence a bit like a stereogram: crossing their eyes to find a hidden image of reality, they fail to see the irony when it turns out to be a pair of eyeglasses.


Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:29:58 UTC | #947379

Go to: Belief In God Plummets Among Youth (CHART)

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Sample

Look at the spin the local Catholic bishop writes about this week in our town's paper:

America, it turns out, is a very religious nation. A recent poll of Americans by the Pew Research reports that 8–in-10 Americans say they never doubt the existence of God, three quarters (76 percent) of the public say prayer is an important part of their daily life and the same number believe that they will have to answer for their actions before God. A majority of Americans are affiliated with a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious institution.

Living in a country with such a high overall rate of religious participation, it might seem that religious liberty for all would be guaranteed and protected. Unfortunately, that is not the case. (Bishop Edward Burns)

This opinion went on about the so-called violation of religious liberty going on in the US. What's this called again, oh yes, Lying for Jesus.


Thu, 14 Jun 2012 09:33:14 UTC | #947358

Go to: Church accused of 'scaremongering'

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Sample

Lord Ken Maginnis condemned "unnatural" and "deviant" practices.

Time to set our watches.


Wed, 13 Jun 2012 14:28:39 UTC | #947207